Saturday, December 31, 2016

My 20 Favorite Television Shows of 2016

It has become a ritual now to talk about how there's too much TV at the beginning of these year-end lists.  You would think the bubble would burst eventually on the amount of content there is out there, but it hasn't yet.  But while the amount of networks and original programming continues to increase, my personal watching bandwidth has finally started to taper off.  After regularly watching 125 shows in 2015, my numbers were down slightly to 115 this year.  Overall, it has had a positive effect though.  I may have watched less TV in 2016, but it mostly just meant that I watched less shows that I thought were okay or even actively bad.

Even still, my plan for 2017 is to watch even fewer shows by cutting down on series I'm getting sick of.  That means after its head-scratching second season, I'm giving the axe to Fear the Walking Dead.  I've been hesitant about dropping Arrow and The Flash because I feel like I need to watch them for DC completionist reasons even though their obnoxious melodrama reduced me to watching every episode at half attention, but I've finally made the decision after their mid-season finales that I'm removing them from my life.  I'm even considering nixing something like Bojack Horseman, which I've tuned into out of critical obligation, since everyone goes nuts over it, but I don't enjoy very much.

I'm not sure how well this will fare for me, since my TV-related fear of missing out is overwhelming. After all, I just got finished cramming Sweet/Vicious and Crazyhead into the last week of the year because people I trust said they were good and I wanted determine if they were eligible for my list.  Watching less TV is just going to lead to more potential instances of me passing up a show and then hearing it gets great, or quitting a show right before it turns things around.  That terrifies me!

All of this is a way to say that TV is in a wonderful place right now, and trying to manage your intake and still devote enough time to movies, music, and living life is a good problem to have.

The rules: Shows are considered for this list based on the episodes they aired in 2016.  This is a pretty plain and simple rule for cable dramas, where full seasons usually air within a single calendar year.  However, it gets slightly messy when considering network shows, which usually air the first half of their season in the fall and the second half starting January of the next year.  So something like, say, Black-ish would be judged based on the second half of its second season (which aired at the beginning of the year) and the first half of its third season (which started in the fall of this year).  As for what constitutes a TV show, anything that airs on, you know, a TV station counts.  But shows that air exclusively on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon count too.  The line is getting more blurry every day, but I'm still counting out independent YouTube webseries (though I recommend the excellent Pantheon University anyway).  Okay, everything clear now?  Good, let's get this list started...

Honorable Mentions (25-21)
This year High Maintenance (HBO) made the jump from web series to full-fledged TV show and it had a huge leap in quality as well.  Though season three of Black Mirror (Netflix) was a little more scattered than previous seasons, it also gave us "San Junipero," one of the best TV episodes of the year.  The acerbic, hyper-specific Difficult People (Hulu) is the best joke machine comedy we've got right now.  Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (Netflix) came with astronomical expectations, and the delightful revival got as close to meeting them as you could imagine.  I must admit that I sometimes have difficulty feeling passionate about Better Call Saul (AMC) the way others do, but that doesn't stop me from admiring the extreme craft Vince Gilligan and crew bring to the series.

20. Game of Thrones (HBO)
Sometimes the ubiquity of Game of Thrones can be unbearable.  Everybody watches it and won't stop talking about it when it's in season, to the point where every now and then I find myself wishing it would just disappear.  But when I think about the quality of other widely popular genre TV that we have -- *cough* The Walking Dead *cough* -- I'm reminded of the fact that we're lucky Game of Thrones is as good as it is.  Now that they're firmly ahead of the book, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have had a real creative burst, barreling forward with a sense of momentum and focus that adhering to the source material made nearly impossible.  Gone are the days of characters' entire season long arcs consisting solely of walking from one location to another -- the world is satisfyingly coming together.  Game of Thrones has been consistently entertaining television, but this is first time I've been excited about the show in a while, maybe since season three.  This year, it proved that popcorn TV doesn't have to be empty calories.

Highlight Episodes
1. The Door (Season 6 Episode 5)
2. Battle of the Bastards (Season 6 Episode 9)
3. Blood of My Blood (Season 6 Episode 6)

19. The Crown (Netflix)
I generally have a low tolerance for British shows about the upper class, as they're often more intent on being pretty television than compelling television.  The Crown proves that you can do both.  It's beautiful and expensive-looking -- $130 million dollars expensive -- but also held together by sturdy storytelling.  Most Netflix shows take the freedom they're given to extreme and less satisfying ends, making 13-hour films that are arbitrarily broken up into episodes afflicted with a flabby structure.  On the other hand, this series is a wonderfully episodic set of short stories -- a surprise given creator Peter Morgan's background in writing feature films.  Each of these mostly contained tales about the young Queen Elizabeth II find a variation on the theme of her duty clashing with love, family, and righteousness.  We constantly see her trying to reconcile her status as queen with her other titles of mother, wife, and sister -- internal conflicts beautifully externalized by Claire Foy's magnificent performance.  There's a reason why it's called The Crown, because it's all about the ways in which the monarchy weighs down those who are tasked with holding it up.

Highlight Episodes
1. Smoke and Mirrors (Season 1 Episode 5)
2. Gelignite (Season 1 Episode 6)
3. Pride & Joy (Season 1 Episode 8)

18. Girls (HBO)
I honestly never thought this show would appear in my top 20 again.  I liked seasons three and four of Girls alot -- they both landed in the 30 to 35 range in their respective years -- but it seemed like the show left its peak quality in the past with seasons one and two.  With an end date in mind (the show is airing its sixth and final season early next year) season five felt reinvigorated in almost every way.  Girls has always been wiser and more self-aware than it's given credit for, and this year made it even clearer by scratching away at its self-absorbed characters in hilarious and poignant ways.  Though Lena Dunham herself gets harder and harder to defend each day, there's no doubt that she's an immense talent.

Highlight Episodes
1. The Panic in Central Park (Season 5 Episode 6)
2. Hello Kitty (Season 5 Episode 7)
3. Japan (Season 5 Episode 3)

Additional Reading
-I still like the show Girls

17. The Path (Hulu)
At first it seems a little odd that Jessica Goldberg (a former Parenthood writer) is behind The Path, Hulu's drama about a Jonestown-esque cult.  But it makes sense once you watch it, because this show feels like Parenthood or Friday Night Lights except with a cult, in the best possible way.  Goldberg is a student of one the show's other main creative forces, Jason Katims, who himself came up under the tutelage of Marshall Herskowitz and Ed Zwick, two writers who made their mark by telling humane stories that always put characters first.  Likewise, The Path prioritizes its introspective character drama over its oblique plot machinations.  Over the course of its 10-episode first season, it dug deeply into the pathology of faith, pondering what drives people's beliefs and where they draw their own personal lines in pursuit of that belief.  Shows about religion are difficult to make -- lean too far one way and it can feel preachy and didactic, lean another and it can be too abstract and surface-level.  The Path works because it effectively captures the great paradox of religion: the way it tears people apart just as easily as it can bring them together, how it can provide a sense of purpose but also be a prison.

Highlight Episodes
1. A Room of One's Own (Season 1 Episode 9)
2. Refugees (Season 1 Episode 7)
3. The Shore (Season 1 Episode 8)

16. The Night Of (HBO)
When taken purely as a whodunit, it's easy to see why some people found The Night Of disappointing.  Its riveting pilot sets up an intriguing mystery: the young, meek Naz borrows his father's taxi, ends up picking up a mysterious woman who ropes him into a night of booze and drugs, blacks out and wakes up next to her bloody corpse.  The question of what happened is pursued in a distracted manner, lost in the mix of obvious red herrings and eczema subplots, and finally answered in a way that feels ripped out of a mystery manual for beginners.  But what really made the pilot so thrilling was how thoroughly it sketched out its procedural elements, getting into the minute details that other shows elide, somehow making the mundane completely engrossing.  That's a thread the series follows to the very end, delving into the gritty details of every corner of this world (yes, even eczema).  In the process, The Night Of manages to deliver a top-down inspection of the flaws in the criminal justice system, particularly the ways in which cases like these become less about the actual truth and more about the easiest truth to believe in.  It may not satisfy as a murder mystery, but it's an excellent piece of storytelling nonetheless.

Highlight Episodes
1. The Beach (Episode 1)
2. The Art of War (Episode 4)
3. Ordinary Death (Episode 7)

15. Horace and Pete (
Louis CK has already gifted us one of the most innovative shows of the decade with Louie, and just when that show started to feel stale, he gave us a new creation to be excited about.  Released out of nowhere on his website, Horace and Pete was a series he filmed in secret and funded by himself, a radical method of putting TV out into the world.  It even stretches the definition of what TV is, since this 10 episode series about a longstanding bar passed down by generations of men in the Wittel family feels more like a stage play than anything.  Horace and Pete is far too malleable to be lumped into any category though.  It uses the bar setting as a unique way to balance serialized and episodic storylines, mixing in discussion-of-the-week scenes between patrons and the ongoing storyline of Horace (Louis CK) and Pete (Steve Buscemi) trying to decide on the future of the bar.  The latter is a jumping off point for the show's main theme of familial pain doled out through generations, of scars both inherited and acquired.  Horace and Pete can be hilarious, it can be heartbreaking, it can devote an entire episode to a long monologue delivered by a character we've just met -- it basically can be anything it wants.  I wouldn't want to have a Louis CK product any other way.

Highlight Episodes
1. Episode 3
2. Episode 1
3. Episode 7

14. Quarry (Cinemax)
Quarry feels like a perfect intersection of the two roads Cinemax has followed on the path to legitimacy, merging the action bonafides of Banshee and the heady auteurism of The Knick.  Based on a series of novels by Max Allan Collins, the show tells the story of Mac Conway, a Marine who returns home from the Vietnam War and finds himself sucked into the dark vortex of the Memphis crime world.  Creators Michael Fuller and Graham Gordy come from Rectify, so they know how to sell the show's ruminative nature, as it examines the difficulty of Mac being thrust back into normal life while dealing with the scars of his past.  And full-time director Greg Yaitanes gives the series a sense of vibrancy with his electrifying direction, staging some thrilling action sequences and long takes.  The combination results in frequently dazzling, hypnotic television.  Season two of Quarry is in limbo, but whether or not it comes to fruition, season one will stand as a memorable debut.

Highlight Episodes
1. nước chảy đá mòn (Season 1 Episode 8)
2. A Mouthful of Splinters (Season 1 Episode 3)
3. Figure Four (Season 1 Episode 2)

Additional Reading
-Pilot Talk 2016: Week 1 of Fall's TV Pilots

13. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW)
Things could have gone horribly wrong for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend in 2016.  It walked such a thin tightrope in its debut year, coming out of the gate as a fully formed balance between rapid fire jokes, odd and clever musical numbers, and an honest examination of mental illness. The show seemed like such a miracle that it was practically doomed to flame out quickly. However, Crazy Ex didn't lose a single step this year, continuing to churn out episodes that were hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure.  It's easy to take something like this for granted, because it doesn't wear its effort on its sleeve, but this show is a minor miracle.  Who knows, it could crash and burn at any moment -- and a crucial character departure a few episodes ago certainly gives me pause -- but Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has earned enough trust that I'm confident it can maintain its high quality.

Highlight Episodes
1. Who Needs Josh When You Have a Girl Group? (Season 2 Episode 6)
2. That Text Was Not Meant For Josh! (Season 1 Episode 11)
3. I'm Going to the Beach with Josh and His Friends! (Season 1 Episode 9)

12. Fresh Meat (UK)
It seems like the original plan for Fresh Meat was for it to last six seasons -- one for each term in the traditional UK university timeline -- but things got cut short due to low ratings.  So there's a little bit of scrambling done plotwise in this final season due to a time skip and the rush to get to graduation, but in terms of comedy the show went out as strong as ever.  If there's one thing that Fresh Meat will be remembered for, it will be its ability to consistently deliver humor that's so deeply rooted in character.  The jokes never feel like they're a random quip that a writer has had in their pocket for a while.  Instead they're always a line only the character who's speaking it would say, and it's much funnier because it's that person saying it.  In a sea of comedies that make the awfulness of their protagonists one of the main sticking points, Fresh Meat stood out because it was so fun to watch that you forgot that these people were even awful.  I'm going to miss hanging out with this gang.

Highlight Episodes
1. Season 4 Episode 4
2. Season 4 Episode 6
3. Season 4 Episode 1

11. Degrassi: Next Class (Netflix)
It's easy to lapse into the kind of "guilty pleasure" language that I hate when talking about Netflix's soft reboot of the long-running Canadian teen drama Degrassi.  Whenever I think about the show, I want to use phrases like "it's so fun" and "watching it makes me so happy."  Those are true, and that's all well and good, but I want to emphasize the most important point about Degrassi: Next Class -- it's truly, unequivocally fantastic.  In many ways, it's the same old Degrassi: the occasional lapses into melodrama, the conveyor belt of hot-button issues, characters pronouncing "sorry" in an amusing way.  But it also makes some crucial additions that buoy the show.  It addresses material like racism and feminism in an engaging and thoughtful way, instead of seeming like a local news segment designed to frighten parents.  Not to mention the fact that it has genuine moments of humor, and a fluid rhythm that makes the episodes blaze by.  Top it off with a great combination of likable characters and fun-to-hate ones, and you've got all the ingredients for an excellent teen drama.  I will never stop proselytizing for this show.

Highlight Episodes
1. #ThrowbackThursday (Season 2 Episode 5)
2. #CheckYourPrivilege (Season 2 Episode 3)
3. #SorryNotSorry (Season 1 Episode 10)

Additional Reading
-Rekindling my relationship with Degrassi
-Degrassi is back, baby!!!

10. Rectify (Sundance)
The Japanese phrase iyashikei is used to describe anime or manga that is meant to have a healing or soothing effect.  While Rectify doesn't share all of the qualities that characterize iyashikei, it may be the closest American television has ever gotten to evoking that phrase.  Less a TV show than it is a strange elixir, this series was a soulful, meditative journey that had a hooky premise -- a man is released from a 19-year stay on death row after conflicting DNA evidence from his murder conviction is discovered -- only to focus on the smaller moments of humanity in everyday life.  In its final season the show stayed true to its mission, not offering up any conclusive answers to what exactly happened on that night that altered the lives of an entire town, but giving us shattering moments of connection and spirituality instead.  It pondered questions of community, how much obligation we have to those around us existing in the world just as we are.  And in the end, it went out just as it came in: a beautiful, moving, and special work of art.

Highlight Episodes
1. Happy Unburdening (Season 4 Episode 7)
2. Yolk (Season 4 Episode 2)
3. All I'm Sayin' (Season 4 Episode 8)

9. American Crime (ABC)
People are generally a little too optimistic about these season-long anthology shows.  How many times have you heard somebody on the internet say "well, I didn't like this season but at least there will be a completely new story next year"?  But really, chances are high that you probably won't like the next season either, because the show is still being made by the same people.  American Crime was an exciting exception earlier this year.  The show's first season didn't work much, ultimately coming off like a shaky attempt to replicate the prestige drama for the network model.  Season two narrows its scope to tell the story of a teen male-on-male sexual assault case that shakes the community it occurs in, and the results are basically everything the first season was aiming for but didn't quite hit.  Week after week, I was astonished by just how confidently the series examined race, class, and crime with such precision and visual flair.  Don't be discouraged if you saw season one and didn't like it -- year two of American Crime is gripping, essential television.

Highlight Episodes
1. Season Two: Episode Five
2. Season Two: Episode Seven
3. Season Two: Episode One

Additional Reading
-Even if you didn't like season one, American Crime is must-see TV this year

8. Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
It seems weird to say it, but is Orange is the New Black an underrated show at this point?  Maybe it's just the nature of discourse around Netflix shows, but it feels like people forgot about this season a few weeks after it aired.  What a shame too, because season four was a terrific piece of television, certainly worthy of the level of unending discourse devoted to something like Stranger Things.  After a slight step down in season three, the show returned to top form with a season that served as a reminder of what made the show so special in the first place.  At this point in its lifetime, Orange has been become a cornucopia of complex characters and it uses that abundance to its advantage, threading their stories in ways that come together to form a rich tapestry.  And this season especially builds to a furious howl about privilege, power, abuse, and institutional failures.  Despite the fact that it hasn't been talked about much since it was released, the season gets more resonant as time passes.

Highlight Episodes
1. The Animals (Season 4 Episode 12)
2. Friends in Low Places (Season 4 Episode 8)
3. People Persons (Season 4 Episode 11)

Additional Reading
-Orange is the New Black returns to form with masterful fourth season

7. The Eric Andre Show (Adult Swim)
Eric Andre went viral with his segments at the National Conventions during this election season, most likely leading more people to discover his talk show deconstruction on Adult Swim, which aired its fourth season this year.  But not even a sample of those viral segments could prepare someone for the insanity of The Eric Andre Show, because nothing can.  This is not a TV show.  It is a quarter-hour dosage of pure chaos, content that seems like it's aiming to cannibalize itself.  It's weird, it's nightmarish, it's often absolutely disgusting.  But it's also extremely funny, boasting an astronomical laughs-per-minute ratio that most comedies would kill to even have a portion of.  While it's not for everyone, The Eric Andre Show is richly rewarding for those who can get on its wavelength.

Highlight Episodes
1. Chris Jericho; Roy Hibbert; Flavor Flav (Season 4 Episode 8)
2. T.I.; Abby Lee Miller (Season 4 Episode 1)
3. Tichina Arnold; Steve Schirippa (Season 4 Episode 4)

6. Mr. Robot (USA)
Here's a hot take for you: season two of Mr. Robot revealed just how boring and rigid the critical community can be sometimes.  It followed up a beloved debut year that seemed to take the world by storm with a season that was self-indulgent, desultory, and a little confusing -- all qualities we would think of and say "That's bad TV."  But this year what creator Sam Esmail asked was...what if it isn't?  Mr. Robot seemed to be redefining the parameters of good and bad TV, proving that there are no concrete rules.  Is it usually frustrating when a show ends an episode on a huge cliffhanger and then doesn't address it at all in the next episode?  Sure, but when the digressive material is as compelling as this show made it, why should it matter?  Despite what everyone says, this year was far more thrilling, artistically daring, and emotionally satisfying than the good-not-great first season.  In one of his weekly reviews of the show for The AV Club, Alex McCown described Mr. Robot as "a worried, elusive, existential cry, about what it means to be a person in a world seemingly intent on obfuscating that question."  I couldn't have said it better myself.

Highlight Episodes
1. eps2.9_pyth0n-pt1.p7z (Season 2 Episode 11)
2. eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes (Season 2 Episode 6)
3. eps2.2_init_1.asec (Season 2 Episode 4)

Additional Reading
-Thoughts at the halfway point of Mr. Robot's divisive second season

5. Atlanta (FX)
Watching Atlanta makes it even more upsetting that Donald Glover spends any of his time rapping.  His music under the moniker Childish Gambino is corny, facile, and try-hard.  This show couldn't be further from that -- it's a loose, hilarious, and lively breath of fresh air.  One of the greatest joys of being a TV fanatic is when a show like Atlanta comes along and continues to stretch the limits of what it's capable of week after week.  From the very beginning, the roundabout structure of the pilot felt like something new, but that was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to the show's freewheeling willingness to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.  That's the kind of mentality that leads to an episode where Justin Bieber is played by a black person, or an entire half-hour focused on a character who isn't a member of the main trio, or an installment devoted to an episode of a fictional show on a BET-esque network.  I can't wait to see what else the show is capable of next year.

Highlight Episodes
1. B.A.N. (Season 1 Episode 7)
2. The Club (Season 1 Episode 8)
3. Nobody Beats the Biebs (Season 1 Episode 5)

Additional Reading
-Pilot Talk 2016: Week 1 of Fall's TV Pilots

4. O.J.: Made in America (ESPN) &
The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
Like The Great Bug War of 1998 (Antz vs. A Bug's Life) and The Great Magician War of 2006 (The Illusionist vs. The Prestige) before it, 2016 was the year of dueling properties about O.J. Simpson.  Except it wasn't really a competition, actually.  The two series complement each other so beautifully that it feels like they were made in conversation with one another.  5-part documentary series Made in America was a gripping, thoughtful deep dive into the whole of O.J. Simpson's story.  It examined the intersection of race and celebrity with a masterful precision and sense of scope, and it detailed the way that the circumstances Simpson came from almost seemed destined to create the man we think of as a monster today.  FX's The People vs. O.J. Simpson, on the other hand, puts its focus solely on Simpson's murder trial.  It's a much more popcorn approach -- painting this real life event as one with heroes, villains, breakout characters, and insane plot twists -- but it made for some of the most purely entertaining television of the year.  Together, Made in America and People vs. O.J. Simpson create what feels like the definitive take on one of the most complicated figures of his generation.  (But if we're really picking sides, Made in America is better.)

Highlight Episodes
1. Part 2 (O.J.: Made in America)
2. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia (The People vs. O.J. Simpson)
3. Part 4 (O.J.: Made in America)

3. The Girlfriend Experience (Starz)
Steven Soderbergh may end up proving to be the biggest influence in the next wave of television.  He brought auteur TV to a new level when he put his idiosyncratic stamp on The Knick, where he directed every single episode of the show's first two seasons.  Now he's ushering in other filmmakers to follow suit, serving as executive producer while indie directors Amy Seimetz and Lodge Kerrigan functioned as showrunners on The Girlfriend Experience, an adaptation of Soderbergh's 2009 film of the same name.  Seimetz and Kerrigan co-wrote every episode and alternated directorial duties, creating something that feels like neither an indie film nor a TV show, but something radically new.  It's antiseptic, chilly, and it moves about in such an elliptical fashion that you'll likely be a little puzzled by it, but completely engrossed with it at the same time.  Plus, it features a performance for the ages from Riley Keough, whose Christine Reade is one of the most inscrutable, but intriguing characters of the year.  The Girlfriend Experience isn't the most accessible or inviting show, but months later I still can't get it out of my head.

Highlight Episodes
1. Blindsided (Season 1 Episode 9)
2. Separation (Season 1 Episode 13)
3. Home (Season 1 Episode 12)

Additional Reading
-The Girlfriend Experience is one of the best and boldest shows of the year

2. The Americans (FX)
For most of the year, it seemed like The Americans was a lock for Best TV Show of the Year.  Since it began in 2013, it's been in the conversation when it comes to the best television has to offer, and it's been steadily improving every year.  Somehow, the FX Cold War spy drama topped itself again this season.  For its entire run, The Americans has been stacking the precarious pieces of its narrative, and season four represented the moment where all of those pieces came crashing down.  It made for a year that seemed to deliver a jaw-dropping episode every single week, deftly cycling between being heartbreaking, pulse-pounding, and breathtaking.  The stretch in the middle of the season that focused on the fate of Martha will go down as a legendary sequence of episodes.  Even in this fertile television age, it still feels like we're lucky to be getting a show that operates with this level of precision and subtlety.

Highlight Episodes
1. The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears (Season 4 Episode 8)
2. Travel Agents (Season 4 Episode 7)
3. The Rat (Season 4 Episode 6)

Additional Reading
-Episode of the Week: The Americans - The Magic of David Copperfield...

1. Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)
All we want is to be valued.  To have our thoughts and ideas appreciated.  To create something that has meaning.  To understand others and be understood in turn.  No other show seems to get that better than AMC's brilliant and empathetic Halt and Catch Fire, whose third season was just as big of a leap ahead of the second as that season was of the first.  On the surface, the series is a period tech drama, constantly placing its main characters on the precipice of innovations they'll never quite reach.  But dig a little more and you'll find a deeply human drama about the ways in which people can help and hurt each other.  And boy, did it bring the hurt in droves this year, culminating in a devastating finale that set up what is sure to be a gangbusters final season.  A couple of years ago, I would've never thought this would be the best show on television, but life is just wild like that.

Highlight Episodes
1. NeXT (Season 3 Episode 10)
2. The Threshold (Season 3 Episode 7)
3.  You Are Not Safe (Season 3 Episode 8)

Additional Reading
-Halt and Catch Fire takes another huge leap in its stunning third season

Well, that wraps things up for my best shows of 2016 list.  I love reading other lists, so feel free to share yours in the comments.  Or if you want to share your thoughts on my list, then you can do that too!  To see a complete inventory of all the TV I watched this year (with even more rankings), CLICK HERE.

Previous lists


  1. My Top 10:

    1. Atlanta
    2. The Americans
    3. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
    4. Steven Universe
    5. The People vs. O.J. Simpson
    6. Horace and Pete
    7. Catastrophe
    8. Fleabag
    9. Halt and Catch Fire
    10. The Crown

    Like your list! Lots of interesting picks! Makes me want to finally check out The Path after I kept telling myself I would but got caught up with all the other shows!

    Also, super weird about Orange is the New Black not making too many lists. I mean, I get why it could be forgotten come list time (middle of the year, fourth season, Netflix, yada-yada-yada), but it seemed like everyone LOVED the show when all the reviews came out (or maybe it just seemed that way because they were mostly positive and I was a bit underwhelmed). I have a theory about thinkpiece overload having something to do with it, but can't know for sure. Oh well.

    1. I think you may be on to something regarding thinkpiece overload and Orange is the New Black. Once the "no, this storyline is actually problematic" wave hit (an angle I don't agree with but I see where people are coming from), I think it made some of the people who positive on the season more sheepish about their love. The Hot Take Wars strike again!!

      Hope you like The Path if you check it out. It seems to be one of those shows that either grabs you or doesn't. I found it so thought-provoking.

      Always good to see some Steven Universe love! It's such a delightful show and I feel bad that I never have the space to give it a shout out. I think its weird scheduling causes me to lose the show's rhythm and forget how much I like it.

  2. guessing you aren't a fan of This Is Us? I caught up yesterday and gotta say I really fell in love with its unconventional structure. It's also been really rewarding to see Milo Ventimiglia used to his full potential as basically the anchor of the show.
    also aaaaaahhhhh I do definitely need to watch Atlanta don't I... a friend recommended it to me forever ago but I was hesitant b/c Donald Glover typically irks me (I'm not a Childish fan either ha ha). good to see you really liked it

    1. I should give This Is Us another shot. I watched the first 5 episodes or so and dropped off because I got too busy and wasn't necessarily loving it as much as I hoped. I love a good touchy-feely, sentimental show so this should've been right up my alley! I found that I liked that the storylines set in the past with Milo Ventimiglia/Mandy Moore and I liked the storyline with Sterling K. Brown's character and his birth father, but I just couldn't get into the other two siblings' storylines. It seems like a show that plays better when you binge it though, so I might do that when the season ends.

      And I think you would totally love Atlanta. I was so hesitant but then it surprised me more and more every week.

  3. yeah if sentimental is up your alley then I would give it another shot for sure. I'm a huge Friday Night Lights fan and This Is Us gives me a lot of the same sweet family moment feelings that FNL did.

  4. Alright after about a month's work, the final draft of my list is up:

    I'll comment more about each of your entries in the near future, just putting this out there for now.