Well it’s that time of year again, folks. A time for gift giving, caroling, and reflection. And boy is there a lot to reflect back on, like all the brilliant TV shows that came out this year. Now before we get to this list of undisputed best shows of 2016, I should warn you that, like my brother (and Editor-in-Chief), I too am a HUGE fan of science fiction and so the majority of my list is filled with the stuff of nerd culture. My brother’s taste and mine differ, however, and I think you’ll be surprised what makes his list and what makes mine. (I have a lot of catching up to do as well. I still haven’t watched Breaking Bad, you guys.)
As I said, this year was filled with brilliant shows and while I adored everything I watched, some of them just didn’t make the cut. So before we get to SAM’S Top 10 Shows of 2016!!!, allow me to present…
SAM’S Honorable Mentions for TV 2016!!!
Marvel’s Agent Carter (Season 2)
Let me start off by saying this show is great and its cancelation is nothing short of criminal. The odds were stacked against it from the start and for two seasons, the pulpy adventures of SSR Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and her compatriot Mr. Jarvis (James D’Arcy) have provided a fun reprieve from the superhero antics of Marvels other properties, acting as half a spy show and half a launching pad for plotlines that continue on in the MCU.
This season introduced Zero Matter, an energy source that is now being tackled in the current season of Marvel’s Agents of Shield. It also showed Peggy not only growing as an SSR agent but also moving on from her brief yet passionate relationship to Captain America to seek a partner free of the emotional baggage from her past. Her partnership/friendship with Jarvis is also put to the test when someone close gets hurt and, just like the season before, the misogynist social constructs of the time (LA circa 1950) continue to thwart Peggy’s progression as both an agent of the law and a woman.
This was a strong season and I would have liked to see more but viewership was down and the decision to cancel the show after two incredible seasons was like a knife in the back. No word yet on whether or not Marvel will bring this back via Netflix or some other streaming platform, if at all. One thing is for sure: the world is certainly less full with Agent Carter gone.
Penny Dreadful (Season 3/Final Season)
If you had asked me last year what my favorite show was, my answer would have been Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, without question. The gothic horror series excelled in its sophomore season as its villains became more menacing, its heroes more disturbed, and the Devil himself coming forth to insight further terribleness. Season two was definitely where creator and showrunner John Logan was able to stretch his legs and really give us some of the best writing I’ve ever seen.
If season two was a step up, season three was definitely a let down. With the show’s sudden and previously unannounced final episode, Penny Dreadful was left with a myriad of unanswered questions while plot lines that felt as though they were just starting to come to a head were conveniently wrapped up moments before the finale. Characters who’s stories took place somewhat outside of the main story arc were left with a sense of abandonment, their arcs either forgotten or dropped for the sake of mimicking a planned finale. Despite Logan’s claims, along with the show’s producers, this did not feel like a final season at all, let alone one that had been planned. While the story was undoubtedly that of medium Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) and should rightly end with her, it left fans with a bad taste in their mouths, as though their dedication to the series was all for not. While I do commend Logan for not marketing this as the final season and making it all the more surprising when it was announced, the end itself was lacking and left me in particular wishing that this was merely a bad joke.
Despite all this, I want to thank everyone involved with this series for giving us some of the best television I’ve ever seen. If more people had watched, then I’m sure we would have had plenty more reasons to be afraid of the dark. And maybe, eventually, even find a way to embrace it.
Tune in next time when I reveal my Top 10 through 7 shows of 2016.