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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

My List of the Top 10 Television Series of 2017

Continuing the tradition - just started two years ago - here is my Top 10 list for 2017,  from who knows how many series I've seen this past year on network television, cable, and streaming (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Acorn):

Honorable mention (narrowly not making the list, for a variety of reasons):  On the list last yearVikings was on my Top 10 list last year (that would be season 3).  Season 4 was excellent, but not quite as good in previous seasons.  (Season 5 has just begun, and I'm already liking it a little more than Season 4.) Returning in honorable mentionChicago Fire is still superb, but still suffers from the limitations of network television.   Apples and orangesVeep is still hilarious, but it's impossible to rank a comedy with dramas, so I put it here in honorable mentions. Same for the return of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is in an hilarious class of its own. Closest runners-upTwin Peaks: The Return (Showtime): sequels, especially broadcast years later, are always a difficult proposition, but Twin Peaks did this insanely well, literally;  Game of Thrones (Season 7) (HBO): best season so far, we finally got to see the dragons in action; Ozark (Netflix): an original, engrossing crime drama in an unlikely place; The Break (Netflix): top-notch Belgian noir, The Crown (Netflix): peerless drama of the first years of Queen Elizabeth II;  Mindhunter (Netflix) think Criminal Minds, unhindered by network mores

-> 17 December 2017 shoutout to Erased, a charming, very different kind of time travel series on Netflix, which I just saw last night.  It will definitely be on my Top 10 list next year.

-> 28 December 2017 I just finished streaming Travelers 2 - the first season was on my Top 10 list last year (2016) - Travelers 2 will surely be on my Top 10 list next year.

And now the Top 10:

10. 19-2 (final season, Acorn): back on the list from last year, one of the best cop shows ever on television; sorry to see it conclude

9The Deuce (HBO): a gritty, in-your-face look at prostitution and the dawn of the porn industry in 1970s New York City, as only HBO can do it

8Big Little Lies (HBO): sly, well-acted, delicious, brutal, and criminal

7Four Seasons in Havana (Netflix): Cuban noir, based on four novels, about the exploits of detective with a secret life as a writer - you can't go wrong with this gem

6Narcos (Season 3) (Netflix): 3rd year in a row on my Top 10 list, you can't beat the pace, the realism, and the sarcasm of the DEA-agent narrator

5Dark (Netflix): there was a lot of time-travel on television in 2017 (12 Monkeys, Timeless, Time After Time, Somewhere Between, Outlander), but this German outing was the best, and wove at least half a dozen major paradoxes into the story

4The Orville (Fox): the closest thing ever on television to the original Star Trek series, with some of The Next Generation on board with equivalent characters; and The Orville is often laugh-out-loud funny

3Fauda (Netflix): a brilliant, riveting Mossad spy story, swat-team narrative, which treats Israelis and Arabs with almost equal sensitivity

2Longmire (final season, 6) Netflix: this series just got better and better every every season, and saved the best for last with a truly satisfying story that tied up most of the loose ends

1. Sense8 (season 2) Netflix: telepathy is a relative rarity in science fiction, and Sense8 did it masterfully and memorably; destined to become a classic which will be watched for decades to come

See also My List of the Top Ten Television Series of 2015 and My List of the Top Ten Television Series of 2016
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