Thursday, 29 December 2016

Best of 2016: TV Edition


The year is wrapping up and that means I'm here to share a few of my favourite things from the past year. I'm going to kick things off talking about TV and a few of the shows I've been hooked on in 2016. Included are a few new arrivals, some oldies but still goodies, a couple of new to me shows, and then three shots that just didn't make the cut this season. 

What about you guys? Any stand out shows you'd like to share from 2016? If you are looking for even more TV show suggestions you can check out my post from last year with the 'Best of 2015'. Onto the picks...

Catastrophe
A British comedic gem! If you haven't embraced British comedies yet you really should, there is some great stuff (and a second entry further down this list!) Catastrophe is set in London where visiting American Rob knocks up Irish Sharon and then they fall in love and live happily ever after. Ok, not quite! Sure, it's a love story but there are many hilarious ups and down and they feel like a real life couple. There are two seasons out right now, both just six episodes long so it's an easy one to catch up. The third season is scheduled to be released in 2017 and I seriously CANNOT wait. 

Black Mirror
And yet another British entry on the list but this time it's a drama and not a comedy. Black Mirror delves into the dark side of technology and feels futuristic but also scarily current. Each episode is basically a stand alone with different plot lines and characters but the tech theme continues throughout the whole series. The very first episode will prep you for all the strangeness to come and the show will have you cringing, laughing and may just help cure your social media addiction (at least temporarily). 

Stranger Things
I feel a little stupid even adding this to the list because it feels like every single person and their dog has watched it. If you're the one person that hasn't jumped on the bandwagon yet you really should, and this is coming from someone who still hasn't made it through Game of Thrones. Netflix started out so strong with their original series (I'm thinking House of Cards and Orange is the New Black) but their more recent additions have been really hit or miss. Strange Things however is a big hit! There's a lot of 80's nostalgia incorporated into the show too and it's fun to pick parts from old classic pop culture. 

This is Us
The one and only network TV show that made my list this year. I have some old favourites that I still watch religiously (Grey's Anatomy) but This is Us is one of the few new 2016 shows that I've kept up with. It's very network and employs just about every single cliche you could imagine but it's also sweet and funny and charming...a nice contrast to some of the darker shows on the list. The show follows the lives of three siblings, their own lives and how they interact with their family. Some of the story lines are better than others (I would watch an entire show devoted to Randall) but the show works and I look forward to it every week. 

Fleabag
The third (and not final) British entry on my list....it's kind of a thing for me this year I think. I would call Fleabag a dark comedy; there are lots of laugh out loud moments but it also tackles darker subjects like cheating and suicide. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the lead actress and she is fantastic. There are these quick moments where she speaks directly to the camera and they work so well in the show. There's only one six episode season thus far and it would make a perfect binge watch over Christmas holidays. 


The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
The OJ Simpson case had quite the revival this year with both this show and the documentary 'OJ: Made in America', which will come up again on my movie list. I was still pretty young when the trial happened so it was all a bit over my head but I do remember sitting in front of the TV watching the famous car chase. The TV show is really when done and has a lot of big name actors in the mix; John Travolta, Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr, David Schwimmer, etc. I actually had a hard time with David Schwimmer who played Robert Kardashian but that's just because he will always be Ross from Friends in my head. Whether you know a lot about the trial or not, this is definitely a mini-series worth watching. 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Sometimes life can be challenging and you just want to curl up on the couch with a pint of ice cream and a good TV show....enter Kimmy Schmidt. It's light and fun and Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt will almost certainly brighten your day. I thought the second season was just as good as the first and both are available on Netflix. It seems like everyone is battling some sort of sickness right now and this is the perfect show to watch when you can't get yourself off the couch. 

Happy Valley
Last but not least we have (you guessed it) another British show! Happy Valley is anything but happy, it's intense and will keep you guessing. The lead character is wonderfully snarky and sarcastic police sergeant in a small, rural town tasked with investigating a string of horrific crimes. One thing about British cop shows that always gets me is how they don't carry guns! I'm so used to watching American TV and all their guns so it's a big surprise when an officer goes in with only a baton. All the episodes are available on Netflix. 


And I'm Giving Up On...
Those were the good and now for the shows that I quit watching this past season. You know how your PVR starts getting filled up and there's just certain shows that start adding up because you just never feel like watching them? That's what happened with these three. First up is The Blacklist. After such a solid first season the show took a turn for the boring and I just couldn't do it anymore. I took a long break from it during season 3 but did end up catching up in the summer. After it started up again in September I just had no interest in watching it anymore and it's now been deleted forever. The second show I gave up on was Quantico. I thought it was alright last year (first season) but it started dragging on by the end of the season and there are just so many other shows on my list that it got the cut. I'm finding more and more that those 20+ episode seasons on network TV are just too long and too big of a commitment. Finally we have a new 2016 that I tried to get into but just couldn't...The Good Place. I thought the whole concept (Eleanor gets sent to The Good Place after she dies but she doesn't belong there) sounded pretty stupid but I'm a fan of Kristen Bell so I gave it a few episodes to win me over and it didn't. The reviews for it aren't actually that bad so maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance, but I don't have any plans to go back and try again. 

One honourable mention to the one show that has redeemed itself to me goes to How to Get Away with Murder. This one sat on the PVR collecting episodes all season but I just recently caught up on all the episodes and I've totally been sucked back in...that Shonda! 


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