This is an unranked list of my favorite shows of 2017. Mild spoilers follow for each listed show.
GAME OF THRONES
The production level of Game of Thrones has always beyond anything on television but this year the show really pushed the button and practically reached cinematic level special effects and action sequences. The conclusion of every episode was met with an incredibly choreographed and directed battle/fight scene – with the exception of the season’s finale which still saw a reanimated dragon breathe blue fire and destroy a portion of The Wall. Nonetheless, the clear deterioration in writing places this season just a freckle underneath the triumph that was season 4. A condensed season caused storylines to move unrealistically fast and caused some plot holes. Game of Thrones season seven has some flaws but due to the sheer scale and epicness it still managed to be a clear standout show this year. 2019, yes you read that right, couldn’t come sooner.
What I appreciated about Netflix’s Glow is that it isn’t filled with twists and turns, over-dramaticized moments or villians. It’s a simple character driven show about a group of women attempting to kickstart a wrestling show. When the funder/executive producer for this show is introduced, a pretty boy wealthy Californian named Bash, I expected him to be misogynistic douche but he ended up being an extremely down-to-earth guy. We also learn that a character is pregnant and I expected a whole arc about how this would hinder her personal life and chances at stardom, but instead she just gets an abortion. Glow avoids cliche story arcs, subverts expectations and, as a result, the show is extremely enjoyable because you never know where it’s taking you. While being straightforward and simple, Glow is quite funny, has a strong political voice and includes some of the best 10 episodes of television that 2017 had to offer.
What brought me back to Stranger Things this season, and I’m sure it’s the reason most fans returned, is the show’s characters. In Stranger Things 2 the threat is bigger and more dangerous, the special effects improved resulting in better action sequences than last year, but this season’s best component was easily the character dynamics. While learning more about the mythos of Hawkins, Indiana we are also fully engrossed with Joyce Byers and her relationship with Bob, the Nancy-Jonathan-Steve and Max-Dustin,-Lucas loves triangle, the unexpected yet much loved relationship between Steve and Dustin, of course Eleven and Mike, ande even the unique father-daughter relationship between Eleven and Hopper. My only quibble with this season is the seventh episode “The Lost Sister” which is pointless and completely destroyed the pace of the action packed last episodes of this season. Other than that, Stranger Things 2 was quite enjoyable and left me wanting more so I’ll be sure to return for season 3.
MARVEL’S THE DEFENDERS
Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist were finally united in this year’s The Defenders. Instead of quickly uniting the characters and throwing threats at our heroes, which would have easily pleased many comic fans, this show really takes its time to unfold the story across the season. The first three episodes re-introduce all four central characters and slowly intertwine their stories with one another. Other superhero shows, and even movies, sometimes force their heroes into conflict without writing in a true reason for them to fight. Because The Defenders is much more patient, each character has a clear cut motivation and justified reason to join the ancient battle between The Hand and The Chaste. While telling a well-written story, The Defenders also has some of the best choreographed fights scenes on all of television (just watch what I linked above) proving to be both a fantastic superhero show and one of 2017’s best.
What immediately stands out in FX’s Legion is how dissimilar the editing, directing and cinematography of the show is in comparison to the rest of television. With a style completely foreign to the platform the technical elements make the show quite disorienting but also perfectly reflect the fragmented mind of main character David Haller. The structure of Legion is that there is no structure. Aspect ratios randomly shift throughout episodes, the storyline isn’t entirely linear, sound entirely disappears at times and it may also try to emulate an old silent film. This FX show based on the X-Men Comics continuously pushed the boundaries of what television storytelling can do but unfortunately didn’t catch the attention of a mass audience. Nonetheless, Legion ranks at #1 on my favorite superhero shows list and is indefinitely some of the best television I have ever watched.
MASTER OF NONE
Thankfully this isn’t a ranked list or else I would have no idea where to place these last few entries because Aziz Ansari’s Master of None is too fantastic. Ansari, a clear lover of Italian neorealism films, understands that life doesn’t have a main character and never fails to depict the grander scheme of things in his show. The episode “New York, I Love You” deviates from Dev’s adventures and explores the lives of several other unique and relatable New Yorkers. In “Thanksgiving”, one of my favorite episodes of the show, Dev is present but the story mainly focuses on his friend Denise and her struggles with her family fully accepting her sexuality. This show is not exclusive to Indians or children of, but to all immigrants and their children, members of the LGBTQ community, people who are in love or have been, those who have laughed and cried, and hence anyone with a beating heart. Master of None continues to be one of my favorite shows ever and has got my attention for season 3 and all seasons that will come after it.
Mr.Robot Season 3 may have very well been the best show of 2017 and almost no one watched it – then again a show like Mr.Robot will never garner mass appeal because it asks for an extremely active viewer. Creator Sam Esmail somehow manages to introduce new characters, revisit old ones, fully explain mysteries from past seasons, and successfully pull off several twists without overstuffing this beautifully shot, thought-provoking, unpredictable 10 episode season. There are no standouts in this season because every episode is excellent in its own right. Season 3 takes off running in its premiere and doesn’t stop until the last moments of its finale. Esmail’s show is incredible and may one day hold the title of “My Favorite Show Ever”. Mr.Robot is amongst my favorite shows of 2017 and, depending on how many seasons are left, will undeniably find its way on this list in the years to come.
Did you see some of your favorite shows of 2017 or did I miss some? Let me know in the comments below!