Ah. The end of the year upon us and with that comes the award season buzz and also year end “best of” lists out the wazoo. Usually, I do a top 10 list of shows (see 2015 and 2014 here). Decided to stop lying to myself that I can pare down my list to just 10 shows, so you are getting a best of with no numbers shackled to it (even though that makes me want to include everything). So without further ado, these were my faves these year:
- American Crime – I think because it aired so early in the year, I didn’t see it in many a critics list but the second installment was such a far cry from the first and was so good with fantastic performances all around. I really didn’t like the finale at all but I think the greatness of the season overall kept it in the list (which is funny or hypocritical? because “The Night Of” did not make my list because I really disliked the finale)
- Happy Valley – Somewhere along the line this year, I realized I can’t claim not to like shows from the UK anymore because all signs show otherwise and Happy Valley was just one of the many exhibits against me. This cop show based on a little village continued its streak in its second season and was a delight to watch. You can see my review on it here
- The Path – I am always here for anything Jason Katims does (except that one show on CBS), so I gave this show a chance and hated it. But this is yet another case where I am glad I am a hate watcher because I stuck it through and ended up loving it. I don’t think a lot of people watched it but it stars Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame as a man who is questioning his faith in Meyerism (basically Scientology with a different name). If you’d like to check it out, it’s a Hulu original. Yet another slow burn of a show that eventually pays off.
- Lovesick – The show formally known as Scrotal Recall returned with a delightful second season that was really close to perfect. I don’t think there was anything about the second season that I would have changed. This show is a sweet little cupcake in TV form.
- This is Us – I am not sure there is anything left for me to say about this show because I have gushed about it enough. You can see my thoughts on it here
- The Crown – Again, British show I was sure I wouldn’t like and it snuck up on me and I loved it. And shout out to Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth. Episode 2 is my favorite episode that whole time span from when King George dies and Queen Elizabeth gets the news. Absolutely brilliant.
- Underground – Had no desire to see this but got word from two people that it was really good and it really is. I can understand people not wanting to see it due to it being slave material but Jurnee Smollett not withstanding (i don’t care for her:D) it was a really good watch and very well done.
- Catastrophe – One night standers who make a baby and decide to make it work entered the new season all settled down into “making it work” and one would think that the minutiae of being parents to two toddlers would bog this comedy down but it didn’t. It still seemed fresh and as entertaining as season 1
- Power – I thought long and hard about whether I wanted to include this and I decided I wanted to. If nothing else, every Sunday I was looking forward to seeing what was next. Once again, I found the finale very porous but overall, I think they delivered a strong season.
- Better Things – The female Louie starring Pamela Adlon was my chosen FX comedy (sorry Atlanta) that I truly enjoyed. A sweet show about a single mother and her 3 kids was one of the best new shows this fall.
- Insecure – Yo, this show came out swinging and managed to touch different talk points while also keeping it realistic with very high enjoyment factor. I don’t remember what episode it was that in the middle of watching I thought to myself “I really, really like this show”
- Stranger Things – I couldn’t fight it guys. I had absolutely no intention of watching this show. Wasn’t my genre and not my thing at all. Gazillion reviews later, I couldn’t be left out and went in to see what all the fuss was about and was mucho impressed. Wonder how a second season will pan out though.
- Rectify – Another show that I can’t praise enough. It’s made my list every year and it ended last wednesday. I still haven’t brought myself to watch the finale because I am not mentally prepared. This show tugs so hard at my heart strings and the penultimate episode nearly destroyed my heart. Daniel finally spoke about his own sexual assault this season and I can’t applaud the writers more for how they handled this topic – including that of the dead girl’s. RIP Rectify.
- Last Chance U – This Netflix show that follows young football players at East Mississippi Community College with NFL dreams hit me in the chest. It wasn’t really about the football but just seeing how black men feel defeated before even trying and don’t even have the will to try. Seeing some successes and some failures after and the love and kindness of the counselor, Brittany Wagner who isn’t even getting paid enough for all she does, left an impression in my mind and led to the first “reality show” to make my list.
- Jane the Virgin – Jane is annoying, this I can’t deny. But the show itself still makes me smile and is still so refreshing #TeamRafael
- Bojack Horseman: I love this show, I loved this season and I am ready for more.
- The People vs. OJ – Well looky here, Ryan Murphy made something I enjoyed to the very end. You know a show is good and compelling when you are still in suspense even though you know what happens in the end.
- OJ: Made in America – Hands down the best thing I watched this year. I never wanted any episode to end. The incredible weaving of two stories – OJ Simpson and the infamous murder of his wife and a deeper dive into race relations in America specifically in Los Angeles was just brilliant film making.
- *Update. With the fantastic finale yesterday, I had to come back and update this list with Shameless. It lost its way with season 6 which was part of why it was not listed but it came back strong with Season 7 and I am amazed with how 7 seasons in, the writers are still able to come up with fresh story lines and more lows for the Gallaghers to sink to.
(With this addition, should have just made it 20 shows and called it my 20 best)
Okay guys, these are the shows that I thought were really great this year. Once again, if you read me regularly you will know that there won’t be any GoT or Walking Dead and definitely no Westworld (I still have no idea what that show was about and have plans to rewatch and make sense of it). I do wish I had watched Horace and Pete which has been getting a lot of accolades but shoutout to Black Mirror, The Americans, Chef’s Table, Orphan Black and Greenleaf which almost made the list but just missed the cut.
Feel free to share your thoughts and your shows in the comment box. I’d love to know what you enjoyed this year.