It all comes down to this!
Scouring the networks, choosing from dramas, comedies, reality, cable networks, pay TV, and streaming services, the ten best shows of 2017, in my opinion, can be found below.
My choices are made by taking into consideration production value, entertainment value, the series' ability to provoke discussion and an emotional, intelligent, or visceral reaction. Do you laugh, cry, or tense up? Do you gain knowledge?
Are you driven to watch more because of the power of storytelling or intensity of the subject matter? Do you share your views with your friends, search out like-minded souls to share your thoughts after watching?
Even then, narrowing down the best is difficult. Ten seems impossible, especially to someone who watches as much television as I do. But these shows made an impact. They left the indelible mark.
This doesn't mean there aren't another ten choices that are just behind all of these. Honorable mentions go to The Deuce, The Keepers, and Brockmire. I would have had 13 to get them onto the list. Alas. Choices have to be made.
Without further ado!
The Leftovers - HBO
The final season of The Leftovers managed to ask more questions, ponder some of life's most significant wonders and offered an answer to the biggest question remaining in the series with a reduced cast, reduced episodes, a cross-earth relocation and some of the most beautiful performances and brilliant writing found on television in 2017. One of the biggest gambles in history finished with magnificent success.
Halt and Catch Fire - AMC
The little show that could proved that a drama about technology could be one of the deepest, most compassionate and insightful looks into human nature and love ever produced. The final season didn't hold back on the curveballs life throws, and every character had an opportunity to grow and surprise even themselves as the actors who portrayed them were given what could be roles of a lifetime to bring them to life, resulting in one of the most satisfying series finales ever produced.
Better Things - FX
Pamela Adlon's Better Things is a comedy that takes a dramatic look at slices of life so genuine and raw it sometimes feels as if you're peering through the curtains and invading the privacy of Sam Fox and her three girls, Max, Frankie, Duke. Actress Sam raises her girls to be their best selves, even if it cuts her like a knife, and their relationships result in moments so pure they threaten to burn right through the television screen.
The Handmaid's Tale - Hulu
Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale is an updated and enhanced story we never knew we needed that couldn't have come at a more appropriate time in history. With a cast seemingly plucked straight from Gilead, the tale is not so much cautionary any longer, but more of a roadmap of an alternate universe where one misstep will set us on the exact course. It's thought provoking, and demands discussion even as you will yourself to believe it's not possible.
Wormwood - Netflix
This Netflix original came out of nowhere. It tells the true story of the death CIA employee Frank Olson. Told through the eyes of his son, Eric, it explores Eric's obsession to uncover the truth behind his father's plunge to his death from a NYC hotel room in 1953, how the government covered up their potential involvement, and what became of Eric's life as a result. While Frank's death was tragic, the effect of it on his family, and especially Eric, is the hidden gem here.
Catastrophe - Amazon
Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney brought the latest chapter of Sharon and Rob and their ever-changing family to Amazon with another masterful cliffhanger for the last series featuring Carrie Fisher as Rob's mom. There isn't a couple more like US on another comedy right now. When they laugh, cry, or suffer, we do it right along with them and luckily, we laugh at them, too.