It’s the time of year where we all feel the need to rank things for some reason, and here is a list of TV shows I liked this year. My personal rules for this list are that I have to have seen all of the most recent season, or at least be up to date on what’s aired in Australia. I added that second part because otherwise I wouldn’t be allowed to put Jane the Virgin on there. I haven’t seen any of Halt and Catch Fire, but the final season hasn’t aired in Australia either, so the point is moot.
I have a version of a Top 10 Shows of 2017 list floating around, but it’s been very difficult to write, for one specific reason: I stopped watching shows mid-season – not because I disliked them, but through a combination of general apathy and then exhaustion depending on whether or not I was working at the time.* One of the things that got left behind was Master of None. I had screeners for the show, and I think I managed to watch the first five before its release. I watched the next two over that weekend and didn’t finish the season until December 28. It’s one of the best shows of 2017.
This was a bit of a weird one. I just remembered that I forgot to include The Bachelorette. I also had a great line about how Netflix rules our lives by putting House of Cards out on a Tuesday, which I’ve been using for a month and then forgot to put in the guide. Someone on the A.V. Club said that they need to fit it in before the Emmy cut-off date, which is May 31, but they still could have given it a Friday release. It’s one of their biggest shows, and even though I don’t watch it (long live the British House of Cards trilogy), I can see them wanting to use their Fridays for smaller shows. Bloodline is in its final season though, which would seem to be a better reason to put it on a Tuesday. I don’t understand Netflix.
The other thing is that War Machine starring Brad Pitt has dropped on Netflix, and while screeners were sent out to critics, they’re still dropping it in a week with two Emmy winning series. I didn’t have time to watch it because my Twin Peaks watch has been slower than anticipated. I also wasn’t going to be able to fit it in highlights, because I balance out releases. There’s subscription fee for streaming services, and only highlighting things on Netflix is detrimental to viewers who only have Stan, or are using exclusively FTA streaming.
David Ehrlich also wrote this highly divisive (which is unsurprising) piece about whether or not movies are still movies if they debut on Netflix. He wrote this before Okja was booed at Cannes last week. I’m somewhere in the middle on this. I can think of three cinemas in Melbourne that would have screened Snowpiercer. I know it was definitely on at the Nova and has been at The Astor (which is a monoplex, so their schedule is carefully planned), and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was also on at ACMI. Australia also only tends to get day and date releases for blockbusters, and it’s not even every blockbuster. Thanksgiving releases in the US are usually held until Boxing Day in Australia, so a worldwide release on Netflix is beneficial for viewers outside the United States.
As far as my own viewing is going: I still haven’t finished Master of None or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and the Twin Peaks rewatch is coming along at a reasonable pace. I watched the first part of the new season after finishing season one, and then decided that I needed to finish the rewatch. I should be up to date in a week or so, then I can catch up with Better Call Saul (and American Gods). It’s a good thing that the US network television season is coming to a close. There’s so much to watch! The shows aren’t stopping, either. I’ve prepared my June spreadsheet, and it’s going to be pretty busy.
Master of None was one of my favourite shows of 2015, and I’m so happy it’s back. The first episode is in black and white, and it’s stunning. In a world where television creators are constantly saying “It’s like a novel for TV,” Master of None is a series of short films following the same characters (most of the time), and musings on certain topics. As much as I loved the two episodes set in Italy (they made me really hungry – I meant what I wrote about not watching on an empty stomach), I was thrilled to get back to New York and hang out with Denise and the rest of the gang. Ansari’s directing is stunning, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of his work in the future.
I haven’t seen anything else on this list just yet… okay, I’ve seen Chicago, Serendipity and Shall We Dance?. Chicago is one of my favourite films, so I’ll always recommend it. I finally watched the second episode of American Gods last night, and I enjoyed it much more than the first. The Coming to America short with Orlando Jones was SO SO GOOD, and makes me think they didn’t really know how to use him on Sleepy Hollow. Mildly amusing story: I hit “continue watching” on Amazon, and there was no previously on section. It turned out that it was playing the premiere again, which I fixed quickly. That’s all I have on streaming for this week!
The Golden Globes is the first big awards ceremony to kick off the awards season when it comes to film. The problem here is that approximately 1% of the films that have been nominated have been released in Australia. Last year I used a randomiser to predict the film winners, but this year I’m going to leave my film predictions for the Oscars. There are still distribution issues with television in Australia, but it’s slowly getting better, and I think I’ve seen most of the nominated shows that I actually want to watch. It’s been a good year in television, and I like the complete unpredictability of the Hollywood Foreign Press, so every prediction I make will be worth a grain of salt.
It’s December, and the thing the internet loves the most at this time of year is the end-of-year Best Of list, so they can disagree with them. This is my first time writing such a list, and it’s difficult. I thought about writing a separate list for Australian shows, but I don’t want to ghettoise them, so they’re in here too. There are things that aren’t on here because I don’t watch them (The Walking Dead, Hannibal) or haven’t had time to catch up (Transparent, The Leftovers, Parks and Recreation), so just know I haven’t forgotten them. I didn’t forget anything, there’s a reason I left it off. Fargo isn’t on here because while I thought it was very good, I didn’t love it – although Kirsten Dunst did give one of the best performances of the year. My favourite show of the year has the top spot, everything else is in alphabetical order. Hopefully the shows I’ve collected here are a good range of the different things I’m enjoying right now. Writing a Top 10 list is hard, and while I’m only super passionate about half to two-thirds of the shows on this list, they’re all here for a reason. I’ve written about all of these shows previously, so there’s just going to be a paragraph about why each one is there, with some links to some things I’ve written. My only warning is that if you watch the “Best episodes” of the show, you will be spoiled for some plot developments.
My favourite thing about the number of viewing options available nowadays is the fact that I can watch shows like Master of None, which is a Netflix Original Series by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang. I started watching it when it was released, and then Jessica Jones dropped, and suddenly it was a race to finish that show, because everyone talked about it. I finished watching Master of None yesterday evening because I was in the midst of Melbourne’s first heatwave for the summer (with a surprisingly pleasant Friday evening), and it was way too hot to leave the house. Rather than start anything new (that’s what Boxing Day is for), I thought I’d finish this show that I’d watched half of and loved.