There’s obviously a ton of good to great TV options these days, but only a few that can truly hold your attention without wanting to check your phone every 10 minutes. Below are the one’s that tended to keep phone interaction to a minimum for me.
- The Defiant Ones (HBO)
- Big Little Lies (HBO)
- Insecure (HBO)
- The Leftovers (HBO)
- Game of Thrones (HBO)
- Master of None (Netflix)
- Mindhunter (Netflix)
- American Vandal (Netflix) –
- Vanderpump Rules (Bravo)
- This Is Us (NBC)
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order): G.L.O.W., Stranger Things, Better Things, Friends from College, Last Chance U, Billions, Dear White People, Mr. Robot
Biggest Waste of Time: Twin Peaks
The Defiant Ones (HBO): This 4-part HBO documentary series on the careers of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine is hands down the most entertaining thing I saw on TV in 2017. It’s even better than last year’s O.J. documentary series. Unless you’re part of the slim venn diagram of people that don’t enjoy rap OR classic rock, this is a must watch.
Big Little Lies (HBO): DRRRRAAAAAMMMMMAAAAAA!
Insecure (HBO) – Season 2: There’s seemingly a dozen current shows about single life in the big city and Insecure takes the championship belt away from Master of None this year. Issa Rae’s brainchild definitely leveled up in its second season.
The Leftovers (HBO) – Season 3: I’d put the second season of Leftovers up against any season of TV ever. The third and final season couldn’t quite reach those heights (one of the eight episodes is borderline unwatchable) but overall it was still the most emotionally stimulating show on the medium. The series finale in particular really sticks the landing.
Game of Thrones (HBO) – Season 7: Duh
Master of None (Netflix) – Season 2: I savor Master of None episodes the way Aziz Ansari must savor ten-course meals. I’ll never understand the appeal of devouring a season of TV in a weekend. Season 1 was better though.
Mindhunter (Netflix): Evidently based on a real, government sponsored study, Mindhunter features two F.B.I. agents who travel 1970’s America interviewing notorious serial killers in order to grasp a better understanding of how they tick. The throwback cop show is a slow burn if there ever was one. You won’t see any high-speed chases and there’s not a big bad to be caught at the end of the season, but the thrills come from the illicit effects the project has on the two partners. Even though the show is basically just people talking in rooms, cars, and airplanes, I was quite mesmerized. Fair warning, Mindhunter doesn’t get rolling until episode 3 or 4.
American Vandal (Netflix): A whodunit about a mass dick graffiti incident at a high school sounds like an SNL sketch, not an eight-episode mockumentary. And if you only watch the first episode of American Vandal, you might still agree with that sentiment. BUT, if you can make it to the second episode, this becomes the funniest show on TV. Behind the dicks, American Vandal is an extremely clever satire of all the different forms of digital communication young people use today. Similar to a meme, it’s hard to explain what’s so brilliant about it until you see it for yourself.
Vanderpump Rules (Bravo) – Season 5: All I want for Christmas is someone to talk Vanderpump Rules with. In terms of hilarious TV sociopaths go, I’d put DJ James Kennedy up there with Eric Cartman, Gob Bluth, or Larry David.
This Is Us (NBC) – Seasons 1/2: The broadcast television drama would have ranked higher if “Us” only constituted Randall, Mandy Moore, and the Dad instead of Randall, Mandy Moore, the Dad, and those two INSUFFERABLE twins (No one cares about your issues, Kevin!). Still, the best scripted hour of TV this year might have been the Halloween episode from Season 2.