2016 was a relatively good year for TV, minus the absence of some favorites like Fargo, The Leftovers, The Knick, and Rick & Morty.
We got two great shows about OJ Simpson. Louis CK surprised everyone with his fantastic web series that almost left him broke. Great comedies started to come out of nowhere, like Fleabag, Search Party, One Mississippi, and Take My Wife. Game of Thrones finally surpassed the books in its story (and gave us some really good episodes), while another HBO release, Westworld, was brutally spoiled by the fan’s theories on the internet.
I’m mostly excited for Halt and Catch Fire and The Leftovers, since both shows are going to air their last seasons in 2017, and I really hope that they do stick the landing.
Here are my favorites shows from 2016:
- Halt and Catch Fire.
- Horace and Pete.
- O.J.: Made in America.
- The Americans.
- The Girlfriend Experience.
- The People vs O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
- Better Things.
- BoJack Horseman.
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
- High Maintenance.
- Jane the Virgin.
- Lady Dynamite.
- One Mississippi.
- Orange Is the New Black.
- Please Like Me.
- Search Party.
- Take My Wife.
- Broad City.
- Silicon Valley.
- The Good Place.
- The Night Of.
- You’re the Worst.
This episode felt like a reboot for Marnie. A way to make her likable again, or at least less-hated. And the re-introduction of a person from the past to do that was brilliant.
Having the surprising, yet welcome, return of Christopher “Charlie” Abbott, was one of the highlights of the episode, and I really loved the way it happened, where Marnie was just walking and listening to music and she meets him out of nowhere.
We saw how much he has changed since the break-up, he’s gained weight, got a new accent, grew a beard, and got himself a new job as a drug dealer (and quite possibly an abuser).
It was nice seeing how the two would react after not seeing each other for a long time. We got to see a glimpse of what could’ve been had they stayed together. And despite everything, we still got to see the same old narcissistic Marnie at the shop.
Desi’s confrontation at the end of the episode was hilarious, mainly due to his prediction of Marnie getting murdered in the future. And the final shot with Hannah was adorable, showing us that no matter what, these two girls have each other’s back in the end. What a beautiful episode, this season has been excellent so far.
And let’s not forget the beauty of this scene where Marnie and Charlie fall from the boat.
Forgive me for the big list, PEAK TV made me do it.
The Best Dramas:
- The Leftovers, undoubtedly the show of the year, and no, it didn’t get better with the second season because it was already great.
- Fargo, last year we had two great anthology shows, Fargo and True Detective. Of the two shows, Fargo was the one able to deliver a second season better than the first one. Fargo exceeded all expectations with its wonderful (slightly extraterrestrial) second season.
- The Americans, I don’t think words can describe how great this underwatched show is, and how it always aims for season cliffhangers.
- Hannibal, the most beautiful and delicious show on TV, a show that was killed too soon.
- Mr. Robot, A new show with wonderfully shot intros and filled with plot twists thanks to our unreliable narrator.
- UnREAL, a show that takes us to behind the scenes of an imaginary reality show.
- Les Revenants (The Returned), the french drama came back after a long hiatus with a lot of stories to tell.
- Mad Men, an end of an era. The finale was one of the most beautiful moments on TV, not to mention the badass rollerskating Peggy.
- The Knick, this gruesome medical drama ended its second season by 🚨 SPOILER ALERT 🚨 killing its main character.
- Halt and Catch Fire, the show was finally able to get out of Mad Men’s shadow by switching its focus to its lead female characters and their gaming startup.
The Best Comedies:
- Master of None, Aziz Ansari’s new show co-starring his parents!
- Broad City, YAS KWEEN!
- Jane the Virgin, the secret is in the Narrator.
- You’re the Worst, last year’s surprise comedy got a bit darker this season as it tackled depression.
- BoJack Horseman, it’s a talking horse, what else do you need?
- Veep, Selina and the gang are still aiming for the sky.
- Review, life, it is literally all we have, but is it any good?
- Catastrophe, you’ll definitely laugh.
- Rick and Morty, Back to the Future on drugs.
- Transparent, the flashbacks to Nazi Germany were beautiful.
And of course, being in the age of PEAK TV and all, I had to pick a big list of honorable mentions.
Rest of the dramas: Scandal, Penny Dreadful, Game of Thrones, Manhattan, The Jinx, Rectify, Show Me a Hero, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Wolf Hall, and Fortitude.
Rest of the comedies: Man Seeking Woman, Orange Is the New Black, Looking, Inside Amy Schumer, Fresh Off the Boat, Silicon Valley, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Nathan for You, and Louie.
Fortitude is a crime thriller, sci-fi drama, and it is a surprisingly good show despite the weird mixture of genres.
The show follows the lives of the residents of the fictional Arctic town of Fortitude, after a shocking crime takes place, and how the residents are dealing with the event. Believe me when I tell you that this is no ordinary crime thriller.
The show is beautiful, whether its the haunting theme song, the dark and atmospheric setting, or the mystical cinematography. You’ll surely be captivated by Fortitude.
The show features an impressive ensemble cast: Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Sofie Gråbøl (The Killing), Christopher Eccleston (The Leftovers), and Richard Dormer (Game of Thrones) among others.
The show is full of shocking twists, mainly due to the sci-fi fueled plot, and that’s one of the many reasons why I believe it’s one of the best shows of the year so far.
Fortitude is a show that defies the regular plot lines that we see in regular crime thrillers. If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers and science fiction, you’ll definitely love Fortitude. It’s a show that can’t be missed.
Best Episodes: Episode 8/Episode 10
Final verdict: Amazing
The Americans returned this year for a new season filled with espionage action, family issues, thrilling missions, awesome songs, and most importantly, new wigs.
The show picks up after last season’s big revelation (Paige’s recruitment plans). Things are tense between Phillip and Elizabeth this season, their constant debate about Paige’s inevitable recruitment, with Philip being against the recruitment, while Elizabeth thinking that they should do it for their country.
Martha was a big player this season, her storyline was just sad, with her realizing that her love life is a complete lie, and how that affects both her personal and professional lives.
The same thing goes to Paige, and her shocking confrontation with her parents, and her struggle to come to terms with the fact that her parents are spies. Not to mention the season’s finale, where Paige has compromised her parents identities to someone (presumably Pastor Tim) on the phone, leaving us with a cliffhanger, as usual with the final episode of each season of this brilliant show.
Matthew Rhys and Kerri Russell were both wonderful. But the actors who gave extraordinary performances this season are Aliso Wright (Martha) and Holly Taylor (Paige).
And who can forget one of the season’s funniest moments: Henry’s (Keidrich Sellati) hilarious Eddie Murphy impression.
The Americans proved that it still is one of the best shows on air. A perfect show with a team of smart writers and talented actors. Sadly, it was one of the many great shows that were snubbed by the Emmys this year. Now all we can do is just wait patiently for the next season.
Best Episodes: Walter Taffet / Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep? / Stingers
Final verdict: Essential
I watched a lot of TV shows in 2014, and a many of these shows were great, so don’t expect me to be able to list only 10 of my favorites from this year. So, here are my favorite shows, alongside my favorite episode from each one:
- Adventure Time
The show that never gets boring. Jake and Finn are always there to entertain me with their ten-minute adventures. Best Episode: Food Chain
- Archer: Vice
Archer is back! This season, ISIS turns into an international drug cartel, Pam becomes skinny, Lana is pregnant and Cheryl is a famous country singer. If you’ve never heard of this show, go watch it now! Best Episode: White Elephant
- Boardwalk Empire
The legacy of Nucky Thompson finally came to an end. Although the final season was short, it was extremely satisfying and it tied all the loose ends. As usual, the season had its fair share of plot twists, and it shines through its wonderful and talented cast. Can’t wait to see what’s next from Steve Buscemi. Best Episode(s): Devil You Know/Eldorado
- Bob’s Burgers
My favorite since its first season, Bob’s Burgers continues showing us new original and funny stories with each episode. Definitely one of my all time favorite animated shows. Best Episode: The Equestranauts
- Broad City
A new comedy based on the web series of the same name. Starring Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. Broad City is one of the funniest shows in years! Best Episode: Apartment Hunters
Based on the Coen brothers’ film of the same name. Fargo is a great dark miniseries featuring a stellar cast and a great story. Not to mention the references to the movie. Best Episode: The Crocodile’s Dilemma
- Game of Thrones
The most satisfying season yet! The Purple Wedding was on of my most anticipated events for this show and it didn’t disappoint. Next season will introduce many of Oberyn’s family members, although we won’t be seeing Hodor for a while. Best Episode: The Children
To be honest, I wasn’t a that much of a huge fan of the first season, but season two proved me wrong. The show was intense all season and the performances were all outstanding. And talk about the season’s cliffhanger! I can’t wait for season three. Best Episode: Mizumono
- High Maintenance
A great web-series starring Bob Sinclair as a weed dealer. Each episode is about one of his many clients. The show just started its fifth season with support and endorsement from Vimeo. The show is beautiful, well-written, and best of all, short. Best Episode: Qasim
After a lackluster season last year, Homeland came back and fixed all of its previous mistakes with a thrilling excellent season. Best Episode: From A to B and Back Again
- House of Cards
A season that starts the action from the very first episode. Last year’s critically acclaimed show continued to deliver with tremendous performances by the whole cast and much improved scenes. I was pleased and surprised by the events in the finale. I can’t wait to see what happens when the show returns early next year. Best Episode: Chapter 14
- Jane the Virgin
I have never thought I’d watch and love a CW show, especially one about a pregnant virgin, but there’s always a first time for everything. Jane the Virgin is beautiful and silly at the same time, it might look like a typical telenovela from the outside, but the performances are fantastic and the story is authentic, although a bit ridiculous, in a good way. Definitely one of the best surprises of this year. Best Episode: Chapter One
- Key and Peele
The great sketch comedy is back and kicking with this new season. This season introduces a new theme (inspired by True Detective) and a new segment where Key and Peele are driving on a country road and talking. The sketches are hilarious and nothing feels repetitive, plus we still get to see President Obama and his anger translator, not to mention Wendell and Meegan. Best Episode: Season Four, Episode Nine
After a two-year hiatus, Louie is finally back. This season was full of story arcs, Louie with the non-English speaker Amia, Louie’s life as a thirteen-year-old, and Louie with Pamela again, not to mention the controversial “fat lady” episode. Louie proves that there’s still room for creativity in comedy television. The show is coming back in the spring of 2015. Best Episode: In the Woods
- Mad Men
The beginning of the end. Mad Men is one of the few shows out there that are still getting better with each season. Although this season was short (it was cut into two parts, just like Breaking Bad), it was still as good as the previous ones and even better. The finale was the cherry on top for this magnificent half-season. Best Episode: Waterloo
- Masters of Sex
My favorite show from last year is back with an even better season! This season, the show started to focus on other things other than the study, Bill’s relationship with wife Libby, Barton’s struggle with his homosexuality and his wife Margaret, and Virgina’s strained friendship with Dr. Lillian. This show is a great example of how period dramas should be. And the season’s best episode (Brave New World) was so good in speeding things up and taking the story to the next level. Best Episode: Brave New World
- Nathan for You
A hilarious docu-reality comedy starring Nathan Fielder as himself. In the show, he uses his business experience to help several people and businesses improve by giving them some of his crazy advices. The show is funny and you just can’t help but laugh at Nathan and his deadpan style. Best Episode: Dumb Starbucks
- Review with Forrest MacNeil
A painfully funny comedy starring Andy Daly as Forrest MacNeil, a TV host who reviews things suggested by his viewers, no matter how stupid or crazy they are! Best Episode: Pancakes, Divorce, Pancakes
- Orange Is the New Black
I never knew what I was expecting after the end of the first season last year. I was extremely satisfied with the second season. The show kept exploring the pasts of various characters, new characters were introduced, and best of all, the show is still as funny as it was before, and even funnier. Overall, I think I like this season more than the first one. Best Episode: A Whole Other Hole
- Over the Garden Wall
A new great miniseries by Cartoon Network based on the short film “Tome of the Unknown” and starring Elijah Wood, Collin Dean, and Melanie Lynskey. The show is about two brothers, Wirt and Greg, who are lost in a creepy forest and are trying to find their way home. I’m sure this show will have its own cultural impact just like Adventure Time. Best Episode: Into the Unknown
- Rick and Morty
I’ve never had this much fun watching an animated series since Adventure Time. A great show from Community’s mastermind Dan Harmon. Best Episode: Rixty Minutes
Shameless had its best season this year since its debut. The story was great. The whole cast was perfect (hat tip to Emmy Rossum). The scenes of Fiona at the prison were moving. The worst thing is that Emmy’s performance was snubbed at the Emmy’s. Best Episode: Iron City
- Silicon Valley
As a tech geek, I was so happy when I heard that HBO was developing a show about a tech startup set in Silicon Valley. The story follows how six men found a startup, and their struggle in finding a name, and protecting their products from being copied by Hooli (which is just like Google). In my opinion, Silicon Valley is the best geeky comedy out there (sorry Big Bang Theory). Best Episode: Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency
- The Affair
Another great show from Showtime. The Affair tells the story of an affair between a teacher/author who is spending summer vacation with his family at his father-in-law’s house and how he meets and falls in love with a waitress. Each episode is split into two parts, each part represents the view of point of one of the main characters (Noah and Allison). The show is great and the performances are stellar, not to mention the a great theme song by Fiona Apple. Best Episode: Pilot
- The Americans
Last year’s fantastic espionage drama is back! The show keeps getting better (not that it was bad in the first season) with each episode. In this season, new characters were introduced and some side plots were finally concluded. The season ends with a twist that I didn’t see coming. Best Episode: Echo
- The Comeback
This year, The Comeback came back from the dead! This amazing sitcom show first aired in 2005 was revived for a second season this year and I couldn’t be happier. Simply put, if you didn’t watch the first season, go watch it now! Lisa Kurdow is just amazing. Best Episode: Valerie Is Brought To Her Knees
- The Good Wife
The Good Wife was on fire in both seasons 5 and 6. **SPOILER** With many events, Alicia and Cary leaving Lockhart and Gardner to start their own firm, the death of Will Gardner, the introduction of Finn Polmar, the trial of Cary, and most importantly, Alicia running for state’s attorney **END OF SPOILER**. This show proves that network shows can still be good. I honestly can’t wait for the show’s return in January. Best Episode: Hitting the Fan
- The Honourable Woman
A new spy-thriller miniseries starring Maggie Gyllenhaal. The show is about Nessa Stein, who, eight years ago, took over her brother as the head of her family’s company. Nessa is committed to the peace in the Middle East, specifically in Palestine. Throughout the show, we see events from the past explaining what is happening now. A great show with a powerful performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Best Episode: The Hollow Wall
- The Knick
A new medical drama directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Clive Owen. The show follows Dr. John W. Thackery and the staff at the Knick hospital. As the cast deals with many issues, new pandemics, racism, and cocaine addiction. The show is great and wonderfully shot. Best Episode: Get the Rope/Crutchfield
- The Leftovers
When I first heard that Damon Lindelof (co-creator of Lost) was making a new show, I was super excited. The show’s premise is very interesting: the lives of the people in a small town dealing with their lives after the sudden disappearance of about 2% of the world’s population. The show is exhilarating and moving. It reminds me of Lost the way it shows us glimpses of each character’s history. I am glad the show was renewed for a second season. Best Episode(s): Guest/The Garveys At Their Best
Looks like Amazon finally found its niche in the TV shows biz. Transparent is a hilarious dramedy with a talented cast. This is Amazon’s ‘House of Cards’. The story is beautiful, not to mention the magnificent theme. I think that this show is my favorite from this year. Best Episode: Moppa
- True Detective
It certainly isn’t the best show of the year, but it was definitely good. The show shines through the performances of its cast. I just hope that the next season’s characters and stories are as good or better than this season. Best Episode: Who Goes There
Last year, I fell in love with this wonderful conspiracy thriller, and my love continued to grow with the second (and sadly the last) season this year. The story continued this season with the group trying to stop the launch of Janus, and succeeding, for a brief moment in doing so. Although I’m sad that it was cancelled, the last episode was the best closure I could ask for as a fan. It’s worth mentioning that HBO is working on an American adaptation of the show directed by the great David Fincher and written by Gone Girl’s Gillian Flynn. I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with it. Best Episode: Episode 1
Vice President Selina Meyer is back again! This time she is running for president (and unexpectedly becomes one while running). The third season is by far the best in the series by a huge margin. Julia Louis-Dreyfus definitely nailed her performance and she deserved every award and nomination for it. Can’t wait for its comeback in early 2015. Best Episode: Debate
- You’re the Worst
A new comedy from FX. The show is about two awful people: Jimmy, a selfish writer, and Gretchen, a self-destructive PR executive and how they both try to make their toxic relationship succeed. The show shines with its story and the cast, not to mention the amazing supporting characters, Edgar (Jimmy’s best friend who is also a war veteran suffering from PTSD) and Lindsay (Gretchen’s best friend who is unhappy with her marriage). Best Episode: Fists and Feet and Stuff
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine (The Pontiac Bandit Returns)
- Community (Cooperative Polygraphy)
- Girls (Beach House)
- Happy Valley (Episode 4)
- Inside No. 9 (A Quiet Night In)
- Looking (Looking For The Future)
- Orphan Black (Governed As It Were By Chance)
- Outlander (Both Sides Now)
- Parks and Recreation (Moving Up)
- Please Like Me (Sausage Sizzle)
- Broad City
- Review with Forrest MacNeil
- Rick and Morty
- True Detective
- The Americans
- Archer: Vice
- Game of Thrones
- The Good Wife
- House of Cards
- Inside Amy Schumer
- Mad Men
Now that I’ve posted the list, I’ll start watching the new season of Orange Is the New Black, adios!