This is an overview of my favourites among the TV shows I watched this year. They didn’t necessarily come out in 2016, but I’m a binge watcher. This is not necessarily in order. I will also indicate if the show is on Netflix or HBO or where you can see if I can remember.
- You’re the Worst
This is a romantic comedy for people who don’t like romantic comedies. It’s about horrible people and it’s just the best thing. It’s about Jimmy, a British author who has written one book and is struggling to write the next one. He is rude and “tells it like it is,” basically insulting everyone. He meets Gretchen, who is a publicist for a rap trio who is a walking ball of chaos. They hook up, planning to never see each other again, and then they just… keep hanging out. It’s beautiful and sweet, and hilarious. The secondary characters are hilarious. Jimmy’s roommate is Edgar, a veteran with severe PTSD. He is incredibly portrayed. The jokes are never making him the butt of the joke. In season 2 they deal with Gretchen’s clinical depression and Jimmy’s inability to cope with his girlfriend being severely depressed and it’s absolutely incredible. Season 1 and 2 are on Netflix.
- The People vs O.J. Simpson
The People vs. O.J. Simpson is a drama show about the O.J. Simpson trial from the 90s after O.J. (allegedly) killed Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. The show is incredible, the acing is wonderful; Sarah Poulson is magic on two legs. Cuba Gooding Jr. does an incredible job. Sterling K. Brown is just… so good. It’s great. There is obviously also silliness. O.J. Simpson’s best friend was Rob Kardashian, and the Kardashian kids are in the show a lot more than they would probably be if it hadn’t been for Keeping up with the Kardashians. David Schwimmer did a good job of being Kardashian, even if he got a slightly silly job. It was fascinating to see how the case was handled, and I don’t see how he could ever be acquitted. It was so fascinating. Because I was obviously alive when the case happened, but I was too young to know much about it. So this was a good primer.
- Stranger Things
Obviously I was going to mention Stranger Things. It’s like the show of the year. I loved it so much. I love things from the 80s more than I can explain. I love eighties movies and shows, so much. And this was so in my wheelhouse. If you have somehow missed it Stranger Things is about a young boy named Will Byers who disappears one night, and then his friends try to find him. They meet a girl called Eleven, who is telekinetic, and who is the most badass character on the planet. The story is amazing, the feel of it is incredible, the actors; oh my God, the child actors are amazing. The adult actors are astounding, look at you Winona Ryder. It’s so good. It’s only 8 episodes, and I need more. This is a Netflix original.
Rectify is the slowest TV show I watched this year. It’s just, so slow. Basically I watched Making a Murderer and needed instantly to watch more shows that talked about the same thing. Rectify is a drama about a man named Daniel Holden who has been on Death Row for about 20 years for raping and murdering his girlfriend. He is then let out on a technicality and the police try to find new evidence and Daniel tries to go back to normal life. It’s so beautiful. It’s a Southern Gothic and I love that aesthetic. I loved the way Daniel tried to cope with returning to his old house where his family has obviously moved on, except have they? The first season is 6 episodes long I think and it only shows one week of Daniel’s life. It’s that slow. It’s astounding. Season 1 to 3 is on Netflix.
- Game of Thrones season 6
I was really annoyed with season five of Game of Thrones and all the weird creepy shit that went on. The sixth season was incredible. It had low points obviously, but the high points were amazing. I think the writers are both well served by, and hurt by not having source material. They could do what they wanted, but some episodes were really hurt by that too. The episode where we find out why Hodor is named Hodor was incredible. The battle in episode nine was great. The writers also clearly moving shit along and people are meeting and doing stuff and it’s dynamic and exciting and I want season 7 right now. This is an HBO show and is on HBO Nordic.
- Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
So I love Hitchhiker’s guide, I haven’t yet read Dirk Gently, but I have it. I was so excited and worried about this show, because I really hate the Hitchhiker’s adaptation from about 10 years ago. I don’t know how this stacks up as an adaptation, but it was hilarious. Dirk Gently is basically a manic pixie detective who runs around doing his thing. Elijah Wood is so grumpy and I love him. Farah Black has basically too settings; fucking badass and nervous wreck. There’s a fucking Corgi, who is amazing. It was weird, and I can see why people don’t like it, but it was hilarious and twee and English. And I loved it. This is a Netflix original.
- The Fall
The Fall is a serial murderer TV show set in Belfast and it focuses on Stella Gibson, played by the beautiful and wonderful Gillian Anderson. She is a DCI who goes from London to Belfast to do a review of how Belfast police is running an investigation of a murder, and while she’s there the murderer kills someone else. It’s one of those where you know who the murderer is the whole time, it’s not a who-done-it. It’s astoundingly creepy. The way they cut scenes of murder and sex, or murder and caring for your kid, together is so fucking creepy. I realize it’s the point, but I’m unnerved all the time. Jamie Dornan is amazingly awfully creepy. Season 1 to 3 is on Netflix.
Insecure is an HBO-show by Issa Ray, and it’s so good. It is based on Issa Rae’s web series Awkward Black Girl and is about Issa who works for a charity called We Got Y’all which works with minority middle school kids, and is in a long term relationship with Lawrence. Her best friend Molly works as a corporate lawyer. She has the career she wants, but has trouble in her dating life. It explores social and racial issues that relate to the black experience today. I love Issa, she’s insecure and awkward, and weird, and she’s strong and fierce. She’s also messy and self-destructive. Molly is strong and composed and incredible, and she complicated and a mess and all over the place. I love the side character, Frieda, who works with Issa at We Got Y’all, I identified strongly with her desire to be empathetic and inclusive, and not racist, and ends up saying just really weird, confused things. I loved this, I feel like I’m also in the demographic, of a young woman in her late twenties who isn’t entirely sure if she has the life she wants, it’s so good. And I’m excited for season 2. This is an HBO original.
- Making a Murderer
This came out in 2015, but I watched it in 2016. This is a documentary TV series about a man named Steven Avery who was wrongfully accused and jailed for raping a woman. He was released 18 years later when the right man was caught, and then he was arrested again for the murder of a young woman. The documentary looks at what the police did, what the prosecution did and what the defence did. How the police and prosecution coerced Avery’s nephew, a child, into giving testimony without his parents present, and how his lawyer colluded with the prosecution. It was so fascinating. I don’t know if Avery killed Teresa Halbach or not, but I do think police have a duty to do their job correctly, and you can’t use the excuse that the suspect probably did it to do whatever you want. I’ve listened to two different podcasts about this TV show. It’s incredible. This is a Netflix original.
- Lethal Weapon
I feel like the last two choices are typical guilty pleasure shows, but I have no guilt, they’re both awesome. Lethal Weapon is a movie series from the 80s with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. This TV show stars Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford and it’s absolutely delightful. It’s a buddy cop show about a middle aged family man who is teamed up with a self-destructive crazy man who lost his wife in a tragic accident and has taken up alcoholism and suicidal thoughts as a hobby. The actors are great, the show is pretty much exactly what you think it’ll be, which is great. I watched this on Viaplay, which is a Norwegian streaming service.
- Wynonna Earp
So this is a great show. I watched it over a weekend. It’s about Wynonna Earp, the great-great-grand daughter of Wyatt Earp. The premise is that she has to break the Earp curse, by sending the souls of the 77 outlaws Wyatt Earp, called revenants, killed, back to hell. Yeah, it’s great. She lives with her little sister Waverly, and is haunted by the loss of her father and oldest sister Willa. She gangs up with a US Marshal who is working for some creepy ass government agency, and the immortal Doc Holliday (friend of Wyatt Earp’s). It’s about as stupid as it sounds, but it’s also incredible. Wynonna is messy, and weird and confused and broken, but she’s a feminist badass who takes none of the shit. Waverly is strong and sweet and a research mage. The show turns the whole Bury Your Gays trope on its head, because this show has a lesbian who wears Kevlar, guys. It gave me Buffy-early-Supernatural-vibes and it’s my favourite thing. I loved it so much. Season 1 is on Netflix.