From Big Little Lies to Handmaid’s Tale: The top 10 TV shows of 2017 that you absolutely must watch
From Mindhunter to Handmaid’s Tale and Feud to Big Little Lies, here are the top ten TV shows of 2017 that you absolutely cannot afford to miss.Year Ender 2017 Updated: Dec 21, 2017 09:05 IST
The worst thing you could do to a TV show is to compare it to a movie. You often hear the best shows - usually modern stuff like House of Cards or Stranger Things or Twin Peaks - being called long movies. “Oh, it’s like watching a six-hour movie, so binge it in one go,” people say. But statements such as these always come from a place of shame, a place of inferiority.
Television needs to be celebrated for what it is, not for what (some) people (irrationally) want it to be. 2017 was a great year for TV. No one expected the Golden Age to continue after shows such as Breaking Bad and Mad Men ended, but here we are.
To make things more interesting - for ourselves, and for you - this list has been limited to shows that premiered in 2017. So no returning shows - which is bittersweet, because no other show this year could come close to the greatness of the final season of HBO’s The Leftovers, or Season 2 of Master of None.
As in real life, women played a vital role in television this year; three shows are fiercely feminist and they couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment in world history. Enjoy.
Feud: Bette and Joan is a highly addictive, shamelessly melodramatic, and casually insightful 8-episode series about one of the most bitter rivalries in Hollywood history. It’s going to be a running theme in this year’s list, but here’s a show about women that doesn’t feel obligated to portray them as angels.
You can watch Feud on Hotstar, and read our review here.
It seems strange, considering how old the true crime genre is - and how popular it has always been - for there to have been a renewed interest in it in the last couple of years. Like fellow Netflix hit Making a Murderer and the phenomenal podcast Serial, The Keepers is a riveting tale of a heinous murder - an unsolved murder - which is investigated years later by journalists. While the conclusion might not be as satisfying as you’d hope, with these things, it’s more about the journey than anything else.
You can watch the Keepers on Netflix.
Like creator David Simon’s masterpiece, The Wire, HBO’s new drama The Deuce is the story of the forgotten ones – the sort of people whose murders go unreported, the sort of people who pretend like they don’t have families even if they do, the sort of people who arrive in herds on Greyhounds only to be consumed by New York City. It’s about pimps and policemen, drug dealers, pornographers, gangsters and sex workers.
You can watch the Deuce on Hotstar, and read our review here.
For the longest time, this is how an up-and-coming stand-up comedian’s ideal career would look like - unpaid gigs in seedy clubs, paid gigs on weekdays at seedy clubs, being spotted by someone at seedy clubs and upgrading to less seedy clubs, catching a break with five minutes on a late night talk show, getting your own HBO special, and then, on the brink of quitting, signing a deal to star in a sitcom with your name slapped on it. Crashing is about none of these things. In fact, it’s about a comedian who couldn’t move past step 1. It’s hilarious.
You can watch Crashing on Hotstar.
Speaking of hilarious, you know what’s been the biggest surprise of the year? Big Mouth. It’s absolutely vile, make no mistake - and it knows exactly how vile it is - but it’s also surprisingly heartfelt and honest about puberty. Watch it like you watch something illegal.
Big Mouth is available on Netflix.
Godless is a lavish show, shot in extravagant, almost cinematic widescreen just as expansive as the story it tells. And we haven’t seen anything like it on TV – both in terms of quality and sheer ambition – since Deadwood. It positively thrives in its lack of appeal for casual viewers. Instead, it wants to be the best version it can possibly be for those who really care.
You can watch Godless on Netflix, and read our review here.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
It’s easy to forget that A Series of Unfortunate Events is a 2017 show - what with it being out since January - but even after 12 months, few other programmes have come close to the wild vision that the ASOUE dared to put on screen. Rationally speaking, it shouldn’t appeal to anyone outside its fanbase - it’s too grotesque for kids, and too surreal for adults who have no idea about Lemony Snicket’s popular source novels - but it works.
A Series of Unfortunate Events is available on Netflix, and you can read our review here.
For David Fincher to revisit the darkness with which he has been obsessed for decades – the depraved fringes of humanity that he periodically finds himself attracted to, in films like Se7en, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and Zodiac – and to create a work of art that is at par with those movies, is worth throwing a national holiday for.
You can watch Mindhunter on Netflix, and read our review here.
Big Little Lies
Like every great murder mystery – especially Broadchurch and Bloodline, shows with which it shares several similarities, both in the paradisal setting and sheer pulpiness of the plot – Big Little Lies works within the almost doctrine-like confines of the genre and still manages to surprise. And a lot of that is because of the top form of its A-list cast: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley. It deserves all the praise it has received this year.
You can watch Big Little Lies on Hotstar, and read our review here.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Hands down the best, most timely, and most utterly terrifying show of 2017. It’s Donald Trump’s kryptonite.
First Published: Dec 21, 2017 09:02 IST