Television has never been better than right now in the New Golden Age of Television. 2017 continued that age, or trend, in which television was as effective as, or even more so than, cinema. For some, peak television in 2017 is described best by the return of Twin Peaks, and for others it is best described by shows that are not as iconic as Lynch’s famous show — at least not yet.
All that having been said, it wasn’t the best year for covering television, for me. I simply didn’t have a lot of time to finish up my written reviews of Better Call Saul or The Leftovers in time. Therefore some of those will probably be popping up on the site at odd points in 2018. But it was a great year for television.
I loved watching so many shows last year, many of which I didn’t even get to review, and it was very difficult to limit this to a top ten list. In fact, in the original version of this top ten list, Stranger Things: Season Two was the number ten choice. However, when I finally got the chance to see This is Us, it knocked off the aforementioned phenomenal Netflix show. But here we are, so, without further ado, let’s get to it!
#10 – MINDHUNTER: Season One – Netflix
From my review:
” […] Together they travel around the United States to teach local law enforcement FBI methods. That is until [one of them] starts talking to a serial killer (they don’t call them that initially, but they apparently invented the terminology). That is the show. There isn’t a huge climactic action scene. Instead, get ready for these incredibly tense and intriguing conversations between an, initially, very impressionable [federal agent] and the most extreme criminals they can interrogate.”
#9 – This is Us: Season One – NBC
In my review of the first season of This is Us, I ended up apologizing a lot for not realizing how important it was that I watched it. But, really, perhaps the thing I have to apologize the most for is not giving it a chance to be nominated for any of my own personal awards. Had I seen the season in time, it would’ve been nominated for a bunch of stuff, and it probably would’ve won one or two awards. I refuse to change my winners, but what I will do is give it the spot on my top ten list that the show definitely deserves.
#8 – Big Little Lies – HBO
Big Little Lies was a nice surprise. It has a wonderful cast, it is a great moment for television in which multiple women known for their works on the big screen all drive an entertaining and interesting story on the small screen. They’ve already talked about a second season to what was conceived as a mini-series, and I would definitely be happy with another season. Because these characters are fun to watch.
#7 – FEUD: Bette and Joan – FX
From my awards notes:
“The first season of Ryan Murphy’s newest anthology series was something quite spectacular. It contained two of the best performances on television in 2017, and the two final episodes are among the year’s very best. Keep an eye on FEUD as the next season begins at some point in 2018.”
#6 – Master of None: Season Two – Netflix
From my review:
“The season has entire episodes dedicated to Tinder dates (First Date) and religious customs (Religion), as well as an episode about different types of people in New York, which includes a section about a deaf woman (New York, I Love You). It is all very well done and mostly includes very intelligent humor and storytelling. […] I bingewatched the season right as it was released back in May, […]. So most of you have probably already seen it. But, in case you haven’t, I suggest you say ‘buongiorno’ to the second season of Master of None whenever you have the chance. It is one of the best shows of the year.”
#5 – Five Came Back (Documentary Series) – Netflix
From my review:
“Netflix’s Five Came Back both teaches you about film history and the general history of the Second World War. It should be compulsory viewing for all film students, as it works as both a testament to true artistic courage and the ways in which the medium can be shaped to influence behavior and opinion both in your neighborhood and in enemy nations. Both historians and cinephiles are going to fall head over heels in love with this documentary.”
#4 – Better Call Saul: Season Three – AMC
I love Better Call Saul. I obsess over it from the first episode of the season until the last every year. Unfortunately, not many people seem to feel the same way. Critics love it and I am one of many huge fans of the show. But it isn’t enough.
For some reason, some who followed, or even bingewatched, Breaking Bad have not decided to follow this magnificent prequel, which has bended over backwards to have plenty familiar elements from that ‘other show’ while still maintaining the identity of this show. I can’t stress this enough, if you enjoyed Breaking Bad, but haven’t watched Better Call Saul yet — then now is the time. There are three seasons of the highest quality of television, and a fourth is on the way.
#3 – The Crown: Season Two – Netflix
From my review:
“This season sees [Elizabeth] (played by Claire Foy) ease into her role as monarch — as the institution. We even get to see her get a different haircut, which is shot and framed as if it were a superhero vigilante putting on his mask for the first time. […] At the end of my review of the first season of The Crown, I suggested that Claire Foy ‘could become the new face of Netflix original programming,’ and, indeed, I think that she has. The Crown has become the best live-action original series on Netflix.”
#2 – BoJack Horseman: Season Four – Netflix
From my review:
“Originally, this was probably just pitched to Netflix as an animated show about a Bob Saget-like character, if Bob Saget was a sad horseman. It’s a wacky idea, but it worked. It still works, but it has become truly brutal. The third season blew me away, and BoJack Horseman was, as a result, my favorite show of 2016. And the fourth season pretty much lives up to it. It is a fun show, but this season it felt like they peppered more depressing episodes into the show than they would normally do for a season. […] It is extremely depressing and sad, but it’s also probably Netflix’s best show right now.”
#1 – The Leftovers: Season Three – HBO
The Leftovers — the critical darling that couldn’t find an audience. There is a tendency to say that something new is either the best or worst thing ever made. But here I am. I am telling you that the third season is a masterpiece. The entire show is phenomenal. Actually, with the third season being as great of a send-off as I believe it to be, it has become perhaps my favorite television show ever made.
What was your favorite show of 2017? Sound off in the comments.
– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen