We have once again reached the time of the year I like to call: List Season. Every news site, blog and podcast will give us their list of the best and worst from every category imaginable. I’m human so I look at some of these and compare them to my experiences. I wonder how much I have been influenced by the opinions of writers and podcasters. Did some of my enjoyment of Mr. Robot Season Two get drained away because of the many problems that Joanna Robinson of VanityFair.com or Jim of BaldMove.com had with the show? Maybe, but I still have Mr. Robot in my top five and any of my top five could be a number one. But there were so many top spot worthy shows this year. The highest show on my list that was not featured on any podcast that I subscribe to is Transparent. It is somewhat surprising that a show that wins so many Emmys is not talked about more. Is that because it is an Amazon show and the entire season is available for view on the same day? Could be but I’ve heard more talk about the Netflix show Stranger Things which I rank just below Transparent. We also may under rate some shows that have been around for years. Kind of like your favorite entree at your favorite restaurant. The new menu items come along and you forget about the Lobster Vindaloo. Can you believe I almost forgot to put Game of Thrones on my list! It’s winding down with only two short seasons to go but it is still one of the best. So here is the list of best TV shows I’ve watched in 2016. I only listed shows of which I watched every episode. So there are some great things out there I just never got around to seeing. To start here are shows that did not make my Top Ten but needed to be on the list.
15. Lady Dynamite – Maria Bamford stars as herself in this Netflix comedy that is based on her own life experiences. What sets this show apart from all the other shows is that a comedian plays a version of themselves? (Excluding Louis CK who created a Hall of Fame show that is in its own category.) It is the raw and sometimes hard to watch portrayal of someone questioning their sanity and place in reality. Lady Dynamite succeeds in being funny without making too light of the serious issue of mental illness.
14. The Americans - This is another under-the-radar show that keep producing solid seasons of TV. The theme of Self vs Tribe continues to be a driving force of the show, but this fourth season has Philip and Elizabeth diving deeper into the question of what is self.
13. Search Party – This is a surprise show for me. The only reason I gave it a try was the star of the show, Alia Shawkat, who I loved in Arrested Development as Maeby Funke. She does a great job playing Dory who tries to find herself while becoming obsessed with finding her missing college class mate, Chantal.
12. The Night Of – On the surface this show seem to be an attempt to dramatize all the “Serial” season 1 and “Making a Murderer” issue of how some people are underserved by the criminal justice system. But what makes the show good is the depth of its characters.
11. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – When faced with disturbing information we have two choses, ether cry or laugh. Oliver makes it so easy to laugh. I like that Oliver not just informs but suggests a positive call to action.