On New Year’s Eve I listed my 20 favourite films of the year and my 10 least favourites. Not to dwell on that horrific year but now I’m doing my Top 10 TV Shows of 2016. It wasn’t such a bad year in that respect, at least. Please note that I haven’t seen every show on TV in 2016 so if your favourites are missing I might not have seen them (or I just didn’t like them). I missed Better Call Saul season 2 and I hear Veep is one I really should start. So here’s the list!
10. Stranger Things
The internet’s favourite obsession for at least a month, Stranger Things was a great throwback to the Spielberg films of the 80s. While I thought it was paced a little slow, it was a great nostalgia trip and Eleven is one of the best characters of the year.
9. Mr Robot
Some people were certainly disappointed by Mr Robot’s second season but I might have preferred it over the first season. I’m still digesting the finale but the rest of the show was a surreal acid trip full of twists and some of the best female characters on TV.
8. The Night Manager
What a great little treat this was! John Le Carre novels can often be adapted into particularly impenetrable espionage films but Susanne Bier managed to translate it to TV wonderfully well with The Night Manager. Tom Hiddleston was great as was Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman and Elizabeth Debicki.
7. Penny Dreadful
While it wasn’t as good as season 2 and the series finale did feel a little rushed, Penny Dreadful was gothic goodness that proved Eva Green is the best actress on TV. Stylish, exciting and emotional, this show should have been seen by so many more.
It suffered countless production problems and almost never made it to TV screens at all. But what we got was great. It wasn’t as perfect as most people might say but it crafted a great story that was approached in a way we’ve never really seen before on TV.
5. House of Cards
Season 3 was a lower point for the show but House of Cards came back with a bang this year with a season of two incredible halves. The drama was engrossing once again and it was great to have this as one of the best shows on TV again.
Donald Glover’s getting a real following after Community and his music career as Childish Gambino. He managed to mix them superbly here to create Atlanta, a show about Glover struggling to get by in life by managing his rapper cousin who’s rising in the hip-hop world. It often chooses message and abstract ideas over plot and reality and it is perfectly realised.
3. Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones has been slipping a little in the last few years but season 6 brought it right back as maybe the best season yet. It wasn’t all shock value with some actual victories instead of predictably depressing darkness. It cut plenty of fat (although Arya’s arc was a bit of a slog) and the Battle of the Bastards episode is the biggest achievement in TV I’ve ever experienced. It still blows me away what they managed to do with that episode.
2. The People V O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Who knew such an odd mix of corny performances and powerful ones could work so well. This retelling of the O.J. Simpson trials was unforgettable with Sarah Paulson giving a performance for the ages in a surprisingly powerful show that gripped us more than it really should have been able to.
1. Black Mirror
Black Mirror came back with a bang this year. Expanding to 6 episodes and America, this season had a couple duds (relatively, of course) but made up for it in spectacular fashion with the show’s trademark darkness and cynical take on our near future/current day in episodes like Shut Up And Dance and Hated In The Nation. It also gave us the best episode of TV in years with the very welcome and surprisingly uplifting San Junipero. Truly brilliant and moving.
What do you think? What TV Shows did you love in 2016? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!