2016 was a big year in the world of television with seemingly one show after another capturing the audiences imagination. Now we’re at the end of the year however, so we thought it was a good time to look back on the last 12 months and on what thrilled us, disappointed us and what’s in store for next year.
To take us on a look back we have Jodie @jodiebears who theorised about Stranger Things, Thais who showed us The Get Down and myself, Marcus @themarcuswood, and I was getting excited for 2017 back in the Summer. Rounding out the squad, we have a special guest, Ian Nitram of The Passion Of The Nerd @iannitram, who has been changing how we view Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel with some of the best reviews out there and most recently spoke about the Metaphor in Buffy at Denver Comic Con.
What was your favourite TV show of 2016?
Marcus: Chinks in the armour started to appear but Game Of Thrones still reigns supreme. Jon Snow’s comeback, big revelations, continually compelling characters and one of the best set pieces ever on TV in the Battle of the Bastards. It was a very high quality year but Game Of Thrones is still the best at what it does.
Jodie: Stranger things. It is *such* a good show. I won’t go too into the plot because if you haven’t seen it then I would be spoiling one of the best shows in recent memory, let alone this year. You should watch it for the soundtrack alone, but the incredible story, fantastic characters, and damn good writing make it a 10/10.
Thais: The nostalgic vibe of “Stranger Things” got everybody talking and was definitely the best thing I saw on Netflix this year.
Nerd: I want to say Stranger Things but honestly I think it’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Whatever side of the political spectrum you fall on I think there is great value in the long form new pieces he does, especially when he talks about topics that aren’t specifically liberal or conservative. Everytime I watch it I feel like I learned something and even if you disagree there is value in the conversations he starts. And his embracing non-conventional media means that conversation also reaches a much greater audience than similar (non-comedy) long form news shows.
What was your biggest disappointment of 2016?
Marcus: There was no major disappointment this year, more smaller ones. Despite continuing to throw comic names in Gotham is getting no better, Top Gear stuttered in it’s first post-Clarkson series and Agents of Shield continued to decline despite putting Ghost Rider into the mix.
Jodie: Daredevil season 2. I actually stopped watching halfway through the season only to return months later and finish it. It just didn’t grab me like season 1 did. Electra is a very unlikeable character and The Punisher, as well acted as he is, wasn’t enough to save the season. Endless bickering between the main 3 and some poor villain choices really drove the season into the ground for me.
Thais: The “Gilmore Girls” (Netflix) revival. Oh God, why!?
Nerd: Castle. The show just died such a slow painful death, but you’d spent so much time with it you were committed. You kept hoping it would get better and, every once in awhile, it did. It would show signs of life and then collapsed under plotlines that had the characters acting in irrational and totally inconsistent ways. To top it off some news from the set sort of soured you on beloved actors. It was a mercy to have it finished.
What was your big surprise in 2016?
Marcus: It sounds weird now but Stranger Things. I only started watching due to hearing the name enough and I thought I was going to get something pre-occupied with being an 80’s throwback with a bit of weird sci-fi as window dressing/an excuse to do it all. What I got was a show that brought me as close to binge watching something as I ever have been.
Jodie: The Gilmore Girls Revival. Anyone who knows me will know I, like most twenty-something women, love Gilmore Girls. I can’t even explain how excited I was for new fast conversations and movie references and, although I know many are unhappy with how the show ended, I think it is a perfect ending. To see a character who had everything handed to them finally have to take care of themselves, so see someone who struggled make it and be happy? It was wonderful. And I loved every second of it.
Thais: Well, the “MacGyver” reboot (CBS) was actually cool. It’s worth checking it out.
Nerd: No big surprises but that’s mostly due to the way I watch TV. I binge one show at a time and don’t tend to split my focus. Consequently by the time I get around to a new one it’s already been in the zeitgeist for awhile. I didn’t get to Jessica Jones until this year and didn’t watch Stranger Things until a couple of weeks ago.
Who was your MVP in TV in 2016?
Marcus: Mine’s kind of a behind the scenes pick but Jeph Loeb, Executive Vice President of Marvel Television. It’s his stewardship that ensured Daredevil maintained it’s level of quality for season 2 and enabled the right people to have the freedom to make Luke Cage the excellent show it turned out to be. That can’t be an easy feat when dealing with relatively new, unproven properties working for Disney.
Jodie: Milly Bobby Brown. She plays Eleven in Stranger Things and has more talent in her pinkie finger at 12 than I do in my entire body.
Thais: Since I said that Stranger Things was my favourite show this year, I will reserve this space for commending Jonathan Nolan (Person of Interest) and Lisa Joy (Pushing Daisies) for the refreshing action in “Westworld” (HBO). Thanks guys, you da’ real MVPs!
Nerd: This is a bit embarrassing to admit but honestly it was Youtube. Youtube scratches a very similar itch for me that watching TV does. Short form relaxing entertainment. I have a 120 inch projector at home with a couch that tries very hard to keep you from getting up and the thing I tended to watch the MOST this year was content in my Youtube feed on that screen. I’m a huge fan of Nerdwriter, Every Frame a Painting, MKBHD, and the idiots at Funhaus. It normally wasn’t until my subscription feed was depleted that I would really dig in with a new show.
What are you most looking forward to in 2017?
Marcus: As a fan of all the Netflix Marvel shows released so far it has to be The Defenders, the team up show it has all been leading too. I really want to see how they introduce the heroes to one another, the interactions that leads to and what style a collaborative show takes. Also Game Of Thrones but I know what I’m getting there, more a simple case of just wanting badly to find out what happens next.
Jodie: Game of Thrones!!! Yisssss.
Thais: I think that it’s safe to say that Iron Fist (Netflix) will be entertaining and fun. I just can’t get enough of Marvel’s excellent options for a night in with family and friends.
Nerd: The surprises. TV has now far surpassed film as the realm for innovation and great story telling. Jessica Jones was FAR better than I expected it to be. Stranger Things cobbled together flavors of a dozens of different sources to create something that felt fresh and original. Rather than looking forward to yet another season of any long standing show, I’m excited to see something new come out.
What do you think will be the biggest surprise of 2017?
Marcus: I think Legion, the new superhero show on FX could surprise a lot of people. It has the advantage in that respect of not having any major comic or characters previously seen before so the hype isn’t where it often is for comic/superhero properties. Throw in a lot of things we haven’t seen before such as a lead character with Schizophrenia and being set in a psychiatric hospital for large parts and this could be a real surprise. Also it’s the first collaboration between Fox and Marvel on anything which could lead to some very interesting things…
Jodie: iZombie. That show is so underrated it is insane! Hardly anyone I know watches it but it is so good. I think this next season will bring many surprises, especially given how Season 2 ended. If you haven’t watched it yet, do yourself a favour and change that. Who wouldn’t want to watch a brain eating zombie solve crimes by taking on the memories and personality of her most recent meal?
Thais: After being dropped by HBO, the project for a TV series inspired on the novel “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman has been picked up by the premier cable channel Starz, and is set to premier in early 2017. As a Gaiman fan, I hope it will live up to the expectations and become the greatest surprise of the year.
What’s your big hope for TV in 2017?
Marcus: This may sound strange coming from someone who’s answered Game Of Thrones for a couple of these questions but my hope for 2017 is less shows like Game Of Thrones. When I say that I don’t mean the medieval times and swords, it’s the shocks and the main character deaths I don’t want to see every show replicating. Game Of Thrones has taken it to a new level and it continues to work for that show but now we’re a few years down the line from the Red Wedding et al we’re starting to see other shows replicate it. Westworld it the most obvious example and they got away with it, just, but at times it felt the twists and surprises were coming just to surprise the audience and generate buzz not in service to the story. I really don’t want to every new show trying to replicate that formula for the hell of it.
Jodie: For BBC to announce Planet Earth 3. Please! I need it!
Thais: Star Trek: Discovery (CBS, CBS All Access). With the original creator’s son Rod Roddenbery as executive producer, it promises to honour the legacy of the original series.
Nerd: My big hope for TV in 2017 is that we’ll continue to see a greater proliferation of options. At the moment there isn’t a video service comparable to what we have in music through things like Spotify and related streaming services. Netflix’s selection has been decreasing lately and rotates every month (now that they produce so much of their own content, will there be a day when that is all we see on the service?) ABC doesn’t offer a lot of their content on HULU. I can’t watch a number of great shows I’ve loved on ANY streaming platform. I don’t think companies have realized that selection is king and people would be willing to fork over a lot more for a streaming service that had everything. I hope we get to see that at some point.
What’s your big prediction for TV in 2017?
Marcus: That Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming services continue to bite into the traditional television networks, both in terms of service and content. That format is the future of television, while it’s going to take way longer than a year to change, we’re in the change over period now.
Jodie: That Netflix will continue its rise to TV superstardom, and churn out more gripping content for us to sink our grubby little paws into.
Thais: Is any answer other than Marvel’s Defenders (Netflix) possible? Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist team up to fight crime in New York City, and to show that the superhero trend in television is nowhere near its end.