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Mallena's Best of 2016

Actually, this article is subtitled: The best of TV-PG, more or less. My pug and I are not very comfortable with shows that have a lot of nudity and violence, so I've never seen Game of Thrones. My brother-in-law says that Westworld is really good, but I’ll just have to take his word for it. I also don’t go to the movies very often; I prefer to wait until I can watch at home…so without further ado; here are my best picks for my favorite pastime.

Best New Show: Stranger Things

I loved this show. It reminded me of all the great movies of my growing up years, and I found the upside-down world to be fascinating. Winona Ryder was very good as the harried mom desperate to find her son.

Honorable Mentions: The Crown, This Is Us, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

The Crown was beautiful to look at, and beautifully acted. Claire Foy and Matt Smith really made the characters come to life. This is Us made me realize how much I’ve missed Parenthood, and Dirk Gently is just a blast. It didn’t even matter to me that I had no clue what was happening; I just enjoyed the ride.

Best Season Yet: Bates Motel

This is a show that has been great from day one, and I have no idea why Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore don’t have all the awards. This season was so good; I was amazed and stunned by the plot twists, which is hard to do when the story of Norman Bates is already so well known.

Honorable Mentions: 12 Monkeys and Lucifer

12 Monkeys

I didn’t really like Lucifer’s first season very much, but this second season has really turned up the heat with the addition of Luci’s mom played by Tricia Helfer. 12 Monkeys is another overlooked gem that is just getting better with each new season. The cast is amazing and so is the storytelling. I wish more people would discover it; it’s quite the ride. I loved the movie, and now the series does not disappoint; it's very well done.

Best Final Season: Rectify and Person of Interest

I was late to the party for both of these shows; only deciding to watch them after they were praised so often on this site. Rectify was a gorgeous show to look at, and the ending was pretty much perfect. It is so great when the series’ creators of a show decide not to give viewers a “shocking” ending, just because they can. POI also had a very satisfying ending. I fell in love with all the characters, though Shaw was my absolute favorite, and I felt like the series was wrapped up in a sad, but lovely way.

Best Sibling Relationship: The Earp Sisters-Wynonna Earp

I still love the broments of the Winchesters and the Salvatores, but the Earp Sisters are truly special. Wynonna Earp is a show that is not always coherent, has bad guys/gals/demons that come and go with little warning, and sometimes goofy plots; but that doesn’t matter when the lead actresses are so good. I love Wynonna and Waverly. They seem like real sisters, and real people, though their sharp and funny dialogue is more than I could ever come up with in real life.

Best Network/Channel/Streaming: Syfy Channel

Yes, Netfix is truly wonderful, but for me Syfy comes out on top. The reason I was excited to get cable, back in the dark ages, was because I heard that there was going to be a science fiction channel, and I was so there. Syfy lost its way for a few years, but now it is coming back strong. Wynonna Earp, 12 Monkeys, Killjoys, The Magicians, and a few others have me turning to this channel again and loving it.

Honorable Mentions: Netflix, BBC America, The CW

Most of my favorite shows are found on these channels. I didn’t watch The CW after Buffy and Angel were gone, but now I’m watching something they produce every weekday. BBC America gives us Orphan Black and many great shows, and if I start writing about how much I love Netflix, I’d be here all day.

Best Lawman in a Cowboy Hat: Walt Longmire-Longmire

Now that Raylan Givens (Justified) is no longer on my TV screen with new episodes, I soothe my cravings for a tough-as-nails lawman by watching Walt get the bad guys while being totally clueless in the personal relationship arena. Longmire is a really great show with many enjoyable supporting actors including Katee Sackhoff and Lou Diamond Phillips.

Best Actors To Elevate Distasteful Subject: The cast of The People V. OJ Simpson

I didn’t think that I wanted to watch a mini-series about OJ, but Sarah Paulson, Sterling K. Brown, and the rest of this marvelous cast kept me watching.

Best 17 Minutes Out Of a Disappointing Season: Mr. Robot Season 2, Episode 6.

Some folks have pointed out that the sitcom-style opening sequence is really dark and depressing if you think about it, but I’m sorry; I was too busy laughing to notice. I didn’t enjoy season 2 very much, but I thought that 17 minute segment was brilliant.

Best Import: British Programming

I love Sherlock, Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax, The Fall, and Hinterland which is Welsh. That still counts, right? Whenever a new season of those shows are announced for the BBC, I’m hoping that it comes to my side of the pond, post-haste.

Best Show Watched in 2016, Not Actually Aired in 2016: River

River was put on Netflix at the tail end of 2015, and I watched it for the first time early this year. River stars Stellan Skarsgard and Nicola Walker. It is only six episodes and it is wonderful to watch. I’ve watched it twice and would love to watch it again. The last five minutes are so amazing, that I’ve not gotten through them without having to pause multiple times to wipe the tears from my eyes so I can see the TV screen. Poor Detective Inspector River is so isolated and so troubled by his manifestations; that he can only reach out in his limited way to the one person who really seems to understand him. Unfortunately… Well, you just have to watch this show to see how wonderful it is.

Now for the sad part…

Worst New Season: The X-Files, Season 10

I started out watching this revival with such high hopes, only to get more and more frustrated with it. It seemed to me like Chris Carter took everything that I hoped for, and gave me just the opposite. It was awful.

Most Disappointing Show: Dark Matter

I wanted to like this show; I tried to like this show. It is made by the same nice folks who gave us Stargate-SG1, one of my favorites. I just could not get interested in the characters who had numbers instead of names and who had endless flashbacks to fill us in on who they really were. I just couldn’t keep them straight without names. I had to keep going back to the internet to remind myself which character was Two or Four or Six. Nope, forgot again.

Most Missed Show: Doctor Who

Has that Capaldi guy been regenerated out of the Tardis yet? No? Darn.

So there you have it, lots of my best and some of my worst. It’s a great time to be alive and to be a fan of TV, isn’t it? Have a safe and happy holiday season, I’m so happy to be a writer on this site.



  1. What a great list, Mallena! I'm so there with many of them: Rectify, of course, Stranger Things, Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax, The Fall, Lucifer, The Crown, This is Us, we watch the same sort of stuff. I didn't stick with Wynonna Earp, but maybe I should have. Ditto with River -- I watched the first episode and somehow just didn't get back to it.

    And I'm so happy you found us and that you're a writer on our site, too!

  2. I really thought I commented on this earlier. And now I feel sort of crazy.

    Anyway: I'm glad you mentioned Parenthood! Although I can't get into This Is Us, I've belatedly started a Parenthood marathon.

    And I am so jealous of all of you who can watch the CW shows regularly. I cut the cord, which worked out really well when Hulu aired CW shows. Now it doesn't, and I'm stuck, cordless and alone, desperately wishing I could have enjoyed the massive crossover with the rest of you.

  3. Billie, of course we watch the same type of stuff, why do you think that I haunt your site? You (and staff) have reviewed Wonderfalls and Dollhouse so I know you've got good taste. You really should finish watching River, it is a complete and wonderful story in a short amount of viewing time.

    Josie, I spend an obscene amount of money on cable, DVRs, and streaming, but it is worth it to me since finding all shows that I like would be impossible just on streaming alone. Syfy shows are hard to find because they put some on Hulu, some on Netflix, and some on Syfy Now. Some shows are On Demand, but you usually have only 6 months or so to watch before they take them away. CBS all access is getting terrible reviews on the quality of their service, but to watch the new Star Trek, I might have to get it. What a world, what a world. It's no wonder I don't go the the movies much, I don't have any money left over.

    Re: This is Us.....I'm not sure if I love it for itself, or just because I missed a family serialized drama. I do know that the hour flies by when I watch it, and the actors are very good. Kevin is still kind of a jerk, but a lovable jerk.

  4. Stranger Things was a great new show. I fell in love with those kids. I miss them now. I thought it was going to be one season only, I’m glad it isn’t. The upside-down is fascinating and we need to see more of it.

    I thought of checking Dark Matter out, but I didn’t have the time. Should I not bother?

  5. Mallena:
    Love the format of your list! It made for a very engaging read. You know I'm with you on TXF S10. :( Though I can still appreciate it even happened at all. Happy Holidays!

  6. Hi, Lamounier. Lots of people seem to like Dark Matter, I'm just not fond of all the flashbacks and numbers for names. The Expanse was also too dark and depressing for me. I like Syfy's more lighthearted series like Killjoys and Wynonna. 12 Monkeys has a dark concept, but can also be very funny.

  7. I did go back and watch all of River and you're right -- the end is amazing. Thanks, Mallena.

  8. That's cool, Billie, I'm glad you liked it. I love shows with a dark, psychological spin. Why do we have to wait so long for the next Jessica Jones?...not fair. I kind of thought of River like that kid from The Sixth Sense. Even if River's manifestations weren't actually ghosts, they still popped up to help him with their mysteries, or to torment him. I seem to remember a few TV shows where they tried a similar theme, but they never seem to do them right. Here they did.

  9. I did really like River. Stellan Skarsgard seemed so closed off and expressionless at first that I didn't warm to him, but I loved how he slowly changed throughout the six episodes, especially in the finale.

    FYI, our Sunbunny reviewed a similar show called Raines, a short-lived procedural with Jeff Goldblum as an L.A. detective who hallucinates hauntings by the dead until he solves their case. It was very good but since it didn't have an ending, it was ultimately a bit unsatisfying.


  10. Update to my previous comment: I kept hearing how good "The Expanse" was, so I decided to give it another try. I'm almost done rewatching season one and loving it. I've also seen the first few eps of season 2 and they are very good as well. I thought the series and the performances were dark and depressing, but everything becomes more appealing as it goes farther into the first season. The characters even start smiling and cracking jokes, I just needed to be patient. Anyways, it's worth a look, if anyone's interested.


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