2017 was a great year for television- it brought out some fantastic new series and I also finally got around to seeing/discovering some much hyped and underrated programs. As 2017 begins to approach a screeching halt, I’d like to take a moment to crown some of my favourite programs by their respective categories…drumroll please…
The best CW network drama goes to…
If I could only choose one network to view television programs on (how ridiculously of a first world problem is that?) it would hands down have to go to The CW (this is also assuming online streaming services like Netflix weren’t an option). I like a lot of varied television genres, but The CW hosts the majority of some of my favourite dramas. It is home to my teen nostalgia favourites (90210 and Gossip Girl), and sprung Riverdale into international fandom this year (more on that below).
Who would have thought that the freshman reboot, Dynasty, would take the crown for the creme of the crop.
I have grown to enjoy this drama so much that I actually skipped watching 3 weeks worth of new episodes just so I could binge them in a row as I quickly found myself captivated in the ludicrous and outrageously entertaining drama of the Carrington family. I never watched the original this reboot is based on, and frankly I don’t believe it’s necessary.
The Carrington family are wealthy, privileged, and powerful. In the first 40 minute episode, we discover an engagement, a wedding, an affair, and a murder. What comes next is a whole lot of drama, sex, backstabbing, scandal, and the best one-liner zingers since Blair Waldorf (I’m looking at you Fallon Carrington).
Already picked up for 22 episodes in its’ premiere season, I have high hopes for this drama to be picked up for a second season (despite receiving lukewarm opening reviews).
Worth a shout-out…
If you want to know how much I love Riverdale, look no further than my home page.
I’m quite surprised that I’m not dedicating this category to the Archie comics inspired drama, but somewhere along the second season Riverdale lost the plot and left me feeling confused. Fear not though, it didn’t come to a close second for nothing. I have a feeling that Riverdale will find its groove again in 2018!
The Good Place is crowned as the most unconventional comedy of the year
What do I define as an unconventional comedy, you ask?
Well, it’s quite simple. An unconventional comedy is one that doesn’t need to add studio laughter to set the mood (e.g. The Big Bang Theory) and doesn’t rely on creating laughter through stereotypes (e.g. Modern Family). I’m not hating on these series by the way, I actually quite enjoy them, but it’s not fair to lump all of these comedies in the same category as they simply aren’t comparable.
But what makes The Good Place so good that it deserves prime recognition within this category? Well, there isn’t any other program out there that has managed to make the concepts of heaven and hell, morality, right vs. wrong, and good vs. bad as comical and insightful as this program has.
This comedy sees a woman die while buying a ‘lonely margarita’ mix only to wake up in ‘The Good Place’ (heaven). The twist from the get-go is she’s really meant to be in the bad place, and must fight to keep this glitch undiscovered. It’s hilarious, heart-warming, intelligent, and all around the most brilliant original comedy of the year. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep this drama alive and well.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is stepping on its heels…
The Nine-Nine Percent still keep my spirits up and have me grinning ear to ear five seasons in. The situational comedy may not be as consistently original as it used to be, but it still deserves recognition in this category.
On that note, The Big Bang Theory is the sole champion and standout of primetime comedy
Studio laughter included or not, a program that has managed to stay on air for over 10 seasons with consistently high ratings is doing something right. This year, I found myself watching BBT again and genuinely enjoying it. There’s character development and most importantly plenty of laughter, and while I may not be consistently watching it, it is the only mainstream comedy I feel that is worth giving recognition to.
On the Musical Dramedy front, Crazy-Ex Girlfriend is granted the highest honour…
Okay so I know what you’re thinking, this shouldn’t be crowned as this is aired on the CW. However, you cannot compare Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to the likes of Dynasty and Gossip Girl. How many television musical dramedies can you name? To be frank this is the only one I can think of! But it is so brilliantly smart and funny that it needs to be recognised as a winner.
Now into its third season, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has managed to achieve what most tv can’t- it has created an open dialogue around mental health while still managing to remain a comedy at its core. Don’t be mislead by the title, mental health is in no way mocked in this series, it is taken head on through song and dance and is doing a fantastic job at crushing the stigma around mental health stereotypes.
Season 3 has been the show’s funniest yet darkest series yet, and it has also been it’s most important as we truly begin to see how Rebecca’s consequences unravel due to the state of her mental health.
The creme of the creme for crime-thriller drama category is prized to…
Drug cartel dramas weren’t really ever my thing…until Power came along. Despite being around since 2014, I didn’t get around to watching this until this summer, and I am so glad I did! The bonus of discovering it so late in the game was that I had 4 seasons of binge-worthy drama to catch up on.
Power focuses on, well, power. We see the struggles between the characters running the cartel and the federal agents fighting to put an end to it. To make matters more complicated, one of the drug ring leaders is having a steamy affair with the federal agent heading up the case against his cartel (talk about an awkward discovery). All of these characters might be trying to desperately cling onto their power and will fight at all costs to obtain it, but much of the plot reveals that what these characters really need to accept is how powerless they are to what’s happening around them.
This drama also deserves huge recognition for a massively diverse ensemble cast of African American and Latin American actors who are strongly developed and recognised.
I tip my hat off to Bloodline
Another crime thriller drama that strongly deserves second place, the Rayburn clan may have made their debut in 2015 but I really got swept into the mystery of the ‘why-dunnit’ in 2017. Also, you get to see Enrique Murciano play the good cop, whilst he plays an evil drug cartel leader in Power.
The black sheep of this royal family is crowned upon Friends from College…Underdog of the Year…
I have sent a fair amount of time trying to defend why I enjoy Friends from College- a series that received lukewarm reviews at its best and was swamped with an overwhelmingly negative welcome by viewers and critics alike.
That’s alright though, I’ve come to accept that this is a show that you’re going to love or hate.
I loved it, every episode, every joke, and every terrible decision made by all these childish and immature adults that no one should aspire to be. These characters may not be ‘likeable’ in the sense that you wouldn’t applaud their decisions in real life, but seeing them make one hopelessly bad choice after another was incredibly amusing.
This one gets the underdog award because despite the sour reviews, it got renewed for a second series!
Let’s get real with Below Deck, the reality king of 2017
Whether we’re talking Below Deck OG or its spinoff Below Deck Med, who would have thought that reality television’s next big golden idea was following the lives of crew working on luxury charter yachts. Perhaps it’s because reality television has finally introduced ‘real’ people that we can relate to.
On a very different note, the best science-fiction discovery of the year is bestowed upon….
I was very reluctant to watch this much hyped about series, mainly because I’ve never really been a fan of the supernatural/science fiction genre. If I do get around to it, I usually prefer watching the genre as a film. It’s not my first choice as a television genre, and one I wouldn’t ever imagine myself ‘binging’. Also, when a series is as hyped up as this one I often find that I am disappointed and confused by the buzz by the time I get to see it.
I was so pleasantly surprised that when, today in fact, I finally decided to give this show a chance. It is so brilliantly wonderful that I finished the first season today, and if it weren’t for work tomorrow I’d probably get a start on season 2.
All I can say is that you haven’t watched it already, what are you waiting for?! You won’t regret it…