Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

Similar to the previous years in the last decade or so 2016 was a great year for television. Maybe television even had a better year than films this time around, some would say. With major streaming competitors like Netflix and Amazon placing more emphasis than ever on their own original programming offerings, we saw premium channels, cable channels, and to some extent even network television channels step their game up. With stiff competitions, Network TV and Basic Cable seem more inclined than ever to be more likely to not look at viewership ratings as a facet of a show’s worth, and are more focused on making good quality television that will live in people’s minds forever. With the legacy of shows like Breaking Bad, Lost, Spartacus, The Wire etc. now firmly in place, networks are more interested in “prestige” shows. We, the audience, have been fortunate enough to find ourselves with an ever-growing number of high-concept dramas, well-written comedies, and still other shows that seem to be reinventing the very boundaries of genres in long-form storytelling.

But did Network and Basic Cable TV’s put in enough efforts to keep up with Premium Cable and Streaming Services? Well I think it depends on the specific networks. MTV has gotten rid of most of its bad teeny drama throughout the year (although Awkward and Teen Wolf were a guilty pleasure of mine). FOX has always had some good shows, and their sitcoms such as New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine have been especially strong this year, but their shows tend to lose viewership because of the interjection of World Series Matches which affects their shows airing schedule. NBC has always had strong sitcoms as well, and this year they have found another drama worth watching with ‘This is Us’. The USA network still has their prize possession ‘Mr. Robot’, but their other shows weren’t good enough to cross that average line. The top is hard to get to. It is still very difficult for network TV ABC, NBC, USA etc. to beat the likes of Netflix, FX, HBO, Starz, Showtime and Amazon Prime when it comes to quality television.

Below, I have provided a ranking list for what I feel are the top 25 shows of 2016. I’m sure that there will be significant disagreements about literally every single ranking, which is largely expected since people have different opinions. Many other sites have done their own ranking already, but because there were so many well constructed shows in 2016 one critic can’t possible watch all of them. And for all those that have been watched, when picking 25 shows that one thinks were the best, personal taste will come into play. After watching over 100+ shows this year, I’m very pleased with how the list came out overall. I’m hopeful that this list will serve as a very broad summation of shows I think are worth giving a watch. Especially the new ones, as there are plenty of new shows on this list along with the overlooked/underrated shows I thought were deserving of top spots, and of course the top returning shows.

For Comparisons; Here’s a list of my top 10 shows of 2015:

  1. Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Netflix)
  2. Red Oaks (Amazon Prime)
  3. Scream Queens (FOX)
  4. Fargo – series 2 (FX)
  5. The Leftovers – season 2 (HBO)
  6. Mr. Robot (USA)
  7. Catastrophe (Channel 4)
  8. The Americans – season 3 (FX)
  9. You’re the Worst – season 2 (FX)
  10. Banshee – season 3 (Cinemax)

Ranking the Top 25 Shows of 2016 (NO SPOILERS):

27. The Young Pope (Sky Atlantic)

jude law young pope - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

The Young Pope is quite an original and very unique show in that it possesses its own style of storytelling. The show takes on both a serious and satire tone and tend to swiftly switch from being a dark-comedy to being a religious drama every now and then. It is well balanced and well written, but can be a bit tedious and vague at times, the audience never really know where the story is heading until it goes the direction it does. The big stand-out element of The Young Pope was the soundtrack. Seriously, I have to commend whoever is in-charge of the music on this show because it really is just fantastic.

26. Bojack Horseman – season 3 (Netflix)

50poaky - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

If there’s one thing Bojack Horseman accomplished this season, it’s hitting its viewer with a major case of the feels. There are a lot of half-hour shows on TV that are either dramas with occasional jokes, or comedies with occasional tears. Bojack Horseman manages to be both at once: a surreal, hilarious show business satire whose main character is an anthropomorphic horse, and a cripplingly sad story of disappointment and loneliness. Who would have thought an animated sitcom about a talking horse would evolve into one of the most compelling examinations of depression on TV? And though I have never been a fan of its animation design or corny animal puns, Bojack Horseman’s third season was good enough story wise to just ignore these factors. It was quite dark and bleak at times and also fun. Season 3 is Bojack Horseman’s best season yet.

25. 11.22.63 (Hulu)

fanart original 301824 3 jpg - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

This show isn’t the best but definitely something worth watching. It’s time-travelling concept isn’t the most original, but it was straightforward and engaging. It portrayed the 60’s quite well, costume and set designs are spot on accurate. The cinematography makes you feel like you’re watching an old 60’s movie in HD.  Even though I’ve never read the novel the series is based on, it still threw me into an engaging world with its own quirks and rules . The storytelling is very intriguing, thrilling but even though based upon real events it’s not exactly factual. Ignoring the show’s pacing problems, the best part of the show was its romantic side and the beautiful ending that came off it. Franco is joined on-screen by the beautiful Canadian actress Sarah Gadon who plays Sadie Dunhill , Jake Epping’s love interest. Gadon played her role perfectly and was easily played the best acted character on the show. Jake and Sadie’s relationship was great and it made the show greater. It got emotional and disastrous at times, by by the end of the series it is evident that the show was not only centered around the assassination of JFK, but it’s also a beautifully told love story. And what a ending it was! So touching and heartfelt it would make the toughest individuals shed tears.

24. Orange is the New Black – season 4 (Netflix)

orange is the new black season 4 character recap the gang s all here 4 - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

There’s just something about Orange is the new Black that makes it easy to sit and watch an entire season in one sitting. I watched all 13 episodes of this years season 3 in 14 hours (true story), and while the show isn’t as great as it once was it is still quite intriguing. Orange is the new Black seems to alternate between light seasons and dark ones, usually getting stronger results from the latter approach. This was one of the dark years, as the show followed the dehumanizing nature of prison to an even more troubling level thanks to Litchfield’s obliviously cruel and unqualified corporate overlords, whose many mistakes amplified the race war that Piper inadvertently started while trying to play gangster to feel better about herself. The last few episodes were so powerful that I hope the show breaks its usual pattern and stays in its more serious mode when it returns next year.

23. Red Oaks – season 2 (Amazon Prime)

mv5bn2m2mgvjzwetzjjmzc00mdqyltk3zgmtnjk3yti1zjc4n2zjl2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyndu4nzm4nzc  v1 sx1777 cr001777999 al  - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

Season 2 of Red Oaks isn’t as great as its first season was, but it is still pretty good. Despite TV’s recent over-infatuation with nostalgia-driven films and TV shows, somehow audiences overlooked this inventive and insightful gem last year. Perhaps because it was one of the few period pieces not totally reliant on 80’s references to sell its story? Well season 2 continue to tell a delightful coming-of-age story, and a heart-warming love story that of David and Skye. I think David and Skye might be my favorite TV couple. Though the relationship side of the show didn’t go the way I hoped this season, it was quite fulfilling to see David finally making big decisions about what he wanted in life and figuring out the best ways to obtain them. Financial independence, emotional satisfaction and family values serve as firmly established themes deeply explored throughout Season 2. Various characters incorporate each of these threads into their individual stories.

22. Shameless – seasons 6 + 7 (Showtime)

maxresdefault 1 - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

This year we were treated to 2 seasons of Shameless. It is quite obvious Shameless isn’t as well written and executing well structured storytelling as it once was, but I don’t think this show will ever dip to the point where it becomes unwatchable. And that’s why Shameless has such loyal viewers, once you’re invested in the dysfunctional Gallagher family it’s hard to quite hoping your favorite Gallagher will turn out ok. The show is at a place right now where not all the plots are interesting but there is always something fulfilling enough to make you keep watching. Shameless is one of the most unique shows on television right now because there isn’t anything else quite like it.  The writers of Shameless aren’t afraid to lower these characters pride and dignity to a level where most writers wouldn’t. Carl was the stand-out character of this year in my opinion. His transformations and struggles to find his place in the world was the most entertaining story-arc of both seasons.

21. American Crime Story: The People v O.J. Simpson (FX)

s paulson - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

This is the show that had me asking whether or not the events that occurred were entirely facts. As someone went into this TV Series not knowing anything about the O.J Simpson case, I gotta admit this show was very intriguing and very dramatic. This is by far the most honest look at race relations ever shown on film. There is none of the usual media slant towards black grievance – the blacks want their guy to win and we are shown that. So for me alot of this trial was about race. The way the show portrayed the relations between the races and the struggles of black people back then was very powerful. The production and acting on this show was brilliant, it really felt like I time traveled back to 1995. I can’t say much about Cuba Gooding’s portrayal of O.J, but I can confirm Sarah Paulson portrayal of Marcia Clarke was fantastic. I like how the show didn’t just focused on the trial, it had episodes that were centered around Marcia, the Jury etc. and it was really great to see what these people were going through because of this trial. Overall it was a great show, loved all the tension buildup in the final episode.

20. Vice Principals (HBO)

episode 01 1920 - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

Not sure why this show didn’t gain more attention but for me it’s one of HBO’s best new comedies of 2016. The best two words I can find to describe this show is rude and crude. I guess whether or not you like this show all comes down to individual taste. The show’s two main characters are really just awful people, brilliantly portrayed by Danny McBride and Walton Goggins. Danny McBride also the creator of the show, has a gift for depicting totally non-relatable, yet not entirely unsympathetic misanthrope. He delivers extremely inappropriate dialog without cracking the thin veneer of believability. Walton Goggins, in his characteristic Alabama accent, plays foil to McBride as a character who the viewer can believe actually likes his fellow human beings. Both of them are, in their own ways, shameless self-promoters and viciously ambitious career climbers who totally overlook the fact that they’ve abandoned their moral compass in pursuit of a less than lofty goal. Well, Walton Goggins character Lee doesn’t really have any morals does he? nor remorse. Apart from Showtime’s Shameless, I’ve hardly ever seen such savagery on a comedy show.

19. Scream – season 2 (MTV)

695399 - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

The second season of Scream is light years pass the first one in terms of quality and one could easily tell from the first episode. A new set of showrunners did wonders for this show coming off a mediocre first season. They were able to take all the small aspects that were good from its first season, and develop even a more thrilling and suspenseful story off that that. Which is surprising because horror/slasher TV shows aren’t always better the second time around. This Season Two comes back to Wes Craven legacy with a lot of gore,mystery,romance and shocking moment. The characters are also more developed and the acting seemed much better than the first. Emma evolved from being the cliche main character, but it was Audrey who took the spotlight this season and Bex Taylor-Klaus did an amazing job playing her. This season also featured a Halloween Special episode which was quite a fun diversion.

18. High Maintenance (HBO)

the guy 1920 - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

HBO adopted Vimeo’s original web series High Maintenance, consisting of 6 new 30-minute episodes. I for one preferred the shorter web-series format of the show, as the HBO version proved to be a bit more experimental. But I’m quite content it distance itself too much from its roots. High Maintenance focuses on different characters throughout each episode connected by a character known only as the guy who bikes around New York City and sells pot to various people. Each character has their own issues and reasons for encountering the nameless weed dealer. Now having 30 minute episodes the series can encapsulate up to two different story lines that interweave in strange connections not always noticed in everyday life. New stories this season range from a young Muslim student to couples hosting an orgy to an entire episode from the point of view of a dog. And there’s also a few familiar faces as High Maintenance went back to the original web-series and continued a few past stories. The shows use the slice of life to explore issues of the human condition that are both humorous and emotional. The writers don’t hold back on the awkwardness of being a weed dealer that interacts with all sorts of strange individuals that are either shut-in and antisocial or a bit too comfortable and overly social. The guy usually takes all this in stride with a relentlessly positive attitude, but he seems to be a little less chilled this time around.

17. Quarry (Cinemax)

quarry 11271898 - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

I along with many other started watching Quarry expecting it to be another Banshee. Well, it wasn’t, but what we got might have been even better. I was a bit skeptical about it when I first started too. It is definitely a slow-burner and a good pacing one. It’s atmosphere bleak and conveys a strong sense of place without leaning too heavily on cliches. I also have to commend them on their depiction of 70’s pop culture. Like “The Knick,” it’s a grim period piece that revels in the squalor of an earlier era, albeit one that swaps the corsets for double-knit suits.  And like “Banshee,” with which it shares an executive producer and show runner in Greg Yaitanes (who also directed all eight episodes of the first season), it’s a action drama about a mysterious man with a violent past and the woman whose heart he’s trying to reclaim.

16. Life in Pieces – seasons 1b + 2a (CBS)

lifeinpieces - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

This is the show I know most people might not have except to see on this list. But personally Life in Pieces is the show I’ve been waiting for to be made for a while now. Finally a family sitcom that just focus on jokes and the family, and is all dramatic with longterm backstory plots and crazy/idiotic characters. Life in Pieces breaks away from the format most sitcoms usually have these days by telling shorter, light-hearted, fun-loving, non-dramatic stories. It’s like a 90’s sitcom, without the laughtrack! And the casting is great. Zoe Lister-Jones was highly praised by fans for her portrayal of Fawn on New Girl, in this she plays a similar role and she’s perfect at it.

15. Baskets (FX)

baskets tv series high quality wallpapers - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

I was a bit skeptical when I first started watching Basket’s but for me this how slowly developed into a modest masterpiece. There is so much to like about this show, it have an unique premise that might not work for everyone, but you don’t have to focus on the clown stuff too much, this show is about a person trying to live his dreams and be happy, even if his dreams aren’t up to the standards of the people around him and he is judged and overlooked by his family. So basically it is a character-focused show and this character was well written and depicted. You could felt his struggles and for me he was easy to relate to. Zach Galifianakis has everything. Charm, sensitivity, humor and great sense of timing, and I love the idea of him playing twins. Louis Anderson as mother Baskets is a fucking brilliant tour de force. Another thing that made this show stood out to me was the cinematography. Especially the scenes shot in Paris, and especially the 9th episode titled ‘Picnic’. The soundtrack also complimented with the cinematography and gave the show an artistic feel. It was an art, it was delicate visual art and it is a freaking masterpiece.

14. Game of Thrones – season 6 (HBO)

game of thrones season 6 wallpapers - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

There’s not much I can say about this show that’s not already been said. Game of Thrones continues to push the envelop in regards to high stake storytelling and movie-level production. Season 4 in my opinion is still Game of Throne’s best season, but this season was also quite fantastic. The particular highlights of this season were; the emotionally explosive ending of ‘The Door’, the well directed ‘Battle of the Bastard’, and the finale in which the opening sequence signals a para-dime shift in the world of Westeros unlike anything viewers have yet seen. Game of Thrones will most definitely go down as one of the greatest shows in history, but this same fact responsible for all its hype is also responsible for why it is at #14 on this list. The show doesn’t surprise me anymore, I expect it to be good, and it is always good. Also being so familiar with the setting, and feel of the show makes it easy to appreciate the newer shows on the air.

13. Crashing (Channel 4)

crashing s01 home slide - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

The lovely Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote and starred in 2 great comedies this year. Though Fleabag is more memorable for it’s dark traits and goes deeper into charters personalities, I also have to give it up to Crashing because it was quite fulfilling. I found Crashing to be the more funnier of 2 as its premise was more simpler which gave way for hilarious bits and gags. Awful opening title sequence aside, Crashing is edgy, crude and possesses well written dialogue. Sharing the similarity with Fleabag by only having 6 episodes, the only problem I had with Crashing was that the story felt a bit rushed. 10 episodes could’ve done wonders for a show of this type. 

12. Fleabag (BBC Three)

p0456fj1 - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

This is the show that doesn’t hit you until the 6th and final eye-opening episode. The series started off seeming like a ribald comedy about the sexual misadventures of a young woman. Our main character ‘Fleabag’ (as she is referred to in the titles) shares her every thoughts with the audience, and what shocked us was when we realized her bleakest thoughts were ones she chose not to to share with us in the audience. Fleabag proved to be a lot more complicated and beautiful, mixing serious discussions of family and grief and loss right in with the jokes about vibrators and anal sex. Fleabag’s dark, bleaky attributes were well hidden by some creative, crude humor.

11. Girls – season 5 (HBO)

maxresdefault2 - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

This is the show I never thought I’d ever rank as one of the best of the year, because I found the show tedious in its first 2 seasons. But this show have really come a long way to being artistic and innovate. Season 2 Episode 7 titled ‘Video Games’ had a big part to play in why I even continued watching this series (great episode), and from season 3 onward the show has been getting better and better ever since. Let’s admit, Girls never gave a fuck weather their characters were likable or not, and this is why most people stayed away. That, and of course the fact that Lena Dunham is a very controversial person. She is a great writer though. Season 5 is the best season of the show so far, it was excellent in both its off-format spotlight episodes like Shoshana in Tokyo or the usually unbearable Marnie going on a surprising New York odyssey with ex-boyfriend in the best episode of the season ‘The Panic in Central Park’. And even in more conventional ensemble pieces like the one where Hannah figured out that her best friend and her ex were dating. Ending the story next season feels right, but this most recent batch of episodes suggests I’m going to feel the show’s loss far more acutely than I might have expected a year or two ago.

10. The Americans – season 4 (FX)

fx theamericans 2 keri matthew hallway 0869 865 composite cmyk f hires2 - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

The Americans still holds much confidence and control going into its 5th season. This 4th season definitely solidified The Americans into becoming the most consistent ongoing drama TV show. They have found the right balance of action, suspense, and old fashioned family drama to keep the show feeling mostly realistic. The show keeps startling in its intensity and its endless probing intelligence–not to mention the raw suspense that hangs over every moment of every scene. This season we saw The Americans taking a slight shift in narrative, as a few of their long-term subplots were ‘resolved’. The key characters remain compelling as they always been and the acting is great. I also have to commend Holly Taylor who plays Paige on the show, for a teen actress she has always been fantastic throughout the series.

9. Broad City – season 3 (Comedy Central)

bal broad city season 3 trailer shows abbi and ilana are up to same shenanigans 20160210 - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

3 seasons in and Broad City has kept it very consistent in quality thus far. Like Seriously, will this show ever go downhill? The show continues to strive by depicting a cruder, more unapologetic, slightly surreal New York City, and its 2 main characters struggling to get by in this ‘New York City’ is the best thing about the show. Abbi and Ilana, who bounce off each other perfectly. Abbi is the more awkward, reserved pushover who takes shit from all angles. Ilana, on the other hand, does everything in her power at all times to take advantage of people because she’s struggling to get by. But so is Abbi, which is why they make such a great team. They complete each other. When they’re not together, they’re on the phone or video chatting with one another. Ilana provides the more outrageous, in-your-face humor, while Abbi brings the more subtle, charming humor – but again, their collective humor makes for one of the most well-rounded female driven comedies. Broad City has similarities to HBO Girls, but its style and execution is more similar to Workaholics as it shoots for raunchy comedic gags and very rarely stumbles into dramatic territory. Unlike Workaholics, it never becomes too stupid or too ridiculous. If You’re the Worst wasn’t so good Broad City season 3 would be my favorite returning comedy.

8. Easy (Netflix)

mv5bmje1mja4mzkwof5bml5banbnxkftztgwotgxndqymdi  v1 sy1000 cr0014971000 al  - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

It’s just really strange to me how this show didn’t get much of a buzz as it was a great view on modern-day relationships. This anthology series aims at examining the small and big problems in modern-day love relationships and how the people involved deal with them. Adapting somewhat of a Black Mirror/Twilight Zone style of storytelling, each episode (well except the last one) focuses on a different relationship. The stories engaging and realistic, the characters and their issues are very relatable. But you gotta understand, out of the 8 episodes in the first season, not every episode is a good one. ‘Vegan Cinderella’, ‘Art and Life’, and ‘Controlada’ were the stand-out top episodes here. And ‘Utopia’ and ‘Chemistry Read’ were good enough for me to rank Easy in my Top 10 TV shows of 2016 (though it might be somewhat of a guilty pleasure). The show also has a great cast, many familiar faces such as Kiersey Clemons (who I adore), Aya Cash, Kate Micucci, Malin Akerman etc.

7. Atlanta (FX)

paperboy song atlanta fx childish gambino - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

Atlanta’s premise isn’t a very complicated one. The simplicity of Atlanta provides room for writers to be experimental and that’s how Atlanta gets its originality. Because this show is like no other you have ever seen and in my opinion one of the most unique comedies in the past few years. It’s structured like a fairly typical cable TV comedy, feeling familiar at times, yet it’s smartly written. It is incredibly surreal, there are moments of extreme clarity on social awkwardness. The show mostly keeps a consistent chill/easy-going tone throughout, but there’s a scene in each episode that breaks away from this chill vibe and is just completely bizarre but yet fluid and personifies human nature. The dialogue and the chemistry between the cast (Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry etc.) feels so natural it’s almost like it wasn’t written. Also shout out to ‘Darius’ played by Keith Stanfield, my favorite TV character of 2016.  Even though Atlanta is easy-going, serious and chilled, at times it is also effortlessly hilarious. As many gags are inserted which breaks away from the tone and makes it bizarrely funny.

6. Stranger Things (Netflix)

4118bc185081d7b9ff5160dc6e5304cbaab081a7 - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

The storytelling, cinematography, writing and production pays homage well to pop cultured 1980’s sci-fi films. The production is spot on in it’s portrayal of a small town in the 80’s, and is definitely based off 80’s films such as E.T, The Goonies etc. Stranger Things is very nostalgic and plays on the audiences fondness for 80’s themed movies and shows. The nostalgia is a driving force in the show, but even for all its similarities to movies and shows of the past, Stranger Things has its own story to tell, and it tells it very well. Stranger Things provides the perfect blend of mystery, sci-fi, horror and humor. Every single character, regardless of how small the part is, feels like a complete character, and the main cast delivers strong performances playing these characters throughout the series.All of Stranger Things elements coexist very well within the show. I also have to commend the show on its wonderful pacing. 8-episodes were just the perfect amount to tell this story. It never felt stretched out or bogged down. Sadly though, I don’t think a second season of the show is even necessary, I just have a hard time seeing a second season living up to its first.

5. Mr. Robot – season 2 (USA)

rxopsir - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

Viewership wise it wasn’t a good year for Mr. Robot as many viewers jumped ship. I think it’s because a lot of people now realize that Mr. Robot isn’t the show they thought it was going to be. It’s odd because when people raved to me about how brilliant the pilot episode was, I didn’t think it was all that. In fact, I didn’t get into the show until around episode 8 of the first season when the show became a bit less tech (but still accurate tech wise) and started to gain its psychological-thriller aspects. To me, Season 2 surpassed even the greatness of the first season. We’re now looking at a show that completely and utterly derails its viewers at any opportunity it gets, but there is genuine unpredictability here. It’s not like your average episode of Game Of Thrones where “unpredictable” just means they’re gonna kill another of your favorite characters. It is very mysterious, never revealing too much to its audience all at once, just enough for them to speculate, and BAM! They hit you with a plot twist you didn’t even know was there. I really like how this show uses illusions to dazzle and deceive viewers while still maintaining its high quality storytelling. The show also has a wonderful cinematography, one of the best I’ve seen on basic cable, just visually stunning.

4. You’re the Worst – season 4 (FX)

youre the worst season 3 aya cash - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

You’re the Worst continued down its depressingly funny path that it started in season 2. It’s interesting because I remember the first season of You’re The Worst didn’t have its dark aspects but was still pretty good. Now this show is quite phenomenal and easily the best comedy on TV and also the most underrated. It’s the perfect blend of bleak and funny. The writers keep finding new innovative ways to tell their stories, and have now given more depth to its crazy, unapologetic, self-centered characters, both main and supporting ones. With Jimmy and Gretchen’s relationship being at the center of it all of course, these two are my favorite TV couple. It’s hard to describe what makes You’re the Worst so special. Maybe it’s the fact that it can be whatever it wants to be at any given time; a goofy fun-loving comedy. A funny, bleak, realistic look into personality and stress disorders. A Rom-Com about an incomparable couple defying all odds to make it work….or a simply a Drama about being in your late 20s.

3. The Girlfriend Experience (Starz)

the girlfriend experience tv series hd - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

My guess is most people would pass it off as another prostitute fluff show after watching a few episodes, but trust me The Girlfriend Experience becomes something more. The show takes a cold, intriguing look into the world of escorting, but not only that. The show also takes a deep and somewhat mysterious look inside of Christine Reade’s personality. The Girlfriend Experience did a great job characterizing Christine’s borderline sociopathic personality and transformation into the world of sex-for-pay. Complimented by amazing soundtrack (similar to that of The Knick) and stunning visuals, I also have to commend the writers because the show is well written and structured. They took many twists and turns and pulled off episodes I never thought they could when I first started the series. ‘Boundaries’, ‘Blindsided’ and ‘Separation’ were the best in the series with very chilling pay-offs. It is a slow-burner but never feels bloated due to the episodes being only 24-26 minutes. This short episode format worked quite well for The Girlfriend Experience and allowed it to faultlessly jump from scene to scene without any notified timeline. I would love to see more TV adapt the International style of 30 minute dramas.

2. Westworld (HBO)

westworld season 1 wallpaper high definition a24u3z21 - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

I’ve been reading a few other ‘best of TV 2016’ articles myself and I am upset Westworld was overlooked by many critics. It doesn’t take too long to be engrossed by Westworld’s stunting visuals, great soundtrack and its other amazing production values. The show took its concept from Michael Crichton’s fun 1973 sci-fi film (Westworld), and intelligently added layers of complexity to its plot that resonate with where humanity finds itself in the 21st century. The show’s many mysteries and ‘confusing’ structure resulted in many speculations and theories discussed by fans online. Many of the shows mysteries were revealed online before the actual revelations themselves, but that didn’t take the fun out of the show for its many viewers, especially those who stayed offline while watching. The show did have a few problems with uneven storytelling. I found the 2 episodes after the pilot to be a bit irrelevant to the endgame of the story-arc, the show stumbled here and there when it came to its long-term mysteries perhaps being a bit longer-term than needed, but Westworld was amazingly involving and evocative from the moment it began. Despite its flaws the nuance and well layered storytelling, acting and cinematography were enough to make Westworld the most fascinating new show of 2016.

  1. Black Mirror – series 3 (Netflix)

black mirror - Top 25 TV Shows of 2016

Black Mirror is an anthology series which examines modern society and how it would react to unanticipated consequences of new technologies. Each episode features stand-alone episodes, with new stories and a different cast each episode. These technology themed stories are emotional, sometimes thrilling, sometimes introspective and often times dark. The show was highly praised by critics for its first 2 seasons which brought us fantastic episodes such as The Entire History of You, Be Right Back, Fifteen Million Merits etc. Netflix acquired the show from Channel 4 and released a third season consisting of 6 episodes. Compared to the original 7 episodes some would say these 6 new episodes of Black Mirror lacked the emotion aspect but despite that these 6 episodes consisted of some of the best in the Black Mirror series. Preference plays a big part when watching Black Mirror. Some may have favor the bleak, thrilling ‘Shut up and Dance’ over the sharp satire ‘Nosedive’ (vise-versa). But the important thing is every episode of Black Mirror is unique yet criticizes the same absurd society we’re living in. We also saw Black Mirror getting out of their comfort-zone a bit this season and delivering the heart-warming romantic episode ‘San Junipero’ (which in my opinion is a series-best). And also ‘Playtest’ which felt more bizarre that their other episodes. Also the 90 minute episode ‘Hated in the Nation’ where social media was more involved and the the thrilling ‘Men Against Fire’ showing us how technology could manipulate the army.  The resulting mix of bleak sci-fi, drama, satire and black comedy makes for highly intelligent Television and ranks among the most original and entertaining shows I’ve ever come across. The writing is clever, innovative, and  the directing is fantastic. The visuals/cinematography are stunning and production values seems higher since moving to Netflix. With that being said I rank Black Mirror as the best TV show of 2016.