Best television shows of 2017

This year presents a crowded TV landscape


In "The Good Place," Kristen Bell has charisma for days.

Courtesy NBC

There is simply too much television out right now. With the blossoming of streaming services over the last few years, keeping up with all appointment television has become impossible. Yet as the year comes to an end, it is time to reflect on some of the most engaging TV of 2017.

10. “Star Trek: Discovery” (CBS All Access)

The newest Star Trek series is not the greatest thing to ever come out on TV. In many ways, the strings that hold the series together are rather apparent, yet for a complex sci-fi series, “Discovery” is a success. Hopefully, the series only builds into a more confident second season, but characters like Tilly (Mary Wiseman) make this series a fun viewing.

9. “Outlander” (Starz)

Season three continues this epic love story, which spans centuries. Halfway through season three, the show takes on a fresh new title sequence and storyline. The love between Claire and Jaime remains one of the all-time best romance stories ever, and the sci-fi and historical fiction elements of the series make it accessible for everyone.

8. “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)

In many ways, this Hulu adaption of the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name got lucky. If it weren’t for the political landscape of the United States today, then “The Handmaid’s Tale” may not have resonated as strongly with audiences. While at times this hypothetical future’s treatment of women is downright depressing, it also acts as a warning.  

7. “Glow” (Netflix)

From the same people behind “Orange is the New Black” comes a new female-centric comedy about the world of women’s wrestling. Alison Brie shines as the lead in this wonderfully delightful ensemble series, which also includes podcast legend and comedian Marc Maron in a wonderful series regular role. 

6. “American Gods” (Starz)

This is without a doubt one of the strangest TV shows of the year, as “American Gods” adapts the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name. With an interesting concept of gods living among people, the first season sets up a war between the new gods such as Media (Gillian Anderson) and the old gods such as Odon (Ian McShane). Season two has huge expectations to fill. 

5. “Insecure” (HBO)

Issa Rae leads the pack when it comes to creative talents on TV. Rae tells the story of a black woman in Los Angeles who is simply living her life. For all the insecurities of the lead character Issa, “Insecure” is an extremely confident comedy. This critical darling is one to catch up on. 

4. “Stranger Things” (Netflix)

Season two of “Stranger Things” is not as good as season one, but it's still great. These nine episodes walk a tightrope of repetition, but luckily it still makes for a wonderful binge. As new character combinations are pushed into storylines together, season two acts as a transition season for what’s to come. 

3. “Big Little Lies” (HBO)

While this show can be hard to watch at times, the cast and characters are incredible. Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman lead a glorious group of female actors as they deliver complex female performances. The murder mystery adds to the mystique, and it leaves viewers hoping that all the talent involved will agree to return for a second season.

2. “The Good Place” (NBC)

The only show on this list to air on a broadcast network, “The Good Place” is a very light comedy that contemplates some of the most challenging philosophical questions. Kristen Bell has charisma for days, and Ted Danson is devilishly fun. The twists are shocking and the ride is a blast. 

1. “The Leftovers” (HBO)

What is there left to say about this gem. “The Leftovers” is perhaps the greatest poetry to ever make it on television. The acting will blow you away, and the conclusion of this show will be debated for years to come. While “The Leftovers” is over, the show will no doubt be in the upper echelon of dramas forever.

Honorable Mentions

“The Americans” (FX), “Bojack Horseman” (Netflix), “Game of Thrones” (HBO), “Master of None” (Netflix), “Mr. Robot” (USA), “Ozark” (Netflix), “The Good Fight” (CBS All Access)

Best Episode

“The Spoils of War” –– “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

The biggest battle sequence in the seventh season of “Game of Thrones” does not take place beyond the wall, but rather in a loot train. This episode finally gives a convincing portrayal of the dragons, and the battle between Daenarys and Jaimi is riveting –– both for the action and for the fact that both characters were protagonists in the series. While not every episode of the seventh season is a hit, this one will be remembered as one of the greats. 

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