Screen Rant’s editorial team has assembled to share their top 5 picks for TV shows in 2017 – both new and ongoing. It was a great year for vegging out on the couch, with the return of Game of Thrones for an eventful seventh season in the summer, The Walking Dead bringing the braaains once more in season 8, and lesser-watched but more cerebral fare like Black Mirror, Mr. Robot and Channel Zero. We also got a brand new Star Trek show – Star Trek: Discovery, which has fans eagerly awaiting the second half of the season in 2018.
The small screen was also overflowing with superheroes – from The CW’s ever-growing collection of DC shows like The Flash, Supergirl, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, to new shows like Legion, The Gifted and Inhumans. The Agents of SHIELD recently returned and found themselves rudely displaced in both time and space, and Netflix pulled New York’s heroes together to fight a new threat in The Defenders, as well as debuting a solo series for tortured antihero vigilante, The Punisher.
Related: The Best Video Games of 2017
It was certainly a busy year, and one that made it difficult to pick our favorites – but somehow, we managed it. Keep in mind that these aren’t necessarily the “best” shows – just the ones that kept us gripped, and will have us coming back for more next year.
This Page: Rob Keyes, Ben Kendrick, Kevin Yeoman and Sandy Schaefer
1. Star Trek: Discovery (CBS)
2. Rick and Morty (Adult Swim)
3. The Americans (FX)
4. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
5. Vikings (History)
Honorable Mentions: Voltron: Legendary Defender (Netflix) and Legion (FX)
This year I fell off of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead (but will binge to catch up soon) but other shows that had me gripped and excited came from the animation side with Archer, Voltron: Legendary Defender, and South Park joining the phenomenon that is Rick and Morty. And of course, nearly everything coming out of FX. I also really dug Dirk Gently and Marvel’s The Punisher on Netflix who I hope as a long future within the MCU.
The biggest callout, and I can’t stress this enough, is Star Trek: Discovery and how incredible this series is. It sits so far above expectations that it’s hard to even put into words how exciting this series is. From its cast to how it’s shot, to it’s adult and mind-bending narrative that shares interesting connections to the shows of old. This is my most recommended series of 2017 and of 2018. Easily.
1. The Leftovers (HBO)
2. Stranger Things (Netflix)
3. Star Trek: Discovery (CBS)
4. Twin Peaks: The Return (Showtime)
5. Doctor Who (BBC)
Honorable Mentions: Game of Thrones (HBO) and The Gifted (Fox)
Streaming providers and premium channels dominated my TV watching in 2017. I still DVR a few network TV shows; however, event mini-series and non-cable offerings provided the most rewarding (and binge-worthy) viewing of the year. The Leftovers wouldn’t ever be described as “easy” TV watching, but in 2017 it was absolutely the most rewarding for me. I was interested in The Leftovers from the beginning but fell off ahead of the season 2 premiere – only to return later and outright relish every single episode. It’s a bold TV series with magnificent performances, clear vision, and unparalleled intent. It will not be for everyone but, for viewers who never started (or quit) the show, it is worth finishing the ride.
In the shadow of a Star Trek film series that I have, overall, enjoyed, I wasn’t craving a new Star Trek TV show (especially one that would be locked behind a CBS streaming platform). If I was ambivalent before, I became flat-out skeptical when Bryan Fuller exited the series. As a result, I was downright thrilled to discover that Star Trek: Discovery wasn’t just a worthy extension of Star Trek canon, it delivered a thrilling blend of classic-series fan service and sharp reinvention – with a memorable cast of characters. Whether the show is able to carry that momentum forward into future episode sand seasons remains to be seen but the USS Discovery is off to a promising maiden voyage.
Stranger Things remains a standout and I was grateful for a return to the wacky world of Twin Peaks. Meanwhile, my ongoing favorite show, Doctor Who, delivered a solid sendoff season to a great Time Lord (Peter Capaldi) and cleared the deck for a fresh start (showrunner, companion, and female Doctor) that I could not be more excited to watch in 2018.
1. The Leftovers (HBO)
2. Mindhunter (Netflix)
3. The Good Place (NBC)
4. Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)
5. Twin Peaks: The Return (Showtime)
Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta delivered one of the best series finales ever with The Leftovers. But the final season of HBO’s drama was more than a standout finale, it was a fantastic collection of short stories that added up to that glorious conclusion. At times heartbreaking and blisteringly funny — Christopher Eccleston’s reading of “That’s the guy I was telling you about,” will never fail to elicit a huge laugh from me — the series has been an emotional favorite for three straight seasons. And with a tremendous performance from Carrie Coon, The Leftovers easily took the top spot on my list of favorite TV shows of 2017.
Other notable series include David Fincher’s Mindhunter, which put such a fascinating twist on the usual police procedural that it’s worth watching over and over again — provided you can handle Cameron Britton’s deeply unsettling performance as serial killer Ed Kemper. Meanwhile, The Good Place continues to live up to its title, while Halt and Catch Fire was second only to The Leftovers in terms of powerful finales. And any list in 2017 wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Twin Peaks, which, whatever you thought of it, still made for one hell of a viewing experience.
1. Riverdale (The CW)
2. Dear White People (Netflix)
3. Stranger Things (Netflix)
4. Master of None (Netflix)
5. Twin Peaks: The Return (Showtime)
Honorable Mentions: Star Wars Rebels, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Many of my favorite TV shows this year are highly stylized, yet focus on very relatable issues. Riverdale takes the charmingly goofy world of Archie Comics – a universe where 1950s archetypes can cross paths with everything from zombies to Predator – and turns it into a wonderfully ridiculous blend of teen soap opera, murder mystery noir, and B-movie influences that explores timely issues of family, identity, relationships – and most importantly, Jingle Jangle.
Dear White People adapted the look and style of the original movie – as well as its concerns about how racial politics shape our identities – to create an even more entertaining TV series about life at an Ivy League college where students seem to subsist on Whedon-esque banter. Stranger Things likewise dug deeper into the interior lives of its characters in its second season, broadening its standalone mythology yet still working as a 1980s/90s pop culture pastiche. Master of None also spread its wings further in season 2, delivering short film-like episodes that ranged from an Italian Neorealism love letter to the best coming-out narrative in recent memory.
Finally, in a year as crazy as 2017, it was easy to relate to Dale Cooper/Dougie Jones’ surreal odyssey in Twin Peaks: The Return – a TV revival that went full David Lynch in the most glorious way.
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