Peak TV has become even peakier. Yet it is that time of year to take the hundreds and hundreds of shows that aired in 2016 and showcase what I believe to be the best shows and strongest players of the year.
American Crime Story (FX)
When I heard that there would be a true crime anthology series coming from Ryan Murphy and the first season would focus on the OJ Simpson case, I was interested but worried. The case has been done and done and done many times in every form of media. However, one of Ryan’s talents is understanding the societal/cultural impact of major events surrounding the case and that’s where People vs. OJ shined.
Donald Glover shines in Atlanta and proves that he has much more to offer than just being Troy
from Community or Childish Gambino.
The Get Down (Netflix)
The Get Down is a fun, six episode half season about the formation of hip-hop in 1977 in the Bronx. Coming from Baz Lurhman this show more than shines. It gives you characters and the struggles they face trying to reach their goals whether it be individually or in a group.
American Crime (ABC)
American Crime became a show I would make sure to check into every week and pick apart everything it presented. The ability to intertwine many plot elements and how they are directly or tangentially connected to the core case is a testament to the quality of the show. In it’s second season, American Crime followed the investigation and fallout of a rape of a minor by his classmates. The kicker being that he and the classmates are in a high class, affluent, private institution and many kids at the center of the investigation are from money. The seriousness and lack of shock value makes this show a shining star and a must watch.
Sweet/Vicious follows the story of two college age girls who are students by day and vigilantes at night who fight the plague of campus sexual assault. The best description is ABC Family’s GREEK meets CW’s ARROW. The comedic, Kick-Ass style of comedy and fighting doesn’t overshadow the core premise of fighting against campus sexual assault and giving a voice to the survivors who are usually left voiceless. More to the point of the show’s success is the allowance of the journey of healing for the characters and a non PSA writing/story style that allows you to have fun while becoming invested in the well being of the two leads.
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee (TBS)
Full Frontal’s weekly coverage of politics has been the best thing about the election. Samantha Bee has been the true voice of the American frustration since the beginning of the show and her rants and “take downs” have been more scathing than any 15-20 minute Oliver segment.
Channel Zero (SyFy)
I wrote about Channel Zero for the UAP already but this show easily deserves more praise. A genuinely horrific show encapsulates fear of technology by literally making the machine the enemy and not a byproduct of the machine.
Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)
AMC’s tech drama has been criminally overlooked and is the network’s best player. With some of the best character dynamics and development in television Halt and Catch Fire is a cautionary, yet inspiring tale of interpersonal relationships getting in the way or being formed in the digital arms race.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW)
Original ideas in the age of Peak TV is hard to come by and none is more original and well executed as CW’s sophomore comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. This bright, ecstatic musical comedy has a song for everyone and a story you can become enveloped in. The second season walked in with a slight reformat (and new title sequence!) yet still remains pure as the first time you saw it. (BLAM!)
I was apprehensive about Underground as a show mostly because in an industry that is overwhelmingly white a show about slavery and the formation of the underground railroad might not be handled with the care that such a sensitive topic deserves. I was completely wrong and was enthralled in every episode that was presented. There were no excuses or leeway given to the actions of slave owners or other white people in the south. Keeping as much realism as a TV show can have Underground became one of the shows that 2016 needed and a must watch for everyone.
The Americans (FX)
The fourth season of FX’s best drama filled itself with what makes The Americans the best. With care and development of the characters, the cat and mouse chase between the government and the fan favorite Martha, and emotional moments that tear your heart out, The Americans is top notch with its writing and acting and a must see for everyone.