Disorderly Top 10: Our favorite TV shows from 2017
It was a pretty wild year in TV so let's not waste any time. Here are our favorite shows from 2017.
David 10) Future Man - Season 1, Hulu
I know Future Man looks terrible, but you've got to trust me on this one. A hard-R comedy about a time-travlin' janitor risking life and limb to PREVENT the cure for herpes sounds like garbage but it's actually incredible. Give this one a shot.
Nick 10) American Vandal – Season 1, Netflix
With the explosion of ‘whodunit’ crime documentaries on Netflix, HBO and everywhere in between, it was nice to see a spoof of such a serious genre. I expected to enjoy it before I tuned in, as all the prerequisites for the joke were fulfilled by the watching of Making A Murderer, The Jinx, etc. I was, however, caught off guard by how invested I would get into the actual outcome of this fictional story. This was a joy to watch from beginning to end, and I can’t wait to see what the second season will include.
9) The Punisher - Season 1, Netflix
I'm a sucker for the tortured Frank Castle character and boy did Netflix hit that vein just right. I'm all for an indiscriminately rampaging Frank but Jon Bernthal's take feels much more like a spy thriller than a shoot 'em up. Punisher is the best of the Netflix-Marvel series and it's not close.
9) Fargo - Season 3, FX
Consistently one of the best shows on television, season 3 lived up to the incredibly high standards set by the previous two seasons. David Thewlis was an incredibly compelling villain, both physically repulsive (those teeth!) and intellectually intimidating. Ewan McGregor’s dual role as a pair of twins was an interesting touch. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Carrie Coon rounded out a world-class cast complete with the dialog and style trappings of the Fargo world. There are always subtle references to previous seasons, but it’s essentially a stand alone if you’re thinking about picking it up now.
8) Billions - Season 2, Showtime
Pitting Paul Giamatti's U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades against Damian Lewis's cocky hedge fund billionaire Bobby Axelrod, Billions creates an incredible dynamic where you never know who to root for. The two leads go to incredible lengths to ruin each other and somehow manage to one up themselves routinely.
8) Alias Grace – Season 1, Netflix
This was my biggest surprise of the year. I hadn’t heard much about Alias Grace prior to seeing it on my Netflix ‘New Releases’ and I’m fairly confident most of the people reading this still haven’t watched it. But you should. An absolutely tremendous performance from Sarah Gadon carried the show, but the writing was the true star of this one. I was blown away by the final episode, of which I can’t really dive into details without spoiling the experience for all of you. But trust me, this show is worth a watch for that moment alone. Plus it’s only six episodes long and, by all accounts, a stand-alone mini-series. Between this and Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood is having one hell of a year.
7) Stranger Things - Season 2, Netflix
Alright, Stranger Things didn't quite recapture the magic of Season 1 but that's no crime. Eleven and Hopper, Dustin and Steve, Dustin and Dart, we had some great bromances in Season 2. Noah Schnapp had a bit of a breakout season as Will Byers and we were left mourning the loss of Sean Astin's beloved Bob Newby.
7) The Punisher – Season 1, Netflix
As a guy who’s not super into the superhero genre, The Punisher provided a perfect alternative. While it was technically a Marvel product, the Punisher character is basically just super good at shooting stuff. This could have just as easily been a Bourne sequel. Despite mixed reviews from critics, I thought the tone of the show was perfectly captured. Violent and super dark, sure, but a perfect fit for Jon Bernthal’s performance. I was really impressed with Amber Rose Revah’s Dinah Madani and Ebon Moss-Bachrach’s Microchip. Both felt very complex and well-developed. And finally, Ben Barnes’ transformation throughout the season left me very excited for the season 2 follow-up.
6) The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Season 1, Amazon
Nothing about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel should have worked for me, but dammit, I couldn't stop watching. It's inconceivable that the same mind who churned out Gilmore Girls could produce something so fresh, but here we are. Rachel Brosnahan plays Midge, a dumped Manhattanite housewife who finds herself too good a shit talker *not* to begin a career in stand up comedy. It's great.
6) Narcos – Season 3, Netflix
Many were worried about how Narcos would carry on after the death of Pablo Escobar. Count me among the skeptical. It’s not that I didn’t trust the tremendous writing or production quality of the show, but when you remove someone as dynamic and compelling as Wagner Moura, you’re undoubtedly going to go through some hiccups. Well fear not! Season 3 was a tremendous follow-up to the Escobar days. Focusing solely on Javier Pena this year, the ‘bad guys’ are the members of the Cali Cartel and they are just as terrifying as you’d imagine. The navigate a relatively complicated political landscape with clarity and intrigue. The story is easy to follow without being overly simple. This is a smart watch but a worthwhile one. I miss Pablo. But season 3 was fantastic, still.
5) The Americans - Season 5, FX
It's sad to see such a criminally underrated show wrapping up in 2018, but alas. For my money, the Cold War spy thriller is the most tense 60 minutes on TV. The Americans does an incredible job trying to navigate so many themes, putting its cast of characters through issues you won't find anywhere else. Real life couple Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys deserve more.
5) Peaky Blinders – Season 4, Netflix
Since the first season, Peaky Blinders has consistently been on my list of favorite television shows. Lovingly referred to as the British Boardwalk Empire, this show is deserving of the comparison while standing as a completely unique product. The cast is second-to-none. Celebrated movie stars like Cillian Murphy (Thomas Shelby) and Tom Hardy (Alfie Solomons) deliver their best performances in the Peaky Blinders world. The likes of Paul Anderson (Arthur Shelby) and Natasha O’Keeffe (Lizzie Starke) give the show depth, ensuring that it’s not too top-heavy. And the overall feel of the show is just… cool. The only reason this isn’t higher on the list is because I wasn’t a huge fan of Adrien Brody’s cartoonish mafioso character.
4) Brockmire - Season 1, IFC
Brockmire might give Future Man a run for the raunchiest entry on my list. Hank Azaria plays a disgraced major league baseball announcer working towards a comeback after an on-air meltdown 10 years ago. Brockmire's on-going struggles are hilarious and depressing to watch as he takes a job calling games for the dismal Morristown Frackers. It's a pretty dark watch at times but it'll have you rolling.
4) Mindhunter - Season 1, Netflix
Mindhunter has a slow-burn creep that stuck with me long after finishing the show. That is to say that I watched it all in about two days. David Fincher just hits me the right way. Similar in feel to The Social Network, but where the stakes are murderous psychopaths instead of rich geniuses on the row team, I was compelled by both the heroes and the villains in this one. Perhaps that’s due to the blurry lines that define both roles. Holden Ford and Bill Tench play optimistic and ambitious FBI agents who struggle with their exposure to the criminals they’re studying. As they become more broken, the criminals themselves seem like sympathetic figures at times. You start to like a guy like Edmund (Cameron Britton) until you are reminded how twisted he really is. In essence, as a viewer, you become as conflicted as the agents themselves. Captivating stuff. A great series debut.
3) Mindhunter - Season 1, Netflix
You had me at "David Fincher serial killer show." The man proved he could he could handle the subject matter with his 2007 Zodiac but Fincher really got to sink his teeth into the 10-episode series. I think you can also draw some comparison between Jake Gyllenhaal's Robert Graysmith and Jonathan Groff's Holden Ford, who plays the perfect foil to Fight Club alum Holt McCallany as Bill Tench. In a show with plenty of great performances the standout might be relative unknown Cameron Britton as infamous co-ed killer Edmund Kemper.
3) Big Little Lies - Season 1, HBO
Let’s just talk about the cast here for a moment. Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Alexander Skarsgard, Adam Scott. Movie stars, the lot of them. And by movie stars, I mean A-list, adored by both the masses and critics, super talented, bonafide movie stars. Add in a gripping plot, one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard – in both television or movies – and the stunning visual backdrop of Monterey that only seems to emphasize the dark goings-on around town, you’re looking at a must-watch show. Originally billed as a mini-series, Big Little Lies has been renewed for a second season, largely due to the tremendous success of the season. While I liked the vague ending and the completionist in me was happy to check this one off the list, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for the sophomore outing. For now though, Big Little Lies sits as a near-perfect production. Tune in. Enjoy. And then buy the soundtrack, seriously, it nearly made my top ten this year.
2) Game of Thrones - Season 7, HBO
What else can you say about Game of Thrones? Season 7 was probably the most cruelly satisfying season yet, with death and revelations abound. 'Sure, we'll give you Little Finger, but we're taking a damn dragon.' We waited long enough for confirmation on Jon Snow's parents. This isn't Rian Johnson's Last Jedi. It's the most pirated show on earth and the only one I'll avoid Twitter for. It's appointment viewing and a damn cultural phenomenon. You should probably watch it.
2) Game of Thrones - Season 7, HBO
Looking at a number of top ten lists this year, I’ve noticed that Game of Thrones has been slipping a bit. This can only be explained away by one thing: we’re spoiled. GoT is a new movie every Sunday night, each as compelling as the last. The production value is literally that of a summer blockbuster and it’s just a television show. Unbelievable. The mythos of Westeros and Essos combined with the unbridled passion of diehard fans makes Thrones a fully immersive experience. It really does feel good to lean into the most popular thing on television. Perfect for watch parties and specialized group chats, I simply can’t get enough of this show. If season 7 was all a big set-up for the final season, I can’t begin to imagine what we have in store. Only one to go. I’m nervous, I’m excited, I can’t wait.
1) DARK - Season 1, Netflix
Here we are. Of everything I saw this year nothing resonated with me quite like Dark. Part crime thriller, part time travel drama, Dark is maybe the most uniquely enjoyable offering you'll find. It's a tough watch at times but you'll be hooked right away. Dark's payoffs and revelations are some of the most satisfying TV moments I've had in recent memory. If you can stand the subtitles try to watch it in German.
1) The Leftovers – Season 3, HBO
Let me be very clear. The Leftovers is my favorite show of all time. Unlike anything else I’ve ever seen, the cast, the writing, the creative direction, the visuals… it was all flawless. And as much as I adore this show, the final season raised the bar impossibly higher. Heading into the series finale, I remember being nervous about how they’d wrap it all up. After all, Damon Lindeloff is somewhat famous for dropping the ball on the Lost finale. Alas, he was vindicated. The finale was perfect. The show was perfect. I truly can’t praise it enough. I remember the feeling of anger as they were yet again passed over for key emmy nods, but screw the academy. The Leftovers is a masterpiece and everybody who watches it recognizes that. I have a feeling it’s popularity will only grow in retrospect. Future cult classic? Absolutely. I know I’ll never stop ranting about it. WATCH THE LEFTOVERS!!