Television in 2016 has been overwhelming, both in quality and quantity. We have already ranked the best new offerings from the first half of 2016, but now it is time to look at the rest of the year. As such, this week’s edition of Top 10 Tuesday is ranking the best new shows from the second half of 2016.
10. Channel Zero
In 2016, SyFy began adapting a series of internet stories known as Creepypasta, which have been copied and pasted across the internet through forums like 4chan. The most known Creepypasta is Slender Man, which has been monumentally influential to modern horror. Channel Zero re-tells 1 Creepypasta per season as an anthology series. Starting near Halloween in 2016 with an adaptation of the Stephen King’s It-esque Candle Cove story, Channel Zero has quickly established itself as 1 of the best horror series on TV.
09. Search Party
TBS has been killing it all year in 2016. Delivering 1 high concept comedy after another. Perhaps the most interesting of their new comedies is Search Party, a series about a young woman, with no accomplishments to her name, who finds purpose in trying to save a girl she knew from College, who had suddenly disappeared. The series comes from Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers (Fort Tilden), as well as Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer), and feels kind of like Girls, but with a purpose, real heart, and actual comedy.
08. Vice Principals
What do you get when HBO pits Danny McBride (Eastbound and Down) against Walton Goggins (Justified) in a series about school administrators competing for the top job, only to band together to take out the successor for the job they wanted? You get leg slapping, belly laughing, dark comedy gold. Fans of McBride’s Eastbound and Down have likely already become active fans of this new series, but I personally found Goggins’ effortless chemistry with McBride to be the real compeller.
07. This Is Us
Network shows don’t impress us that often. Occasionally, though, some shows buck the trend and blow us away. My favorite series of all time, LOST, was a network show, as was Hannibal, another of my all time favorites. That being said, I did not expect to fall in love with This is Us, but I did. At its heart, This is Us is a family drama, but the series expands beyond that with a clever structure which keeps its audience surprised, and intrigued, by various revelations and developments. All without losing sight of the core of its drama, the relationships between its characters.
06. Luke Cage
Though Luke Cage is my least favorite of the Marvel Netflix shows, that doesn’t make it a bad show. Not at all. For all of its flaws, Luke Cage remains a great adaptation of a blaxploitation inspired comic. By blending current social issues with a very different take on the action style established for the Netflix Marvel series by Daredevil, Luke Cage presents itself as a fun and iconic action series with a message beyond its general purpose.
05. The Good Place
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) stars opposite Ted Danson (Cheers) in this series from Michael Schur (Parks and Recreation). If that last sentence doesn’t get you even a little excited then, well, I just don’t know what to say. Except perhaps that The Good Place might actually be better than the sum of its parts. The Good Place is the same old timeless story about a bad person who is accidentally admitted into the version of the afterlife that is meant for good people. Constantly hilarious, The Good Place recently ended its 1st season with 1 hell of a plot twist, which would elevate the series even higher on this list, if the episode hadn’t aired in 2017.
04. The OA
Netflix keeps killing it in 2016! Released with very little notice, The OA hit the streaming giant with 8 gorgeous episodes of fantastical intrigue, which just kept getting better and better, right up to its divisive ending. I would say that the series is worth exploring, even if you end up frustrated by the ending, just to experience the methods of storytelling employed throughout its run. I am still unsure how I feel about the series as a whole, but I do not regret watching it, not for a second.
03. The Night Of
HBO’s remake of the BBC’s series Criminal Justice had viewers on the edge of their seats as Riz Ahmed (Rogue One) and John Turturro (Miller’s Crossing) stole eyeballs and mind share from everything else on TV at the time. The purpose of the series was to follow a person through the entire process of the criminal justice system, from arrest, to prosecution, and incarceration. The story of The Night Of followed College Student Nasir “Naz” Khan, after a late night encounter has him on the hook for rape and murder. Turturro portrayed his Lawyer John Stone, a smart, but often derided, Defense Attorney.
Westworld kicked off with one of the most impressive first episodes of any show I have ever seen. The premiere was followed up by an equally brilliant second episode that quickly cemented the show as the new water cooler phenomenon, as fans picked apart individual frames and drafted elaborate fan theories. This excitement might just be a side effect of Westworld‘s primary fault, however, as the series became incredibly predictable. Personally I still quite enjoyed the ride, and felt the performances drove a truly compelling narrative. It is not without faults, and the series ended weaker than it started, but it remains a truly ambitious project, which largely delivered thanks to great performances, world building, and production values.
01. Stranger Things
Finally, we come to our number 1 pick, there should be no surprise. If you have read my Best of TV in 2016 article, then you would know that my favorite new series of 2016 was Stranger Things. Nothing has changed. Stranger Things hits all of my nostalgic weak points while telling a compelling coming of age story with a fantastic cast of Actors, both young and old. I would even make the argument that Stranger Things is the truest representation of Netflix’s binge model. The episodes fly by, the cliffhangers are compelling, and the short 8 episode run is easily surmountable, and re-watchable. No show impressed me, in the second half of 2016, more than Stranger Things.
As always, this list represents the opinions of TVEnthusiast, and, as such, may not reflect your own favorites. If you agree or disagree with our list, tell us in our comments, and stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for more coverage of all of your favorite shows.