I have been meaning to write this up for a while but haven't found the time. Better late then never right? 2017 was a pretty solid year for TV. I haven't been doing these lists as often as I have for GOTY stuff but I do have posts from 2014, 2015, and 2016 if you are interested in getting a sense for my taste and how it has changed.
Before I dive into my 10 favorite shows of the year I do want to take a moment and say that Marvel's The Defenders on Netflix was one of the most disappointing pieces of entertainment I have ever watched. I had been eagerly anticipating this show since it was first announced way back before they even began filming Daredevil. Then the trailer came out and it was fantastic. At that point I was no longer even considering this show could be anything less then amazing. Then it came out and I saw it. Talk about being less than the sum of your parts. I cannot adequately express how disappointed I was as I sat through what ended up being an eight hour long wet fart. The Hand was not interesting in Daredevil, they were not interesting in Iron Fist, and they were not interesting here. Seriously, what the fuck happened? They had such an amazing cast of actors and they ended up producing such a mediocre and forgettable piece of bleh.
Anyway, now that I got that off my chest, below you will find my top 10 shows of the year. A link has been added at the end of each write up that leads to a YouTube trailer for the show in the event you haven't seen it before and want to find out a bit more about it.
10. American Horror Story: Cult
At this point I am committed to seeing this series through to the end. Season 7 was focused heavily on the 2016 election along with a look into a cult of economically anxious conservatives. This season was incredibly hit or miss and filled with highs and lows. The episode focused on recruiting cult members or the one that was basically American Horror Story: Saw were all pretty great, well paced episodes and some of the best this series has ever seen. That said, the season had some episodes that were a lot more uneven like the Zodiac killer one or the the one focused on Charles Manson. The show introduces and dumps plot threads at a rapid pace which is both a blessing and a curse depending on what the current focus is. It is nothing new to the series and anyone who has seen any other seasons knows what they are getting into at this point. The lack of supernatural elements was a tad disappointing but it is redeemed by having one of the strongest conclusions to a season yet. Trailer can be found here.
9. The Path
Aaron Paul is one of those people who seems like he should have blown up and made it huge but didn't. He was great in Breaking Bad and did a solid job in Need For Speed and The Path but no one seems to give a shit. Anyway, the second season of The Path was a solid continuation from season one as we journey deeper into the corruption of their fictional church. Every character in this show is a piece of shit in the most entertaining way. I want them all to fail and I enjoy seeing them each continue to dig themselves deeper into a hole as they use religion to justify their shitty actions. The super natural elements seem really superfluous at this point as I am honestly much more interested in the criminal acts going on. Presumably they are setting up some kind of crazy shit though and I am excited to see where they take the series next. Trailer can be found here.
The title matching up with its spot on my list is purely a coincidence, I promise. I loved loved loved the first season and I still think it is some of the best TV to ever have been put out anywhere. Season 2 is not as strong but is still pretty good. I was unfortunately not able to find the time to watch season 2 until after the shows cancellation had been announced. Needless to say that put a real shitty veil over this show as I watched it and I am positive it impacted my enjoyment. The main characters are as lovable as ever although I didn't care for some of the new sensates they added. The overall plot also got less interesting the more they focused on the larger global conspiracy. It is boring and uninteresting and a mistake to spend so much time on it. That said, the eight main characters and their sidekicks all continue to be fantastic and their interactions are the reason I continued watching despite the nonsensical main plot. Trailer can be found here.
7. Dragon Ball Super
The Future Trunks saga was amazing and they were able to keep that momentum going with the Universe Survival arc. The tournament of power has done a great job of making me care about characters other than just Goku and Vegeta. They even managed to make Master Roshi a legitimate badass again. I actually really like how self contained the episodes have been, with fights rarely spilling over across multiple episodes. I appreciated knowing that even when a particular match wasn't to my liking that there would be a new match the following week (except for that month they spent focused on Goku/Kale/Caulifa, not sure what the hell they were thinking spending so much time on that). They have introduced a whole slew of amazing characters that we will surely continue to see in fighting games for years to come. 2017 and I am still in love with this show and eagerly anticipating the next episode like I was when I was ten years old. Trailer can be found here.
6. American Vandal
Biggest surprise of the year by far. I did not see this one coming at all. A mockumentry about a high school student who is a accused of spray painting dicks on cars. It is an absurd premise that is hilarious as hell thanks to some great writing and some great actors. The story ends up having a lot of heart as well and I grew attached to everyone as the "directors" played detective and take the audience for a ride. By the end of it the show ends up being a pretty thought provoking piece on labeling theory. Trailer can be found here.
5. Stranger Things
Even though I felt like it was a step down from the first season it is still an incredible show that has some great characters and interactions. I loved the new characters added and Max is a great addition to the main crew although it did irk me how almost every character on the show treated her like shit. There wasn't as much suspense and mystery as there was in the first season, instead replacing it with a countdown to doomsday. The show had some really incredible pacing right up until the episode focused on Eleven. It is a great episode that is dropped in at the most terrible moment and completely kills all the momentum the show had going for it. Anyway, the character moments continue to be the best parts and Steve's interactions with the kids were the highlights of the season. Trailer can be found here.
4. Agents of SHIELD
That entire back half of season 4 was an incredible ride. I love reading "What-if" comics and creating an entire arc around one while still making it work with the overarching season plot was impressive. Gabriel Luna continued to steal ever scene he was in with his portrayal of Ghost Rider. John Hannah's performance was another highlight as the shitty character you can't help but love. Iain De Caestecker and Mallory Jansen were the MVP's of the season however, showing off an incredible range of performance. The first half of season 5 was also pretty good opting to set itself in space and doing all the shenanigans that that entails. The space scenes all look really incredible which is surprising considering the budget got cut this season. I have said it before but even after seeing the trailer for Infinity War, I am still way more interested in what happens to Coulson and his friends than I am in whatever the Avengers get into. Trailer can be found here.
3. The Punisher
Jon Bernthal has done an absolutely incredible job bringing the Punisher to life and making this crazed murder a sympathetic man. This is the tightest show Netflix has ever released and at no point did I feel it was dragging. It is brutal, violent and yet still manages to have a lot of heart thanks to Frank's relationship with the supporting cast. He is a character that loves people and being around them and yet continuously pushes them away and murders those who he deems bad. The ties to other Netflix shows are incredibly minimal which is for the best since it allowed this show to avoid getting that Defenders stink on it. This is the best incarnation of Frank Castle in any form of entertainment and I can't wait to see where they take the character next. Trailer can be found here.
I have no background with the source material but that did not stop me from completely falling in love with this misfit team of kids trying to uncover an evil conspiracy that their parents are involved in. Both the kids and the parents do a great job of interacting between and among themselves. It often times feels like two completely different shows, with one plot following the parents and the other following the kids. I found them both enjoyable though and thus loved it from beginning to end. The bulk of the parent sections were focused on character infidelities and human sacrifices. The kid sections on the other hand were one part teen drama, one part "Scooby-Doo with superheroes" which I loved (Scooby-Doo was favorite show as a kid). The effects on Old Lace are great and I appreciate them actually using a practical puppet for her. They actually managed to make a dinosaur a main character and have her not look distractingly goofy on screen. That is no small task. Trailer can be found here.
1. My Hero Academia
As you can probably tell from all the Marvel on this list, I really love me some superhero goodness. That said, the first season of My Hero Academia was just ok in my opinion. It didn't really grab me and I didn't really give a shit what was going on. I had no expectations for season 2 and it ended up completely flooring me. From beginning to end it had some of the best pacing I have ever seen in any TV show. Major plot points resolve in single 20-something minute episodes all while servicing a larger plot. But more than just the pacing, it is the incredibly likable characters that kept me tuning in every Saturday morning (made me feel like a kid again). The voice acting in the Funimation dub (yeah I saw the dub) and the animation were also top notch and matched the quality of every other aspect of this show. For those of you who don't know, both seasons open with the protagonist saying "This is the story of how I became the greatest hero of all time." It is an impressive thing for a show to straight up tell you "the protagonist is going to win in the end" and yet still manage to make you want to root for him. 2017 had some fucked up shit happening so I very much appreciated this hopeful, optimistic show. Trailer can be found here.