Best TV Shows of 2017

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CREDIT (Clockwise from Top Left): Michael Gibson/FXX; Showtime; AMC; Kelsey McNeal/ABC

This ranking was originally posted on News Cult in December 2017.

In recent past best-of-year lists, I have pointed out the impossibility of watching every single program that airs on television. The medium is now saturated to the point that not only could one average viewer be watching a completely different set of shows than another average viewer, but so could one professional critic be similarly disconnected to another critic. It naturally follows then that no best-of is any more “correct” than any other. But this has been the case all along. The value of such year-end curating is not a matter of accuracy, but of insight and personal style. Thus, I encourage readers to seek out as many best-of lists as they find edifying, from as diverse a group of critics as possible. Think of each as the best according to a particular palette. Here is my contribution to that cornucopia.

(Shows that were top 10-worthy this year that I didn’t have enough room for include Baskets, BoJack Horseman, The Carmichael Show, Legion, Rick and Morty, Riverdale, Silicon Valley, Speechless, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Young Pope, and You’re the Worst.)

10. Review (Comedy Central)
If this list were determined by density of entertainment value alone, the three-episode final season of Review would easily take the top spot. Andy Daly’s career-defining work as “life reviewer” Forrest MacNeil brought his combination of explosive hilarity and existential despair to its logical eternally continuous endpoint. Great series finales tend to be either ambiguous or definitive; Review’s is somehow both open-ended and forcefully conclusive.

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What Won TV? – June 25-July 1, 2017

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In this feature, I look back at each day of the past week and determine what shows “won TV” for the night. That is, I consider every episode of television I watched that aired on a particular day and declare which was the best.

Sunday – Twin Peaks … yeah, that’s the shit.
Monday – Jeopardy!
Tuesday – Downward Dog (Downward Decision by ABC cancelling this show)
Wednesday – The Carmichael Show
Thursday – The Gong Show
Friday – VICE
Saturday – Doctor Who

What Won TV? – June 18-June 24, 2017

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In this feature, I look back at each day of the past week and determine what shows “won TV” for the night. That is, I consider every episode of television I watched that aired on a particular day and declare which was the best.

CREDIT: VH1

Sunday – Twin Peaks
Monday – Better Call Saul, because everything’s blowing up
Tuesday – Downward Dog
Wednesday – Fargo had a fine finale, but The Carmichael Show had one of its best discussions ever.
Thursday – The Gong Show, cheeky monkeys
Friday – RuPaul’s Drag Race, even though my cable cut in and out during one of the lip syncs
Saturday – The Doctor Who/Orphan Black double bill lived up to its promise.

What Won TV? – June 11-June 17, 2017

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In this feature, I look back at each day of the past week and determine what shows “won TV” for the night. That is, I consider every episode of television I watched that aired on a particular day and declare which was the best.

CREDIT: ABC/Lou Rocco

Sunday – The $100,000 Pyramid, for Leslie Jones’ reaction
Monday – Better Call Saul
Tuesday – Downward Dog
Wednesday – Fargo
Thursday – AFI Life Achievement Award for Actress, Director, and Climate Change Denier Diane Keaton
Friday – RuPaul’s Drag Race: Extra Stressful Reunion Edition
Saturday – Orphan Black

What Won TV? – June 4-June 10, 2017

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In this feature, I look back at each day of the past week and determine what shows “won TV” for the night. That is, I consider every episode of television I watched that aired on a particular day and declare which was the best.

Sunday – Amidst all the prestige, I think I actually liked Mike Tyson Mysteries the most.
Monday – Better Call Saul
Tuesday – Downward Dog
Wednesday – Fargo
Thursday – The AV Club
Friday – RuPaul’s Drag Race
Sunday – French Open Ladies Final, especially the part when the winner asked if she could brush her hair before the trophy ceremony.

What Won TV? – May 28-June 3, 2017

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In this feature, I look back at each day of the past week and determine what shows “won TV” for the night. That is, I consider every episode of television I watched that aired on a particular day and declare which was the best.

Sunday – Twin Peaks
Monday – Angie Tribeca
Tuesday – Downward Dog
Wednesday – Fargo-go-go-go!
Thursday – Beat Shazam once, shame on you. Beat Shazam twice, shame on Shazam.
Friday – RuPaul’s Drag Race
Saturday – Doctor Who