It’s been a long year but we finally made it; we’re in arbitrary year-end list season! My favourite.
Here’s a list of my favourite TV shows of the year. There was a lot of great stuff to watch in 2017, more than I was able to make time for (I’ll get to you in the new year, Mindhunter) but these were my favourites.
10. The Keepers
The grim, uncomfortable nature of The Keepers makes it hard to class as ‘enjoyable,’ and difficult to rank on a list with a bunch of mostly irreverent hyuck-fests, but nonetheless it was a very affecting show. Detailing the murder of a nun, and how it ties in to systemic abuse and coverups in the Catholin church, The Keepers is a gripping documentary series, in the vein of Netflix’ true crime heavy hitter; Making A Murderer.
Netflix’ sorta-true-to-life adaptation of the story behind GLOW was a fun watch for wrestling fans and non-fans alike. The diverse cast (big names like Alison Brie and Marc Maron, juxtaposed with wrestling mainstays like The Amazing Kong) all brought the goods, and I enjoyed the characters slowly learning that wrestling is goofy as hell; and that’s what’s great about it.
8. Broad City
Another solid season of laughs from the fantastic lead actor/producer/sometimes director duo of Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. When it’s at its best, Broad City is funniest show on TV. Season four saw a few more misses than usual, but still entertained consistently. Bonus points for some fantastic cameos this year, including Ru Paul and Peri Gilpin.
7. The Confession Tapes
As with The Keepers, this is a perfect follow up for any true crime junkies with a Netflix subscription, who weren’t quite satiated with Making A Murderer. Focusing on coerced confessions, this anthology series covers a number of different cases, speaking to witnesses, prosecutors, and the accused themselves, to piece together what happened, and why the confessions in question may not have been genuine.
When season one of Preacher aired; I liked it. It was good. But it wasn’t really good enough. Season two was where the show really found its groove, and I couldn’t be more excited about where it goes next. True to the spirit of the comics, not holding back on the outrageously dark humour, but still going in its own direction and avoiding feeling dirivative – season two was hilarious, surprising, and still had a great foundation of three excellent central characters, and three or four absolute gems in its subplots.
5. The Punisher
Bucking my sense of Marvel fatigue was this surprisingly thoughtful deepdive on the character of Frank Castle. Yeah, that Frank Castle. Castle was a highlight of the supremely lame second season of Daredevil, largely due to the sheer level of violence he brought. Jon Bernthal scowled, said some noire-y dialogue, and bodied some crooks in spectacular fashion. For the standalone series, the bodying was reigned in, in favour of actually examining what makes Punisher who he is – more than just anger over his dead family. A rare example of a Marvel/Netflix collaboration that didn’t outstay its welcome, I would strongly recommend this to any comic book TV show cynics, or jaded former fans.
4. Rick and Morty
Look; the conversation around Rick and Morty became insufferable this year. The arrogant fans suck. The ‘I don’t watch it, aren’t I cool?’ people suck. Some of the people involved in the show suck. BUT. It’s still one of the sharpest shows on TV today. As much as the fanbase ran it into the ground, to the point it’s now a dog whistle for the worst people on this planet, Pickle Rick was an enjoyable instance of the show lampooning itself. Likewise, the szechuan sauce that spawned a million thinkpieces, was actually a clever conclusion to the season’s debut. In summary; this is a show best enjoyed when watched alone and never discussed with any other person, ever. Just as Rick would want, baby! WUBBALUBBLADINGDONGDOODLE!
3. Big Mouth
It’s understandable to worry an animated Netflix show about puberty would be nothing but dick and cum jokes — and hey — we got some dick and cum jokes here, for sure. But Big Mouth is an honest and relatable show about the most awkward time in a young man’s life – with just enough heart to balance out all the other stuff. The belly laughs came faster than I anticpated with this one, and it ended up being one of the best surprises of the year for me.
2. American Vandal
This perfectly timed satire of Making A Murder, The Jynx, and others, doesn’t just poke fun at the frequently occuring tropes of these documentaries – it also crafts a bizarrely compelling mystery of its own. This is easily the most bingeable show of the year – with its hilarious, deadpan delivery and whodunit plot that will genuinely keep you guessing.
1. Nathan For You
After a slightly weaker season three, Nathan Fielder returned to form this year, and retook his place as one of the funniest and weirdest comedic minds on TV. This season of Nathan For You was everything that makes the show great, amped up to the next level and culminating in a two hour finale that defies explanation. The cringiest, funniest, most bizarre thing I can recall seeing. If you haven’t gotten on the bandwagon yet, start with season one and get caught up right away. While I would hate to see it ended, season four would be the perfect culmination for what is one of my all time favourite shows.