I’d say Narcos season 2 was probably the best TV I saw last year.
Oh, shit, I forgot about Narcos.
Heh, well I thought it’d be fun to try my hand at something I’ve never tried before, and admittedly may have failed miserably and missed the mark on my Kelly’isms. It may also be a totally unfair opsis take on the show, since I’ve not really watched any episode, merely seen in bits and chunks while doing other things (typically gaming on my tablet). But there were several aspects that really stood out to me, and the hormones driving decisions/ plot events has really stood out to me. And the fox thing was one of those moments that pulled me from my game in a ‘wait, what’ way.
There is lots of other storylines going on. And it really does seem to parlay off the Harry Potter, but in college and with lots more sex and vulgarity. Also some non trivial amount of blood (including at least one animal sacrifice moment that happened to occur at the exact moment my son got out of bed. Thanks for pulling the rabbit head off like that Syfy!).
There is some neat interplay with some alternate factions with their own goals and agendas hostile to the university. Something with hedge witches who are trying to get some vengeance, a student who is bitter about failing out and being magically erased, etc. A haunted house which the students got trapped in, and are trying to solve the murder mystery to free themselves, with some quite disturbing undertones.
I don’t quite know what to make of the show, to be honest. If I watched more closely, I might, but as is it has enough cool bits to grab my attention, and enough leaning on the ‘hormonal college student’ angle to keep me from fully investing my attention.
Apologies for the lack of a write-up for each…
You’re the Worst (S3)
Mr. Robot (S2)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Um… whichever season fits in 2016? “Second half of S3 and first half of S4”? Networks are so weird.)
The Americans (S4)
If I were to extend to a top ten, I’d include Man Seeking Woman and GoT for sure. If I could give an award to only part of a season, I’d be all over Luke Cage ([SPOILER]RIP Cottonmouth[/SPOILER]). I thought Last Week Tonight was still good, but fell off a bit this year - the election may have just been too much.
The two things I haven’t seen yet but that I think could break on to the list, from what I’ve heard and my general interest: High Castle S2 and The Girlfriend Experience.
I added some context to my selections, in case anyone is curious
Atlanta (S1). Flat out the best show I saw this year. Moving, odd and insightful. I wish we had more TV like this. So sorry we won’t get Season 2 until 2018.
Happy Valley (S2). I will fight anyone who says Sarah Lancashire isn’t the best in this dark British crime series. So good.
Better Things (S1). Another FX gem, also featuring a hyper talented creator/lead in Pamela Adlon.
Stranger Things (S1). I don’t think it’s so great, really, but the nostalgia + soundtrack + the kid actors really made it. Plus, I was one of those basement D&D players way back when.
The Exorcist (S1). I expected this to be trash, but go figure, it turned out to be quite good. Dark and nasty for a network show, and I loved the ties back into the ongoing mythology + the larger conspiracies. I hope we get a Season 2.
Search Party (S1). This was a surprise for me, being a TBS streaming thing, but I loved the mystery and the really pointed commentary on finding one’s identity.
Rectify (S4). This wasn’t the best season of Rectify, but it was damn powerful. I can’t wait to see what Ray McKinnon does next.
edit to add in: The Girlfriend Experience (S1). Riley Keough gives a masterclass in opacity. The whole show swings from kinda hot to super disturbing and back again. Some terrific moments, and that last episode is quite the thing.
Honorable Mentions: Quarry (S1), Animal Kingdom (S1), Penny Dreadful (S3, sob).
Shows I still plan to watch: Better Call Saul (S2), The Expanse (S1), Fleabag (S1), Queen Sugar (S1), Lady Dynamite (S1), The Americans (S2-4).
Shows that I tried to like but didn’t: Daredevil (S2), Luke Cage (S1) and The Crown (S1).
Another great year for TV! My top ten list without comment, nor in any real order:
Better Call Saul
The Night Manager
The Night Of
The Expanse - As others above said, it’s easily the closest thing we’ll come to good “hard sci-fi” on TV.
Stranger Things - I liked what everyone else liked about it, but I loved the fact that my teenaged daughters also liked it and we all watched it together.
Last Week Tonight/Full Frontal - The Daily Show alumns are necessary to my long-term sanity, I fear.
Game of Thrones - I thought this was one of the weaker seasons, but it’s still one of the best shows ever made. This is a show I watch with my wife, and I really enjoy the conversations after each episode.
Westworld - The impact of this show on me seems to be diminishing over time, but the acting and production values were all top-notch, as was the music.
Forged in Fire - This is a reality show/competition where blacksmiths make sharp weapons in a short amount of time. Effectively no manufactured “reality show” drama, just craftsmen working in a semi-obscure field. My family and I just can’t get enough of this show. They seem to do two “seasons” per year, and the new season starts… tonight! We’re thrilled.
The Expanse I don’t watch a lot of series TV but I did watch all of these and really enjoyed them.
Timeless Okay, the acting sucks, the writing sucks and the plot is pretty much conspiracy stuff. But there is time travel. Time travel.
Better Call Saul and Silicon Valley for the reasons given by many above.
The Night Of for it’s refusal to be just another procedural and excellent cast including John Tuturro, Riz Ahmed, Jeannie Berlin, and of course Bill Camp.
The People Vs. OJ Simpson in which Ryan Murphy makes amends in advance for a truly wretched season of American Horror Story.
Rectify - Someone posted above that the final season may not have been the best. I agree only because every season has been beautiful, haunting, and totally unlike anything that ever preceded it on television. The series finale was one of the most powerful and emotional hours of television I’ve ever seen, and with it Rectify jumps ahead of The Prisoner as the new Best. Show. Evar.
If Terrence Malick made a TV show, it would be Rectify. Bravo, show. Bravo.
Rectify The best thing I have seen all year. Perfect ending.
The Crown Very entertaining as well as historical.
Narcos Just Wow. Loved it.
Happy Valley Yes Sarah Lancashire is so good in this and everything else she has done.
Only one other person calling out Veep? What’s going on here?
Halt and Catch Fire
Crazy Ex Girlfriend
What are you talking about!? I clearly did, in the post right above yours, which I definitely did not edit!
Here’s two that I really enjoyed but haven’t seen mentioned yet:
The Kettering Incident - The less you know about this going in the better. Nicely creepy mystery about the protagonist’s identity and what the hell happened in the past and what the hell is happening now. Highly recommended and infinitely more satisfying than The OA.
Please Like Me - Charming dramadey from Down Under about slightly lost people in their twenties and their equally lost parents. The main character can be a bit off putting but his genuine decency shines through. Great exploration of sexuality and mental illness. The fourth season just plopped down on Hulu this month.
On further reflection, I’d also add The People v. O.J. Simpson and Insecure to my list.
I felt almost exactly the opposite about these two. Funny how that works…hooray for variety!
I just discovered a really good show from 2016 that hasn’t been mentioned by anyone.
It’s called The Carmichael Show. I was peripherally aware of it as sitcom on NBC with a live audience. I thought I was completely done with those. But me and my wife were looking for a comedy to watch on Netflix tonight, and we ended up watching the pilot of this show together, and it is a really well written, smart comedy. And I don’t even mind the live audience, which I thought would never happen.