music friday: bruce springsteen at winterland, 12/15/78
on weed

tv 2017

My favorite/best TV shows of 2017:

A+ (the best show on TV):

The Leftovers. Perhaps some people quit watching before the end of Season Three. They'll catch up eventually, because The Leftovers entered the pantheon of great television series in its final season. Asks the big questions, but doesn't explain the answers. Focuses on the lives of the people doing the asking. Unafraid of taking creative risks (Mark-Linn Baker and Perfect Strangers?) Excellent acting across the board, with Carrie Coon besting anyone else on television, even herself (she turned up on Fargo this season).


A (never missed them, in real time):

The Americans. Still making us care deeply about two Soviet spies, even as they kill in the name of Mother Russia, even as they turn their own daughter into one of them.

Better Things. "Despite Adlon being the perfect center, she is very generous with the actresses who play her daughters." One of the best shows about mothers and daughters.


 A- (Flawed, but favorites, esp. The 100 and Sense8):

The 100. It is so much more than what we expected back in the beginning, that I, at least, forgive its trespasses.

Broad City. "Abbi and Ilana are actually showing signs of growing up a bit."

The Deuce. Another winner from David Simon. Each episode is better than the previous one, because everything builds, and all the pieces matter.

Mr. Robot. Frightening in its real-world parallels, with one tour de force episode and consistently intriguing visuals. The finale, with its return to the show's beginnings, was disappointing. Trivia note: Mr. Robot proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's OK to say "fuck" on the USA Network. Many times.

Outlander. Gorgeous, romantic, and a paean to the female gaze. I miss Battlestar Galactica, but Ron Moore lives on. Headline in Variety: "Apple Gives Straight-to-Series Order to Drama From ‘Outlander’ Showrunner".

Sense8. I may have looked forward to this show more than any other this year.


Honorable Mention (I watched 'em, I liked 'em):

13 Reasons Why. There is no reason for a second season.

Guerrilla. Great show, except I forgot I watched it, so maybe it was just good.

GLOW. Whatever you thought this show might be, it's better than that. (Video includes a couple of viewers commenting on the action. I'd pick a different scene, but Alison Brie deserves an Emmy just for this. Her character has chosen a bad-guy Russian, "Stoya the Destroya", for her wrestling character ... it takes place in 1985 ... and here she demonstrates her array of moves: The Hammer & Sickle, The Rough Toilet Paper, The Bread Line, Potato Soup, Vodka for Breakfast. Here is a great walk-through of the scene.)

Humans. "I’m not trying to damn Humans with faint praise. I like the show quite a bit. But it’s just another show about humans and machines that can’t quite live up to the greatness that was Battlestar Galactica."

Insecure. "Issa Rae, the creator of the fine series Insecuresaid. 'In creating and writing the show, this is not for dudes. It's not for white people. It's the show that I imagined for my family and friends. That's what I think of when I'm writing the scenes. ... I want to be a pop culture staple. I want a place in the culture ... I want people to reference this show and identify with the characters for years to come."

Legion. The oddest show I watched all year. (No, I didn't watch Twin Peaks.) A must for fans of Aubrey Plaza.

Master of None. Took many chances along the way, both in representations of characters and stylistically.

Mindhunter. About the people who profile serial killers, which is the kind of show my wife watches, not me. But I was sucked in ... hey, I like Holt McCallany ... and it was worth it to see a story about serial killers before they were called serial killers.

Shameless. A few weeks ago, someone on Twitter asked people to name a show that had been consistently good for a long time without ever having a great season. I chose Shameless.

Sweet/Vicious. The Fifth Karen Sisco Award winner.


Can't Go Without Listing Them (I watched them, I liked them, if not quite as much as what appears above):

Agents of SHIELD

Ash vs. Evil Dead

Big Little Lies





Game of Thrones


Happy Valley

Jessica Jones

Orange Is the New Black

Orphan Black


The Strain

Stranger Things



The Tick

To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters