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Mallena's Best of 2017

Since I only saw a few movies, this last year, I’ll do an all television review. Nowadays, there are so many great shows and so many great ways to watch them, that I don’t even have to leave the house. I don’t have to pay big bucks for a tub of popcorn and an over-sized drink, either. Anyway, let’s begin, shall we?

I’ve decided to list my favorite (and therefore best, in my opinion) series by the network that supplies them. I thought it might lead to some interesting conclusions.

The CW:
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – This year Rebecca Bunch had a mental health crisis that made me love this show, even more. Rebecca doesn’t feel “normal” and can’t understand why she feels and does things so differently from everyone else. Welcome to my world, sister-friend. I love this show’s ability to make me happy and sad, all at the same time…while also tapping my feet and playing the amazing songs, over and over. (The non-rated R ones, anyhow.)

The Man in the High Castle – Season two is bright, funny, action-packed, and just as evil as the first season of this wonderful show. They take you into a world where you never want to go, but it’s fascinating, nonetheless.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Rachel Brosnahan is brilliant as the heroine in this comedy/drama from the creator of Gilmore Girls. Rachel never stops moving, or speaking, as she darts through her character’s life with charm and wit. The period outfits, hair, and scenery are magical to see. Except for the pantyhose and high heels, I'd love to wear all her cute clothes. Tony Shalhoub is also very good as Midge’s father.

Syfy Channel:
12 Monkeys – Season three was the best season so far, which means that each season just improves upon the last. An amazing series that deserves a much bigger audience.

The Expanse – Season one almost lost me, but season two was receiving such praise that I had to check it out and I got hooked, immediately. I then stopped watching season two, binged season one, then restarted season two. The characters who seemed depressing and one-dimensional, at the start, roar into life several episodes into the first season. From there…it just becomes a fascinating show with characters that are funny and determined to do the right thing.

Wynonna Earp – Retaining most of the magic from season one, this series has the most beguiling sisters in television history. Their bond is stronger than anything that Hell can throw at them. The wacky plots don’t detract anything for me, I just enjoy Wynonna and Waverly’s relationship and their fight to stay together and defeat evil.

The Magicians – I’ve loved this series since the first episode, but my love was cemented when the cast performed their version of “One Day More” while marching to fight an army in a mystical land.

Killjoys – More fun than a Vulcan during Pon Farr, this show keeps the action moving, the characters’ bonding, and the laughs a-coming. For a mostly light space opera, this show has many emotional moments that deepen the relationships between the characters and the audience.

BBC America:
Orphan Black – There’s no other show like this one, or one that has an actress who can act as so many characters, so bloody well. For me, the show peaked when Helena was following her imaginary scorpion (Mangoes? Where are these Mangoes?), but it’s still fantastic as a complete tale.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Sadly canceled after this second season because of terrible ratings (Numfar, do the dance of shame!), this show's actually quite marvelous. Not since Doctor Who (new Doctor coming – Numfar, do the dance of joy!) have I been so eager to embrace a series as madcap as this one. It must be the curse of Alan Tudyk. He has a history of canceled shows and his appearances, this season, didn’t seem to help.

Humans – The future’s here as Synthetics are taking a lot of jobs away from real people and plotting their survival. The best part of this series is how quickly you’ll find yourself on the side of the Synthies. The actors do an incredible job making these human-like machines come to life. The cast playing the actual people are all fine, too.

Legion – I love this trippy and creepy psychological thriller. I guess it’s even a superhero story? I just enjoy the insane visuals, cinematic style, and fine acting of the cast. I didn’t know that Dan Stephens was that great of an actor. He is, and so many of this great cast shine in wonderful roles.

Fargo – This past season wasn’t as fantastic as the previous ones, but it’s still great. Ewan McGregor tried his best, but I’m not sure it’s smart to have him play twins in weird make-up and outfits. The reason to watch this season are these two actresses – Mary Elizabeth Winstead (wonderful in the departed Braindead) and Carrie Coon (amazing in Gone Girl).

Bates Motel – The final season was as spectacular as a final season could be. The quality of this series, which featured Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore, was always high, but that final season’s really Psycho.

The Sundance Channel:
The A Word – Christopher Eccleston shines as a quirky grandpa in an unusual family. Everyone of the actors in this series are great in their roles, especially the young actor who plays their autistic child. This production is lifted into genius by the use of interesting music, astounding visuals and landscapes, and the dialog of all the characters. This series perfectly catches the daily sadness, anxiety, comedy, and hope that an autistic child brings into a family. Well done and fun to watch.

Mr. Robot – After a less than interesting second season, the show came back very strongly. Every episode of this third season has been amazingly acted, scripted, filmed, and directed. This is how Mr. Robot should’ve been in season two, so that they wouldn’t have lost so many viewers.

The Orville – Okay, so it’s not Hamlet. However, it’s fun and it scratches my itch for a space adventure that I don’t have to pay extra for, or read subtitles in Klingon. Except for some potty humor; it’s great family fun. This isn’t Galaxy Quest, or even Star Trek: TNG, but I find myself looking forward to watching it every week.

Mary Kills PeopleUnREAL wasn’t very good, this year, but this new series is compelling and interesting. It might be that I just have a crush on Caroline Dhavernas (Wonderfalls), who plays Mary, but I really like this show.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Elisabeth Moss and Yvonne Strahovski are very good as reluctant allies and bitter housemates. There’s not much more that I can say that already hasn’t been said, so I’ll just say that this series is sublime, disturbing, and masterful.

Santa Clarita Diet – Who knew that Timothy Oliphant’s so funny? I’m in love with the whole family, and obviously this series, because I’ve watched the whole thing at least four times and I recommend it to everyone I know. It’s hysterically funny.

A Series of Unfortunate Events – Speaking of being in love…Baby Sunny almost steals this show away from Neil Patrick Harris. I had to watch this series multiple times, because the first time, I was so fixated on what that cute baby was doing, that I missed a lot of the plot. There’s a lot to see, in this adaptation, so multiple viewings are recommended.

Stranger Things – Season one was better, but I still enjoy hanging out with this group of people, again. To me, it’s like Jurassic Park Stranger Things. The Upsidedown creatures, running around, added some good scares. My favorite part’s the evolution of Steve. He wasn’t my favorite character, before, yet now – he’s the one I think of the most fondly from this new season. You go, Steve.

Ozark – Cutie Jason Bateman’s extraordinary here, as a man on a quest. I’ve learned so much about money laundering, from this series. Interesting stuff.

Longmire – Goodbye, Sheriff  Longmire and friends. I’ll miss you.

Atypical – Another drama featuring an autistic boy, this one’s quirky and entertaining. The main character’s a verbal teen, so it’s fascinating to me to listen to his thought processes, which he helpfully narrates for us. I could do without the subplot of his lusty mom, but overall – so well done.

I think this is long enough already, and it’s easy to see what my favorite network is. The sad thing is that the big four networks are showing hardly anything that I want to watch, with the exception of The Good Place and The Blacklist. Those “big four” need to get their act together, real soon.

Thanks for reading and have a very happy holiday season!


  1. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is so marvelous. I just finished it last week and I want to watch it all over again. And Mallena, you just made me realize that the only thing I watch on the big networks is The Good Place. When did that happen? When did The CW become "my" network?

  2. I know, weird isn't it? The networks used to show great cop shows, hospital dramas, romantic comedies, sitcoms that were actually funny, family dramas, etc. Now it's all so blah. All the great producers of TV past have either died or are doing cable, streaming, and movies.

  3. Great list of shows, Mallena. And I get you, I'm not a movie buff either.

    I tried to get into Santa Clarita Diet because I like Drew Barrymore, but I just couldn't keep watching her eat people. I only watched three episodes, but you speak so highly of it that I wonder if I should give it another try.

  4. Lamounier, I don't like gory shows, but SC Diet is so funny that I don't mind the blood. I just think about it like a skit on SNL that has blood spewing everywhere, but I know it's fake, so I don't let it bother me.

  5. I've been watching Dirk Gently on Netflix lately, and (at least through the first five episodes), the second season is a delight. The writing feels more confident and consistent than the first season, and I'm always surprised when it ends because it moves so quickly. A pity that it has been canned just as it seemed to find its feet. I don't know why the audience numbers were down.

    I do hope the delightful Sheriff Hobbs isn't dead after his run-in with the mage, though.


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