2016 is over, finally, and although the year was universally crummy it did produce some outstanding television. Film and TV, as frequent viewers here may know, is a form of escapism for me. A way to leave whatever troubles me in the real world and get lost in some fictitious ones. This year there were a couple of shows, both new and returning, that I would return to week after week, or day after day if they were on Netflix, to get my dose of immersion. Going in fresh into 2017 I wanted to reflect on these shows and write about what I loved so much about them. So here are my favorite shows of 2016 (unranked)!
In the show’s first season The Flash proved to have a great script, well-developed characters with truly compelling story arcs, and special effects that are among television’s best. Season 2 proved to improve on all of the above whilst also introducing one of the best villains ever featured on a superhero show, Zoom. An antagonist who didn’t challenge Barry Allen physically but psychologically. But what I admire the most is the show’s truly diverse cast members who, throughout season 2, were not only given sufficient screen time but made an actual impact on the story. Now a little over quarter way into their third season, Cisco Ramon, Iris West, and Dr. Caitlin Snow (to name a few) continue to influence the world encircling Barry Allen making The Flash one of my favorite shows of 2016.
A show with an all black cast which’s protagonist is a bullet proof black man couldn’t be more appropriate in 2016 given the United States’ political climate. Representation is extremely important in film and television as it gives viewers, especially younger ones like myself, a sense of empowerment. Unlike other superhero shows, Luke Cage was extremely grounded. The eponymous hero doesn’t have god like abilities but quite limited ones that he uses to fight for the little guys. Luke didn’t fight for an entire city, but a block. Nor did he fight for a million people but a mere handful and it very much felt like he was fighting for you and me. The show was empowering, well-written, had a bumping soundtrack and is indefinitely one of my favorites coming out of the year.
Star Wars Rebels
This show that takes place in between the events of Episodes III and IV continues to amaze me. Not only does it add so much more to wonderful universe of Star Wars but it features a unique set of characters who you love to follow episode after episode. Rebels can be quite mature at times but also manages to be the kiddy, adventure Star Wars show that it is at heart. For that, along with an epic final two episodes this season, Star Wars Rebels is a well deserved entry on my list.
How could I have a list of my favorite television shows of 2016 and not have the Duffer Brothers’ Stranger Things? Practically everyone who watched this show either liked it or loved it and I was one of the latter. Personally I loved the performances by all the young lead actors, the homage paid to 80s sci-fi and horror films, and simply appreciated the story overall. It isn’t just one of my favorites but clearly one of 2016 best.
And also check out my review of it here……
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s bright color pallet, shock humor and down right hilarious characters proved to be a perfect show to watch in 2016, a year that universally sucked for many (myself included). Although Kimmy isn’t black, male or a teenager, she’s goofy, silly, immature and loves to help out people just like I do. So watching someone who resembled some of my characteristics for 7 hours was a pleasure of mine this year.
Orange is The New Black
Fans/viewers/critics have condemned OITNB for poorly representing minority groups while glorifying white lead characters and blamed it on the writing staff’s lack of diversity. But what they have mistaken for “poor representation” is in fact realism. OITNB isn’t exactly supposed to feature empowering stories but instead ones that mirror the harsh reality of American society. In season 4 the show does this wonderfully through a black American inmate who was wrongfully killed by a prison guard. What some condemned and labeled as a controversial character death was an unfortunate depiction of what occurs in our society. As for the empowerment aspect of the show, that comes from the cast members themselves. Never has a show included white, black, Asian, Hispanic and LGBTQ cast members who are given equal screen time and importance to the story making OITNB not only one of the most important shows of 2016 but ever created.
Check out my review of season 4 here …….
Creator Sam Esmail directed all 13 episodes this year and delivered some truly weird,unsettling, confusing television and I loved every second of it. Mr. Robot features outstanding performances, incredibly meticulous directing, and gorgeous cinematography. The care put into every passing second and frame of this show is unheard of on the small screen. Esmail has truly brought art-house to television and for that I can’t help but love this show. I know that the show’s strange, reality questioning, non-linear narrative is off putting and not for the average viewer but it certainly was for me. This list isn’t ranked but if it were Mr.Robot would top it.
Understand more about why I love the show here….
Game of Thrones
How to Get Away With Murder
What did I miss and what were your favorite shows of 2016?