In the year that was 2016, I actually wasn’t entertained that much. Well, the election entertained me for 5/6 of the year. And then I got my head dashed against a brick wall. So yea, other than Cubs games and the World Series, it has been a a dreadful, awful year. In between the disappointments and misfortunes, I have retreated to the darkness, and stared at that “black mirror,” as it were. To salvage some positive from those hours of wasted time, here are my top 10 TV shows of 2016.
First off, SPOILER ALERT. If you haven’t seen these shows, then sorry, but you need to GTFO. I gotta be me and write about them. Scan the headlines for the best shows and go watch them and come back, or don’t, I don’t give a shit. But I have warned you about spoilers, which is what the premier bloggers do. SPOILER ALERT. Kinda fun to say it. You say it. SPOILER ALERT. See.
10. Mr. Robot
This show mostly sucked, but the SPOILER angle was actually pretty cool. By that I mean the story was stupid, and nothing ever really happened, with most of the time in the show was spent zoomed in on the googly eyed kid with his annoying voice in the background telling you his crazy thoughts. The fun part is you don’t know what is real and what is just in his crazy mind. So you have to check the Internets afterwards to see what clues you missed, and figure out what actually happened and what it really means. That kept my attention, and it gets the 10 spot.
9. The Night Of
I watched this one because it was the Sunday night HBO show after Game of Thrones ended and Westworld started, and you gotta watch the Sunday night HBO show. Kind of a tradition at this house.
The Night Of wasn’t bad. Great coverage of how the justice system works, and how absolutely fucked you are to even be accused of a crime if you don’t have the money to hire a great lawyer. I don’t remember if the accused kid actually did it, but his life and his family were ruined regardless. Trump will only make it worse, I’m sure. God help us all.
Speaking of the Republicans only making it worse, Billions is about a super wealthy hedge fund dude making ridiculous amounts of money on insider trading, and the perverted US attorney trying to bring him down with the full force of the US government. Great stuff here, on many levels. Great acting by the hedge fund guy, who played Major Winters in Band of Brothers, one of the greatest series ever. So he pretty much saved the world from tyranny from the beaches of Normandy, through the Battle of the Bulge and on to the Eagle’s Nest. But now he is pretty much a fucker. Paul Giamatti plays the US attorney, so he is supposed to be the good guy, but he is a fucker too, and his wife his much to hot for him and that is never explained. But a pretty good show nonetheless.
7. Better Call Saul
Love this show. Better Call Saul is the back story for the lawyer from Breaking Bad, Saul Goodman, and the main drug dealer’s henchman Mike Ehrmantraut. Two of the greatest TV characters ever from one of the greatest shows ever, and now they have their own show. And the story is good, mainly revolving around legal cases and issues, so I get into that. Two thumbs up Better Call Saul.
6. The Americans
The Americans is about husband and wife Russian spies embedded in the US in the 80’s doing spy things, and meanwhile raising two teenagers. Absolutely fascinating, as their spy exploits threaten to destroy the family. In the last season, the teenage daughter watched her mom, the smoke Keri Russell, murder a couple of muggers who attacked them. Then the goody-goody daughter spilled the beans about the spy stuff to her preacher, so its only a matter of time before Bible guy and his pregnant wife get the Russian treatment. How will the snitch daughter react to that? Can’t wait for the next season to find out!
5. The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
Two OJ stories on the list, and both were incredible in different ways. This one was the fictionalized version focused only on the trial, with Cuba Gooding playing OJ, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro and the guy from from friends as Robert Kardashian. First off, I followed the OJ trial start to finish with every available moment I had, which weren’t many because I was working like 80 hours a week and had new kids dropping during this particular time in history. Regardless, I remember every moment from the OJ trial. Fascinating to see those moments recreated by actors. Just brought everything back, and brought it all to life. Really well done.
4. OJ: Made in America
Another great retelling of the OJ story, and for very different reasons. The story of OJ is just such a fucking great American story on so many levels, and this one captured it all with nothing fictionalized, because it didn’t need to be fictionalized. OJ’s rise to fame, the Rodney King beating by the police, the trial of the cops, the race riots that led to the environment that would lead to OJ being found “not guilty” as a big fuck you to white America, to the trial itself, to the monster that was OJ in the 2000’s, because we all knew he was a monster anyway, right. Better than any fictional story ever told, because it is all true.
3. This Is Us
Serious SPOLIER ALERT on this one. If you haven’t seen it, don’t read this, and go watch This is US.
Kinda sappy story about three adult siblings in present day, with flashbacks from the 70’s and 80’s through each show of the parents when they were young and raising the kids. The first show is epic, showing the three kids on their 36th birthday, but also what turns out to be their dad on his 36th birthday, on the day they were all born. Although I knew a twist coming, I did not see this coming at all. Just really well done, and now I am hooked.
2. Black Mirror
The third season of this series dropped in our eyeballs a month or so ago and I could not look away. Binge watched all of them because I couldn’t stop, and because Trump had just won and I was fucking depressed.
“Black Mirror” refers to our phones, TV’s, computers and screens that have taken control of our lives. (Turn your phone off and look at it. Get it?) Each episode is some warped reality based on our handheld technology, or some crazy future that may or may not be for the best. Every episode is like a stand alone movie, only about an hour long. My favorite of the new season is San Junipero, which really makes you question everything. It did for me anyway.
1. Game of Thrones
Kind of gave it away with the blog picture. The absolute best series of the year, without questions. Probably the best TV series of all time.
First, we are now past the books, so no one knows what will happen. That leads to all kinds of theories and predictions on the Internet, which is fun. See #10 above. Second, Sansa broke free of the maniac rapist Ramsey, and was plotting her revenge. Great to see her taking charge. Jon came back from the dead, and didn’t seem too affected by it. Still a moody fuck. Tyrion and Daenerys hung out, which was cool. The dragons actually mattered for a change. We got some back story on R+L=J. The Battle of the Bastards was absolutely epic in every way, with archers, giants, mountains of dead bodies, a last minute cavalry charge to change the tide, and then Ramsey being fed to the dogs, literally. Just crazy. And then the final scene with Daenerys’ armada on the way to Westeros with the dragons overhead. If you don’t have Game of Thrones at the number one spot then you don’t really know anything.