Best TV Shows of 2017
December 4, 2017 10:59 PM   Subscribe

 
The Good Shows...

Some of these seem like ages ago to me, it really does underline how 2017 has been like a million years long.
posted by Artw at 11:34 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Oh whew, The Good Place is on the list, which is the only show that matters.
posted by paisley sheep at 11:46 PM on December 4 [19 favorites]


I kinda loved One Day at a Time. I haven’t seen the last season of Halt and Catch Fire, but I kinda loved the past couple of seasons of that, too.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:52 PM on December 4


There's some great stuff in these lists, but I'm not thrilled about the description of a South Korean drama as filling "an affirmative-action slot." If some of the nicest things you can say about a show are that it belongs to an increasingly popular genre and this one happens to be short, maybe find someone else to take a crack at it? Or at find a better way to explain who will like it, even if you didn't.
posted by zachlipton at 11:55 PM on December 4 [15 favorites]


‘Stranger’ (Netflix) Full disclosure: this is an affirmative-action slot, recognizing the ubiquity and popularity of South Korean dramas. The murder mystery “Stranger” has less of the usual awkwardness and obviousness (yes, I know, cultural differences) and it has two other big advantages over most K-dramas: It’s only eight episodes long and it stars the immensely likable Bae Doo-na as a fearless cop.

But it's actually 16 episodes, the exact same length as most kdramas.

*goes to Netflix to confirm in case there are shenanigans like there were with White Nights when after Netflix bought the rights for international release, they decided to bizarrely only air half the drama, wait a few months, air the rest of the drama in two 8-episode chunks*

Nope, Netflix shows it as 16 eps.

Also, Stranger (aka Secret Forest aka Forest of Secrets) is well considered to be one of the best dramas of the year, at least in the international fandom, so it's a little insulting for it to be getting a pity "affirmative-action" (wtf) vote. I mean, sure, if you think kdramas are just goofy rom-coms, that's one thing, but this was a intricately crafted, tightly edited, mystery case that wove a cerebral story filled with well-plotted twists'n'turns.
posted by paisley sheep at 12:03 AM on December 5 [10 favorites]


Ha, I missed zachlipton's comment before I posted, but yes I definitely agree. Better to skip mentioning Korean dramas altogether than damn with faint praise, especially when it makes you look like you don't know what you're talking about.
posted by paisley sheep at 12:11 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Is this where we complain about what he left off the list? Well, to be fair, this was only released on Friday but I highly recommend Dark on Netflix. It's a German time-travel mystery that frequently gave me the chills. Verge review.
posted by AFABulous at 12:34 AM on December 5 [7 favorites]


How dare they bump Legion to runner-up status
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:05 AM on December 5 [14 favorites]


The Orville has revived the true spirit of Star Trek, as the name brand product wanders lost in these dark days of the franchise.
posted by fairmettle at 1:11 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


The Orville has revived the true spirit of Star Trek

Counterpoint
posted by thedaniel at 1:21 AM on December 5 [4 favorites]


Twin Peaks is arguably the best piece of art in any medium in a decade. The finale of Nathan For You was the best documentary in years. (Errol Morris called it "unfathomably great".) Nothing else on this list comes close to those two.
posted by painquale at 1:33 AM on December 5 [7 favorites]


The Leftovers. As great as Twin Peaks and The Deuce and Halt and Catch Fire were, The Leftovers. Nothing moved me quite like The Leftovers did.
posted by maupuia at 1:39 AM on December 5 [3 favorites]


I must have missed the episode of Halt And Catch Fire where Cameron changed as a character because right up to the final scene I felt like she was still as annoying. I was watching for Donna and Gordon .
posted by Molesome at 2:13 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that line about South Korean dramas is insulting and flat out stupid considering South Korea was ahead of the curve Hollywood has followed regarding involved long arc serial dramas. It's as much Hollywood finally caught on to what they'd been doing than their shows are somehow the outsiders. Korean movies are every bit as good as Hollywood's too. The comment is parochial racist bullshit.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:15 AM on December 5 [3 favorites]


This is the one and only time I'll ever write a "but how could they not include" comment but dammit, how could they not include This Is Us? I still have an onion moment when remembering the roadtrip to Memphis episode. Gulp.

Admittedly I've not seen any of the shows listed (the interwebs are far more interesting than 99.8% of tv shows on offer) but I'll take their respectful nod to the wonderful Sally Wainwright in lieu.
posted by humph at 2:20 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


How dare they bump Legion to runner-up status

AND Bojack Horseman AND the Handmaid's tale AND the Americans AND Better Call Saul AND Master of None...

The runner-up list is almost better than their real list (except for The Good Place, that show is THE BEST OF ALL TIME )
posted by Pendragon at 2:44 AM on December 5 [6 favorites]


How dare they bump...

God, tell me about it! This list fucking sucks!
Ok fine actually I haven't seen a third of these shows - but that they left out Legion at the very least... yeah, you can't have them all. At least now I know what to look for next.
Oh and no Tatort!? How how how how could they? *teen-level sigh of exasperation*
posted by From Bklyn at 3:51 AM on December 5


Stranger Things and Black Mirror are not on this list

I reject it
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:42 AM on December 5 [7 favorites]


No Legion or Stranger Things?

This list is dead to me.
posted by cooker girl at 5:04 AM on December 5


Really happy that Lady Dynamite made the list. Incorporating financial anxiety into comedy is new awkward ground to break and I adored how they showed that Maria and Scott were for real by having him be able to understand her pug when he talked to him.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:28 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


The Leftovers. As great as Twin Peaks and The Deuce and Halt and Catch Fire were, The Leftovers. Nothing moved me quite like The Leftovers did.

I want an annual show of Justin Theroux and Carrie Coon as a married couple in various settings and times, both of them fucked up and owning it and just loving the shit out of each other and also there are lion orgy boats occasionally.

Also I will go to my grave singing the praises of Mark Linn-Baker's performance on that show. He gave maybe the best TV monologue of the year.

No Legion or Stranger Things?

Stranger Things is very good, but it's a mark of how good TV is nowadays that no, it doesn't make the cut. Funny old world where a show can be that good and yet not even place. But Legion? Yeah. Kinda fucked that they passed on Legion. There's never been anything on TV like it, ever.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:33 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


A couple of the shows listed under International are Norwegian, one of which (Norsemen) is mainly a comedy/satire show. I'm wondering if anyone here who doesn't speak a Scandinavian language has watched it and if so how well does the humour carry over when you depend entirely on subtitles for the dialogue?

(I'm mostly asking because when I watch comedies in languages I don't understand, I feel like at least 50% of the humour is lost on me.)
posted by Dumsnill at 5:42 AM on December 5


Out of a seasonal spirit of generosity I'm going to kindly assume no-one's raving about Patriot only because they haven't watched it yet.
posted by Wrick at 5:43 AM on December 5


Metacritic compiles (among other things) top 10 lists from critics regarding this past year's TV shows. There seems to be less of a consensus as to what is best this year than in previous years, but they only have seven lists so far.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:43 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


I love The Orville!
posted by yoga at 5:44 AM on December 5


Oh fuck me, it was actually recorded both in Norwegian and English!
posted by Dumsnill at 5:48 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Why isn’t there any anime on this list

I do need to catch up on Halt and Catch Fire, though.
posted by Sokka shot first at 5:55 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Oh fuck me, it was actually recorded both in Norwegian and English!

At least with the version I tried to watch, it was only available in the English version, disappointingly.

Nothing moved me quite like The Leftovers did.

I made it partway through the first season but bogged down. The glowing reports seem to be more about later seasons, but I don't know if I have the stamina to make it through the early parts to get there.

Aside from the turd in the punchbowl review of the Korean show, I had the usual reaction of mostly noticing the absences. The author mentioned Gomorrah but dismissed it, whereas I would rank it higher than quite a few of the shows that were selected, for example. I do agree with the inclusion of Fauda, though.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:06 AM on December 5


No mention of Black Mirror? That's just strange.
posted by doctornemo at 6:12 AM on December 5


I made it partway through the first season but bogged down. The glowing reports seem to be more about later seasons, but I don't know if I have the stamina to make it through the early parts to get there.

It took them most of the first season to figure out that they needed to inject some humor and weirdness to balance out how heavy everything is. The first season is good, but it's hard for a lot of people to get through. After that it just gets beautiful and strange.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:20 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


There were no new Black Mirror episodes in 2017 - the most recent season was in 2016.
posted by Awkward Philip at 6:22 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Some scientist are now saying that the entirety of 2017 was a Black Mirror episode.
posted by Dumsnill at 6:23 AM on December 5 [31 favorites]


Metafilter: The entirety of 2017 was a Black Mirror episode.
posted by thedward at 6:30 AM on December 5 [3 favorites]


Huh. No Mr. Robot. That's puzzling.
posted by hippybear at 6:33 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Two of the best shows are still running - Peaky Blinders and Detectorists (on the same night!)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:35 AM on December 5


I need to figure out US availability of the new Detectirists. I expect it will just pop up randomly somewhere streaming.
posted by Artw at 6:38 AM on December 5


Valkyrien sounds like it was made for me, but I am too lazy to fuss with torrenting anything or figuring out how to legally acquire Norwegian TV, also who even knows if there's a dubbed/subtitled English version, but I want it. Life is pain.
posted by Stacey at 6:42 AM on December 5


Some of my own picks that weren't on this list:

The Young Pope - visually stunning, great performances, and a plot that didn't seem to care it was a TV show.

Gotham - this is the best it's ever been, and the cheese (ham and cheese, I guess) is definitely flowing. Also it has the best production design on TV given its relatively lengthy episode order, so I think it at least gets in with a technical award.

Riverdale - wonderful, soap opera-y, teen drama.

Glow - An excellent group of characters telling a really compelling story, with great physical and emotional performances by the cast.

Feud - world class performances by Sarandon and Lange, with beautiful visual work by Murphy. One of his best works in terms of story coherence, too.
posted by codacorolla at 6:50 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


In my opinion, Crazy ExGirlfriend has not been very good this year. It's gone from funny-ish to boring - and sad, but mostly boring.
posted by The_Vegetables at 6:56 AM on December 5


Historically, America has supplied the rest of the world with television shows.

Historically America has ignored the rest of the world's television shows.

Oh, yeah, NYT, sorry...
posted by pompomtom at 6:59 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Ooh, does The Young Pope count for 2017? I don't see many shows in the same years they air, but that one was exceptional.

I checked and one episode aired this calendar year, so I'm counting it and feeling good about it. Now I just have to finish watching Legion and maybe I'll have two if it is as interesting all the way through as the first couple episodes were.
posted by gusottertrout at 7:03 AM on December 5


Not a TV show but I just watched Aubrey Plazain Ingrid Goes West and she's similarly great there.
posted by Artw at 7:13 AM on December 5


This is the water, and this is the well. Drink full, and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes, and dark within
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:22 AM on December 5 [4 favorites]


That episode of the new Twin Peaks is the best thing on television ever.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:30 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


No mention of Search Party?
posted by saladin at 7:33 AM on December 5


My new favorites this year (though I haven't finished all of them):
  • Glow
  • Dark
  • Damnation
  • American Gods
  • Legion
  • Alias Grace
  • The Marvelous Mrs Maisel Seriously, everyone watch this show immediately, it is unbelievably delightful.
Returning shows with a great season:
  • Mr Robot
  • Travelers
  • The Good Place
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:46 AM on December 5 [6 favorites]


Reading the actual list I'm gland to see Humans - aka Bladerunner but in the English home counties - get a shout because it's been a great series.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:51 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Why isn’t there any anime on this list

Because it is a list for shows that are good.

When we get to discussing the worst of 2017, anime will have a chance to shine!
posted by betweenthebars at 7:52 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Careful now, this was a perfectly friendly thread and the mods have enough to deal with elsewhere.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:55 AM on December 5 [7 favorites]


I think you mean "Objection!"
posted by Molesome at 8:01 AM on December 5 [4 favorites]


The best anime of the year was me finally getting around to watching Baccano!. Oh and Amazon making Garden of Sinners available in the US again.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:16 AM on December 5


If I was going to make a list for this year, Recovery of an MMO Junkie would totally be on it, but my list would be very specifically a list not even just for someone who likes anime but specifically me, a woman who regularly played guys on multiplayer games. But that's what I love about TV right now? That there is a show out there that isn't just something intended to appeal to as many people as possible--I'm not stuck watching stuff just because everybody else likes it, there are shows that specifically resonate with my weird life experiences and they can coexist with all the shows that resonate with other people's life experiences. We're spoiled for choice for lists like this, the past few years. It's great.
posted by Sequence at 8:24 AM on December 5


Instead of asking why a genre isn't featured, give us your best of for the year in the genre. I'm sure a lot of people would like to add some breadth to their viewing but don't know where to start.
posted by mikesch at 8:33 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


I could see an anime show being on this list if someone very quickly produced an anime about why Legion isn't on this list before 2017 is over.
posted by thedaniel at 8:46 AM on December 5


[Unshortened OP link, for any wary readers, and/or for posterity]
posted by filthy light thief at 8:48 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Oh, how the hell could I forget to add Halt and Catch Fire to my list of returning favs? That show is spectacular.
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:00 AM on December 5


Twin Peaks was so much better than anything else this year.

Black Sails ended this year and while budget cuts hurt the last season it was a great show.

I'm going to miss Girls.
posted by edeezy at 9:17 AM on December 5


Recovery of an MMO Junkie is cute, but I think it's still running, and I have learned not to judge a series until it ends, or until the manga ends (thanks a lot, Usagi Drop). 2017 hasn't been a great year for anime. I enjoyed Re:Creators, but it wasn't fantastic, and Houseki no Kuni is pretty, but a little boring.

On the other hand, when it comes to terrible anime, Vatican Miracle Examiners is a mix of incompetent and batshit, and should easily top any worst of 2017 list out there, even lists about other things.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:24 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


I don't think I've watched 25 different tv shows this year, but I have a hard time believing that there were that many seasons of anything better than Bojacks multi-generational depression stab.
posted by lkc at 10:02 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Came in to say how much we enjoyed Glow and The Good Place in our house.

Somewhat off topic, Netflix just bought the overseas rights for one of the best reviewed Chinese TV show this year, Day and Night /白夜追凶.
posted by of strange foe at 10:03 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Yas, One Day at a Time!!
posted by latkes at 10:49 AM on December 5


I made it partway through the first season [The Leftovers] but bogged down. The glowing reports seem to be more about later seasons, but I don't know if I have the stamina to make it through the early parts to get there.

I'd say its worth it to push through the first season, which admittedly is a bit of a slog, to experience the full whiplash effect of the utter left turn the series takes in season two. (The change in opening credits and theme song alone are a 1000% improvement over season one.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:03 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


I nearly started watching Halt and Catch Fire on Netflix UK, then realised that it wasn't about the birth of Political Correctness but something to do with computers.

I probably most enjoyed series 4 of Line of Duty, which is name checked by the NYT and worth looking out if you can find it. You do have to watch the first 3 but that's fine as the second and third series are also amazing and the first series is pretty good.

I had no idea Norsemen was a parody, they should shoot their marketing person (or Netflix should up their game on 2 line summaries) because I got no inkling of that from the summary. I assumed it was a Vikings knock-off. (Vikings has been a bit of a diminishing return since about season 3.)

I play a lot of catch up as we don't watch live TV, so this list has thrown up some things to schedule which will hopefully be enjoyable in my future.
posted by biffa at 11:23 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Twin Paaks is the only show I care about.
posted by Theta States at 11:40 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


All I care about is the good place because it resonates so profoundly with pretty much everyone I know, as we are all just trying to get by while making friends in hell.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:50 AM on December 5 [7 favorites]


The fact that, unlike so many other MetaFilter “how dare they leave out” comment-fests, all of the “how dare they leave out” comments in here are valid tells us that we truly are in a Golden Age of television.* As acknowledged by the writer right off the bat, no way could anyone narrow the awesome depth and breadth of scripted entertainment currently on television to say that only ten shows merit being named “best” without doing injustice to at least twenty-five other shows.

*Which is nice, since nothing else about the age we live in is golden right now.
posted by tzikeh at 12:59 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Also I invite everyone here arguing for their faves to wander over to FanFare to discuss their faves in greater detail with fellow like-minded MeFites. (Warning: conversations tend to lag a bit unless an episode has aired within the past 48-72 hours)
posted by tzikeh at 1:01 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Sad not to see Mrs. Maisel on the list, though maybe not unexpected since it came out like a week ago. Now if you’re reading this, go and watch it. Immediately. It’s the best show this side of The Good Place.
posted by Itaxpica at 1:06 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


(I’m glad American Vandal made the cut, though - I passed on it on the Netflix home screen like a million times before I decided to take the plunge but I’m glad I did. If you followed - or were even tangentially exposed to - Serial or Making Of A Murder, or any of those, it’s a hysterically funny must-watch)
posted by Itaxpica at 1:13 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


So, The Good Place. I had an instinctive aversion to it, because it sounded like a fusion of two shows: Dead Like Me, which I hate hate hated because I despised the way it tried to manipulate things to make killing innocent people the Right Thing To Do, and Pushing Daisies, which I made half way through one episode before the aggressive tweeness drove me away.

However, it's not actually produced by Bryan Fuller, so I thought I should give it a trial given the reviews and set my Tivo... and the episode it recorded was called "The Trolley Problem" and I utterly despise all variations of the trolley problem or the lifeboat rules or anything else that sets up stupidly artificial reasons why you should kill people and feel Nobly Tragic for having done so.

So is there any reason I should actually watch it given the above, and if so, what is the least annoying episode to try?
posted by tavella at 2:01 PM on December 5


That... is very much not what that episode (which may be one of the single funniest episodes of TV in years, period) is about.
posted by Itaxpica at 2:27 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


It’s also an extremely linear (and highly character-driven) narrative, so you can’t really just jump in on any episode; you really do need to start at the beginning.
posted by Itaxpica at 2:28 PM on December 5 [5 favorites]


Crikey, I was about to ask if anyone had an opinion about American Vandal when I read Itaxpica's comment. I found it tedious and Not Funny. Not even labored-and-not-funny, just ... not funny. Now, GLOW: that was funny.
posted by scratch at 2:45 PM on December 5


No mention of Search Party?

is that good?

We sought it out when we figured out Thingie out of Lots-of_things is in it, but accidentally started the first episode of Season 2, and thought it was confusing and unfunny. Then we figured out our mistake, but have not gone back to have a look at S1E1.
posted by Artw at 2:49 PM on December 5


An editor got his hand on it, so the copy now reads:

‘Stranger’ (Netflix) The murder mystery “Stranger” has less of the usual awkwardness and obviousness of many South Korean dramas as well as another big advantage: It stars the immensely likable Bae Doo-na as a fearless cop.

...

Correction: December 5, 2017
In earlier version of this article misstated the number of episodes in the murder mystery “Stranger.” It has 16 episodes, not eight.


This correction and removal of the offensive "affirmative-action" line was brought to the attention of NYT TV editor Gilbert Cruz by the GQ News and Culture editor Chris Gayomali via twitter. Also the writer for that section of the review was Mike Hale, who was born in Korea -- which doesn't excuse a thing but makes me wonder what the hell he was going for in adding Stranger in the first place when it made him sound racist and ignorant about the subject matter.
posted by paisley sheep at 3:02 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


It’s also an extremely linear (and highly character-driven) narrative, so you can’t really just jump in on any episode; you really do need to start at the beginning.

Yeah, you can only watch The Good Place from the first episode.
posted by Pendragon at 3:51 PM on December 5


No mention of Search Party?

is that good?


Search Party's first season was great (also released in 2016), but I haven't caught up with the second. It's a take on a noir mystery using modern day NYC as its backdrop. The characters are millennials in a way that seems superficial at first, but becomes more about the emotional impact of living in a highly commercial and connected society, and they're also fleshed out in a black comedy sort of way as the series progresses. The detective investigation is really well written, but also becomes complicated in ways that diverge from a strict who-dunnit. Also super well acted and shot. I'd definitely recommend it for detective fiction aficionados.
posted by codacorolla at 4:00 PM on December 5


I mentioned earlier how misleading the little two sentence overview can be on Netflix. I came across an excellently accurate though not necessarily intentional one for a film called Security, starring Antonio Banderas.

"He was desperate for work -- and way overqualified."

Harsh.
posted by biffa at 4:18 PM on December 5


CATASTROPHE there I’ve said my piece.
posted by kat518 at 4:41 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Ooh is there more of that from this year?
posted by Artw at 5:03 PM on December 5


Yes Artw - Season 3 of Catastrophe aired earlier this year, and was fantastic (really dark, but amazing).
posted by fever-trees at 6:13 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


I still miss Downward Dog.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 7:57 AM on December 6


One of which (Norsemen) is mainly a comedy/satire show. I'm wondering if anyone here who doesn't speak a Scandinavian language has watched it and if so how well does the humour carry over when you depend entirely on subtitles for the dialogue?

Norsemen is filmed simultaneously with the same actors performing in English and in Norwegian, so you are watching the English version if you see it on Netflix (I think that's where I watched it). It's fairly hilarious. Very Monty Python-esque.
posted by urbanlenny at 10:53 AM on December 6


Oops, I see that was addressed up-thread. Still, hilarious!
posted by urbanlenny at 10:56 AM on December 6


...so I thought I should give it a trial given the reviews and set my Tivo... and the episode it recorded was called "The Trolley Problem" ...

I could not have hand-picked a worse episode for you to come in on out of context while trying to get a feel for the show.
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:38 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


The Good Place you need to start from the beginning.
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on December 6


Yeah - starting The Good Place with "The Trolley Problem" is like starting Mad Men with "The Suitcase."
posted by tzikeh at 6:00 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


Verging on spoilers but I really do love that there's an episode called that which has a you-know-what in it.

It's the funny show where we learn about ethics!
posted by Artw at 6:47 PM on December 6


Artw: It's the funny show where we learn about ethics!

I think you meant ethnics.
posted by tzikeh at 7:14 PM on December 6


« Older A Generation in Japan Faces a Lonely Death   |   Live forever Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.