Rachel is taking over the blog for the final “Best of List” post and last blog post of 2017.
I’m going to mix up the format of this post, as I felt various strong feelings – good and bad, expected and unexpected – about TV shows this year. Therefore, I bring you my TV superlatives of 2017 (in no particular order).
Proof Damon Lindelof Can End a Show Well (or, The Best Show You’re Not Watching): The Leftovers
Oh, man. I can’t give enough praise to this three-season masterpiece. The premise is that 2% of the world’s population has disappeared (religious and non-religious undertones ensue). The series ends with an amazing monologue from the incomparable Carrie Coon, telling a story that I 100% believed simply because she was telling it. The fact that no actor on this show was nominated for an Emmy (save for a guest star nod) is criminal.
A Good Twist Is Hard to Find: The Good Place
I won’t spoil the season one-ending twist here, because everyone should be watching this delightful show, brought to you by the man responsible for the amazing Parks and Recreation, but suffice to say I did not see it coming. And it was a game changer. Season two is almost like an entirely new show, in the best way.
Aziz Ansari Is Master of Everything: Master of None
Yes, this season was ultimately a love story (and a compelling one at that). But along the way were some of the best episodes of TV in 2017. The Thanksgiving episode alone is completely worthy of every award it amassed this year. And what a risk to air an episode almost entirely devoid of your main characters – and what a success, too.
Best Gilmore Girls Successor: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Amy Sherman-Palladino’s famously fast talking characters are back in this 1950s-set hysterical, charming show about a woman who embarks on a standup comedy career after her husband leaves. It’s also a very good-looking show – I very much envy Mrs. Maisel’s wardrobe and want to live in their lavish apartments.
Best TV Acting by Heavy Hitters of Film: Big Little Lies
The gang’s all here in this drama-filled limited series, mostly courtesy of Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon (with a dash of Shailene Woodley and Laura Dern). Kidman’s abused housewife is hands down one of the year’s best performances. Lucky for us, there will be a season two.
Most Emotions Caused by a Cartoon: BoJack Horseman
I can tell you’re skeptical, but I have never been so moved by animation (except for your pick of Pixar movie, of course). This show makes me FEEL in the truest sense of the word, as these characters are just trying to find themselves and be good people in a messed-up world. It’s worth a watch, I promise!
Best Sophomore Season: Stranger Things
I read a review of season two, noting that one of the reasons season one was so great is that it was so unexpected. I am here to tell you that lightning can strike twice. All of our Hawkins friends are back in season two, this time with an extra dose of Will Byers, played to eerie perfection by the adorable Noah Schnapp. They’re all growing up in this Upside Down-infested world, and it’s awesome.
Most Improved: Mr. Robot
Allen included this show in his Top TV of 2016 list, but season three was far and away better than last year’s go-round. A true testament to how much better an ensemble show is when the characters are actually assembled. (And, despite what the name might imply, it’s about hacking – not robots.)
Shows Not Living Up to My High Expectations
Girls: The final season was, to be blunt…not great.
House of Cards: A weak season made weaker by the news that Kevin Spacey is not just an on-screen creep.
Veep: Selena Meyer has always pushed buttons, but I think she went too far this year.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: I still love this show, but this season has been a little too intense for my taste. Despite being a good depiction of mental illness, it lacks the fizzy fun of previous seasons.
Also, since Allen didn’t a chance to write this post, I also wanted to include some of his top shows of 2017:
- Better Call Saul
- Game of Thrones
It was a good year! Here’s hoping 2018 will be even better!