Faves from 2016: TV
So I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll likely blog roughly once a year. Which is fine, because that means I can fall right in line with all the other ‘best of’ lists that flood the internet at the end of the year. So here is mine from 2016, divided up into a few categories. But note that this is by no means comprehensive, largely because I do not have the funds / time to go to the movies or watch all the shows.
NEW TV SHOWS
Search Party: Why aren’t more people talking about this show?! It is the perfect blend of dark humor and suspenseful mystery. Plus, complex characters who are both obnoxiously self-absorbed yet oh-so-loveable. Plus, Alia Shawkat. Plus, one of THE BEST season finales I’ve seen since, well, Breaking Bad S3. WIN.
Atlanta: This show is downright brilliant. And hilarious. It breaks rules, bends genres, offends, surprises, and makes you think. Not bad for a humble 22-minute per episode comedy on FX. So much respect for Mr. Glover. That man can do anything.
OJ: Made in America: I was eight years old when the O.J. verdict was decided, and I remembered some of the more theatrical highlights from the trial: the glove, the white bronco chase, the early adoption of using DNA evidence. But what my elementary school self did not realize at the time was how this trial was much more than a show of a once-beloved pro-football player accused of murdering his ex-wife. His trial was really about race and racism, social mobility, fame, sexism, domestic abuse, politics, policing, media attention, and more. This account of what happened before, after, and during the trial is even-handed and captivating.
*Still so many I need to watch! Like Insecure, Mr. Robot, Night Of, The People V. OJ Simpson, The Night Manager, The Crown, Black Mirror, etc. HELP ME PRIORITIZE! What do I need to watch next?!
NEW SEASONS OF OLDER TV SHOWS
Transparent S3: I feel like I was watching a true work of art. This is a fabulous show in general, but this season was perfection – some of the best TV I’ve ever seen. It was like an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story: tightly constructed – not too much detail, not too little; parable-like at times, though never preachy; elegant in its portrayals of joy and mourning. These characters live very, very different lives from me, but – at the risk of sounding melodramatic – I see pieces of myself so clearly in each of them, it is haunting. Some of the episodes hit a nerve so much so I was left feeling like I had the wind knocked out of me… in the best sort of way. Phenomenal.
The Great British Baking Show S3: The best season yet, by far! The characters are so lovely and interesting and diverse and are willing to take risks in ways I hadn’t seen in previous sesasons. Nadiyah is forever my favorite. This show is surprisingly entertaining and heartfelt. Even if you don’t think you’d like, give it an episode and I bet you’ll be hooked. A splendid gem in the dark caves of reality TV.
Broadchurch S1 & S2: One word: STUNNING. The cinematography? Stunning. The acting? Stunning. The story-telling? Stunning. The characterization? Stunning. It’s suspenseful and moving and set against a gorgeous backdrop. And it is very literary in its delivery, which I love. Watching the trailer again now gives me chills. The Brits have got it going on, y’all.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend S1 & S2: Rebecca Bunch has slightly filled the Liz-Lemon-shaped-hole that was left in my heart when 30 Rock ended. The two women are similar in their “my life is a mess, and I am a mess, but I am funny in my messiness, oh, and I am also a feminist” shticks (though Liz Lemon was a little more dorky, a little nicer, and a little more mentally stable than Rebecca Bunch). This show is a breath of fresh air. It is incredibly clever and outrageously funny. I started to fast-forward through songs because I am generally not a musical person, but they are the best part of the show. Like this one. And this one. And this one. Rebecca Bloom is a genius.
Mozart in the Jungle, S1-3:
I adore Gael Garcia Bernal’s character, Rodrigo de Souza, in this dramedy about the New York Symphony. This show has its flaws, to be sure, but his vibrant, fairy-like, passionate, handsome little self makes up for any shortcomings.
*I still need to watch Better Call Saul S2, which I hear is amazing. I can’t wait.