Well, 2016, you certainly gave us a lot to talk about.
Entertainment finds a way to connect everyone, even during a year when we've been constantly reminded how divided we are as a nation.
Here's a look back at events, trends and experiences that stood out for me. Maybe you'll find a connection somewhere.
Can't believe they're gone
We lost so many legends, especially in the entertainment industry, and some are still hard to fully grasp.
I mean, Prince is gone? Really?
There's going to be no more David Bowie in my life? Brutal.
Prince died of fentanyl overdose April 21 at the age of 57.
At the time, the music world was still reeling from Bowie losing his battle with liver cancer Jan. 10.
I know, "it's life," and I'm getting to that age where stars I grew up listening to or watching are succumbing to old age or years struggling with their demons.
Still, my childhood was full of Prince and David Bowie – Dad has always been a huge fan of both – and it's still hard to imagine a world of music without them both.
The loss of Gene Wilder, who died Aug. 29, also hit me hard. Wilder's comedy was unique, and while I wasn't familiarized with his more mature movies with Richard Pryor until later in life, his portrayal of Willy Wonka in "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory" and Dr. Frankenstein in "Young Frankenstein" were some of my first movie memories.
Glenn Frey of The Eagles was another that stung, and while I don't claim to be a huge Merle Haggard fan, he inspired many bands I listen to, including one of my favorites: The Avett Brothers.
The show must go on
Even with so many lost, there was a lot of good entertainment to be enjoyed this year.
There's so much good TV going on right now that I've got about a year of catching up to do.
"O.J.: Made in America" stand outs to me. It was a five-part documentary miniseries from ESPN Films and their 30 for 30 series about the rise and fall of O.J. Simpson. It was captivating and very well-done.
And though Netflix's "Making A Murderer" was released in late December 2015, it absolutely exploded in January. The documentary was a topic of much discussion, and its popularity has influenced the court cases of its subjects.
Honestly, I spent much of the year revisiting – binging on, really – older shows, including "The West Wing," "Sons of Anarchy" and "Cheers," but it's not hard to see that there's a lot of good stuff to be watched.
I look forward to diving into "Stranger Things," "Atlanta," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and more. Someday.
I've been busy
This year, I went through some – all great – changes here at work. It involved a complete schedule switch and adjustment to the 9-to-5 life.
I also got married.
Oh, and we bought a house, too.
I bring this up because it's probably the reason why I didn't see a single movie in the theaters in 2016.
I love movies. My DVD collection is one of my most-prized possessions. I've got a healthy – no matter what my wife says – addiction to finding new DVDs at garage sales or resale shops.
And maybe that's part of the problem. We have so many classics, new and old, that we can enjoy from home.
Seriously, though, we rented "Zootopia" from Redbox and that's about where our 2016 new movie watching starts and ends.
Man, that's embarrassing. Don't judge me.
I vow to catch up and watch some movies I've really wanted to see, including "Sully," "Captain America: Civil War," "The Nice Guys," "The Jungle Book," "Deadpool," and "Ghostbusters."
Heck, I still have time to see "Arrival" or "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" on the big screen. No excuses!
Music in the madness
Because of its availability at all times of the day, even during this crazy year, music has been my medicine in the madness.
Three of my favorite bands, The Avett Brothers, Dawes, and Band of Horses, each released some of their best work yet.
David Bowie's "Blackstar" was an unbelievable conclusion to a remarkable career.
While I've always loved acoustic music and grew up on music of all types, this year brought me back to the heavier side my roots.
I was in high school and college during the pop-punk explosion. It's the first type of music I learned to play. Even in middle school, my favorite band was probably Rage Against the Machine. I've always loved loud.
They say your taste buds shift every 7 years or something, so maybe it's the same with music.
There were awesome releases from bands I was already very familiar with, including Against Me!, Thrice, Joyce Manor, American Football, Jimmy Eat World and The Rocket Summer.
It was the discovery of so many new favorites that made 2016 special. Whether it was Jeff Rosenstock, Real Friends, Pinegrove, All Get Out, Trashboat, Trophy Eyes, PUP, The Hotelier or another, playing pop-punk, emo, alternative, garage rock, or any other subgenre – at its core – it was all good rock music.
It all left me so energized – enough to ditch my acoustic and vow to bring an electric guitar and amp back into my life.
There was so much more good music, but we'll get to that in a couple of weeks.
Too early for resolutions?
In 2016, I had the joy of talking to national performers visiting town and local artists providing meaningful entertainment in the area.
There's so much more to highlight, and I plan to make that a mission in 2017.
The Sauk Valley has got a good thing going when it comes to the arts, and that should be celebrated.
I'm always open to suggestions, so don't hesitate to reach out.
I'm going to make it a point to watch more, discuss more. I plan to ask readers to weigh in on important entertainment news, big events and impressive releases.
Until then, have a wonderful holiday season.
Who's ready to watch "A Christmas Story" for 24 hours straight?
Let's do this.
In 2 weeks, SVM's Jeff Rogers, Christopher Heimerman and Lucas Pauley will share their favorite albums of 2016. It's now an annual tradition.
Curious what we thought the past 2 years?