2016 has been such an incredible year for television so far. It was almost impossible to narrow it down to 10, but these 10 series definitely made an impact on me this year. Yes, most of them have extraordinary lead female characters…but those are usually only one of the many, many highlights of the series.
And before I start, a few honorable mentions are: House of Cards (Season 4), Love (Season 1), Billions (Season 1), The Good Wife (Season 7), and of course the many series that are still on my list!
10. Girls, Season 5
Believe me, I’m shocked too. If you would have told me last year that Girls would be on my top 10 list, I would have laughed. I never hated the series, but I always felt the series lacked development and enjoyable characters (not saying all characters need to be super likeable), but this season was incredible. There, I said it, it was incredible. There were so many good moments and some of this season’s episodes were the best of the year (Marnie’s episode, of course).
9. Superstore, Season 1
Basically the only sitcom on TV right now that actually makes me laugh. If you’re looking for the next Community, The Office, or Parks and Recreation, please watch this amazing show. It’s very rare that you can watch a show and not find a weak link in the cast. It’s adorable, silly, and heartfelt. Perfect combination.
8. Younger, Season 2
I love this show so much!!!!! This show is the perfect successor to Sex and the City and all women of all ages should be obsessively watching this show. This is a show where the foundation is the female friendships and it’s such a treat because we so rarely see that in television. The clothes are extravagant and the city feels like another character of the show, just like Sex and the City. And don’t even get me on Charles and Liza, one of the best couples to come around in years.
7. The Americans, Season 4
There isn’t much more to say about this season that hasn’t already been said. Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, and this season’s MVP Alison Wright are delivering some of the most powerful performances television has ever seen. The only way to accurately describe this series is to say it is the loudest silence you’ll ever hear. That might sound corny but it’s true.
6. The Path, Season 1
Another under-rated gem. I had high hopes for this series knowing Jason Katims was involved and seeing this amazing cast, but I didn’t know it would be this good. These characters are beyond nuanced, beyond complex. There is such a moral ambiguity that lives in this series, it makes for such fascinating television. For example, Michelle Monaghan’s character Sarah could be seen as this delusional nutcase, but you leave the season understanding her heart and soul. She is such an incredibly strong character. And Hugh Dancy is so outstanding and possibly the biggest selling point of the series for me. This is another series that I think will continue to get better over the seasons.
5. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Season 1
The most original show on TV. I dare you to watch it and try to tell me otherwise. Rachel Bloom is a goddess; the amount of work she does for her series is so inspiring and makes me want to do so much more with my life. She co-created the show, with the fantastic Aline Brosh McKenna, she acts and sings, and co-writes the music. She puts her entire heart into this show and it is seriously so damn funny, but also heartfelt. If you’re apprehensive about watching the show, please re-think your decision and start immediately. By episode 4 you won’t want to stop. Plus, I was worried the musical numbers were make the episodes drag, but they’ve become one of my favorite parts of the show.
4. Outlander, Season 2
One of my favorite shows of all time. This show should be winning so many awards, but I feel it will always be under-appreciated because it comes off as “just a romance” which is so infuriating. The places this show goes, the levels of pain and raw emotion are so beautiful, yet heartbreaking. Caitriona Balfe in “Faith” is a clear winner for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama. Seriously, watch her sing to her child…that is a level of emotion that is unparalleled on television for me this year.
3. Jane the Virgin, Season 2
My perfect, perfect show. The love I have for this show has no bounds. Every week I watch it live and feel so happy while doing so. It’s such a special show. The female characters are nuanced, the family dynamics are realistic and honest, and the love between Michael and Jane has become one of the greatest TV love stories I’ve ever seen. Every week has this charming and unique theme and it really is a one of a kind series. But seriously, there are so many times when I am truly feeling down and this show brings me back.
2. American Crime Story: O.J. Simpson vs. the People, Season 1
This was going to be my number one for the longest time, but the Game of Thrones’ finale knocked it out of the top spot. However, this show was so unbelievably good. I remember when I first heard about it, I rolled my eyes and thought, “An American Horror Story spinoff??!” but this is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. It perfectly captured the time period and craziness of the trial and the acting was on another level. Sarah Paulson was a clear standout, but Sterling K. Brown as Chris Darden was the ultimate surprise and truly was the heart of the series. Even though we all know how the trial ends, I still sat on the edge of my seat and felt full-on anxiety the entire time. And after it was all over, I still desperately wanted more.
1.Game of Thrones, Season 6
Seriously, outstanding television. I know some fans and critics were down on S5, I wasn’t, but if anyone had doubts about Game of Thrones‘ storytelling power and social impact, S6 should be proof enough. I think bypassing the books was a blessing in disguise and this really allowed for storylines to finally progress. The final episode, The Winds of Winter, was a perfect example of this. That episode moved the story ahead in so many different ways, but still left you wanting more. Damn these year long breaks.