It’s never before been so hard to pick the 10 best shows of the year, as streaming services deliver strong short series on a regular basis, and cable and network TV have mostly kept pace with the quality. Some staple entries have dropped out of my top 10 not because they got worse but simply because they were supplanted. Here are 10 shows worthy of special mention even in this age of Peak TV.
It’s that time of year again for my list of favorite TV characters on shows that are currently airing or recently wrapped their season.
This week, “Atlanta” (10 p.m. Eastern Thursdays, FX) began its second season of being about nothing and everything. The episode “Alligator Man” opens with two ATL youths lounging around when one mentions that they can purchase drugs at a local drive-thru restaurant if they ask for the “No. 17.” We assume they are heading there to buy said drugs, only to find they are robbing the place at gunpoint. But the employee working the window is armed, too. Bullets fly, ending with a teen girl – unseen until that point — emerging from the backseat of the youths’ car, screaming. Cue the opening titles.
Here are my 10 favorite TV characters at the moment, as the traditional season winds down and the summer season begins:
These were my 10 favorite shows of 2016:
1. “Atlanta” (Season 1, FX) – Donald Glover’s brainchild is a crazy mix of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”-esque wry observations (Earn’s inability to order a kids’ meal), envelope-pushing storytelling choices (the pundit roundtable parody) and outright horrific violence (Earn witnesses a murder, then moves on like it’s just another day in the ATL). It comes together as an on-point – albeit still crazy — portrait of being a dead-broke young adult on the backstreets of a collapsing American city.
When I saw the lineup of new Fall TV shows, I thought it looked like the worst selection in recent memory: Lots of unnecessary remakes along with tired new shows that didn’t have hooks. I owe the Fall TV season an apology, because it has turned out to be the best in the past 10 years. Here’s a look at six standout freshman shows, in alphabetical order:
I put off sampling the first hour of “Atlanta” (10 p.m. Tuesdays on FX) for a couple weeks because I knew I’d have a tough time watching police beat up an unarmed man, which happens in the second episode of this ultra-realistic half-hour dramedy. Indeed, it is tough to watch, but it’s so artfully staged, and says so much without saying anything (in dialog) that it’s hard to look away from this pitch-perfect show.’