Purple Rock Offseason of No Survivor: Top 10 TV Shows of 2017

This may shock you, but we all watch shows that are NOT Survivor. Perhaps even more shockingly, we may even like those shows more. I know. Take a minute if you need it.

So what better way to celebrate our offseason of no Survivor than talk about the best TV had to offer last year? And note that we’re not qualifying this with “Top 10 Non-Survivor TV Shows of 2017″ because if that qualifier is ever necessary, 2017 is not the year for it.

The PRP Master List

How the list works: each of the five staffers and our junior associate submitted their own top ten lists, ranked 1 through 10. Shows at ranked first earn 10 points, second earn 9 points, through to tenth earning 1 point. Then I added them up and voila. Also, I made them stick to ten. Because I’m mean. Even meaner: I then made them write up a show or two. Work!

10. Legion (FX)

The biggest draw of this show is that it tackled the most omnipresent bit of pop culture today (superheroes) and made it different by putting 100% more LSD and psychedelia in the medium than had previously been seen on screen – big or small. The storytelling was nothing special, as showrunner Noah Hawley tried to overly complicate what was a pretty straightforward season-long story, but the filmmaking, the cinematography, and just the sheer weirdness made the show compelling. Also making the show compelling? Aubrey Plaza, who was fantastic. Remember that scene of her dancing? One of the top ten scenes of any show this past year. Now that the show has presumably moved past the central question of whether or not David is crazy or just a mutant, I hope that has opened the show to indulge its weirdness and tell a better story. Also, I hope the makers of this show, which thrived off its weirdness, watched the new Twin Peaks and took notes. [Matt]

9. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW)

You can’t talk about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend without talking about mental illness. It’s been a part of the show as much as the musical numbers have been, from the pilot onward. But in 2017, it went so much further. After finally getting what she (thinks) she wants, we see Rebecca lose it all while we learn more about her past and what drives her. You think you’re watching a revenge fantasy until you’re hit with a gut-wrenching realization of betrayal. That complete lack of hope is saved in the end by a glimmer of it, making all the difference. Emotionally powerful with the potential to lessen stigma faced by real people suffering from mental illness, you may have originally scoffed or rolled your eyes at the title, but as fans know – “the situation is a lot more nuanced than that.”

And then the songs! Much like the rest of the show, they can cause tears of laughter and sadness. If you’re looking for an Ed Sheeran parody that uses the word “intercourse” more than a public school health class, boy, do I have the show for you! Or perhaps your style is a poignant, but still amusing, ballad about hoping someone, anyone, will just reassure you that you are okay. Because when you feel like maybe you’re not okay, maybe you’re not normal, maybe you’re even crazy… the show has your back. [Emma]

8. American Vandal (Netflix)

Over the course of just eight episodes, American Vandal delivers excellent satire while simultaneously giving a shockingly, hilariously accurate depiction of the American high school experience. The show focuses on a stoner bro high schooler who was accused of– and punished for– a very juvenile crime that he may or may not have committed. (I get to write about this show because I am the biggest bro on the Purple Rock staff, which is a comically low bar). The show is done in documentary style, and the characters feel true to life– the main character actually reminds me of a kid I went to high school with, right down to some incredibly specific behaviors. The high schoolers are obsessed with gossipy details about the sex lives of their fellow students and their own absurdly minor levels of fame or notoriety. In short, they are self-centered high school students whose entire world is high school.

The show is satire, and it chose an appropriately absurd crime to cover, but there is also an excellent message within it about the effects of these sorts of documentaries on the people involved in them– both in front of the camera and behind it. The show does eventually reveal the person responsible for committing the crime at the center of the documentary (there is no doubt, and don’t be fooled by people who would argue otherwise), but by that point, the mystery has stopped being the most interesting part of the show. [John]

7. Master of None (Netflix)


When Aziz Ansari’s Netflix drama burst on the scene in 2016, it was hailed as a Louie-esque look at both bougie millennial life and a side of the immigrant experience you don’t usually see. For the show’s second season, Ansari went bigger and, arguably, better. It travelled abroad, experimented with different audio and visual formats, and continued its mission to give a voice to the unheard (literally, in one standout case). What other show could be funny while tackling writer Lena Waithe’s coming out experience? Or the complications of being raised Muslim? Or three random working-class New Yorkers who weren’t friends or a voice of their generation? Sure, there’s your standard rom-com elements in the main storyline, but there’s also an acceptance of ambiguity that’s welcome. On that note, if Ansari never makes a season 3, I won’t complain. [Mark]

6. The Leftovers (HBO)

Best show on TV that no one watches, hence why it is so far down the consensus rankings. This series evolved from a show that wallowed in grief to a show that wallowed in grief, but was also sweet and funny and had an episode that asked Justin Theroux to gain access to a secure bunker by using his penis as a biometric security key. Yeah, I didn’t make that up! Watch this show if you want to see Theroux struggle with the realization he has to lay his penis on a metal biometric scale if he wants to gain access to a secure bunker. We also saw a character struggle to get to Australia on a sex boat. And of course, the amazing Carrie Coon turned in tremendous work as always. That fucking shot of her crying in the hotel room. My god. [Matt]

5. Game of Thrones (HBO)

I’m sympathetic to arguments that this past season of Thrones felt a little rushed, or that the plot didn’t move far enough along, or that it was frustrating that they completely abandoned the sense of depth and distance that once governed its storytelling (I mean, Gendry’s not THAT FAST after all). But… I’m not sure how much of any of that matters. No other television watching experience comes close to matching what Game of Thrones delivers. It is a show that we watch the night it comes out and discuss for the rest of the week that follows. It matters in a way that no other show on TV does right now for that reason alone.

And while some seasons or episodes may be stronger or weaker than others, what other show delivers the highs of this series? It has spoiled us to the point where I think some people get so lost in the weeds of whether or not a dragon can travel at a certain speed or if ice zombies ever had a backup plan to break through a magic wall or if two sisters should be having arguments like that they fail to appreciate that we get this on television. TELEVISION. A weekly production with the scale and sweep that frankly is absent from many movies these days, and we get to watch it every week on television.

So think about that when we spend ALL of 2018 without a show that we can talk about with people (you know, besides the one that this site is supposed to be about) because “I haven’t watched that yet” or simply because it isn’t the type of show to demand that level of conversation. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the show gets a free pass, but when you remember all the ways it does deliver (in ways no other show does), it might be worth realizing how lucky we are to have it while we do. [Andy]

4. The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

You may disagree with me that this was the best show on TV last year, as it certainly had a few missteps in terms of obvious music choices and attempts to build out the world past the main narrative. But it’s a mistake to treat the lack of perfection equals “less than”. Sometimes when you’re being this audacious in your art, not everything will work. But when it does work? It is bold and heartwrenching and unapologetic. You may not agree that this was 2017’s best show, but it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t 2017’s DEFINITIVE show. Nothing matched what it felt like to be alive at this point in history better than the adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 classic.

Special recognition is due to Elizabeth Moss, who gave 2017’s most compelling performance. She pulled off the minor miracle of letting the audience know the effects of the horrors forced upon her with an arch of the eyebrow or a purposeful stare, while simultaneously not betraying a single emotion for all the eyes on Offred in a given scene. And if she couldn’t pull that off, the series fails. It’s as difficult a needle to thread as I can think of, and she did so and more. [Andy]

3. Better Call Saul (AMC)

This is easily the slowest-burning show I watch. It builds its world brick by brick, showing you every step in the evolution of its characters. We know from watching Breaking Bad where Jimmy’s path eventually leads, but Better Call Saul makes it clear that Jimmy isn’t just a sleazy criminal lawyer– he becomes Saul through a combination of events beyond his control and choices he makes along the way. And Jimmy isn’t the only character that gets this treatment– the show lets you in on the lives of every major character, and no one is left as a one-dimensional hero or villain.

The show also serves as a kind of prequel to Breaking Bad, and this season fleshed out several characters and backstories that first appeared on that show. But it manages to seamlessly integrate those stories into the larger plot, and it does it in methodical, beautifully-written (and acted) detail. [John]

2. BoJack Horseman (Netflix)

Someone asked me what the best Netflix original show was and in response to my answer said, “Oh. Bojack? Too depressing.” Which, let’s be honest. That’s kinda the point.

The show doesn’t pull its emotional punches, and it isn’t afraid to dive right into the heavy realities that underlie the carefree facade of Hollywoo. In Season 4, BoJack Horseman explores the unshakeable influence of your family’s past, the complications of forming a new family, the fraught fragility of our relationships, and the anxiety around issues of identity. This season also digs deeper into mental illness with its frank and authentic depictions of depression and dementia in “Stupid Piece of Sh*t” and “Time’s Arrow.”

But in addition to all that, BoJack Horseman is funny. Like, really funny. Rewatch an episode, and you’ll still love the old jokes while being amazed by the new gags you missed the first time. With each season, BoJack Horseman climbs to higher and higher heights, and season 4 demonstrates that the show isn’t slowing down. Also, this season features Andre Braugher as California Governor Woodchuck Coodchuck-Berkowitz, and if that doesn’t pique your interest, then I’m sorry, but you have terrible taste. [Taako]

1. The Good Place (NBC)

When I heard Michael Schur was making a show with Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, my hopes were high. The fact that they managed to be surpassed once The Good Place aired is astounding. As people began to catch up on Netflix, I saw statements that the twist was obvious. To which I say, you knew you were looking for one. The rest of us were watching a high-concept hangout sitcom about heaven when Ted Danson’s evil grin shook us to our core. A good twist has to lay out a foundation of clues, because a good twist is something that has to be logical. Of course, this show is more than its twist and the way it has continued to defy the expectations of where the viewers expect the story to go. The show has A-list stars and a wonderful cast of newcomers. It has clever jokes, observations on philosophy, and, much to my chagrin, puns about food. Seriously, what seems less like my wheelhouse than puns and food? And yet, The Good Place still manages to be my show of the year.

There are a lot of good shows about depression, oppression, toxic masculinity, and other things that are more than relevant in our current climate. And I love a great many of those shows. But The Good Place is about hope and bettering one’s self, and I think that’s something we needed to see in 2017. [Emma]

Staff Lists

Andy

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale
  2. The Leftovers
  3. American Vandal
  4. Master of None
  5. The Good Place
  6. Game of Thrones
  7. BoJack Horseman
  8. Stranger Things
  9. Insecure
  10. Better Call Saul

Acclaimed shows I didn’t watch: Twin Peaks: The ReturnThe Marvelous Mrs. MaiselHalt and Catch Fire, Mindhunter

John

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale
  2. Game of Thrones
  3. Blue Planet 2
  4. Better Call Saul
  5. Silicon Valley
  6. American Vandal
  7. Insecure
  8. Dave Chappelle Netflix standups
  9. The Deuce
  10. The Americans

Emma

  1. The Good Place
  2. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  3. The Handmaid’s Tale
  4. Big Little Lies
  5. BoJack Horseman
  6. Better Call Saul
  7. Master of None
  8. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  9. American Vandal
  10. The Deuce

Honorable mentions: GLOW, Jane the Virgin, iZombie, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Veep, Insecure (haven’t finished it yet), The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Rick and Morty

Normally love but didn’t do it for me as much this season: OITNB, GoT, You’re the Worst, Fargo

Matt

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Better Call Saul
  3. The Good Place
  4. BoJack Horseman
  5. Twin Peaks: The Return
  6. Legion
  7. The Expanse
  8. Black Mirror
  9. American Vandal
  10. The Americans

Mark

  1. The Good Place
  2. Halt and Catch Fire
  3. Master of None
  4. BoJack Horseman
  5. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  6. Room 104
  7. Game of Thrones
  8. Stranger Things
  9. Legion
  10. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Taako from Teevhi

  1. The Good Place
  2. BoJack Horseman
  3. Better Call Saul
  4. Rick and Morty
  5. Game of Thrones
  6. Nathan for You
  7. Legion
  8. GLOW
  9. Review
  10. Mr. Robot

Your Turn

Let us know your top ten in comments below. If enough people provide ranked lists, I’ll update this post with a PRP Community master list.

  • ExtraLargePelican

    You know it’s a good year for TV when six people make Top 10 lists that you sympathize with. I’m thrilled to see that The Good Place seems to be on the path to critical darlinghood.

    Emma, I agree with you that Fargo was a little off its peak from the last two seasons, but I still thought this one was great television. I hope Legion doesn’t prevent Noah Hawley from returning to the Fargo franchise.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Specifically, I can’t believe Ewan McGregor won a Golden Globe; I thought he was easily the weak link in the cast. It’s not entirely his fault, though; the double part was kind of a pointless gimmick that kept throwing me out of the story.

      • purplerockandy

        All award shows are silly and pointless. The Globes are EXTRA silly and pointless.

        • That’s why I don’t watch and I am an award show junkie.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            The GGs can be quite amusing when the host is in full DGAF mode (Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Amy Pohler were all pitch-perfect when they did it). This was not the year for that, though.

          • purplerockandy

            Oh, it might be a better TV show. But the actual awards? They’re decided by 94 people who can and will be bought off (either via access or actual money).

  • Purplerockmatt

    I am mad at Andy and Emma qualifying their top ten lists. Let those stand proud and without explanation dammit! Also the comments are the place to qualify your list! So here are my qualifications: I haven’t yet seen Handmaid’s Tale, like Emma I normally love Fargo and GoT but those didn’t do it for me as much this year (still probably in that 11-20 range though). Stranger Things was the one show i struggled with most about whether it belonged or not, I liked it a lot but I just couldn’t put it over the stuff at the bottom of my list. I am still kinda pissed at the last two Francesca centric episodes of Master of None and it probably pulled the show off my list. I have not watched any of Crazy Ex-GF Season 3 yet, so I was judging just based on season 2.

    • Purple Rock Emma

      Andy told me I could have honorable mentions! The other thing I just sent to him for fun, I didn’t know if it would actually make the cut.

      • Purplerockmatt

        you two were just conspiring against me. I see how it is

        • Purple Rock Emma

          Duh.

          • Sylvisual

            There’s no honor there.

        • purplerockandy

          I also knew that you’d be annoyed that I didn’t tell you that you could have HMs.

          • Purplerockmatt

            I respect that

      • purplerockandy

        I told her she could have HMs so she could finally commit to ten.

    • Purple Rock Emma

      Also I somehow straight up forgot about Stranger Things and Silicon Valley when making my list, but I watch way too much TV.

      • Purplerockmatt

        i initially forgot about Stranger Things as well, Andy then reminded me and I was like crap ok what do I lose… and couldn’t quite pull the trigger on it

        • Sylvisual

          I still haven’t finished season 2. At this point I’ll get to it eventually.

          • Violina23

            I finally started watching season 2 this week…. I find it creepier and more disturbing than season 1, but that might be me.

    • pufflehuff

      Re: Master of None, I agree that the Francesca plot line was pretty weak to irritating, but some of the episodes from season 2 are so great (Denise’s coming out; the multiple dates in one episode; the religion one) that I’d say they cancel out the other weaknesses. And I loved the longshot of Dev in the cab listening to Soft Cell that might have been enough to push it up to the Top 10 for me.

      With Stranger Things, I’m a bit more lukewarm on its second season, which had a strong end but too much padding before. Though Babysitter Steve would be up there as one of the best characters/memes of the year.

      • Purple Rock Emma

        Oh, we’re big Steve supporters here at the Purple Rock Podcast.

        • pufflehuff

          There should have been so much more Steve & Dustin and less of Max + her superfluous brother.

          Also, Steve has strong Jay vibes for me – seems like you’ll hate him and then there’s that charm.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Exiling Eleven for much of the season was a real structural flaw also, especially since the payoff was so incredibly weak.

      • Purplerockmatt

        All hail King Steve!

        Master of None was just tough for me to know where to place it. I loved the episodes you mentioned plus one or two others, but the Francesca stuff i just really hated to the point where I have completely forgotten why i hated it so much.

        • pufflehuff

          For me, it was because Francesca’s main personality was ‘Italian.’

          And the scene where she went mad about how cute the Rite Aid was could have been out of Garden State or something. The scene Dev had with Rachel had so much more feeling than any of the Francesca stuff, sadly.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I almost suspect that Aziz Ansari made the Francesca storyline rather generic so that he could hang the brilliant one-offs like the Lena Waithe showcase and the random people episode on the main story like Christmas tree ornaments.

        • Saturday Night Palsy

          Well, I guess there won’t be that season three, now.

    • Taako From Teevhii

      Yeah, I’m so much less likely to watch something if it isn’t on basic cable. Like, Handmaid’s Tale would be so up my alley, but I don’t have hulu and don’t plan to subscribe. At some point I’m sure I’ll watch it though.

      Also, my name keeps getting misspelled in posts, and I’m kinda pressed bc it’s very easy to just copy/paste it. But that’s probably not a thing to be complaining about when replying to Mark.

      • sharculese

        Edited version so I’m less blatant: Taako, what’s your email address?

        • Taako From Teevhii

          I’m kinda hesitant to put that up, but PM me on reddit. I think you remember what my name is.

          • sharculese

            Man, you don’t have like 2 or 3 burner e-mail addresses for stuff like this?

            Whatever, John sent it to me through the PRP e-mail account.

          • Will do. But next time at least throw me an @ so I get a notification.

          • sharculese

            Oh, no someone, already did it. I just assume you’re always the one maintaining that thing.

  • Other Scott

    Wow, Andy is the first person I’ve seen to have the exact same top 4 as me (though not quite in the same order) – usually people leave Handmaid’s out when they have Master of None, The Leftovers, and American Vandal all very high.

    I’ll post my list when I get done the last two episodes of Halt and Catch Fire.

    On an unrelated note I got into a very frustrating argument the other day with someone who was calling me ridiculous for saying that The Handsmaid’s Tale was a more mainstream success than Big Little Lies. This same person also said the first season of Big Little Lies was more acclaimed than the first season of Mad Men. I don’t know why I get in arguments sometimes.

    • I tried twice with The Leftovers because it had gotten so much critical acclaim. It’s very well done, but it just beat me down too much to keep watching it.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        I think we’ve talked about this before, but you have to tough it out to the sixth episode of the first season. That episode is a big course correction, in part because a character who was at the periphery of the story becomes a main character, and the actor portraying that character just starts dunking on everybody. The show never becomes a laff riot or anything (despite the sex boats and penis-based authentication systems), but it becomes notably less punishing. The first episode of the second season is another big course correction.

        • purplerockandy

          Trust me: it’s just not his kinda show.

          And that’s okay. If The Leftovers were for everybody, it wouldn’t be The Leftovers.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Too bad. He’d get such a kick out of the Perfect Strangers/Wu-Tang Clan episode.

  • Maritimer

    Its not necessarily a show that would make my Top 10 list because its not that … type of show I guess, but I highly recommend the Netflix series Big Mouth to everyone. Its utterly hysterical.

    (This is my contribution because the only shows on any of these lists of seen are Stranger Things, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Game of Thrones. I really need to get up to speed with TV, many of these are on my list)

    • I watched Big Mouth despite my general distaste for Nick Kroll. The first two episodes in particular were really funny. I didn’t feel like the rest of the season reached those same heights, but it’s still worth a shot if you enjoy animated comedies.

  • Alkanarra

    Well at least Mark voted for Halt and Catch Fire. Awesome fucking show that I can’t remotely recommend because it takes at least 2.5 seasons before it finally clicks and that’s just kinda not worth the investment for most folks.

    Fuck yeah, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

    • Sylvisual

      I’ve been trying to pitch the others on it for over a year. Several saw season 1 and scoffed, which, yeah. But this last season, man…So good. I dare say I enjoyed it more than what I’ve seen of Mad Men.

      • Alkanarra

        Mad Men is right below the Simpsons as my favorite show ever, but even so I might agree with you, at least for Halt’s final season. They had better character growth than any show I’ve ever seen and the payoff was incredible. The big problem though is that the pay off needs the earlier stuff and the earlier stuff isn’t anything special. You really gotta love Lee Pace an immeasurable amount like I do to stay invested through that first season.

        • I couldn’t finish season one. It got to the point that I just hated every single character and had no investment in any of them apart from rooting for their failure.

          • Violina23

            It’s one of those shows where it’s incredibly fascinating to watch how people change (or don’t change) over time. There are some really likable characters on the show, just most of them aren’t men 😉

      • indescribable hat

        Mad Men just has way more shit I don’t care about. After the beginning, there are almost no characters or storylines in HACF I wasn’t deeply invested in.

    • indescribable hat

      What?? Season 2 is the best, obviously. I feel like it really hits its stride toward the very end of season 1, and there are things I love throughout the admittedly uneven first season. I’ve been hesitant to recommend it to people because some of my favorite stuff maybe doesn’t have wide appeal for non-engineers, but over the holidays I got a bunch of my relatives hooked on it so now I have the confidence to insist that everyone try it.

      Listen everyone. Just give it a try. Start at the beginning, but if you’re like, “Ugh, what is this Mad Men ripoff?” just skip to the second season. I started watching with the second season and you are smart and will be able to basically understand what’s going on.

      Do you like shows with women doing people stuff and being centrally important to the story? This is that. Do you like team-of-smart-people-working-on-technical-problem-under-time-pressure scenes? It has those. Do you like music from the ’80s, but not the same music from the ’80s that every goddamn thing set in the ’80s uses? Do you like Lee Pace, with his face and the shape of his torso in fitted dress shirts? (@purplerockemma:disqus, I feel like you like or ought to like Lee Pace) Do you like characters you love but also want to scream at?

      I honestly do not understand why this show didn’t find more of an audience. Sure it had a rocky start, but everyone is nuts about The Leftovers suddenly and so I’m trying it and boy is it a slog so far. The first season hasn’t entirely figured out what it wants to be but at least it’s not all oooo look how mysterious I am.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        As I noted downthread, just tough it out to episode 6, and then keep going to episode 1 of season 2. If you’re not all in at that point it probably isn’t for you.

        • indescribable hat

          Oh wait this is about The Leftovers. OK, I will persevere.

      • Purple Rock Emma

        I love Pushing Daisies, so you got me there.

      • Purple Rock Emma

        “Do you like team-of-smart-people-working-on-technical-problem-under-time-pressure scenes?”

        Not really?

        • indescribable hat

          It has other stuff! It moves away from this as it goes on, which breaks my heart a little but seems to have won it more critical acclaim. I think season 2 was the best, everyone else agrees each season is better than the prior one.

  • sharculese

    1.) I know it’s on Showtime so no one watched it, but I’m bummed no one mentioned American Gods. I don’t even care about the source material, it was just a gorgeously put together show full of stunning performances. I’m really bummed it looks like season 2 is gonna suck.

    2.) Roommate and I watched Handmaid’s Tale together. Like, we scheduled plans to watch it because neither of us wanted to do it alone. I told her halfway through that it was going to win all the Emmys like, they would be going out of their way to throw awards at it. She didn’t believe me, but texted my Emmy night to tell me I was right.

    3.) The Good Place for #1 is correct. It’s possibly becoming my favorite show ever, and, to copy something I wrote over at the AV Club about “Leap Into Faith”: this is either the best or second best show starring Ted Danson at the center of a group of lost souls trying to find meaning in their shared experience, and I don’t find the need to decide which one is better.

    • Purplerockmatt

      I thought about American Gods, and I agree it is gorgeous, but I just liked other stuff more.

      Also wow, I never knew how big of a Becker fan you were.

      • sharculese

        I think I’m just bummed that once again a Bryan Fuller project is going to end too soon because not enough people appreciate his vision.

        Also: t(o_ot)

        • Purplerockmatt

          Yeah Fuller, Green and Gillian Anderson all leaving is a bummer because i feel like the show was getting better and I was really excited what it did next

          • sharculese

            Chenoweth is hinting about leaving, too, and I have to assume Easter was supposed to be a big part of season 2, so that’s another nail in the coffin.

          • Purplerockmatt

            yeah its such a bummer

          • sharculese

            And now apparently Fuller is gonna make an adaptation of the Vampire Chronicles.

            Which… I dunno about, but I’m just gonna keep telling myself “remember what a bad a idea a modern prequel to Red Dragon where Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter are best friends sounded like?”

          • sharculese

            Also I saw the AV Club’s headline picture of Fuller and my immediate reaction was “oh no, that’s what I’m going to look like it 20 years, isn’t it?”

      • Violina23

        Can somebody who read the book tell me if the entire book is covered in the series? Because the story felt very tight, and I’m not sure what direction a second season would go.

        (I feel this way about “Big Little Lies” having a season 2 — they should leave well enough alone)

        • Purplerockmatt

          Not even half the book is covered, but one of the weird joys of the show is how meandering it is and how it really likes to explore the backgrounds of the gods

    • Handmaid’s Tale was easily the show I was most excited to watch on a weekly basis (I watched it as it came out rather than doing a binge later). It was so incredibly well done, and I agree with Andy that Elizabeth Moss was fucking unbelievable in it. After a few episodes, my wife and I were both like “Holy shit, she is getting the Emmy in a landslide.”

      • Purple Rock Emma

        I was so glad they did week by week episodes (outside of the first three) because I don’t think I could have handled a binge.

        • sharculese

          That is part of why roommate and I formed “watch this together” club.

          She texted me the other night to tell me to watch Moss’s Golden Globe acceptance speech, but the first thing I found was the backstage interview. There’s a moment in it where she looks over at Josheph Fiennes and grins and he hugs her, except he still has the beard and is in a black suit, which is to say, he still looks like Waterford, which made the whole scene very weird.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            I noted at the Golden Globes party I was at that he still looked like him and it was creepy.

        • Violina23

          I wish they did this with more shows.

          (I haven’t seen Handmaid’s tale because I don’t have hulu, but I’m assuming it will be released on DVD/Bluray at some point and I can take it out of the library)

    • indescribable hat

      1.) I watched American Gods! I was enjoying it in a kind of tentative way and I’m very disappointed it’s not going to keep sucking me in further. Season 1 left me wanting more.

      2.) I understand intellectually that Margaret Atwood’s books are almost unbearably depressing, but I have always found them…fun? I would save Handmaid’s Tale episodes to watch during long tedious medical procedures as a distraction. Something is wrong with me. I think something about her style of writing is just really delightful to me, and that came through in the voiceover in the show.

      3.) I don’t have anything to say about this one, but I’ve kind of locked myself into this format. Oops.

    • Violina23

      I read “American Gods” relatively recently, and the first 2-3 episodes of the series didn’t really grab me the way the book did. Maybe I’ll give it another chance, but there’s so much else out there to watch….

      (I’m finally watching season 2 of Stranger Things, because I forgot so much of Season 1 I had to re-watch that)

      • sharculese

        Watch this video and see how good the show got. No spoilers, it’s just Mr. Nancy giving a speech. A lot of the later episodes start with these vignettes about how the old gods came to America:

  • Purple Rock Emma

    Shows on the collective top 10 I haven’t seen: Legion, The Leftovers

    Shows on the others’ top 10s that I haven’t seen: the last two episodes of Insecure, Blue Planet 2, Dave Chappelle’s standup specials, Twin Peaks: The Return, The Expanse, Black Mirror, The Americans, Halt and Catch Fire, Room 104, Nathan For You, Review, Mr. Robot

    • Purplerockmatt

      Shows on others’ top 10s I haven’t seen: Nathan For You, GLOW, Room 104, Halt and Catch Fire, Handmaid’s Tale, Big Little Lies, The Deuce, Insecure, Blue Planet 2

      • sharculese

        Oh damn, dude, go watch GLoW now. It’s the perfect amount of black humor mixed with with humanity.

        • Alkanarra

          Seconding GLOW. Easy, fun watch.

  • Violina23

    Re: The Good Place — I watched season 1 on Netflix based on the positive buzz. It took me a while to get into it. I was not aware of a twist, but I suspected there was probably going to be something to the effect of “It’s all a dream” or “It’s all in her head” before the show was over, since the concept is such an absurd one.

    So I did not see the end-of-season-1 twist coming, although once it was starting to become clear to the characters, I was starting to pick up on it as well. But what can I say — Sometimes I enjoy watching shows without focusing on being “smarter” than the show. And with something as fun as this show, I didn’t want to think too hard. And that was to the show’s (and my) benefit.

    • Alkanarra

      I watched the first three episodes and thought it was dreadfully awful, but the Internet’s barrage of praise may be wearing me down to the point where I’ll try again. Not like I don’t trust Michael Schur to deliver, just really didn’t click for me.

      • I didn’t think it was dreadfully awful, I just find it good and not great. I’ve enjoyed Schur’s other stuff, so I went in wanting to love it and it still just hasn’t clicked with me.

        • sharculese

          As someone who’s currently trying to overcome addiction it really resonates with me. Everyone on the show thinks with addict brain, even Michael – they’ve all got their little fixations that they do to not have to think about the world outside themselves.

          Eleanor gives a little speech at the end of season 2, part 1 where she talks about the little voice inside her that talked back whenever she acted out and how nice it is to hear that voice less and less, and I started crying when I watched it (and honestly I’m tearing up now, and also I can’t watch the episode “…Someone Like Me as a Member” without crying.) because all I could think was “yeah, that’s the dream.”

          • How is treatment going, by the way?

          • sharculese

            Real fucking slow, but thanks for asking. (no seriously, thanks)

            I quit cold turkey a year ago and had all the bad things you can have except DTs (and even there I was sort of on the border). As you know, I relapsed, so this time I’m taking it gently, which is necessary but frustrating, because all I want to do is not drink, but also all I want to do is have a drink.

          • Well I hope this approach sticks. You’ve got a pretty sizable group here rooting for you.

          • sharculese

            Thanks John. I’m 99% confident that, if I can get sober, it will stick this time, it’s the getting there part that’s hard.

          • Violina23

            Hang in there.

          • forever1267

            You can do this. You can do this.

      • Violina23

        I was kinda “meh”, but it definitely picked up even before any “twists”. One of the few shows to actually make me laugh aloud in a long time.

  • sharculese

    Also missing are Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, which is just the most joyous, friendly thing ever, and Jungletown, the greatest hate watch of all time.

    • Sylvisual

      Please tell me you just made those up…

      • sharculese

        They’re both real, but great in different ways.

        Martha and Snoop is exactly what it sounds like – Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, who became friends when they were on the Surreal Life together, take different spins on a common theme with the help of celebrity guests and then have dinner together. Snoop can cook, he learned from his mom who insisted that he do it because women love a man who can cook, and the whole thing is just so fun and joyous, everyone is clearly having a great time, always.

        Jungletown is a Viceland documentary series about a program in central America where “interns” pay thousands of dollars to be part of the effort to develop an sustainable town in an impoverished area, but everyone there is soaking in toxic levels of white savior bullshit. They’re all the worst, but it’s so fun to hate them. It’s like Jersey Shore except if everyone involved had an MA.

  • sharculese

    Oh also, I know it just came out and all, but anyone else watch Wormwood?

  • Super duper fan

    Hey, it’s a list of shows that I’m never gonna be able to get through! How nice! (well, maybe I’m gonna be able to get through GoT, but that’s probably gonna be it).

  • Mike Hirsch

    Did I even watch 10 shows that were currently airing in 2017? I’m not entirely sure that I did. Therefore, here’s my list of shows that I watched, in order of most liked to least:

    1. Better Call Saul
    2. Sneaky Pete
    3. Game of Thrones
    4. Stranger Things
    5. American Vandal
    6. Review
    7. Amazing Race

    I also watched Survivor.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Holy shit, I (and everybody else I’m assuming) forgot that the last mini-season of Review aired in early 2017. I’ll put it alongside Broad City (but I now think I ranked that show too high).

      • purplerockandy

        I did not forget it. It’s just that its three episodes weren’t better than 10 other shows.

  • StormofCuteness

    1. Better Call Saul
    2. Handmaid’s Tale
    3. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
    4. Insecure
    5. Games of Thrones
    6. Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    7. Mr. Robot
    8. Better Things
    9. She’s Gotta Have It (Watch this show!)
    10. Legion

    Honorable Mentions:
    Halt and Catch Fire
    Big Little Lies
    Dear White People
    Rick and Morty
    Mindhunter
    The Good Place
    Master of None
    The Crown

    Special Mention:
    The Keepers (Devastating doc series)
    Alias Grace (More Margaret Atwood, Sarah Polley and Mary Harron create Canadian gold with this)

    PS We have spent the last 3 nights binge-watching The Leftovers, and we start Season 3 tonight otherwise it would definitely be Top 10.

    • StormofCuteness

      Yes, I watch a lot of tv. I also love film and saw 145 this year. 50 of which I saw at the cinema. Film and television clearly take up a lot of my time, but I love them so. Especially as this is the best of times for tv.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Wow, I love The Leftovers (look where is is on my list), but the idea of bingeing the first season in a day or two is… daunting to say the least.

      • StormofCuteness

        Yeah, there is just so much mystery that we’ve become junkies…with really really strange dreams.

  • Mike Hirsch

    Also, at the wife’s urging, and thanks to our local library, we are currently watching The Complete Seasons 1 and 2 of Moonlighting.

    Bruce and Cybill are good, and the scripts are occasionally very clever, but holy hell has this show not held up well in terms of the plots. On the plus side, every episode so far has had at least one “Hey, it’s that guy!” guest star. Last night’s episode had both Jimmy from Road House (“I used to fuck guys like you in prison”) and the guy in the warehouse at the filing cabinet from Beverly Hills Cop (“No sir, that’s not my car, I don’t know whose it is”).

  • Normally, this is where I’d go apeshit that The Americans didn’t make the top 10, but this season really wasn’t as good as the first four. I didn’t watch that many shows that aired new episodes in 2017, but I guess this would be my ranking:

    1. Better Call Saul – I don’t have anything to add. It’s just so good.
    2. The Good Place – See Better Call Saul.
    3. The Americans – It’s still one of the best-acted, most heart-wrenching shows on TV, even though season 5 got too caught up in itself. The final scene in “Dyatkovo” may have been my favorite TV scene of the year.
    4. Sillicon Valley – It has its issues, but it’s really, really funny, and that’s all I’m looking for in a comedy.
    5. Game of Thrones – I think I watched all of seasons 4-7 (for the first time) in 2017. While the decline in quality is noticeable, though not as significant as some other shows by the time they reach season 7, I completely agree that no other show has the same cultural experience as GoT.
    6. Stranger Things – I just watched both seasons over the last three weeks. Season 1 was definitely better, but the last two episodes of season 2 were fantastically exciting.
    7. Veep – I still love Veep, but wow, season 6 was a misstep. I’m optimistic about 7 though.

    • Purplerockmatt

      I feel like even a bad season of the Americans is still one of the ten best shows on TV, but not by much

    • purplerockandy

      Yeah, the past season of Americans spun its wheels a bit too much. A couple of really superlative episodes though. We’re expecting big things for its final season.

      • sharculese

        Wasn’t spinning it’s wheels kind of the point, tho? I feel like we’re gonna come back from s6 looking at s5 as the calm before the storm.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          In retrospect, the fact that nearly a quarter of the s5 season premiere involved the Jennings digging a giant hole was total foreshadowing.

        • The problem is that I’ve become conditioned to immediately roll my eyes and tune out any time the kids are on screen. They- and their plotlines- have generally been the weakest, least-interesting parts of the show. And season 5 had way too much of them.

          • sharculese

            I feel like you’ve said this before and I’ve told you before that your opinion that Paige isn’t a fantastic character is wrong and insane.

          • I have and you have. You’re still wrong.

          • sharculese

            It’s maybe less that Paige is a fantastic character and more that Holly Taylor is an fantastic actor (there’s a lot of parallels to Kiernan Shipka on Mad Men where they realized “oh shit, we have a unique talent on our hands, how do we use her”), but also, no, you’re wrong.

        • purplerockandy

          I certainly understand what the point was. It still didn’t make me anxious to keep watching it week to week.

          • sharculese

            That’s fair. Week to week wasn’t great, I just have faith that we’re gonna come back and see they were playing a long game.

            Which doesn’t bother me that much. Binge watching is part of the tv economy at this point, and we have to accept that everyone is designing shows for a) people who watch week-to-week b.) people who binge when the season is over and c.) people who binge when the series is over.

            Streaming tv comes with a downside, and this is part of it.

            Splitting those horns is going to be complicated, but I’m not particularly worried that The Americans did it by making a season that will be better on the rewatch, because I’m confident the final season is gonna be a barn-burner.

  • PurpleTally

    I don’t watch nearly as much TV as I used to, so I don’t know if I even have 10. But, any list without The Good Place on it is invalid. That show is just so damn good. Loving the American Vandal love, too. I’m watching it through again right now.
    I also got back into Superstore, Last Man on Earth (this season is not the best), and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
    The only other shows I watch regularly are Will and Grace and The Big Bang Theory, which are both terrible.

    • PurpleTally

      Oh, and Marvelous Mrs Maisel, obviously.

    • sharculese

      As I’ve said before, I’ve lived with enough people who like Big Bang Theory that I can appreciate it for what it is. The staging is fantastic and the performances are good. It’s a shame it’s all in service of such middling scripts.

      • PurpleTally

        I’ve had personal interaction with one of the creators, so I watch it mostly out of loyalty. It’s also good for a genuine laugh at least 3 times a season.

        • sharculese

          Last part absolutely. I can stand it when someone puts it on because you can at least expect a couple chuckles out of an episode. The same cannot be said for a lot of CBS’s lineup. When The Great Indoors was airing I would leave the room if they put it on and straight up told roommate I thought less of her for watching it.

    • Mike Hirsch

      Last Man On Earth! I forgot that I also watch that. And yeah, this season has been a bit hit and miss, but Tandy’s cookie rant was hilarious. I may have to use that on Max some day.

    • Violina23

      I will admit that I enjoyed Big Bang Theory’s first 3-4 seasons. You know, when there was ANY attempt to be funny.

  • Kemper Boyd

    Sweet/Vicious started in 2016 but it’s second half was in 2017 and it is superb. One of my favourite things and it’s single season is a travesty especially with the climate of #metoo.

    Mrs Maisel is my sweet spot. It’s ASP and there can be swearing. Rachel Brosnahan is very likeable.

    The Good Place is great. It’s a brilliant sitcom.

    • sharculese

      Have you watched UnReal? that’s gotta be my current apex of trash tv.

      • Kemper Boyd

        Season two bored me so I stopped. Sweet/Vicious wasn’t trash it was female empowerment porn and I was all about it.

      • Violina23

        I loved season 1, HATED season 2.

        Constance Zimmer gives me life, though…

        • sharculese

          Plus season 3 looks like it’s gonna be all female gaze, all the time, so you’ll have that to look forward to.

  • pufflehuff

    I’d add Blue Planet 2 + Black Mirror (though think I prefer the newest season, esp the Star Trek ep), Dear White People + the moments of Great British Bake Off that featured Liam.

    But all the shows on the Top 10 List that I’ve seen, I love (well, maybe love is the wrong word for Handmaid’s Tale) and great to see the love for Crazy Ex Girlfriend, which casually has one of my favorite queer TV couplings, Darryl + White Josh, say it ain’t really over yet.

    • Purple Rock Emma

      Seeing White Josh on Insecure was a pleasant surprise and also led to me having to explain why I shouted “WhiJo!” at the screen, which can be jarring for someone who doesn’t watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

      • pufflehuff

        Haven’t watched Insecure yet but would like to and would also be interesting to see that actor do something else.

        • Purple Rock Emma

          He doesn’t have much to do in it, for what it’s worth.

          • pufflehuff

            That’s okay – I think it wouldn’t be a great move to watch Insecure just to catch White Josh!

          • Purple Rock Emma

            Definitely not. The show is great though! Definitely recommend.

  • indescribable hat

    Wow. I watch two and a half of these shows. I just have not been falling in love with new shows lately, perhaps because I’ve watched a bit too much TV in the last 5 years, perhaps because The AV Club is annoying now. I’m just not plugged into the zeitgeist like I used to be.

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    My list, which I tweeted out before season 4 of Black Mirror came out (and I’m still only halfway through so I still can’t place it on the list):

    1. The Leftovers
    2. Better Call Saul
    3. The Good Place
    4. Rick & Morty
    5. The Handmaid’s Tale
    6. Master of None
    7. Broad City
    8. BoJack Horseman
    9. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
    10. GLOW

    Honorable mentions: Better Things, American Vandal, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Star Trek Discovery, Stranger Things, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Fargo, Vice Principals, the last episode of Nathan For You, Broadchurch (I’ve only seen season one but I’m willing to round up)

    Shows I don’t watch (or haven’t yet) that really sound like my thing: Halt and Catch Fire, Dear White People, Big Mouth, The Expanse

    No point in starting now: Twin Peaks, Game of Thrones

    Better luck next season: The Americans, Orange is the New Black, Archer, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

    • Max_Jets

      “No point in starting now: Twin Peaks”
      Blasphemy

    • Mike Hirsch

      Vice Principals! I also watched that! That was good!

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    @purplerockemma:disqus: I think they should give Megan Amran that special Emmy that they took away from Kevin Spacey:

    https://twitter.com/meganamram/status/913642289834090497

    • Purple Rock Emma

      As if I don’t follow her on Twitter.

      • Violina23

        I wish she’d change that profile pic though. It’s fucking weird.

  • indescribable hat

    1) Halt and Catch Fire
    2) Underground
    3) Big Little Lies
    4) The Handmaid’s Tale
    5) Alias Grace
    6) Orphan Black
    7) Outlander
    8) Jane the Virgin
    9) Top of the Lake
    10) Game of Thrones

    Honorable mentions: Claws, GLOW, American Gods, Queen Sugar, iZombie

    Almost everything in this list is the show’s final season or a season that compares unfavorably to its earlier seasons. Some of them are both! Maybe that’s why this didn’t feel like a year when I was wildly overjoyed about current television.

    And apparently I had very little time for men or for comedy this year, which sounds about right.

    • Maritimer

      Curious on Outlander. I read the first book and liked it but have heard mixed reviews on the show. They seem to fall on read/didn’t read the book lines. I was more interested in the history aspect of the book than the personal lives of the characters. How would I find the show?

      • indescribable hat

        I haven’t read the books so I can’t compare them, but the show isn’t super heavy on history stuff. I don’t loooove the show, but it looks and sounds beautiful and there’s a lot of swashbuckling adventure fun. I started watching because of Battlestar Galactica people behind the scenes and it worked for me, so maybe liking that has some predictive ability?

        The first season is a lot of fun and has more historical Scotland slice of life type stuff. I’d say it’s worth trying if it sounds potentially of interest.

        So are the book people more or less happy with the adaptation?

        • Maritimer

          I guess by “history” I did kind of mean the swashbuckling adventure fun. I’m a fantasy/historical fiction buff so that’s the kind of stuff I like. Never seen Battlestar Galactica either. Sounds like I would be interested. I’ll likely give it a shot.

          Book people are less happy. The reviews I got were they were unhappy with the portrayal of Clare and that it leaned more towards the personal drama side and sex scenes than history/swashbuckling

          • indescribable hat

            Huh. That’s kind of weird to me because I feel like there’s plenty of both, but I can certainly understand if specific things they liked were left out of the show. My big complaint is that the show churns through plot pretty fast, so when we have a storyline, setting, or secondary characters I really like they’re gone soon. On the other hand the annoying ones wrap up quickly too. Oh to stay in Lallybroch with Jenny for an entire season…

          • Maritimer

            The book is paced quite the same so that makes sense. I would definitely watch a whole season or read a whole book of Clare and Jamie at Lallybrooch

  • Thank you for the wonderful recommendations. I have nothing to add besides SNL was okay at times.

    • Saturday Night Palsy

      It’s SNP. SNP was okay at times.

  • Blurry Denzel

    1. The Good Place
    2. The Leftovers
    3. BoJack Horseman
    4. Rick and Morty
    5. The Americans
    6. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    7. The Handmaid’s Tale
    8. American Vandal
    9. Superstore
    10. Big Little Lies

  • sharculese

    I feel like I should do a whole list so:

    1. The Good Place
    2. The Handmaid’s Tale
    3. Wormwood
    4. American Gods
    5. American Vandal
    6. Voltron: Legendary Defender (season 3, but nooooooot season 4)
    7. GLoW
    8. Preacher (yes, I’m the person who liked Preacher season 2. I like Orphan Black season 2, too, deal with it.)
    9. Jungletown
    10. Orphan Black (objectively this shouldn’t belong here, but the finale was the perfect reward for putting up with a sometimes frustrating show.)

    • indescribable hat

      Where was Cal though? Orphan Black really suffered from losing so many actors over the years. Not that I think they would have been a tightly plotted five season arc either way, but the constant cycle of new villains and dropped characters made a coherent ending a lot harder.

      • sharculese

        I don’t care about Cal. Remember how Kira was supposed to be magic? What happened to that? I don’t care about that either.

        That ending hit all the right notes. It was up there with “you were my favorite thing” in terms of heartstring pulling.

        • indescribable hat

          Wasn’t that why they wanted to harvest Kira’s eggs? I love Orphan Black and I thought they stuck the landing OK, but man I wish it had lived up to its potential. Cal was just emblematic of all the dropped plots for me. So everyone’s safe and having a big family party, and he’s gone from Kira’s life without a mention? OK, sure, I guess. Remember Marion Bowles?

          • sharculese

            They tried to harvest Sarah’s eggs at one point, too. Kira was supposed to have like magic healing properties or something – remember when she got hit by a car and survived?

          • indescribable hat

            Yeah. They wanted Sarah’s eggs to make more magic kids, and then they decided they wanted Kira’s eggs because her children would be even more magic. Right? I definitely thought the healing and the psychic-ness were explicitly why they were so interested in experimenting on Kira, but who even knows at this point.

          • sharculese

            Wait… when was Kira psychic? I totally missed that part, but I can believe that it happened.

          • indescribable hat

            She could feel how all the clones felt. Remember when she knew MK died?

          • sharculese

            I don’t remember that, but again, there was so much nuttiness I believe it happened.

      • Violina23

        I stopped watching Orphan Black when I moved, and by the time I got my shit together again, I had absolutely NO idea what the hell happened before I stopped watching. I really didn’t miss it very much.

        Tatiana Maslany, however, is a treasure and we don’t deserve her.

    • Head Architect Sylvia

      Some love for Search Party! Good to see. That show has such great writing and so many great (although not necessarily likeable) characters. I love the dark direction it took this season and I’m intrigued about how they’ll handle season 3.

      I think I’m going to watch Wormwood next.

  • the sky is falling

    No TWIN PEAKS from anyone? Sigh, tbf I’m still not sure if it’s the best or worst piece of film I have ever seen, but this part, solid fucking gold…

    “Dr. Jacoby: And the fucks are at it again! Fuck you who betray the people you were elected to help! We’re sheep to these monsters, and they don’t give a shit! We grow our wool, and just when we’re getting warm, they come along with their electric clippers and shear our wool off, and we’re just naked, screaming little fucks! No wool for us! Freezing and hungry! In the night. In the dark. And they don’t give a shit! Then when we get sick, the pharmaceutical companies make billions! They own the fucking hospitals. Filled to the brim. They own the morgues! They own the embalming fluids! They own the mortuaries, the graveyards! These fucks! Is it the government’s business who we marry? What the fuck do we care what the government thinks about who we marry? Are we gonna invite them to the wedding? Fuck no! Oh, they wouldn’t come anyway. They’re-they’re too busy fucking! Fucking us at the grocery store! At the bank! At the gas pump! They’re feeding our children chemical shit coated in sugar! Why don’t these monsters bite into those tasty treats themselves? ‘Cause they’ll die in the streets! Just like us! And then they’ll bloat like a big red fucking balloon. Stop! Stop distracting yourself with all this diverting bullshit, and pay attention. Save the children! Every parent wants to save their child. Buy yourself a shovel, dig yourself out of the shit, and get educated!
    Nadine Hurley: [listening to the show] Oh, he’s so beautiful.”

    • Psst, check Matt’s list again. I think you missed something.

      • the sky is falling

        Dangit, oh well, still had an excuse to post that rant. win some, lose some.

        • Purplerockmatt

          I’m pretty sure I’m the only one making a list that even watched Twin Peaks

          • the sky is falling

            I can’t blame them tbh, it certainly wasn’t the most accessible show of 2017 or ever. Frankly I’m amazed it ever saw the light of day, I give showtime props for getting it made.

  • Max_Jets

    I have sort of fallen off TV a bit this year and am in more of a movies and video games phase right now, but…
    1. Twin Peaks: The Return – I couldn’t have this anywhere else, even with its faults. I don’t remember ever having this much fun watching a television show, never knowing where it’s going to go scene to scene or line to line. Hilarious, terrifying, bizarrely moving – it’s like getting 18 hours of Mulholland Dr., my favorite movie.
    2. American Vandal – Somehow manages to be better than the shows it’s aping. I laughed, I got chills, my jaw dropped, and I just HAD to find out who did the dicks.
    3. The Good Place – With Twin Peaks probably finished, this is the most exciting show on television. I do admit that I am not fond of the character Jason – I generally don’t enjoy the “dumb” character in sitcoms all that much anyways – but the other 5 leads are great.
    4. Big Little Lies – I don’t know how to feel about the show returning for a second season after closing out so perfectly, but I hope for the best.
    5. Big Brother Canada – It might not have the outcome I was hoping for, but this season was a wild ride with one of the greatest reality TV personalities ever running the house.
    6. Nathan For You – It didn’t hit the comedic heights of past seasons, but the finale showed that it’s still capable of surprising.
    7. Better Call Saul – Always seems like the best TV show as I’m watching it, but always somehow falls a few spots on my list with time.
    8. Black Mirror – Probably my least favorite season of the show, but I resent any criticism that the show is getting tired.
    9. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – Continues to bring us delightful songs and painful secondhand emotions
    10. Steven Universe – I cannot remember what episodes were from this year, but I always love it so I’ll just put it here.
    Honorable mentions to Jane the Virgin and Riverdale

  • BadPlayer91

    At first I was going to applaud you all for being able to watch this many shows other than Survivor last year…but then I remembered that everyone else didn’t spend 2017 trying to watch the 25+ seasons of Survivor they hadn’t seen. I think I watched at least 14 seasons of Survivor last year, including GC and HvHvH. I also recently finished another, but i’ll save that discussion for a more Survivor-oriented thread.

    • DocRules4815

      I also watched 14 seasons of Survivor in the last year (PI through HvV). Only a lot more to go!

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Didn’t you also watch Australian Survivor? That’s the equivalent of 2.5 US Survivor seasons.

      So far I’ve stuck to my plan to rewatch the entire run of Survivor straight through, one episode a day. One season down, 23 to go in 2018!

  • Super duper fan

    OK, so after looking at everyone’s lists, and after thinking about it a little, I’ve finally told myself “Man, I have to start watching more TV!”

    So I just wanted to ask everyone to recommend some of their favourite TV shows, because I trust all of your tastes for now until you give me bad recommendetions showing that your tastes suck.

    As of the types of shows that I’m interested in watching, I’m not very picky. If it’s at least remotely good I’ll most likely like it. But if I had to choose:

    -shows that have some type of big mystery in it and/or have a dark kind of vibe
    -if I had to choose a show with great story, but with bad characters, or a show with great characters, but with bad story, I would go with the first one (but obviously, I would prefer both to be great)

    -preferably shows from 2000 onward
    -the only shows that I’m absolutely not interested in are sitcoms
    -I can endure a show with a one bad/mediocre season

    But overall, if a show has great characters and/or story, you can recommend me whatever (and you can recommend me the “obvious” ones, because sometimes the popular shows can be a bit over-praised).

    • purplerockandy

      American Vandal. It has a mystery and you can watch it in a couple of days.

    • the sky is falling

      Hmm, a bit curious to ask for suggestions for good shows to watch right after a post about… good shows to watch. You’ve got months of tv right there alone.

      For old shows Six Feet Under, Sopranos, The Wire, Community, Parks and Recreation are probably required viewing.

      • Super duper fan

        Yeah, but these were mostly just the shows that were good this past year, not overall the best ones ever. And if I had to do choose a place to do it on this site, better on this post than elsewhere. But thanks for the recommendations.

        • the sky is falling

          Six feet under is a rare series that sticks the landing. Pretty much a perfect finale.

    • indescribable hat

      Hmm. I tend to be a characters-over-plot person, but I like these kinds of questions.

      The first season of Broadchurch is really good if you like a dark mystery that the police are working on in a small town. Subsequent seasons are all right but not required viewing.

      Top of the Lake is another amazing dark mystery/police/beautiful remote setting show, but in this one everything is incredibly weird and sinister. Again the second season is a big drop in quality, but I still enjoyed it. (The first season is just called Top of the Lake, the second is Top of the Lake: China Girl.)

      In a different vein, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a fun show about dark and mysterious magic. There are rival magicians, evil forces from other realms, cryptic prophecies, etc.

      Hopefully that gives you some idea of whether these shows might be for you. What are some of your favorite shows? That might shake loose more ideas or tell me if I’m on the wrong track.

      • Super duper fan

        I would probably still very much enjoy the characters-over-plot series, but a movie/TV show/book has to have an interesting premise, and enganging plot to hook me easier than likable and engaging characters. But like I said, I would obviously want both.

        The thing is that basically don’t watch any TV, and if I do these are only what is on TV kind of thing, aka movies, the police drama, etc.. I mostly just said what kind of stories I generally enjoy, but I would still guess I would enjoy these types of shows in this genre. But from what you’ve said, I would definetely enjoy the shows you’ve mentioned.

        But to give you a sense of what I like, I’ll tell you a plot of a game series that I’m a big fan of-Dangan Ronpa. The general premise of the first game is that a group of high school students is being trapped in the prestigious academy that they were supposed to attend. And they are forced by a mechanical bear (it’s japanese, don’t question it) to play a killing game. The rules are that you have to kill one of the other students to escape, but the catch is others can’t figure out that you did it in so called “class trials”. If you get away with the murder, you escape and everyone else dies, but they guess correctly you are executed. And in these game we try somehow escape, solve the mystery of the situation we were put in, and solve the murders when they do occur. But the funny thing is that probably why I like the series so much is because of all the characters, and getting to know them throughout the story, so maybe I have to think once more whether I like plot over characters, because while the plot in this series isn’t bad at all, but it still isn’t the best thing ever.

        So take that as you will, and maybe it brings other shows that I may like to your mind.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          I didn’t watch either of these shows, but it sounds like you might like Hannibal or Dexter.

          • Super duper fan

            Well, it’s not a show, it’s a game, but it’s a visual novel, so it’s emphasis is much more on story than gameplay, so like “a book in game’s clothing”.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            No I meant that I didn’t watch either Hannibal or Dexter.

          • Super duper fan

            Oh, OK sorry.

          • Max_Jets

            I’m not sure if I would recommend Dexter to anyone, to be honest.

          • indescribable hat

            I know a lot of people liked it, but when I tried it I just kept wondering how a show about a serial killer could be so boring.

        • indescribable hat

          Well if you’re open to violence and teenagers, another favorite of mine is Misfits. It’s about a group of young people doing their court-ordered community service who are struck by lightning, wake up with superpowers, and then all hell breaks loose. There’s a lot of dark humor, and the plot is more episode-to-episode but there are some longer term mystery elements. This is not at all a superhero show, it’s a show about teenage screwups with superpowers trying to navigate various crises. The quality falls off as the original cast is replaced over time, so if you watch it and like it and then reach a point where you don’t like it anymore you can safely abandon it.

          • Max_Jets

            I second this recommendation. My default answer for favorite show, despite its issues. I would even go to bat for the last two seasons.

          • indescribable hat

            They do give us “It’s zombie noir, innit?”

          • Max_Jets

            That and the Third Rudy episode are top notch. Rudy is my favorite character of the series too, and I’m a pretty big Jess fan. I’m of the opinion that season 3 is the weakest.

          • indescribable hat

            Wow, Rudy, really? Jess I’ll give you. Nathan is my favorite, followed by Kelly, so I’d probably rank the seasons in chronological order. Jess is my favorite non-original character, and the rest of the replacements left me pretty cold.

          • Max_Jets

            Definitely! I thought he was as funny as Nathan, but more interesting, which I know is probably not a very popular opinion. Kelly is wonderful and my favorite original but Jess might sneak past everyone else too. I think I’d go something like 2>4>1>5>3 but it’s very hard for me to rank beyond putting 3 at the bottom.

          • Purple Rock Emma

            Yes, agreed. The last season may not have been great, but those two episodes were utterly fantastic, and given that the seasons are so short, it’s not a bad ratio.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      You’re pretty much describing Lost, and to a lesser extent Battlestar Galactica.

      • indescribable hat

        As long as a satisfactory resolution to the big mystery isn’t what you’re watching for.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          I can’t think of a single “mystery box” show that had a satisfactory ending in the sense of having a payoff worthy of multiple years of anticipation and tying up every single plot thread. You can throw X Files and Orphan Black in that category too, and I seriously doubt Mr. Robot or Westworld is going to stick the landing either. I think that’s the wrong way to watch those shows, or at least a good way to end up wasting your time on AV Club with your comments squeezed way over on the right.

          • indescribable hat

            And I enjoy that kind of show anyway, I just know it doesn’t go over well with everyone who’s more of a story person that a characters person. I didn’t mean to be overly critical of those particular shows (Battlestar Galactica is one of my favorites), just to give more information about what they’re like. I guess I meant my comment very literally but I see that it reads as mean or dismissive.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Oh, yeah, sorry. I read you’re comment thinking you’re still mad (and man, people were so angry after the Lost and BSG finales, weren’t they?). But of course, taken literally, what you said is crucial to watching a “mystery box” show. One of the meta-level ways of watching The Leftovers is as a Lost do-over. There was all but a title card at the beginning of every episode saying “we are going to answer exactly zero of your questions.”

          • indescribable hat

            I couldn’t get into Lost and I watched BSG knowing it had a famously divisive ending, so I’m not even a little mad, but oh boy do I remember when people were. It’s so rare for a show, mystery-box or otherwise, to have the degree of control and certainty about the future that would let them build a completely cohesive multi-season plot. I always think of all the retconned character ages and relationships in Friday Night Lights: do you notice them when you binge watch the show? Absolutely. Do they interfere with my enjoyment of it? Not even a little.

          • Super duper fan

            I actually may very enjoy these “mystery box: type of shows. I’m very much a person who enjoys a journey to get to the ending, rather than the ending itself. The show doesn’t have to answer every one of my questions for me to enjoy it, but I still love the mystery aspect of it (but if the ending REALLY sucks, it may worsen it a little bit, but if it’s in a “everything wasn’t explained” type of way, than I don’t really mind it).

          • Max_Jets

            Lost has pretty much everything you’re looking for then. You’ll probably know if you wanna watch it just from watching the pilot.

          • the sky is falling

            They answered the majority mysteries the key being as indescribable hat said above “as long as a satisfactory resolution isn’t what you are watching for”

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Yeah, without getting into spoiler territory, I though that ironically–after warning viewers for three seasons not to expect answers (“Let the Mystery Be” as a theme song is pretty on the nose)–the finale of The Leftovers really did provide some real answers, in addition to being a 10/10 on an emotional level. That said, the penultimate episode basically flipped double birds at anybody expecting everything to be tied up in a bow.

          • sharculese

            The problem with the BSG ending isn’t that it that it didn’t answer any questions, it’s that it robs every episode that came before of its urgency. BSG was great because it was a show about people in an almost impossible situation making choices where there were no right answers, you could only make the least wrong answer. Revealing that in the end this was all some sort of heavenly plan cheapens that in retrospect.

          • sharculese

            Fringe had a satisfying conclusion, although I’m not sure it counts since it was eight different shows in five seasons.

        • Violina23

          On both counts. I HATED how Battlestar ended.

          LOST didn’t make me as angry as most people, but I do wish they had answered SOME of the mysteries, especially the ones that they made seem like they were a huge fucking deal the whole series, and then seemed to forget about.

    • F***ing Stick

      Veronica Mars is awesome and might be up your alley. It’s “film noir” with Kristen Bell playing a teenage private investigator. It’s really well written with both drama and humour. It ran for 3 seasons starting in 2004. Each of the first two seasons has a big over-arching mystery that gets solved over the course of the season, with each episode typically featuring smaller mysteries (season 3 has shorter over-arching mysteries).

      • indescribable hat

        Seconding this. Veronica Mars is an all-time favorite of mine.

        • Purple Rock Emma

          I’ve seen the entire series no fewer than five times.

          • indescribable hat

            Very impressive. I think I’ve only seen it two or three times.

      • Violina23

        Excellent choice. Seasons 1 and 2 had full-season mystery/detective arcs. Great characters.

    • sharculese

      Hannibal. The show you are looking for is Hannibal.

      Mystery of the week mixed with season arc overtones, darkly gothic gorgeous, and a bunch of great performances.

      Oh, and if you’ve never seen if before, The Shield.

    • Violina23

      I think “Stranger Things” mostly fits this bill.

    • Maritimer

      I really Iike The 100 and it seems to fit the bill of what you’re describing. The concept is really cool, the characters and actors are amazing (minus a weird detour on one of them in Season 3) and the plot is good. Added benefit: on Netflix

    • Purplerockmatt

      Everyone else has good suggestions, some of which are more apropos, but honestly this is the Expanse (the plot is better than the characters, it bakes in a couple of big mysteries early on, has a horror-ish vibe at first, is new, starts a little slow and gets a lot better, not a sitcom)

  • SurvivorWerewolf(JTHelland)

    Apparently I don’t watch enough tv not sure I could even make a top 10 list

  • Violina23

    My favorite show I’ve watched in the past year or so is Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. My husband wouldn’t touch Gilmore Girls with a 10 foot pole, and he happily watched this one with me and enjoyed it almost as much as I am. It was nice to have the Palladinos off the leash of a network. Rachel Brosnahan & Alex Borstein are AMAZING together. And there were Jewish jokes that didn’t feel *too* forced.

    I’m kinda glad I didn’t binge it. It was perfect in 1 hour doses.

    I’m in the middle of watching season 2 of Stranger Things (I had to re-watch Season 1 because I forgot so much). I’m about 6 episodes in, and I’m enjoying it. I find the whole thing a lot creepier than the first season. I would not have recognized Paul Reiser had his name not been in the credits. Sean Astin still looks like a hobbit to me.

    Random tidbit — two of the kids were on broadway — the guy who plays Lucas was Young Simba in The Lion King, and the kid who plays Dustin was Gavroche. I checked my playbill and I apparently I saw him in 2014 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6142668544ed1fc17d905905541ed75cc531d434f4ce415395f390e99a4650c9.jpg

    I had only watched Breaking Bad this past year and I watched, maybe 2 episodes of Better Call Saul and didn’t quite get into it. But people seem to friggin’ LOVE that show, so I suspect I will need to give it another shot/

  • Head Architect Sylvia

    I agree with most of the consensus picks! A lot of good TV this year. My favourites were probably Dark (possible recency bias) and Big Little Lies.

    Best 2017 Shows which haven’t been mentioned yet:

    – Dark: Wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this but I was totally hooked by the end of the second episode. I love the eerie plot/setting and sometimes it can be a bit challenging to follow (there are A LOT of characters) but it’s totally worth it. Every episode leaves you wanting more, super bingeable. A few ambiguous plot points but it’s a mystery show and it’s super fun to posit your own theories after you finish the season finale. Can’t wait for S2! The subtitles are such a non-issue unless you plan on watching the show while doing something else at the same time – would not recommend.

    – Red Oaks: I am so in love with this show, the setting is super nostalgic and the characters are so endearing. This season was unfortunately very rushed because they only had six 20-25 minute episodes to tie everything up and it just wasn’t enough. That being said it was still super enjoyable and a very fun watch. Amazon really let them down with the non-existent marketing on the show, I feel like it could have been a colossal hit if it were a Netflix original, I can see it having mass appeal if more people knew about it.

    • Violina23

      Big Little Lies was so good. It was so much more than I was expecting from the previews. Acting was superb and Nicole deserves all the awards in the world.

  • Taako From Teevhii

    I’m stopping by to say that I’ve watched the first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale, and it’s already past Nathan For You for me. It’ll probably get into my top four (at least) when it’s all said and done.

    Also, Metro Nashville has called another snow day, making this an impromptu five-day weekend. It’s really screwing up my schedule, and I’m not about it.

    • sharculese

      How have you been feeling about Amnesty? Is it bothering you that Griffin is bringing the team together so slowly or are you just letting it ride?

      • Taako From Teevhii

        I gave up hope when he said they were coming together in the second episode because that meant that they’d really meet in the third.

        I feel like it’s now the three guys doing individual improv within an expository structure that Griffin is marching them through (which isn’t the worst thing to listen to), but yeah, I’ll be happier when everyone’s actually together and actually fighting monsters.

        Also, are we betting on this being the arc of Season 2? I feel like Griffin’s really setting up for a longer arc (was all of the Lodge backstory really needed yet?). Comparatively, I don’t know how much more Clint can get out of his narrative.

        • sharculese

          I think at this point we have to accept that Griffin is always going to build in more narrative than the world needs. It’s frustrating, but it’s also what makes the cool parts cool.

          As to will this be season 2? I dunno. I definitely think the next season will be a PbtA system, because they really seem to like that mechanic, and I agree that it’s more compelling to listen to than D&D combat. But I suspect at the very least, they’re still going to run the Victorian detective game Travis had planned before they make a decision.

          • Taako From Teevhii

            I thought Travis was the Western and Juice was vampire Sherlock.

          • sharculese

            You probably remember better than I do.

  • corndogshuffle

    I know this isn’t related to the post, but I wanted to share with you all that I got engaged on Sunday!

    • Saturday Night Palsy

      Congrats!

    • Alkanarra

      We deeply care about staying 100% on topic with every single comment, so while I can’t speak for others, know that I’m obviously disappointed with this transgression and hope in the future you’ll find a way to shoehorn Boston Rob into each and every personal anecdote. (Palsy dropped the ball by being sincere so I felt I needed to be responsible for the unnecessary jackass retort this time.)

      But yes, also congratulations.

    • Purple Rock Emma

      One of us. One of us.
      Congrats! Now tell me everything.

    • Mike Hirsch

      Congrats! 🍾

    • Belated congrats!

    • jniedj

      Hey, I got engaged this month two! #RingBuddies

      • Congrats!

        Ok, these things come in threes…who’s next?

  • Taako From Teevhii

    RPDR folks: Did y’all hear? House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, was a guest judge for All-Stars? I could not believe it.

    • indescribable hat

      ???????