My Top 10 TV shows of 2017

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 12:00 AM Written by 

mindhunterEOY

So here's the thing about Top 10 lists in the PeakTV era: They simply can't be comprehensive because no one person has time to watch every scripted series, not when there will likely be more than 500 of them airing in 2017 when all is said and done.

My caveat for the list that follows is that these are the best series I've seen. Might be some that are better, but I didn't see them.

Read more after the jump. ...

Here's my list:

1. "Mindhunter" (Netflix): I wasn't completely sold on this show when I first reviewed it -- it gets off to a slow start -- but then when I watched the rest of the episodes, "Mindhunter" turned out to be an engrossing mix of psychological drama (why the killers killed), FBI politics and character drama, a unique blend even in this period of plenty of TV.

2. "Feud: Bette & Joan" (FX): Marked by excellent performances, film history and the challenges even powerful women faced in male-ruled Hollywood during the studio era, this one was both soapy fun and interesting social critique.

3. "This is Us" (NBC): No better cry will be had watching prime time than this drama that wisely backburnered the how-did-Jack-die? mystery this fall for digging deeper into the show's central characters.

4. "Trial & Error" (NBC): The comedy that made me laugh the hardest (and most) this year overlaid on a murder-mystery plot. What's not to love?

5. "Downward Dog" (ABC): Look, this was going to be a tough sell from the start -- a talking dog show? -- but what's most heartbreaking about the show's failure to win a second season is that it got so close. Ratings were better than expected and reviews were largely raves. "Downward Dog" deserved better and now it joins the ranks of "Freaks and Geeks" as another one-season wonder that should have lasted longer.

6. "Better Call Saul" (AMC): So much tension -- broken only by long stretches of silence that create even more tension -- on this "Breaking Bad" prequel that's so well written and smartly acted by a stellar cast. Just sad to see Michael McKean go if his character is in fact dead.

7. "The Good Place" (NBC): TV's best (and only?) philosophical comedy only got better in its second season, quickly moving on from a head-snapping first season finale cliffhanger.

8. "The Good Fight" (CBS All Access): A worthy successor to "The Good Wife" that introduced an interesting new angle -- an African-American law firm fighting for government contracts in the Trump era -- and strong new characters to join the holdovers from the CBS show. Can't wait for season two.

9. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" (The CW): The Rachel Bloom musical comedy got even more serious about mental illness this season and did it without sacrificing its wits or entertaining production numbers.

10. "Bates Motel" (A&E): Earlier seasons were a mix of great stories and B plots that seemed like filler. There was no filler in the show's final season as it raced headlong to its conclusion with strong performances from Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga, especially.

Honorable mentions: “The Americans” (FX), “American Gods” (Starz), “black-ish” (ABC), “Big Little Lies” (HBO), “Better Things” (FX), “Game of Thrones” (HBO), “GLOW” (Netflix),  “Great News” (NBC), “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu), “Legion” (FX), “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon), “Marvel’s Runaways” (Hulu), “Master of None” (Netflix), “Riverdale” (The CW), “Star Trek Discovery” (CBS All Access), “Twin Peaks: The Return” (Showtime), “Will & Grace” (NBC), “The Young Pope” (HBO),

I also ranked the best new series in a critics' poll at Uproxx.

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