Having been at university for the most part of this year, most of my entertainment came in the form TV shows to distract me from essays and lectures. Because of that many of the shows on this list can probably be found on Netflix. Not only that, but it also made this list painfully hard to make simply due to the sheer quantity of TV I have consumed in 2017. That being said, I want to give a special mention to the shows that only just didn’t make the list, such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things and This is Us. I also want to give an honourable mention to Black Mirror, the new series of which I haven’t actually seen (due to the fact it hasn’t been released yet…) but that I’m sure will be at the top of this list by the end of the year. So, without further ado, here are my 10 favourite TV shows from 2017 (in no particular order).
1. The Good Place (S1&2)
The Good Place was one of my unexpected favourites of 2017, and one of the few new TV shows that without fail makes me literally laugh out loud. A good friend of mine (who is usually a very reliable source for good TV) had been recommending it for a while and for some reason I just hadn’t been too bothered. However, once it arrived on Netflix I thought I’d give it a go. It reminded me why I should always take her recommendations seriously from now on! The concept is by far the most original I have seen for a while; a woman winds up in ‘The Good Place’, a version of heaven, and quickly realises she definitely should not be there. She then goes about trying to learn ethics and how to be a good person in order to earn her place. If you want a quirky and original concept and story with quick-witted writing and twists and turns, then this is one for you.
2. Master of None (S2)
Aziz Ansari can literally never fail to amuse and entertain me. I didn’t think that he could possibly improve on the first season of Master of None, the comedy/drama giving poignant messages about life, love and family. This season had so many original concepts which made every episode refreshingly different. For example, the first episode is entirely in black and white, setting the scene of Dev’s new life in Italy making pasta. In an episode which received multiple accolades, we see Dev’s friend Denise and her family come to terms with her sexuality during multiple thanksgivings across the years. In another episode, which barely even featured any of the main characters but rather the lives of various people across New York, there was a whole section entirely in American Sign Language with subtitles. The whole show is moving, funny and thought provoking and utterly intriguing, and the second season is no exception.
3. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (S3)
What started as a light-hearted comedy drama with musical numbers has since evolved into something much more poignant. Now on series 3, the show has started really getting to the bottom of some serious issues surrounding themes such as mental health and family relationships. The characters are developed, the storylines unpredictable. However, the sometimes dark comedy and hilariously ridiculous musical numbers are still there such as my personal favourites, ‘I Go To The Zoo’, ‘The First Penis I Saw’ and ‘The Buzzing From The Bathroom’. This third series showcases the clever and intuitive writing and directing, which has grown with the show as the series have gone on.
4. Atypical (S1)
I must admit, I clicked on this Netflix original pretty much randomly after I’d finished Gilmore Girls for the 14th time and thought I should probably try something new. I am pleased to say I was pleasantly surprised. Atypical is a quirky coming of age comedy focusing the life of an 18 year old on the Autism spectrum. We get an insight into the protagonist’s thoughts and feelings through scenes of him at his therapy sessions which are scattered through the episodes. What was so fantastic about this show was not just it’s non-condescending portrayal of Autism, but also how that wasn’t the only focus. We saw the issues of other family members as well as how they react to him, and the result is a sweet, heart-warming and often moving show.
5. Big Mouth (S1)
How I wish this show had been around when I was going through puberty (although maybe it wouldn’t have been appropriate for me at that age). Capitalising on the success of adult oriented animated shows like Bobs Burgers, Archer and South Park to name a few, Big Mouth arrives and throws it’s hat in the ring. Based on creators Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg’s teenage years, Big Mouth takes a creative, educational and often lewd approach to puberty and growing up. It’s painfully relatable, and quirkily funny.
6. Bojack Horesman (S4)
While being an adult animation just like Big Mouth, Bojack Horseman is definitely by now in the big leagues. First starting in 2014 and now on it’s fourth series, Bojack Horseman is a dark and satirical comedy set in a universe where talking anthropomorphic animals live and love alongside humans. It is unexpectedly moving, and covers themes from mental health to alcoholism to asexuality to the price of fame. Along all of that, it is unbelievably funny, clever and at times utterly random.
7. Dear White People (S1)
Dear White People is another Netflix original based on the 2014 film of the same name. It follows a group of black students at a supposedly Ivy League American college which is mostly attended by white people. The main character Sam hosts a radio show where she discusses race relations on campus, and which catapults her to both fame and infamy amongst the students. The structure of the show was intriguing-every episode except the finale focuses on a different character from the group and shows their differing issues, needs and aspirations, as well as building towards the shows climax. The show itself and the marketing stirred controversy, but creator Justin Simien simply pointed out that the backlash merely highlighted the need for the issues raised in the show to be discussed more.
8. Blue Planet II (S2)
Narrated and presented by Sir David Attenborough, an undisputed national treasure, Blue Planet returns after it’s 16 year hiatus. Formed of 6,000 hours of footage from 4,000 dives on 125 expeditions across 29 countries. Blue Planet II had all the usual fantastic cinematography and heart-racing scenes, but this series also focused on the environmental impact humans are having on the oceans and seas. With a score by famous film composer Hans Zimmer, responsible for scores from projects such as Inception and The Dark Night, the finished product is astounding.
9. Mind hunter (S1)
Entering the running rather late on in the year, Mindhunter is (another) Netflix original about the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit during the 70’s. The show is based around 2 FBI agents and a psychologist who travel to different states interviewing ‘serial killers’ (a term that had yet to be coined) in an attempt to see a link between them all and be able to solve current crimes. Not only is the subject matter fascinating if you are at all interesting in criminal psychopathic behaviour or the FBI, but the cinematographic is also stunning and the shows characters interesting, engaging and ever developing. While not for the faint hearted, Mindhunter is a must for true crime lovers, with many of the stories in the show being based off true stories.
10. Glow (S1)
Last but not least, we have Glow, a Netflix original comedy about 1980’s female wrestling. Caught your attention yet? Good. The ‘Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling’, AKA Glow, is based off a true story, although the real people have made it clear that this is more of a loose inspiration rather than an autobiographical show, so take it with a pinch of salt. The show has seen it’s fair share of criticism, so it may be a surprise to some that it ended up on my list. While I admit that it is certainly not without it’s flaws, I still found the show a delight to watch. It is lighthearted (most of the time), amusing and fun and doesn’t really need to be much more than that. The story lines and characters were often ridiculous and yet I didn’t really care; it all added to the charm. With a second series promised to be coming very soon, now is the perfect time to catch up on this little gem of a show.