The Top 10 TV Shows of 2016

Amazon, Netflix, FX
  1. The Americans: The Cold War-based spy thriller’s fourth season was its best. The culmination of years of setup, showrunners Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg (and their audience) deserve recognition for their patience.
  2. Atlanta: The Donald Glover-led project is the rare comedy that can leave you holding your sides from laughter one minute and questioning the basis of our republic the next.
  3. Game of Thrones: The sheer scale of what HBO has built in adapting George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is shocking. It’s a feat that would’ve been impossible to imagine even a decade ago.
  4. The Night Manager: Adapted from a John le Carré novel, the mini-series features an all-star cast of Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, and Olivia Colman. With le Carré, the content is always there, it’s just a matter of execution. AMC and BBC executed. The show’s tear through the Emmys (and the 2018 follow-up le Carré adaptation of The Little Drummer Girl) are probably indicative of things (particularly le Carré-based mini-series) to come.
  5. Black Mirror: Those who have recommended Black Mirror to friends know you must do so with a few disclaimers. The heady British sci-fi anthology series has been both deeply unsettling and purely pleasurable. Viewers of the show can reference any 10 episodes that fit the first descriptor and the one or two that fit the second. Anthologies provide the opportunity to elicit any feeling without worrying about a shift in tone, but Black Mirror is exceptional at both and everything in between.
  6. The Man in the High Castle: What would life in the United States be like if the Allies had lost World War II? The Man in the High Castle provides a fascinating but disconcerting look at what could have been.
  7. Fleabag: Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s distinctive writing is something to behold. Between Fleabag and Killing Eve, the writer-showrunner-creator/one-woman-wrecking-crew has proven to be someone to watch.
  8. The Night Of: James Gandolfini’s passion project didn’t happen with him at the helm, but viewers should be glad that the ever-capable John Turturro decided to step in. The show left the audience with a lot to chew on concerning race and the criminal justice system.
  9. Stranger Things: Like many of Netflix’s best shows, Stranger Things came out of nowhere. The ‘80s nostalgia-based, Stephen King-influenced show has created a new subgenre of television.
  10. Last Week Tonight: This is the only show I watch that could be considered educational.