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Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Top 17 Best Television Shows of 2017

17) Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
Season(s): 4 and 5
Created By: Dan Goor & Michael Schur
Starring: Andy Samberg & Andre Braugher

Brief Description: It is difficult for a network comedy to be funny. It's harder for it to be both funny and good. It's even tougher to be both funny and good for five straight seasons. Yet Brooklyn Nine-Nine has managed to accomplish the seemingly impossible. There's a reason the show was saved almost immediately by NBC after FOX cancelled it.

16) Black-ish (ABC)
Season(s): 3 and 4
Created By: Kenya Barris
Starring: Anthony Anderson & Tracee Ellis Ross

Brief Description: Blackish is another consistently funny and great network comedy that helps anchor a fresh a new comedy line up that includes Fresh Off The Boat and Speechless. The structure of the comedies is basically the exact same as when television started, but what makes them great is their perspective. By changing that slightly and seeing characters through a different worldview than your own, you get the rebirth of sitcoms.

15) Dear White People (Netflix)
Season 1
Created By: Justin Simien
Starring: Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell & DeRon Horton

Brief Description: My son was adopted in April, and I remember waking up in the middle of the night feeding him and rocking him to sleep as a watch an episode of Dear White People. It feels apropos considering this exactly the type of show I want him to watch before he goes to college. Based upon his hit Indie film, Justin Simien tells the story of different Black perspectives as they navigate college.

14) Crashing (HBO)
Season 1
Created By: Pete Holmes
Starring: Pete Holmes, Lauren Lapkis & Artie Lange

Brief Description: There are so many shows about the Stand-Up World because popular stand-ups tends to write what they know. However, we haven't hadn't such a realistic and modern look into this world until popular stand-up, former TV show host, and podcaster Pete Holmes brought it to life. I was a big fan of Holmes and his podcast "You Made It Weird" before the HBO show, and I'm an even bigger fan afterwards.

13) Superstore (NBC)
Season(s): 2 and 3
Created By: Justin Spitzer
Starring: America Ferrera, Ben Feldman & Mark McKinney

Brief Description: Pound for pound, I think Superstore is the funniest show on television. Created by a former writer of The Office, I have no idea why Superstore isn't considered as good, or better, than the NBC classics like The Office  and Parks and Rec. Carried by the charisma of America Ferrera and Ben Feldman, this NBC comedy is worth binging every episodes right now or waiting to watch it on a week-to-week basis.

12) Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW)
Season: 3
Created By: Rachel Bloom & Aline Brosh McKenna
Starring: Rachel Bloom, Vincent Rodriguez III & Donna Lynne Champlin

Brief Description: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend takes its title seriously as Season 3 explores the depth of main character Rebecca Bunch's (Bloom) mental disorder as her suicide attempt causes a correct diagnoses of Borderline Personality Disorder. I know this sounds like a bummer, but Season 3 was just as funny and good and sharp as the show's ever been, and the songs were on point. I find a lot of what ebbs and flows with this show are the songs, and Season 3 had some of the best to Let's Generalize About Men to Paula (Champlin) singing about the very first penis she ever saw.

11) Insecure (HBO)
Season: 2
Created By Issa Rae & Larry Wilmore
Starring: Issa Rae, Jay Ellis & Yvonne Orji

Brief Description: As you can tell by the Second Half of this list, shows that explore a new perspective, especially the Black perspective, are interesting to me. I find the show that did this the best in 2017 was Insecure. The show took a nice jump between its freshman and sophomore season and watching Issa Rae and Co. explore being a Black, female, Millennial in today's day and age was a delight.

10) Big Mouth (Netflix)
Season: 1
Created By: Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin & Andrew Goldberg and Nick Kroll
Voices Of: Nick Kroll, John Mulaney & Jessi Klein

Brief Description: Perfect blend of raunchy and relatable about the stories of a group of young boys and girls going through puberty.

9) The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Season: 1
Created By: Amy Sherman-Palladino
Starring: Rachel Brosnahan, Alex Borstein & Tony Shalhoub

Brief Description: I'm not the biggest fan of Amy Sherman-Palladino (i.e. I never saw Gilmore Girls), but I did love her dramedy about a recently divorced woman (Brosnahan) living in her Jewish New York bubble while trying to become a stand-up comedienne. Easy to see why this show swept the 2018 Emmy's.

8) Stranger Things (Netflix)
Season: 2
Created By: The Duffer Brothers
Starring: Noah Schnapp, Millie Bobbie Brown & David Harbour

Brief Description: I thought Season 1 of this show was a perfect self-contained thing that shouldn't have been messed with with a second season. Boy, was I wrong. The show managed to go deeper while also expanding this world. Plus, how good you not love the relationship between Steve and Dustin!

7) Master of None (Netflix)
Season: 2
Created By: Aziz Ansari & Alan Yang
Starring: Aziz Ansari, Eric Wareheim & Alessandra Mastronardi

Brief Description: I've never seen a show with worse acting and where the characters have awful chemistry with each other be this damn freaking good. It takes Aziz Ansari a long time to come out with ideas for this show because it's so personal to him, but when they do come, it's brilliant.

6) The Good Place (NBC)
Season(s): 2 and 3
Created By: Michael Schur
Starring: Kristen Bell, William Harper Jackson & Ted Danson

Brief Description: It's rare that any television nowadays has become "appointment viewing" nevertheless a comedy, but leave it to Michael Schur and The Good Place to be just that.

5) The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
Season: 1
Created By: Bruce Miller
Starring: Elizabeth Moss, Samira Wiley & Joseph Fiennes

Brief Description: This show moves me in such profound ways that I couldn't stop talking about its first season. It's certainly "good" by any definition of the word, but it's not fun or pleasant to watch. In fact, often times it's too bleak and depressing to watch. Yet I can't look away. A lot of what makes this show so compelling is just how prescient it feels and how the makers of this show have updated this 1980's classic for today's modern times in the Trump Era. There was definitely a lot of parts of the first season that didn't work, mainly the parts where the deviated from the book (i.e. the middle section of the show), but the parts that did work were so powerful, that I was rooting for it to win all the Emmy's. And it did!

4) Black Mirror (Netflix)
Season: 4
Created By: Charlie Brooker
Starring: Jesse Plemmons, Rosemarie Dewitt & Letitia Wright

Brief Description: Every now and again, there are these moments on Twitter where you list you favorite shows and movies. One of these Moments recently asked to list your Top 7 favorite shows. As I sat down to think about, really think about the shows I love, I realized that Black Mirror made my list. I tend to favor the shocking, compelling, and bleak, and this show captures all three. As each episode is its own stand-alone thing, there are plenty of episodes, especially in this Netflix version with more episodes per season, that I don't quite care for, but when the show is good, it's great.

3) Better Call Saul (AMC)
Season: 3
Created By: Peter Gould & Vince Gilligan
Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn & Michael McKean

Brief Description: After a lull in its sophomore season, Better Call Saul returned with a vengeance for its best season to date for its junior year. Sure this season brought the return of Gus Fringe, but what really made the show great was Jimmy McGill's (Odenkirk) relationship with Kim (Seehorn) and his brother Chuck (McKean). Better Call Saul was always the show about turning Jimmy McGill into Saul Goodman, and Season 3 really set the wheels in motion when Chuck recorded Jimmy breaking into his house and having the Bar Associated step in. But on a deeper level, the show exploring Jimmy's relationship with the ones he loved was the reason this season was excellent.

2) BoJack Horseman (Netflix)
Season: 4
Created By: Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Voices Of: Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris & Alison Brie

Brief Description: BoJack Horseman was always a nihilist show with a depressed and self-destructive main character, but at some point, its titular main character needed to get better after seasons of saying he wants to get better. Season 4 did that just without losing so much of the terribleness that made BoJack himself so funny and great. The show still dealt with loss and heartache with the death of BoJack's spiritual soulmate and former co-star Sarah Lynn and dealing with the decline of his mother, but also saw BoJack take baby steps to actually getting better.

1) The Leftovers (HBO)
Season: 3
Created By: Damon Lindelof & Tom Perrotta
Starring: Justin Theroux & Carrie Coon

Brief Description: The Leftovers is hands down the best show ever to air since Breaking Bad went off of the air, and its final season did not disappoint. Seven years after The Disappearance, Kevin Garvey (Theroux) and company find their way down to Australia to help find meaning in this grief stricken world. Stunning conclusion for a stunning series of television.