It goes without saying that Twin Peaks: The Return was my show/film/whatever of the year and Orphan Black was my most emotional TV viewing experience of the year (I’m in such denial that it’s over that I still have yet to do a review of the series finale). But there are many other shows that stood out for me this year in some way.
You’re the Worst: I watched the majority of this show when I had the flu in October. It was oddly comforting, and now I’m deeply in love with Aya Cash. I would also say that Gretchen is the inner monologue I choose never to voice. I relate to her way too hard sometimes (stop saying true shit, girl!). And while the first season was fun and entertaining enough to keep going, it is nothing compared to the amazing seasons that follow. Two terrible people drunkenly sleep together (Gretchen and Jimmy) and inexplicably find themselves in a relationship despite being completely unequipped to be in one. It follows their love story, as well as the often hilariously tragic lives of their friends.
It’s also very rare to see mental illness captured so realistically (and not glamorized), and this show knocks it out of the park in its portrayal of Gretchen’s depression. Everything felt so real, so heartbreaking, and so frustrating. In the same episode, YTW has me laughing my ass off in one scene and bursting into tears the next. It’s rare to find that balance in shows these days. Some side characters are insufferable in their worst-ness but I love the core four Gretchen, Jimmy, Lindsay, and Edgar. Plus, you gotta give a show props for acting out the “This is fine” meme, as well as a Sunday Funday theme song. The upcoming fifth season will be its last. I’m sad but glad I found this show when I did. Watch it on Hulu.
SMILF: Frankie Shaw created, wrote, and directed a show that mirrors her former life as a single 20-something mom just trying to live life and make ends meet. As you do. And it’s just such a treat. I look forward to it every Sunday night. Her son (who is actually played by twin girls) Larry is the cutest kid that has ever existed. I want him for myself. Anyway, the show is hilarious, sad, and empowering. A Thanksgiving-themed episode done as an homage to Run, Lola, Run is a very big standout one, as well as one where Bridgette and her friends decide to join a Mud Run basically just to say “fuck you” to the patriarchy. I basically don’t know how to describe this show other than, ughhhh it’s soooo good, because it makes me feel so many things despite being a rather simple subject matter. Watch it on Showtime.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Quippy, confident, take-no-shit Midge Maisel is an inspiration, despite her 1950s backdrop. After her lame, whiny husband leaves her one night because he had a lousy night attempting to perform his (stolen) standup routine, she finds that she’s the one with the real comedic talent. She pursues this with the help of her manager Susie (Alex Borstein), while navigating motherhood, the separation from her husband, and two very overprotective parents.
The coloring of scenes, costumes, characters — everything — is just delightful. And there are some truly horrifying little things that show what a woman’s duty was in this time period. Would you wait until your husband went to sleep to take your makeup off and then make sure you wake up early enough to put your makeup back on and do your hair so you look immaculate when he wakes up? No thanks! Anyhoo, if you like Gilmore Girls, you’ll enjoy this show and recognize the dialogue style since the same creator is behind it. Watch it on Amazon Prime.
Mindhunter: I love true crime. I love the 70s. I love David Fincher. So, this was an obvious hit for me. It was creepy, horrifying, and stressful — and I loved every second of it! A big part of the excitement for me was which serial killer they were going to interview next. They spend a significant time with Ed Kemper, which was fascinating. And then they visited Richard Speck, which was very exciting and awful. (The murders he committed have stuck with me and I’m in the middle of reading a book detailing it all.) I hope in season 2 we spend more time with Wendy rather than Holden. I was getting a little sick of his weird sexual shenanigans. And I’m curious to see which killers we’ll be spending time with. The evolution of BTK looks like it’ll be a theme — but who else? (Ted Bundy, pleeease!) Anyway, I loved this show. Its aesthetic and theme are perfect. Watch it on Netflix.
Riverdale: So, I started watching this show — that I lovingly nicknamed “Hornydale”— out of sheer morbid curiosity, and now I just unabashedly love it and look forward to it every week. (I’m literally wearing my Riverdale HBIC cheerleader shirt while typing this.) Part of that is because of one of my favorite podcasts, Cry Me a Riverdale, gives me something to look forward to after watching the new episode, as well as hilarious inside jokes. Anyhoo, it’s kind of like a ridiculous combination of Twin Peaks and Gossip Girl. It’s lots of sexy, horny teenagers, corrupt adults, and some murder mysteries. I actually guessed the killer in season 1 thanks to my Twin Peaks knowledge. Plus, Shelly from TP plays Betty Cooper’s mom. But seriously, it’s such a gorgeous show and they really upped the writing and cinematography in season 2. It’s still campy and silly sometimes because it’s Archie but damn is it fun to watch. And those musical numbers — yas! Watch it on Netflix.
Honorable mentions: Legion, insecure, Fargo, Glow, Turn, iZombie, MST3K: The Return, Black Mirror, The Handmaid’s Tale, Bojack Horseman, Hot Girls Wanted, The Keepers, Fleabag, Great British Baking Show
What are some of your favorite shows from 2017? What did you discover (new or old)? What did you continue to love? Let me know in the comments.