For 2016, I decided to make a “top 20” list instead of just a “top 10” like the previous years.
20.) DOCTOR WHO
Doctor Who didn’t have a full season last year, but it had a Christmas special, which saw the Doctor teaming up with a superhero called “The Ghost” against an alien invasion. Titled “The Return of Doctor Mysterio,” it wasn’t as clever and delightful as what Doctor Who usually is, nor is it as great as 2015’s Christmas special, “The Husbands of River Song.” But it was still tremendously fun, and effectively whet my appetite for season 10.
19.) LEGENDS OF TOMORROW
Its debut season was entertaining enough, but I thought it was significantly lacking. But it felt like it has finally figured out what it needs to be and where it needs to go in its second season. Plus, new team addition Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) is pretty hot. Thus, Legends of Tomorrow is actually my favorite DCW show in this current season so far.
18.) DIRK GENTLY’S DETECTIVE AGENCY
18.) DIRK GENTLY’S DETECTIVE AGENCY
“This is an absolutely oddball show. Which makes it amusing right off the bat… its various idiosyncratic elements result to an utterly enjoyable debut season as a whole – staying true to the meaning of the word of ‘holistic.’”
Haikyuu!!’s last two seasons didn’t feel as exciting as its debut season – when the action was as emphatic and remarkably unorthodox as Hinata and Kageyama’s attack plays. Nevertheless, witnessing Karasuno’s tough journey towards winning their prefecture’s championship was a very visceral, stirring experience.
16.) ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM
With its poignant second/final season, it secured its reputation as the “ultimate teacher anime.”
Its sophomore season wasn’t quite as terrific as its first season. But Humans’ compelling performances and intriguing themes kept it relevant as a show about androids gaining self-awareness, even though a show like Westworld was around in 2016.
14. THE EXPANSE
“...I tremendously appreciate the science fiction marks it hits – visually, thematically, and narratively. For The Expanse is a gritty, beautiful-looking, thoughtful show that has a lot going for it as a work of science fiction to make it a riveting watch for fans of the genre.”
13.) THE FLASH
Again, so far, my favorite DCW show this season is Legends of Tomorrow. Meanwhile, though it remains entertaining, The Flash’s third season is yet to replicate the sense of comic book fun that its previous two seasons had. But it’s ranked this high in the list solely due to the strength of the latter half of its season two, which was during the early part of 2016, as well as, to an extent, the goodwill of being my most favorite TV show of 2015.
12.) JUSTICE LEAGUE ACTION
DC’s newest animated series is a joy to watch. It’s far from being the successor of the epic Justice League Unlimited. But its more kid-friendly, light-hearted tone gives it a distinctive appeal. (I never thought I would ever see a “G” version of John Constantine, and I never thought I would be much delighted to do so.)
11.) BLACK MIRROR
Black Mirror’s debut as a Netflix show delivered six new solid episodes, successfully demonstrating that this Twilight Zone-y anthology series is as thought-provoking, fascinating, and unsettling as ever.
“Erased is extremely well-written. Its fantastic premise – the blend of time travel and murder mystery – is brilliantly employed to make a smart, thoroughly absorbing, and thematically rich 12-episode anime series. Moreover, above its grisly details and continuous suspense – for it’s a thriller that involves a child serial killer after all – it has heart. It has several touching moments that made me teary-eyed. It’s as moving as it is thought-provoking.”
9.) ORPHAN BLACK
8.) STRANGER THINGS
“Stranger Things is a delight. It indeed relies heavily on nostalgia, but it also handles the allusions and narrative in an intelligent manner and with proficient execution… It delivers the warm feels as well as the addictive thrills of the incitement of the imagination.”
“As a production, this could probably be HBO’s grandest and most ambitious since Game of Thrones… it demands attentive investment from its audience, and then rewards them for the effort… It’s clearly the best new show of the year.”
6.) LUKE CAGE
“Luke Cage is the ‘blackest’ superhero story I’ve ever encountered in film or TV. Being set in Harlem, the show celebrates its rich culture and history, and explores important, timely issues that blacks are dealing with. Even though I’m no American and far from being extremely knowledgeable of the themes it explores, it made me appreciate the messages it was intending to convey. It made me appreciate the emphatic beauty of having a black superhero packaged as a ‘bulletproof black man in a hoodie.’”
5.) THE NIGHT MANAGER
“[Hiddleston and Laurie] gave terrific, magnetic performances all throughout... it’s an immersive, nigh-perfect espionage drama that is as captivating as its two leads.”
I honestly believe that its second season is better than its first, since it looked and felt more like the comics. Moreover, the arcs of Jon Bernthal’s Punisher and Elodie Yung’s Elektra were pretty interesting, too.
For years, I had put off reading A Song of Ice and Fire and watching Game of Thrones. In 2016, I finally did both – binging both the books and episodes. And I’m now a fan.
Another fantastic season (albeit a short one) reminded me why it’s my most favorite ongoing animated series.
Being a New Year’s special, “The Abominable Bride” was the very first thing I watched on 2016 TV. Midway through the year, it still remained as my most favorite TV show of 2016. The entire year passed, and it still is. (Meanwhile, its season four is currently rocking; it might also eventually take the top spot of 2017 TV!)