Saturday 31 December 2016

Shows of the year

Best new show: 


There is nothing I could say about this show that Shannon M. Houston at Paste hasn't said much better.

How we construct and then treat the other says more about humanity than anything else. Westworld is a show about violence - about repeated revelations about the darkest aspects of humanity.

Stranger Things

What about Barb? Problematic things, in dire need of queer and more diverse characters, but for now, a very enjoyable hommage to a lot of things that, if you enjoyed them, you will enjoy even more in this potpourri of Stephen King and Steven Spielberg. Three separate genre adventures that overlap occasionally, but mostly happen on their own terms - the kids, the teenagers, the adults, each doing their own part in conquering both personal and actual demons. 

Wynonna Earp

The hero we need, not the hero we deserve. The best thing since Buffy, perhaps better than that one good first season of Lost Girl, eloquent, wacky, made for US. Thank you Emily Andras, for everything. 

Master of None

When you realise at 28 or 29 that you really enjoy and love Broad City but your actual life might be this show. 


And then you have to remind yourself to take the next breath, and the one after that. 

That one episode of Black Mirror

There is genuine value in looking at the world and finding the deepest, darkest threads that will lead us to the end if we follow them, which we might as well do. If anything, 2016 is good proof that this path is as likely as any other, that there isn't any point anymore to asking people to distinguish between pessimists and realists. I've watched the previous seasons of Black Mirror, and it isn't hard to see how Charlie Brooker finds his stories, comes to the conclusions he comes to. But then... out of nowhere, out of a dark corner that you hadn't even considered before, a story like San Junipero comes along, which SOMEHOW ends the way it does, which somehow finds a path, a way, a glimmer of something entirely different. What if love. What if hope. 

Others: River, Undercover, The Kettering Incident

Best shows:

I'm so glad that the show has a set end date - in its fourth season, Orphan Black explored the full range of corporate interest meeting economic devastation and despair. It opened up its world and explored, with perhaps more eloquence than either Dollhouse or even Westworld did, what it truly means when sentient beings are corporately owned. It also, along with Wynonna Earp, buried the Bury Your Gays trope. Welcome back, Dr. Cormier.

Halt and Catch Fire

This show just keeps growing as it finds its feet - the leap between season one and two was massive, as if someone realised what they had in their hands and just set it free ('it' is the intellectual and creative chemistry between Cameron and Donna, and their constant struggle to protect their autonomy from hurt male egos).


Perhaps the best season of this show so far, an entire season themed intersectionality, which also showed up some of the shortcomings (But at least they are working on it), and a beautiful beautiful arc centred around Shelly Pfefferman.


I haven't watched the first season. I maybe will not watch the first season. 2016, the year where getting things right buys you a ticket straight into this column - and everyone on this show, at least in this second season, is gay. I would argue that Alex Danvers' speech was something we NEEDED, desperately, especially because maybe we thought we didn't, anymore. 

Others: Mr. Robot, Better Call Saul, Broad City, Humans, The Tunnel, Bron/Broen


Orange is the New Black, The 100
Saddest goodbyes:

Person of Interest

What if a network television show was a Trojan horse for a narrative about Artificial Superintelligence, about love between a father and an unconventional child, a love between partners, a love between Root and Shaw. This show is guilty of the same offence OITNB and The 100 committed this year - and nothing will ever fix that - but it also, somehow, a show that completely transcended what it started as, a show that fulfilled its potential, that had faith in all its best parts and allowed them to grow and prosper. More than that, it's a show that has both a good concept, an execution but also a feeling of family, of togetherness, of pulling off the unlikely happy ending without seeming trite. 

Others: The Fall (with a slightly disappointing third season), Fresh Meat.

2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 |

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