This was another great year for TV with a number of phenomenal new shows coming out of nowhere and some returning shows proving they haven’t yet lost any steam. TV shows are a lot more time consuming than films so I haven’t been able to see all of the best stuff that came out this year but here I’ll rank the 15 shows I watched in 2017. The first few shows that kick off this list (especially the first two) definitely don’t belong on a ‘Best of 2017’ list but this is my list, they’re here, and they’re this low for a reason. But once we hit the top 10, they’re more than deserving of a top 10 placement as they’re all fantastic. There will be no spoilers for any of the shows on this list.
#15 – The Flash (Seasons 3/4)
The Flash is the series that I previously heralded as the best of the DC CW shows and I still stick by that claim….. but it has dropped significantly in 2017 to the point where I stopped watching the show after Season 4 Episode 2. The Flash just wasn’t enjoyable anymore, it was failing to bring anything new to the table and the way it handled the transition from the end of season 3 into season 4 made the events of the latter half of the third season irrelevant, which was infuriating. The villain of the week formula can only sustain the show for so long and the constant plot-lines of needing to get faster to stop another speedster have gotten old. And I know that finally the show has opted for a non-speedster big bad in The Thinker but even that isn’t enough to bring me to continue watching this show. The dynamic between the characters and some of the light humour is the only element still somewhat enjoyable but it isn’t enough to warrant coming back week after week. I can’t see myself ever going back and catching up on The Flash, I feel like I’ve seen it all before in the previous seasons and would rather put my time into better TV content.
#14 – The Walking Dead (Seasons 7/8)
Speaking of seeing it all before…. welcome to The Walking Dead where we have an eighth season which is progressing in a manner indistinguishable from that of its previous seasons. The Walking Dead seems to just be churning out the same storylines and character-centric moral dilemmas over and over again and it keeps trying to convince me to stop watching. And for a time I did, after Season 8 Episode 2 I didn’t come back for episode 3 as I just didn’t feel the urge to watch the show despite the ‘war’ going on. I waited all the way until the midseason finale was released, then waited for a day I wasn’t doing anything and binged the remaining 6 episodes. And by the midseason finale my thoughts were confirmed, it’s just rehashing the same twists as the previous seasons and it isn’t shocking anymore. I remember way back when The Walking Dead was week after week going toe to toe with Game of Thrones and actually providing some good competition, but now the fantasy juggernaut has left this show in the dust where it will remain until it eventually (hopefully) ends.
The performances I must say are still great across the board, despite the characters not really going through any interesting developments the performances from all involved are still fantastic. Along with some of the action sequences, the performances are basically the only definitively enjoyable aspects of the show. When the second half of season 8 comes around I’ll probably do the same thing and watch the first episode then wait until the season finale drops and binge the whole thing because at this point I’m only watching because I’m 8 seasons and 107 fucking episodes in.
#13 – The Defenders (Season 1)
The Defenders was a disappointment and mostly failed to live up to all of the build-up since the first season of Daredevil dropped. This was supposed to be the ‘Avengers’ of the TV universe where each of the superheroes who I enjoyed in their respective shows put their strengths together to fight a bigger evil. But it failed miserably as this 8 episode miniseries took its time to get off the ground and then failed to deliver on a big exciting finale. The middle few episodes are great, they are indicative of what the entire season should have been from the opening scene to the closing scene. Much of the season did feel very disjointed as at times it felt like I was following 4 seperate stories with each of the heroes edited into one show. But I must say, when the heroes do unite and begin fighting together it’s awesome and everything I wanted this entire show to be. Even just watching the heroes interact is entertaining as they all have unique and interesting personalities that clash a lot. In the end this wasn’t a bad show, I’d say the good just outweighs the bad but it could have and definitely should have been executed a lot better.
Check out my review of The Defenders (Season 1) here.
#12 – Iron Fist (Season 1)
Iron Fist Season 1 was the first Marvel Netflix series to be pretty widely disliked by the majority of the audience. Now I definitely had issues with the series but I still feel like it was a good show with a lot to love about it. There’s no doubting the fact that the action is fantastic and the variety of hand to hand combat sequences were very entertaining. The supporting cast are the best part of the film hands down, Harold Meachum (David Wenham), Ward Meachum (Tom Pelphrey), and Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) were all fantastic and had more interesting story arcs and character development than the titular hero. I loved the way their characters were written and the performances behind them were just as strong and convincing, if it wasn’t for their presence this show would have been a lot worse. The Iron Fist himself, Danny Rand (Finn Jones) I will say has moments throughout the season where she shows signs of intrigue and some sense of an engaging personality. But for the most part he’s just not that interesting of a protagonist, he contributes to the action sequences well but when it comes to the dramatic side of things it’s up to the supporting cast to deliver.
Check out my review of Iron Fist (Season 1) here.
#11 – Prison Break (Season 5)
(SPOILER FOR THE ORIGINAL RUN OF PRISON BREAK (Seasons 1-4))
For the longest time Prison Break was my favourite TV show of all time, it was the first show I watched every episode of and I fell in love with everything it had to offer. So when I found out it was coming back for a new season I was surprised to say the least, considering the fact that in the original run Michael Scofield died at the end. But despite any of my concerns going into it, I loved this season, part of that love comes from being a long time fan of the show but it really does offer an overall strong season. The toughest thing this had to overcome is not feeling like the same thing as season 1 and season 3 again and it didn’t. The way it dodged this bullet is by condensing the season to 9 episodes which is both the best change to the series and also one of the not-so-great changes. This allowed for a much quicker pace that focused on all of the big moments with very little downtime between events. But then again at times I felt it moved a little too quick for its own good, skipping plenty of potential for engaging character development that the new characters needed more-so than the old.
Seeing the returning characters was great and it did manage to emulate what I loved about the original run pretty damn well. The new additions to the story including the villains, the new prison, and its inhabitants I enjoyed watching and I overall had a very good time with this season. There are a couple of things I thought could have been done better but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Check out my review of Prison Break (Season 5) here.
#10 – Star Wars: Rebels (Seasons 3/4)
It wouldn’t be one of my lists without a Star Wars property somewhere on it right? Star Wars Rebels is presented as a kids show and there are a number of moments clearly there solely to appeal to the young target audience but there is also a lot of really cool Star Wars content that keeps me coming back. The tie-ins to the films in particular and the wider lore of the Star Wars universe are some of the more awesome moments this show has to offer. Whether it’s the presence of Darth Maul, Vader, Saw Gerrera, or even Mon Mothma seeing these familiar faces play a part in the story of these rebels is always a treat. This show continues to offer engaging season-long arcs most recently with the introduction of Grand Admiral Thrawn who is an awesome villain and is very different from other villains in the Star Wars universe. And the gang of heroes we follow are always entertaining to watch, their back and forth dynamics are great and development over the seasons is very compelling.
Now with the final season of the show coming to a close pretty soon everything is coming to a close and I honestly do not know how it is going to end. What will happen to characters such as Ezra and Kanan? Will they die? We know for a fact that both Chopper and Hera Syndulla survive the final season as Chopper appears in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Hera is mentioned by name in the same film. But the level of uncertainty surrounding the events of the remainder of the season has me very excited for what is to come.
#9 – 13 Reasons Why (Season 1)
13 Reasons Why is another series that dropped early in the year and blew up out of nowhere. It became one of the most talked about shows not only because of how phenomenal and gripping it was but because of the dark and very confronting nature of some of its content. One scene in particular is straight up unsettling down to the core, and it’s one of the reasons many people wanted this show off Netflix and wanted to prevent teenagers from seeing it. But I’m on the opposite side of things, I feel like this is one of the most important shows to watch as the content may be very distressing but it’s very real and needs to be addressed. And aside from that the show is just straight up incredible, the mystery element is very well executed and had me hooked the entire time. The pacing throughout the 13 episodes is unbroken and provides a smooth journey throughout. The performances from the two leads Dylan Minnette (Clay) and Katherine Langford (Hannah) are incredible and their relationship throughout the course of the story is an emotional wrecking ball. There is so much to love about this series and a must see from 2017.
Check out my review of 13 Reasons Why (Season 1) here.
Check out my SPOILER review of 13 Reasons Why (Season 1) here.
#8 – A Series of Unfortunate Events (Season 1)
Netflix’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ dropped way back in January of 2017 and what an incredible way to kick off the year it was. I enjoyed the 2004 Jim Carrey film but this series makes that film look like a pile of crap as everything about this adaptation is a tonne better. Sure it has the advantage of being able to dedicate more time to specific elements of the plot but it excels in many departments beyond that point. Neil Patrick Harris is the true embodiment of Count Olaf and literally transforms into the role to an unrecognisable level. He’s equally amusing and creepy and that can be said for the show as a whole. It has a very dark atmosphere and aesthetic and very quirky and stylised visuals in the vein of Wes Anderson’s work that instantly gives every scene a sense of character. Everything from the method of storytelling, to the characters, to the dialogue and comedy is all incredible and very faithful to the source material. When each and every episode ended I had the immediate urge to watch the next episode as it grabbed me early on and had me hooked right through to the final scene. I cannot wait for season 2 in 2018 and let the greatness continue.
#7 – Fuller House (Season 3)
Another year and another hilariously fun season of Fuller House is behind us and all I know is I need more of this show right now. Is it cheesy? You bet, but I love every second of this show, every predictable plot-line, and every joke, most of which get a good laugh out of me. This is very much my guilty pleasure pick on this list, not everyone is going to love this show anywhere near as much as I do but that’s fine. As long as Netflix keeps giving me more seasons I’ll be over the moon. As time has gone on I’ve grown to love pretty much every aspect of this show, initially I wasn’t too keen on Jackson but this season I enjoyed the character much more. Of course the cameo appearances from John Stamos, Bob Saget, Dave Coulier, and Lori Loughlin are a tonne of fun and when they show up it’s like a mini Christmas every time. There isn’t a whole lot to say about this show other than the fact that it probably deserves to be even higher on this list.
#6 – Alias Grace (Season 1)
I got to see Alias Grace around a month prior to its release on Netflix and I had to wait as long just to talk about how mesmerising and incredibly well made this damn show was. It stars the talented Sarah Gadon (11.22.63) and is based on the 1996 novel of the same name from The Handmaid’s Tale writer Margaret Atwood. The series is exquisitely written with captivating dialogue accurate to the 1800’s setting of the story. It is at its surface a murder mystery which plays out thrillingly over the course of its very compact 6 episode run. But when you go further into the show it is a deep character study looking into the life of Grace Marks and what a rather tragic one it was. Her journey through this story is riveting and every emotion Grace feels is expertly conveyed by Sarah Gadon who was brilliant in here. I really don’t want to give a whole lot away because the way this story unfolds is incredible and is best experienced first hand. At only 4 and a half hours of content there is no reason to avoid checking out one of the best miniseries’ of 2017.
Check out my review of Alias Grace (Season 1) here.
#5 – Game of Thrones (Season 7)
Another year, another appearance from Game of Thrones which went for less episodes than the previous season but excelled beyond it in a number of ways. Season 7 opted to go for only 7 episodes but that meant that the pace was quicker and there were more explosive moments packed together than ever before. Personally I love the change in pace, I don’t get worked up about how characters get from one end of Westeros to the other so quickly and just enjoy the fact that there’s less travelling to the battles and more of the battles themselves. The action here was bigger and better than ever before and I was on the edge of my seat with each passing episode. I was on holiday in Greece for a few of the episodes and even that didn’t stop me from checking out what would happen next. There were massive scale battles, we saw characters interact who we’d never seen on screen together, and just a tonne of awesome and shocking memorable moments. Now there is only one season left, 6 episodes, and it won’t be dropping until 2019 probably due to the amount of time needed to perfect the game-ending war that will go down in the final season.
Check out my review of Game of Thrones (Season 7) here.
#4 – The Punisher (Season 1)
The Punisher was the third Marvel Netflix series to drop in 2017 and it was by far the best of the bunch. This is Marvel’s bloodiest series to date which is fitting for the nature of the shows main character; Frank Castle, who deals with his problems in the most brutal ways imaginable. The action sequences in this show are all exquisite and each one feels unique with its own combat style, cinematography, and setting. This made for a number of fresh action sequences late in the season that were nothing like anything that was seen prior. Now where the action and the brutality is glorious, this show had a surprising amount of heart going for it. The exploration of Frank’s backstory involving his family offers some touching moments and gives the character some complexity beyond simply a murdering badass. The approach this series takes to having a villain, or not having a villain, is unique to the other Marvel shows and an approach I very much liked. Jon Bernthal is The Punisher just as Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool, he embodies the role and I can’t imagine anyone else playing the character as well as he did.
Check out my review of The Punisher (Season 1) here.
Check out my SPOILER review of The Punisher (Season 1) here.
#3 – American Vandal (Season 1)
Who knew going into 2017 that my #3 series of the year would be a mockumentary about the heinous crime of drawing dicks on cars…… This was by far my favourite surprise hit of the year as who knew a true-crime satire would be so fucking hilarious. What I adore most about this phenomenal series is that it works in two ways as far as enjoyment goes. On one hand this is ridiculously hilarious in the way it not so subtly makes fun of true-crime dramas but on the other hand, the characters take the solving of the crime so damn seriously that you actually find yourself wanting to know who drew the dicks. I was so riveted by this fucking show about penis graffiti that I couldn’t stop thinking about its greatness for days after. Within all of the satire there is some commentary about the morality of true-crime drama shows which I enjoyed as it doesn’t batter you over the head with it. Jimmy Tatro who plays the accused Dylan Maxwell is absolutely fantastic here and his dedication to selling the seriousness of such a crime is hilarious and impressive at the same time. This deserves this spot on the list as it is a must see original show from 2017.
Check out my review of American Vandal (Season 1) here.
#2 – Stranger Things (Season 2)
Well here we are, my #1 of last year is unfortunately my #2 of this year but that didn’t stop it from becoming my undisputed favourite TV series of all time….. (sorry Prison Break). Stranger Things 2 took everything that worked in the first season and built on it wonderfully and at the same time, took anything that may not have worked and eradicated it. The horror is more intense and terrifying in this season and the threat of impending danger is heightened greatly. The humour is built upon from last season and integrated very naturally. All of the wonderful characters are back and we see them undergo some further development and really they’re all just as loveable as before. This season gave us some relationships we didn’t know we needed and were all thankful that we got. We also saw the awesome introduction of some new characters including Sean Astin as Bob and Dacre Montgomery as Billy. There was not a second of this season I didn’t enjoy (yes, even episode 7) and as I mentioned above, this season cemented this show as my favourite of all time. I cannot wait to see where we go with a season 3 but I have all the faith in the Duffer brothers that they will produce an epic product.
Check out my review of Stranger Things (Season 2) here.
Check out my SPOILER review of Stranger Things (Season 2) here.
#1 – Twin Peaks (Season 3)
But as good as Stranger Things was, nothing this year came close to triumphing over the masterpiece that was Twin Peaks: The Return….. David Lynch’s auteurist triumph. Just as the original run of Twin Peaks changed the world of TV in 1990, this 2017 revival has done the same as there is nothing and has never been anything on TV as cinematic and as ambitious as what David Lynch has created with totally unhindered creative freedom. Week after week, part after part I was enthralled by what was being presented to me on screen and I never knew what the next scene would bring which made every moment feel new and refreshing. The pacing is very meticulously slow and drawn out to perfection by Lynch, the cinematography is stunning throughout, and the writing from David Lynch and Mark Frost is equal parts revealing as it is secretive. Every minuscule detail of this 18 hour feature is planned and executed to such perfection it’s safe to say there may never be anything like this on TV ever again. Part 8 for instance is undoubtedly the most ambitious and most incredible thing I have ever seen bought to TV and is an experience like none other. This show has not left my mind and I don’t see it doing so for some time……. and I’m perfectly ok with that.