By: Bill Cushing – Jan. 2018
It’s that time of year again. That time when all TV people start thinking about the best shows that they watched over the past year. As usual, it was tough to leave some shows off the list, but here are my picks for the best TV had to offer in 2017.
Twin Peaks: The Return (SHO) – I struggled deciding whether to put this show on my list or not. While it was tough to watch at times, I also couldn’t take my eyes off of it. When it was good, it was very good. It had moments like nothing else on TV but, unfortunately, you had to sit through some frustrating moments to get to them and that’s what kept it out of my top 10. At times, it was mesmerizing, powerful, and beautifully filmed with a mind blowing ending. One thing’s for sure, it was an incredible viewing experience and I felt it deserved a mention of some kind here.
10. Sneaky Pete (Amazon) – Con-man Marius Josipovic (Giovanni Ribisi) is released from prison and assumes the identity of his cell mate Pete, conning Pete’s family who haven’t seen him since he was a kid. A well written and well acted drama series with some good suspense and humor mixed in.
9. The Path (Hulu) – The second season of this compelling drama about a religious cult called Meyerism, showcased the great work of Hugh Dancy as cult leader Cal, and Aaron Paul as the tormented former follower who is torn between his devotion to his family and his beliefs.
8. The Americans (FX) – The Americans penultimate season, definitely a bridge to the final season, was anchored by extraordinary performances by its lead actors Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. It’s the “slow burn” pace of this Cold War drama that makes it consistently one of TV’s best.
7. Stranger Things (Netflix) – Following up such a fun first season was not going to be easy, but what we got was a season every bit as good, if not better. This time there are even more ’80s references and a new monster in town.
6. Bates Motel (A&E) – A&E’s superb Psycho prequel’s final season brought Norman Bates’ descent into madness full circle. Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore’s work as Norma and Norman were two of TV’s best performances over the run of this series, and the final season didn’t disappoint.
5. The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu) – This chilling adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel was one of the major television events of 2017. The show swept the Emmys for good reason, including a win by star Elisabeth Moss for outstanding lead actress in a drama series.
4. Better Call Saul (AMC) – Michael McKean gave one of the best performances of the year in a season in which the conflict between brothers Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) and Chuck (McKean) boiled over with tragic consequences.
3. Master of None (Netflix) – The second season of Aziz Ansari’s wonderful series was even better than the first. Episode 6, “New York, I Love You,” and Episode 9, the Emmy winning “Thanksgiving,” were standout episodes.
2. Mindhunter (Netflix) – This new series about the founding of the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI starring Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany and from Executive Producer David Fincher, was so deeply addictive that it’s already been renewed for season two.
And my pick for the best TV show of 2017 is…
The Leftovers (HBO) – This amazing series was never about what happened to 2% of the earth’s population when they vanished into thin air. It was about the people that they left behind, The Leftovers, struggling to find purpose. The third and final season takes place seven years after The Departure and across multiple timelines. From Kevin’s adventures in purgatory to Carrie Coon’s enthralling performance and the show’s powerful character resolutions, this final season had everything you could want in a series. Great mysteries left open to interpretation, great acting, and characters we all felt for deeply. In the end, the story came down to the bond between two people: Kevin and Nora, as a couple of survivors struggling to let go of their past lives. It also gave us one of the great series finales in TV history. It’s so rare for a TV show to make you feel the way The Leftovers did. This was unforgettable, soul-enriching TV. I already miss it.
Just missing my list: Ray Donovan, Billions, Game Of Thrones, Homeland, Big Little Lies, Bosch, The Good Doctor.
Do you have any questions about TV? Email me at BillsTVTalk@gmail.com. I will answer all of your questions and will feature some of the questions I receive in a future column. For daily TV news, follow me on Twitter @BillsTvTalk and on Facebook at BillsTVTalk.