Friday, December 16, 2016

David's Best Shows of 2016

A few weeks ago Dean reminded me that it is time for our annual Best of TV posts. And I enthusiastically agreed as Dean and I like few things more than talking about television. Unfortunately, as you will see between this post and Dean's we are frequently (and this year more than most) talking about two very different TV experiences.

But don't worry. 

All you need to do is remember that I am right and (most of the time) Dean is wrong.

So, without any more set up or preamble, here are my Top 10 Shows of 2016! (And, YES . . . breaking with my usual tradition, I will be ranking them in reverse order this year, rather than in no particular order at all.)

Let's start with the one's that didn't make the cut in my list of Ten Best. Naturally, these are all great shows. But I had to wield the knife somewhere and this is where I started. As you can see in my actual list, I focused on shows that were new (and in at least one instance, shows that were new to me). You don't have to like it. After all, nobody is paying me to write this stuff.

But enough again. On with the show . . .

Game of Thrones is always good. And the 2016 season was really great in lots of ways. It broke free from the books and didn't miss anything. But GoT definitely doesn't need my help or promotional hype. I'll set it here in the Great Job area. [It was fine.--Dean]

Similarly, The Americans had another very good year. And while it DOES need everyone's help and hype, I have learned in November that I cannot make a difference in this nation. So, you go ahead and ignore The Americans if you want. You'll never know what might happen next with the most mysterious character on TV--Henry Jennings. [This not making your top 10 is monstrous. You're a real Paige.--Dean]

I'm not ranking Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt because it just didn't grab my attention in the same way that season 1 did. I liked it but it wasn't memorable to me. [Agreed.--Dean]

Similarly, I think Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is still good but not as good as its first offering. I think they really did spend all of their budget on that Love Kernels cactus video because things have seem diminished recently. I laugh more during black -ish than any recent episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. [I miss Greg. Crazy Ex was ranked so high on my list more from last season's offerings. (Which were still within the 2016 calendar year!) than this season.--Dean]

[Side note: I reluctantly could not find a way to fit in black -ish again this year. I have always liked this show. The return of Charlie helped a lot this season. He is to black-ish as Winston is to New Girl. Also the funny performance of Daveed Diggs helping me forget the many absences of Lawrence Fishburne.] [This is also a good show. Charlie is a necessary and vital part of the cast.--Dean]

Black Mirror--I just finished all of the Netflix episodes this afternoon and I can say that I really liked this series. My only regret? Sarah beat me to a Wicker Man reference in regards to the final episode "Hated in the Nation". [NOT THE BEES!--Dean]

Finally in my Super High Quality Also-Ran category is everyone's first season darling--Mr. Robot. Frankly, I spent lots of time this season being confused. The show is really well done, but is often just a muddled mess. [Stop making me agree with you. What is wrong with you?--Dean]

On to the Ranked Contenders!

Number 10 ARCHER
I binge watched Archer during the summer and early fall and found it to be really, really, really good. Now technically, I didn't watch the show while it was live in 2016, so maybe I'm bending the rules here. But it's my list and I can do what I want. I'm placing it at the bottom of my quality list to dispel any criticism you might want to send my way. And if you do? I'll just redirct all of that blame for this on Dean because he never told me that Archer was good. [First of all, this is libel. You'll be hearing from my attorney. Second of all, Archer did air in 2016 so I'm not going to stop you from including it.--Dean] [As if you COULD stop me!--David]

Number 9 LUKE CAGE 
I started this Netflix series when it dropped on the internet and then got mired in the second episode and took a really long time to recommit and finish the show. (I only did finish it last week.) But once the story really started going, I found it to be engaging and fun to watch. Still not as high a hit as Daredevil season 1 or Jessica Jones. [Daredevil is garbage. I liked this show until Diamondback took over the arc. Then I liked it less.--Dean]

Here is a very rare instance of Dean and I agreeing on our lists this year. But, sure, you may remember that when I posted my Fall TV Preview, I was decidedly lukewarm on the concept of The Good Place. But I wasn't ready then. I'm glad that I did eventually get ready. Besides, NBC has to figure out how to be a professional television network someday, right? [Look, NBC has a competent slate of TV comedies on its schedule now. It's turning the corner.--Dean]

Number 7 (a.) YOU'RE THE WORST and (b.) SEARCH PARTY
It's a dramatic tie for seventh place!
(Honestly, I miscounted in my first draft, so I had to find a way to justify squeezing in an eleventh ranked title. [Look I also miscounted and had eleven shows but I dropped Orange is the New Black out of my top ten list because I have principles. I had a funny joke about turning swastikas into windows and everything.. Ugh. This list is a lie.--Dean] And I couldn't bear to cut either of these shows. I've been a fan of You're the Worst for a while and even though it is a show that I can't watch with most other people, I always find the dialogue funny and the story dramatic. (And talk about dramatic . . . that ending to THIS season!) [For whatever reason, this season didn't grab me as much as other seasons have. I still enjoy this show though!--Dean]

And Search Party is my newest new favorite show--something that I only heard about a week-and-a-half ago that I caught up with via On Demand. Thank God for the fact that we live in a future world where there are no murderous robotic bees, but I can pick and choose my quality televised entertainment whenever I get around to it. If you don't know what Search Party is, give it a try. It's the best thing on the tbs network since the Braves had a decent baseball team in the playoffs. [1. The best thing on the tbs network is People of Earth. 2. I watched two episodes of this and I hate everything about this show and the people on it. This show made me dislike Alia Shawkat, which shouldn't be possible.--Dean]

Silicon Valley is another series that I caught up on all at once over the summer. But I'm not going to downgrade it like I did with Archer. It's just so good. All the characters are funny. I can't wait for it to come back on. (And it had made me mildly obsessed with T.J. Miller.) [Zach Woods is the best part of Silicon Valley--not T.J. Miller.--Dean]

Number 5 THE NIGHT OF. . .
Who knows what this show might have been like if James Gandolfini had not died and had played the role taken over by John Turturro. But I can tell you that I probably would not have enjoyed it nearly as much. I loved Turtorro's tortured, sad-sack, ultra-pragmatic lawyer--who wasn't surprised to see the transformation of Riz Ahmed's Naz character, but refused to give up on him whatever. The Night Of . . . was a far greater sequel to the Serial podcast's first season than its actual second season about Beau Berghdahl. [I haven't seen this but I can't imagine how James Gandolfini being in something would make it worse. James Gandolfini was great.--Dean]

The only reason I'm putting this here rather than in one of the final three spots? I knew the outcome going into the experience. But what an experience thsi show was. All of the actors were so good in their roles (even, I thought, Cuba Gooding, Jr.). And, to be honest . . . I remember the Trial of the Century. But I was too much of a mid-twenties college/grad student to really pay attention and care that much. So watching this helped me experience the spectacle sort of for the first time. [I don't care how good this show was. You couldn't pay me to watch this.--Dean]

Number 3 ATLANTA
This ranking of the top three is really hard. I like Atlanta a lot and I like Donald Glover tons and I really, really like Keith Stanfield's Darius character. And I also liked how there were enough weird "Twin Peaks" moments in Atlanta to keep you watching the edge of the screen. But . . . as good as it was, it didn't hit my personal sweet spots as directly as numbers 2 and 1. [This show didn't grab me like I hoped it would, but "B.A.N." was just a fantastic episode of television.--Dean]

It was the breakout hit on Netflix and it made Barb a name to remember. And it was like Goonies and it was like E.T. and it was like a short film that J.J.Abrams might have made in college. And the theme song was great. And it started a Winona-sance. And Lucas was a total angry badass in a bandana who gave no shits to anyone. And parts of it were filmed in Georgia. And all of my kids wanted to dress up as Eleven for Halloween . . . [I liked this show but 80s horror isn't quite my thing, so it didn't make my list. I can't bash this at all. How dare you.--Dean]

. . . but it didn't feature multiple interlocking timelines and it didn't have the knotty moral issues of being a maintenance worker of a sex robot Disneyland. And even though Winona did her best to chew (or maybe hammer?) scenery with Anthony Hopkins . . . NOBODY wears glasses like my man Jeffrey Wright. [I haven't watched this as I don't have HBO but I'm not about to bash Jeffrey Wright. Jeffrey Wright is awesome. Make worse choices on your list, David, so I can make fun of you some more.--Dean]

So, that's it!
Were you not entertained?!!! [Eh.--Dean]

(Only one of my top 10 is on mainstream television. Who am I becoming?) [Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.--Dean] [Nooooooooooooo! -David]

If you liked this, go check out DEAN'S version of this year's best TV shows. I know that I have some biting comments to say about his opinions and rankings.

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