I’ve spouted off about my favorite movies of 2016, but I also watch a lot of TV, streaming and otherwise. And I’d love to throw my endorsements out for those shows as well. Hopefully, this means my favorites of 2016 get the attention they deserve. Again, I’ll make a point that I haven’t seen all the hype shows of 2016, Westworld and Atlanta being two that spring to mind as I write this list, but these picks were awesome this year and worthy of your attention.
So, without further ado, here is my top five favorite shows of 2016.
This is the newest chapter of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s spin-off show starring the revived Coulson from the first Avengers film. I’ll admit that this show has gone through its fair share of ups and downs. There was a period of time when I dropped my interest in the show completely; however, the latest season of this show brought me back in full interest and this new direction seems to be focused on individually subtitled stories starting with this one focused on Ghost Rider.
This show did for Ghost Rider what Daredevil Season 2 did for the Punisher: it created a fresh and compelling version of a character who has had big live-action flops in the past. If you can recall Nicolas Cage’s outing as Ghost Rider, you’ll know it wasn’t the best received film experience, though it was worth at least a Redbox dollar if you were a superhero fan. This version of Ghost Rider is complex and well done. Robby Reyes is an action packed character with real conflict, and he fits into the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. universe better than I would’ve thought. The ongoing arcs of all the characters in this season are exciting and natural, and it makes me excited for this new direction for Marvel’s only on-air show.
4) Luke Cage
Another two highly anticipated Netflix originals also came out of marvel this year. The first was Daredevil Season 2, and the second was this show, Luke Cage. This is the first adaptation of Luke Cage in live-action and the debut of Marvel’s first African American character in a leading role for the MCU. The funny thing about both the Netflix shows from marvel this year is that they both have far more inspiring first halves than they do second halves of their show, a trend I hope Iron Fist won’t share when it comes out next year. However, Luke Cage carried its flaws far better than the former.
The building of the community as a character is one of the strengths of the show. Luke Cage is a part of something greater, whether you want to admit it or not. His mere existence is racialized just as other prominent African American heroes such as Black Panther and so developing Harlem around him and dealing with his prominent position as a black man in a racially divided nation is a question that’s asked implicitly.
One of the most compelling pieces of the show is when the community rallies around Luke Cage in opposition of law enforcement looking for him, wearing hoodies with bullet holes. The show talks about how symbolic it was that Luke Cage was a black man that was bulletproof and his status as a symbol of resilience under extreme violence is what puts this show into my list. The show carries its important message through the compelling nature of its second act and ultimately delivers a hero that I love and want to see more of.
This is a show championed by and starring Aziz Ansari, and unlike many of my favorite shows, it’s not about magic or science fiction or super heroes. It’s a show about the everyday millennial experience. This show was the Seinfeld that I could actually care about. I’ve never watched TV so true to life with dialogue so natural that I had zero suspension of disbelief necessary.
This show is a period piece for the modern age that reflects who we are as a culture in perfect image. The shocking honesty is what really made this show come to life, and it brought me a whole new respect for Aziz, even when I already loved him from his stand-up. If you are a millennial, you owe it to yourself to check this out and if you aren’t, the show is just good on its own. Enjoy it.
This is a period piece and classic sci-fi story told in a small town in Indiana. This is a show written in the elegant stylings of R. L. Stine or Steven King. It’s a sort of casual science fiction, the kind that blends into our lives so well that you may well worry if it’s a true story and you just never knew it. But the style is what most set this one apart. It really immersed itself into an older era of TV from the very first credits scene. It’s an ongoing mystery that lives within the confines of story that shaped our generation growing up like The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Donnie Darko.
The writing and acting were compelling—but so was the timing. It comes out as nostalgia for these old movies is at a peak. Where people remember fondly the old shows that they loved and scream for reboots of them. This show was brilliant, heralding a new generation of focused and concise story-telling with its shorter episode count. I hope all TV can learn a lesson to give its story and get out so we can aspire to a higher quality of show than TV tends to churn out in our modern lives.
And here it is, my favorite show this year. Sweet Vicious is the story of two girls committing their off-hours to being vigilantes taking down rapists on their college campus—that the administration has been trying to sweep under the rug. This is one of the most satisfying shows to watch, seeing two girls beat and break a rapist’s arm is just the kind of justice I love to see. This is a brave show that doesn’t shy away from the big issues but also doesn’t propagate the disgusting nature of the crimes in a way that makes it unviewable.
I think the thing I appreciate most about the show is how much fun it still manages to have with its characters and plots even when dealing with such a solemn subject matter. The characters are real people that live and have fun, discuss love and relationships, but then also have this other business where they deal with pain and sorrow in the back of their lives all the time. Of course, with a show like this you can never do everything exactly right. I would be afraid of writing anything close to a hot topic like this because people on your left and your right will have criticisms about any step you take. But I think the story is important, and I commend the creator for stepping up to the plate to deliver this show.
This is the one I look forward to most each week, and I only hope it continues the high quality I’ve seen so far.
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