In no particular order, we review the top 15 TV shows of 2017…
The Handmaid’s Tale
Utterly captivating, particularly while we’re living through such politically fraught times. There was also the best portrayal yet of the oppression of queer women for their sexuality. Season one is a must-watch show and there are high expectations for the next season now the plot is no longer following the book.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom as the series gave one of the most uplifting queer plot-lines ever with the award-winning San Junipero. The new series will be binged as we cross into 2018, so make sure to check out season 3 now.
Dear White People
A truly searing story of racism in middle class academic white spaces. The show examined so many topics from interracial relationships (specifically, what it can mean for black women engaged in activism), police violence, racism in politics and the power of campus activism. It’s engaging, compelling viewing for any millennial.
Big Little Lies
The show arguably had the most acclaimed cast of any other TV production this year and they all delivered tremendous performances. The series was critically acclaimed for its portrayal of intimate partner violence, but it also tackled the legacy of trauma from years prior, and the feeling of entrapment women experience in suburbia.
After the bury-your-gays trope, the show had work to do, but it managed to reach mind-boggling new heights. There was an exploration of queer relationships beyond grief (which are all too lacking in TV), another stand out look at the reality of chronic pain and the most jaw-dropping season finale any show delivered this year.
It’s been a rocky year for women. Sexual harassment, assault and rape has been at the forefront of news. But amidst all of that, Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch gave us an inspiring series based on the true story of a women’s wrestling organisation. It’s colourful, fun, and uplifting – and that’s just the wrestlers.
One of the biggest series of the year, and for good reason. The hero is a young girl, the villain is… Well we aren’t sure, an alien? A spirit? A cloud? Anyway, fans were ecstatic to be travelling back to the upside down, and yet again, it delivered a brilliantly addictive and enthralling series.
It’s weird. It’s representative. It’s addictive. It’s based on the novel by Neil Gaiman. There’s not much that American Gods can be criticised for. If you don’t like gore, sex or nudity, the show isn’t for you. But if that doesn’t bother you, or maybe you even love it, then this is one to watch.
Blue Planet 2
David Attenborough was back this winter, teaching us all about those mysterious oceans. The proof of how humankind is killing the planet, and explaining what we can do to keep our oceans safer for the animals living there resonated with many viewers. But that God damn bobbit will stay in our nightmares forever, cheers David.
It starts with the unsolved murder of a nun back in 1969. But as more is explored, a sexual assault cover-up becomes apparent. The documentary series talks to survivors of the sexual assaults that occurred at an all-girls Catholic school. It’s not easy to watch, but it’s extremely important and you’ll be instantly hooked.
Crazy Ex Girlfriend
Possibly one of the best shows that most people haven’t heard of, this show is a darkly funny musical comedy that gleefully deconstructs rom-com tropes. It’s also a wonderfully honest look at mental health and the impact it can have on love, life and relationships.
The Good Place
Season one finished with a twist that no one had seriously considered, then came back strong with its second season in September, building on the revelations of season one but never feeling stale. With a fantastic cast, including Kristen Bell, Ted Danson and Jameela Jamil, it’s a witty, inventive look at the afterlife.
Now on its fifth season, Brooklyn 99 stars Andy Samberg as main character Detective Jake Peralta in a screwball police sitcom that has maybe some of the best representation in mainstream comedy right now
Originally based on a Vertigo title of the same name, iZombie is very much its own show: police procedural in which a zombie solves crimes thanks to the memories granted to her by her victims. Rose McIver stars as the titular zombie, Liv Moore.
The long awaited team-up that Marvel fans have been waiting for since Daredevil aired in 2015, The Defenders sees Netflix’s roster of superheroes teaming up for the first time. The interactions between Defenders are what make the show, especially Danny and Luke, but it’s worth a watch for other reasons as well.