Originally written on December 30, 2016
By: Nick Poulimenakos
Here are my top 10 T.V shows of 2016!
*IMPORTANT* this list is purely based on my personal preference. I ranked these shows based on how much I enjoyed them. Critic reviews did not influence how I listed these shows, nor did awards won by certain shows. Now… onto the list!
Honourable Mention: Daredevil
Daredevil is my favourite superhero on the Netflix side of the MCU. The titular hero and their adaptation of one of my personal favourite comic book characters, The Punisher, played beautifully by Jon Bernthal, are phenomenal. The reason why this show is not on the top 10 is because of its use of popular anti-hero, Elektra, and how they introduced common Daredevil villains, The Hand, midway through season 2. I feel like if they had stuck with Punisher as the season long story, it would have turned out even better than it did. But for now, Daredevil deserves an honourable mention.
- The Flash
The Flash is one of the best superhero shows on T.V today. Coming off the heels of two amazing seasons, The Flash shifted its focus from the grand and strange toward its main characters becoming even more compelling and emotionally resonant. Comprised of impressive visual effects, stunning performances from its lead characters (specifically Grant Gustin, Tom Cavanaugh and Jesse L. Martin) and its lighter atmosphere, The Flash proves time and time again that it is one of the most captivating shows on television.
- American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J Simpson
I have never been a fan of Ryan Murphy’s work. I didn’t like Glee, or American Horror Story or Nip/Tuck. They just weren’t my cup of tea. But when American Crime Story was announced, I was intrigued as the plot for the first season of the anthology series was set to cover the trial of the century. American Crime Story brings incredible acting from the likes of Sara Paulson (who should honestly win an Emmy for her work), Courtney B. Vance and a surprising return to form for Cuba Gooding Jr, fantastic writing and directing and manages to keep the viewer enthralled despite the fact that the show’s ending is well-known (obviously). This show demonstrates that sticking to the facts can be just as exciting as a fictional story.
Atlanta is show that I didn’t start watching until a friend recommended it to me. I am so glad they did. Donald Glover’s freshmen comedy-drama exceeded all my expectations. The show is motivated and revitalizing as the combination of commentary and comedy absolutely works. Through superb performances, writing and directing, Atlanta gives viewers a stunning view of contemporary life in the southern city while tackling hot-button issues that make Atlanta one of the most relevant shows of 2016.
Narcos’ first season was great. Narcos’ second season was incredible. Honestly, I can’t believe how much this show improved in its sophomore season. Narcos manages to increase the stakes to an absolute brutal level in what continues to be a stunning look into the life of the most notorious drug lord in history. The show boasts and excellent cast, a solid story and beautiful cinematography that have me extremely excited to see what the third season brings in the future.
- Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is by far my favourite sitcom on television today. The show’s satirical take on the idiocies of the, always changing, technology industry is as sharp as ever thanks to fantastic performances, hilarious writing, and new and exciting plot lines that give our socially awkward group of programmers exciting adventures to go on. T.J Miller’s Erlich Bachman continues to be one of the funniest characters on T.V thanks to his over the top behaviour and dedication to improvising his lines.
- Better Call Saul
Breaking Bad is my all-time favourite television show. Nothing will ever come close to how good that show is, in my opinion. So, when creator Vince Gilligan announced a prequel-spinoff centring on Bob Odenkirk’s Saul Goodman, I was extremely excited. Better Call Saul has managed to step away from its predecessor’s shadow and has established itself as a dramatic, but also comedic show with some of the sharpest writing seen on television. The show asks real questions regarding morality and dedication and takes its characters to excitingly erratic ends. As always, Odenkirk shines as the morally grey lead character but its Jonathan Banks as Mike and Michael McKean as Saul’s older brother Chuck who steal the show every time they appear on screen.
- Luke Cage
The Netflix wing of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been one of my personal favourite things happening within the entire superhero genre. Shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones demonstrate the darker, grittier side of the usually light-hearted MCU. Luke Cage, while still showcasing darker storylines, treads closer to a lighter atmosphere as it is an immersive, socially aware story that has some of the best performances in all of Marvel/Netflix. Luke Cage features a stunning cast led by Mike Colter as the titular hero and Mahershala Ali as crime lord Cottonmouth Stokes, beautiful cinematography of the central neighbourhood of Harlem, and a soundtrack for the ages. So far, the partnership between Marvel and Netflix has been close to perfection.
- Stranger Things
In what was the biggest surprise of 2016, Stranger Things is a show that probably no one saw coming. At its core, it is one giant homage to vintage 1980s movies and T.V shows from Stephen Spielberg, George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, etc. The show is exhilarating, heartbreaking, frightening and has one of the best classic soundtracks found on a television series. Featuring a phenomenal young cast and the amazing return of Winona Ryder, Stranger Things offers viewers a special, engaging series filled with nostalgia that makes it one of the best shows of 2016.
After numerous delays, and a troubled production, Westworld finally debuted on HBO and it was spectacular. The show is based on Jurassic Park author, Michael Crichton’s 1973 film of the same name which revolves around a western themed amusement park filled with human looking robots. From there, the show takes on various themes and storylines including moral ethics, the human conscious, self-aware robots and its insane use of time. Westworld features extraordinary performances from an ensemble cast, including Evan Rachael Wood, Thandie Newton, Ed Harris and Anthony Hopkins as well as having some of the most beautiful cinematography ever seen on T.V. Add in Ramin Djawadi’s amazing musical score and incredible visual effects and Westworld proves to be the best new show of 2016.
- Game of Thrones
Was there really any doubt? Winter is here ladies and gentlemen. Game of Thrones, after five seasons, continues to be as bloody and fascinating as ever. This season featured some of the most action packed and heartbreaking sequences ever seen on T.V. I’ve been going back and forth as to what my favourite moment really is as this season was that good. Seriously, the battle of the bastards, the big Hodor reveal, the true history of Jon Snow, even Cersei Lannister finally getting her revenge against her enemies. It was all fantastic. Series creators David Benioff and D.B Weiss really outdid themselves as season six had spectacular writing, breathtaking visuals and a musical score that will have you humming the songs for days. As the series draws to its final thirteen episodes, I’m extremely excited to see how the cast and crew will top this outstanding season.
Other honourable mentions: Veep, Master of None, The Night Of, Orange is the New Black, Mr. Robot, The Night Manager and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.