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Nov 3, 2009

10) Luke Cage
Easily the weakest Marvel Netflix show so far, it mainly suffers from Mike Colter being extremely wooden and unable to lend any sort of gravitas to lines that are supposed to sound badass. To put it simply, he can't loving act. You saw snippets of this in Jessica Jones with THAT infamous line, but when he's put at the center it's much worse. This is made all the more apparent by the rest of the cast, which is mostly very good, particularly Rosario Dawson and Simone Missick as Misty Knight. Hell, the show should have been about her, she was by far the most interesting character.

Both villains were also great, though the decision to switch halfway through the season was a bit of a baffling decision. But I have a lot of fondness for Erik LaRay Harvey from Boardwalk Empire, he is just such a fun presence every time he's on screen, I don't mind it too much.

Despite the weaknesses of Mike Colter, Luke Cage still managed to tell a different kind of superhero story, one more focused on social issues. It didn't always work very well, but I respect their attempt, and there were plenty of things to like about the show in general. Great music, for one.

09) Daredevil
Mainly here for Jon Bernthal as Punisher. The first three episodes of the second season compose a mostly self-contained arc that is some of the finest superhero fiction to ever be filmed, in my opinion. Sadly it does not follow through, and despite some high points in the middle, the season fizzles out in a final episode that is maybe the worst of the whole series. A shame, but it definitely left a mark.

08) Black Mirror
I've not been a huge fan of the original run of Black Mirror. I absolutely appreciate what they were going for, but more often than not I find they relied too much on twists and gimmicks. Outside of the christmas special, White Christmas, I would not hail any of the episodes as being great.

But I bet this is going to come up a lot: San Junipero. Just a wonderful episode that uses a sci-fi concept to tell a deeply relatable story that hits all the right notes for me, personally. The other episodes are good too, with the exception of Shut Up and Dance, which I actually kind of loving hated. But I do think, as a whole, the level of quality on display here was generally higher than the original run, with San Junipero as the standout.

07) Preacher
I am not a fan of the comic Preacher is based on, in fact I borderline detest Garth Ennis and his vile, cynical storytelling. So I don't mind the deviations from the comic, and I don't mind the slow pace of the TV adaptation, since it's clearly trying to tell a very different story, which I am all for.

Preacher is mostly upheld by its strong atmosphere and performances by Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga, and Jackie Earle Haley. The direction in a few select episodes was top-notch (HELL), the show was generally funny, and it was not afraid to get really absurd and out there. Definitely more of a style than substance situation, but I found it to be intriguing and captivating throughout.

06) Mr. Robot
I watched both seasons of this a few months ago, and I wasn't super enamored with it. It's a show that mainly stands out in terms of direction and the performance of the main character. Honestly I find Elliott to be the only really compelling character on the whole show and whenever he's not on screen I don't find much to like.

But it cannot be understated how strong the direction is and how strongly Rami Malek plays that character. Although the plot of season 2 is a bit of a jumbled mess with a twist that I don't think it earns as well as the one in the first season, one episode in particular stands out, and you can probably guess which one I'm referring to. It is one of the craziest hours I have seen on television in recent memory, and the show deserves a spot on this list for that episode alone.

05) The Americans
Not much to say about this season specifically, I watched the entire run of the show over a couple of weeks, so a lot of the how and when blends together in my mind.

Fantastic sense of tension and performances across the board. As I recall, this was the season where they moved past Martha and Nina, which had severe consequences for everyone. One scene does stand out in my mind, after Elizabeth is forced to kill one of her informants and the whole situation with Martha goes down, both of them just loving break down in the safe house after which Gabriel finally gives them a vacation. It's a great moment, because it shows just how far they've gone and how much of a toll it has taken on them.

Show continues to be of very high quality, and I don't have much negative to say about anything here. This season was maybe not the high point of the show, but it's been consistently good.

04) Stranger Things
I've seen a bit of a backlash towards this show recently, and I'm still not entirely sure why. I guess it can be viewed as pandering and simplistic, but personally I found it engaging as all hell. I don't typically binge watch shows, but I did do it with this one over the course of one night, and it was a pretty spectacular ride.

Other than the obvious Stephen King and Spielberg influence, it struck me as being just a really good modern horror story in the vein of something like Silent Hill. I really love where the latter half of the season goes, and it got dark in a way I was not expecting based on the tone from the beginning. The kid actors are all great, and the soundtrack is really something special too. Absolutely loved it.

03) Steven Universe
I've been on the opposite side of this show before, I've seen how obnoxious the fandom can be, and I actually gave up on it after like 5 episodes back when it originally started because I plain did not like it. But earlier in the year I decided to give it a second chance after an eye surgery and I'm extremely glad I did.

I watched the whole run across two days or so and I don't think it deserves the hate it gets. It's one of the most genuine and heartfelt shows I can think of, period, and the way the characters have progressed over time and the way the backstory slowly unfolds is extremely smart and confident. After watching the then two seasons, I could not stop thinking about it for several weeks, it remained with me for way longer than I would have thought possible.

Thinking back to the early episodes, not much has changed from what I initially didn't like about them, but the way the show gradually presents new contexts for what is going on and expands its characters over time is something I've never seen in a kids show before. It's actual mature storytelling that reaches way above its station. The third season, which aired over the summer, is maybe where it all peaked, showing genuinely earned character development, a ton of legitimately emotional moments, and in general being extremely positive about life without glossing over the bad parts as a lesser show would.

It's definitely not a show for everyone, and there are bad episodes (loving Onion), but I think it's really something quite special.

02) The Expanse
One of the best sci-fi shows of the 2000s, and a masterclass in how to do detailed and interesting world-building on television. This show has supplanted Game of Thrones for me and does a lot of the same things that made the early seasons of that show so compelling.

Also based on a series of novels, The Expanse presents a political epic spanning the solar system, following a varied cast of characters that don't even necessarily interact throughout, but gradually come together in a huge conflagration at the end that dramatically changes the stakes for the next season. Every character is wonderfully acted, particularly Miller by Thomas Jane, in probably his best role. So many good moments and so many interesting concepts being explored. It's incredibly ambitious, looks gorgeous, and was just a joy to watch. On a subsequent viewing I discovered a bunch of really small and intricate details that I had missed the first time around, showing how much care they put into the world. It's really impressive just in terms of being an adaptation of a relatively dense novel.

Also Shohreh Aghdashloo

01) Westworld
If The Expanse is one of the best sci-fi shows of the 2000s, Westworld is one of the best sci-fi shows ever. The pilot is straight up one of the best I have ever watched, and I actually would've been fine if that had been all of it.

The rest of the season meanders a bit and doesn't quite live up to the pilot, but still remains extremely captivating with an magnificent sense of style and confidence throughout. Anthony Hopkins delivers what is probably his finest performance since Silence of the Lambs, and Ed Harris, Thandie Newton, and Jeffrey Wright are also highlights. Fantastic use of music, and a constant dreadful build-up that is consistently punctuated by holy poo poo moments. As of this post the final episode has not yet aired, but I don't think it matters for me. I've adored the whole season, it's been incredible.

Hakkesshu fucked around with this message at 21:09 on Dec 4, 2016


Nov 3, 2009

Yeah the only reason Luke Cage is on my list is because I really have not seen a ton of shows this year. Like I said it's got its moments, but overall is very weak in some key areas.

Nov 3, 2009

I loving hated this season of OITNB. The whole thing. The loving veteran serial killer guard? Are you kidding me with that bullshit

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