Top Ten Best TV Shows of 2017
Here are my choices for the ten best television shows of 2017:
10. Riverdale (The CW)
Riverdale is a weird show. An adaptation of the wholesome Archie comics, Riverdale fuses the decidedly unwholesome genres of teen soap and murder mystery to create an intriguing mix of disparate tones and styles. While it occasionally attempts to do too much at once, Riverdale always is an enjoyable showcase for many young talented actors.
9. Bloodline (Netflix)
As I said in my review, the ending of Bloodline didn't exactly stick the landing. But everything leading up to those final two episodes was an exhilarating, absorbing continuation of the family saga that became an obsession of mine during its phenomenal second season last year. Season three was the season that finally gave Sissy Spacek the material to work with she should have been given all along. There is one scene in particular, in which Spacek's character confronts her two sons, where she is so ferociously volatile that it has haunted me ever since I first watched it six months ago.
8. Shameless (Showtime)I'm not sure how it did it, but Shameless has gotten a second wind that has made it once again one of the freshest and most vital shows on television eight years into its run. After ho-hum fifth and sixth seasons, the seventh season began an upswing that has exploded this year as the series depicts the struggles associated with the beginning steps of escaping poverty. And Emmy Rossum continues to give what is perhaps the most heartfelt and nuanced performance currently on television.
7. This Is Us (NBC)
This Is Us is not a perfect show. It has made some major missteps in the second half of its first season and in its second season. But when it's good, it's great. One of my favorite episodes from any show in 2017 was "Memphis", the beautiful send-off for Ron Cephas Jones's character. Even when the writing feels strained, the performances remain top-notch, including the ones from Chrissy Metz, Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson, Mandy Moore, and Milo Ventimiglia. You are never quite sure what form the next episode of This Is Us will take, and that makes it very exciting to watch.
6. Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix)
As I said in my initial review, Netflix's Santa Clarita Diet is "goofy, sharp, and unlike anything else on TV." Drew Barrymore has her best role in years as a suburban mom who turns into a zombie, and I can't wait to see what hilariously dark twists are in store when season two drops sometime in 2018.
5. Twin Peaks - The Return (Showtime)
I was harsh on Twin Peaks - The Return when it first premiered. After watching only the first four episodes, I thought it was a shapeless mess. After watching the entire season, I have come to appreciate much more what Lynch was trying to do. I still don't understand it, but I appreciate it. The experience of watch Twin Peaks was like taking a test I didn’t study for. Any given episode would throw characters and situations at the audience which they may or may not be familiar with, and that may or may not ever show up again or have any relevance to the larger narrative. If that sounds confusing, it is. But the miniseries also provided so many thought-provoking and unnerving images that you can not help but be in awe of it. Plus, the long-awaited reunion of my two favorite characters from the original, Ed and Norma, has to be my favorite TV moment of 2017.
4. Stranger Things (Netflix)
I, like everybody else, watched and enjoyed the first season of Stranger Things when it came out in the summer of 2016. Maybe it's because so much has happened since then, but I did not have high hopes for the second installment. My memories of the show were replaced by memories of how much of a meme the show became, and the cynical side of me said nothing that popular can ever be truly great. And maybe that's why I was so floored by season two. It really is a great show! All the new characters fit perfectly into the world of Hawkins, and there was a surprising amount of character development for Eleven, played by Millie Bobbie Brown, whose acting impressed me far more this season.
3. Great News (NBC)
Why is nobody watching Great News? It's the most consistently funny comedy on network TV, and yet its ratings are terrible. That baffles me because Great News is the only show that causes me to actually laugh out loud on a regular basis. The cast, from Andrea Martin to John Michael Higgins to, surprisingly, Nicole Richie are all dynamite. It's the successor to 30 Rock that we've all been waiting for, so please watch Great News. You won't regret it.
2. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime)
I thought I had my ten shows for this list pretty much set when The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel dropped on Amazon Prime in very late 2017. I checked it out because I was a fan of Amy Sherman-Palladino's two previous series, Gilmore Girls and the tragically short-lived Bunheads. Immediately after watching the first episode I knew I needed to make room for it on this list. And with each subsequent episode I watched, it climbed higher and higher on the list. The trademark Sherman-Palladino wit is there, but this time it's set in an impeccably designed 1950's New York. The wonderful cast and stunning soundtrack elevate the production to truly one of best shows of the year. It's Golden Globe wins this past Sunday were incredibly well deserved.
1. Big Little Lies (HBO)
Was there ever any question of what would be my number one show of 2017? Big Little Lies isn't just my favorite TV show of 2017, it's one of my favorite TV shows of all time. What they were able to accomplish in just seven episodes is nothing short of a miraculous achievement. A large part of why the series worked was because of its epic cast, which included Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern. But it worked because it found drama in the types of stories that don't typically receive the prestige TV treatment; stories about women bonded by being mothers. While I have mixed feelings about a second season, these first seven episodes remain a captivating and stylish portrait of life for these women.
What were YOUR favorite TV shows of 2017? Let me know in the comments below!
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