While most year-end movie lists circle around the same batch of films, you’ll find TV lists that don’t overlap at all. I can name a dozen TV shows I’ve never seen that have shown up at or near the top of critics’ year-end lists, along with a dozen more I watch regularly.
We went from the Golden Age of Television to “peak TV” and now past that to some sort of small screen nirvana, where greatness awaits on every channel and streaming service.
Among the great television shows I watched this year were returning favorites Game of Thrones, Silicon Valey and Better Call Saul. Saul, in particular, had an excellent second season, exhibiting many of the qualities that made Breaking Bad the best show on television while becoming very much its own thing.
It was also a fine year for new programming, from the gripping HBO drama The Night Of to network standouts This Is Us and Pitch. Leading the pack among the freshmen was Atlanta, Donald Glover’s examination of black life. The show boasted an amazing cast of newcomers and a unique, off-kilter perspective that felt random in the moment but totally assured in retrospect.