Skip to main content

Best of TV 2016

The Ten Best TV Shows of 2016

Here are the best televisions of 2016:

10. Stranger Things (Netflix)


Image result for stranger things winona

 The Netflix series quickly became a pop culture phenomenon when it launched on the streaming site in July. Starring a fantastic Winona Ryder as the mother of a missing child, the series pays homage to numerous sci-fi films from the 1980s. Good writing, smart pacing, and a satisfying level of suspense makes Stranger Things a worthwhile binge whether you get the references or not. 

9. Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon)

The third season of the Amazon comedy about the fictional New York Symphony strikes the perfect balance between smart and silly. Gael Garcia Bernal gives an electric and magnetic performance as Rodrigo, the symphony's charismatic conductor. Part of the action this season shifts to Venice, where Rodrigo is conducting a concert. The story gives a show a bolt of energy and introduces Alessandra, a temperamental opera singer played with an eerie calmness by Monica Bellucci. 


8. BrainDead (CBS)


Image result for braindead cbs

BrainDead came and went over the summer with little fanfare. Although short-lived, this political satire/science fiction hybrid was one of the most unique shows on TV,  seamlessly blending  a multitude of genres. Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Tveit, the series hypothesized that the current polarization of political parties in government was due to a race of extraterrestrial bugs that replaced the brains of politicians. Odd, topical, and very funny. 


7. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (Netflix)

2016 was capped off by a much-needed return visit to Stars Hollow. Despite being off the air for almost a decade, Amy Sherman-Palladino's world feels as alive and vibrant as ever. Lauren Graham (still wonderful) and Alexis Bledel (still dull) return, as do a plethora of oddball characters from the original series, and a couple of new faces are thrown into the mix. Sutton Foster has a cameo in the third episode that at first seems pointless, until later in the episode when its larger significance becomes clear. I'm glad there were only four, double-length episodes; a quick return visit to get closure after the original series' disappointing final season. The show's time has come and gone, trying to revive it as anything other than a special event would be a mistake. 


6. The Good Place (NBC)

The new series starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson is the rare comedy to look at grand philosophical concepts and mine them for jokes. The set up is that Eleanor, played by Bell, is a bad person who dies, and somehow ends up in the afterlife designated for good people. The serialized format, another rarity for a network sitcom, allows for the premise to be properly seen through, and a late in the season twist suggests The Good Place has only scratched the surface of its potential. 


5. Search Party (TBS)

Perhaps the year's biggest surprise was Search Party, a mystery-comedy on TBS that stars Alia Shawkat as a woman who becomes obsessed with finding an acquaintance who is missing. Wickedly funny at times, the show can also be quite sad. It's a piercing, brutal look at people in their twenties, and their narcissism, lack of direction, and anxiety. 


4. Veep (HBO)

After five seasons, Veep is still the sharpest comedy on TV.  Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Sam Richardson, and the rest of the ensemble are as great as ever as the completely inept people running the government. This year especially there are moments that feel more like a documentary than a satire.


3. Mom (CBS)

Even after three and a half seasons, Mom has not shied away from the addiction recovery story one bit. In fact, it has become more about that story, excising the restaurant plot from the first couple of seasons entirely, and regulating the Christy's children to the back burner. Mom is at its best focusing on the group of women led by Christy (Anna Faris) and Bonnie (Allison Janney) and what it is like for them going through their daily lives as addicts. 


2. This Is Us (NBC)


Image result for this is us nbc

The best new show to premiere this fall, This Is Us interweaves the stories of three adult siblings (Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, and Sterling K. Brown), and flashbacks to their childhood and the story of their parents (Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore). The flashbacks, depending on the episode, are of when the siblings were infants, when they were eight, when they were teenagers, even before they were born. The technique is brilliantly used to show they effect family has on a person, how it unites us even at the unlikeliest of times. 

1. Bloodline (Netflix)

The first season of Bloodline was great. The second season was one of my favorites seasons of television ever. Shorter, more to the point, more chillingly tense. Gone are the flash-forward sequences relied on too heavily in the first season to create suspense. The drama surrounding the Rayburn family in the Florida Keys just won't go away, but this time the pace is slowed even more, letting the weight of every moment sink in. Linda Cardellini and Norbert Leo Butz's characters are more fleshed out this season, but Kyle Chandler gives an epic performance. He is able to convey everything going through John's mind on his face, so much so that dialogue is hardly necessary at all. If you didn't like the first season of Bloodline, you aren't going to like the second one either, but there is something undeniably commendable about a series achieving its perfect form.

Agree with my choices, or have picks of your own? Leave a comment below!

Comments

  1. Perfect picks, but it looks like I now have to start watching Bloodline! Thank you for giving me more shows to binge. Happy 2017!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

"Death on the Nile" Hits Theaters in 2019: Here's my Dream Cast

Following the success of Kenneth Branagh's film of Murder on the Orient Express, it was announced that a follow-up would be released on December 20, 2019. This time Branagh will direct and star in an adaptation of Christie's 1937 novel Death on the Nile. I loved that novel when I read it many years ago, and although I'd prefer to see Branagh adapt a Poirot novel that has not already gotten the big-screen treatment (like Death in the Clouds or Cards on the Table), I am looking forward to seeing a new interpretation. It's about a murder that occurs on a luxury steamer that is traveling down the Nile River in Egypt. Naturally, all the passengers are suspects. Since no casting information aside from Branagh has been announced, I thought I'd share some of my dream casting choices. 

For the role of Simon Doyle - Dan Stevens The former Dowton Abbey star is no stranger to period pieces and would be perfect fit for Simon Doyle, the new husband of Linnet Ridgeway and ex-finace…

"A Simple Favor" is an Offbeat Little Thriller that Adeptly Wields the Talents of Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively: Review

Film Review: A Simple Favor There's a sub-genre that Hollywood has brought back in the aftermath of the massive success of David Fincher's adaptation of Gone Girl a few years back; the domestic thriller, usually based on a best-selling novel and usually starring a woman. Other entrants in the genre include The Girl on the Train, the upcoming The Woman in the Window, and Paul Feig's new movie A Simple Favor. I am a huge proponent of the domestic thriller, as I love twisty and often fun mysteries that also have room for some social satire. With a script by Jessica Sharzer adapted from the Darcey Bell novel, A Simple Favor offers up everything I love about the genre in exciting and unexpected new ways. 
The movie stars Blake Lively as a gorgeous, sophisticated, and deeply unhappy mother who befriends a put-together mommy vlogger (Anna Kendrick), who plays detective when Lively's character suddenly disappears.Although it shares many similarities with Gone Girl,A Simple Favo…

Oscars: My Response to the Newly Announced Academy Award Changes

The Oscars are losing relevance or so says the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which announced Wednesday a batch of changes to its annual telecast. The changes, designed to reverse a ratings dip in recent years, are the kind of desperate attempt to stay relevant that threatens the integrity of the whole affair. 

The first change, consistent with the Academy's desire to create a three-hour telecast, is that some awards will be presented during commercial breaks, with edited (meaning condensed) versions of the acceptance speeches airing later in the broadcast. It has not been determined which categories will be bumped, but I'll tell you right now it ain't gonna be Best Actress. The categories where celebrities are nominated will be shown live, and the tech categories won't be. This move is flat-out disrespectful to the men and women nominated in the below-the-line categories who deserve recognition for their vital contributions to movies. The Tony Awards fo…