Tuesday, February 6, 2018

My 20 Favorite TV Shows of 2017 - #10 through #1

Time to finish up my list of my twenty favorite television series of 2017. With the exception of Planet Earth II, every show on my list thus far came from either Netflix, Amazon or HBO. You will see more of those platforms here, but there are a few other networks that pop up, including the one and only show that earned my admiration from one of the big broadcast networks.

10. Legion

Welcome to the party, FX! They are a terrific television network and to be honest, I think the only reason they weren't further represented here was because I didn't really watch a lot of their stuff in 2017. There's just too much to watch, but I know I am missing out on some incredible content like their Fargo series. Speaking of that, the writer/creator of Fargo, Noah Hawley, also jumped into the superhero sub-genre in 2017, although his take on a comic book character is far more odd than the norm. Legion is such a wonderfully weird, perfectly assembled show. 

9. This is Us

I remember when all of the "Must See TV" came from broadcast networks like NBC. Now it feels like a rare treat to fall in love with a show on any of them. There are some good ones, don't get me wrong. ABC has Black-ish which just barely missed making my top 20 list. CBS has...I'm sure some good stuff, although I will be honest, I can't think of a single show I watch on their network right now. NBC has the best one though, and that is This is Us, a show I entered into with a very excited to watch it wife and some of my own pessimism, but now I look forward to every new episode. Spectacular characters, great performances, terrific writing. I care about every damn person in this show.

8. Twin Peaks: The Return

I can't claim to be some lifelong fan of the original Twin Peaks that jumped through my roof when it was announced the great David Lynch was bringing it back. When that news came, I had not ever seen a single episode of the show, but it inspired me to binge watch it quickly and that's when I fell in love. The new set of episodes, brought this time to Showtime, were extremely different than what ran all those years ago, yet they were totally what I expected given the brilliant, bold and bananas mind of David Lynch. 

7. Curb Your Enthusiasm

Now this is a show that I have been a fan of since the beginning and went through the roof when a new season was announced, so imagine my joy as I watched the new run of Curb Your Enthusiasm and realized this was some of the best stuff Larry David had ever accomplished. Truly a set of ten inspired episodes, absolutely brilliant comedic work. 

6. The Keepers

I am a sucker for a great true crime docu-series and holy shit the Netflix original The Keepers is spectacular. I don't want to get too descriptive here because if you haven't seen it, you should do so as soon as possible while doing as little research ahead of time as you can. Go in blind and watch the mystery unfold, but fair warning, as you can imagine with true crime material, some of this stuff gets pretty disturbing.

5. The Leftovers

In 2017 we were greeted with a lot of terrific new shows, but we also had to say goodbye to one of the best around. The Leftovers third and final season was terrific, insightful, moving, bizarre, and tragic, full of everything that made the show great. 

4. The Crown

When the first season of The Crown hit Netflix at the end of 2016, I skipped it, determining that I probably would find it "boring". What silly shit that turned out to be. I caught up on the first season shortly before season two hit the streaming service and I was instantly addicted. Such a truly great show from top to bottom, never hitting a wrong note. 

3. Master of None

I was a pretty big fan of season one of Master of None but what Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang achieved in season two is extraordinary, featuring a number of masterful episodes, the best of which being "Thanksgiving". I have no idea if we will ever get a season three, maybe someday. If not, the short lived series was an absolute home run.

2. Mr. Robot

I suppose if I really wanted to be critical I could point out that Mr. Robot dropped on my list this year, since in 2016 it was my number 1 favorite show. The good news is, it wasn't so much what Mr. Robot didn't do that made it fall all the way to number 2, but it is how much I absolutely fucking loved the show that ended up in the top spot. Mr. Robot continued to be at the top of its game this year, a remarkable show that featured a truly breathtaking fifth episode that used trickery to appear to never have a single camera cut, thus it was broadcast by USA commercial free. 

1. Mindhunter

My god did I love the first season of Mindhunter. It was a series made for someone like me, a guy who is absolutely fascinated by the deranged minds of serial killers. Once I heard about the true stories the show was based on and the fact that it was being brought to Netflix by one of my all time favorite directors David Fincher (who has entered the serial killer world masterfully twice previously with Se7en and Zodiac), I knew I would love it, but I LOVED it. Some shows I can wait patiently for. I need the second season of Mindhunter now.

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