I watch a lot of TV. Like, a lot. I love finding good shows and getting really into the world and the characters, and I watch a lot more TV than I watch film and even more than I read books. If you’re the same and you’ve run out of shows to watch or are feeling the cold and want to hibernate under a bundle of blankets for a spell, then have a read and try checking out some of my favourite shows from 2017.
This show has absolutely beautiful music and cinematography. Set in a German woodland town, the atmosphere is sinister and brooding. Dark is a time travelling murder mystery, a sci-fi show with a very paranormal feel to it, with clear influences from Stephen King and David Lynch. This show hooks you pretty early on and the mystery only builds as you get deeper into the show (seriously, guys, what the hell is going on??). It will certainly keep you guessing.
The only problem I have with this show is figuring out who’s who. Split into three different time periods (1953, 1986 and 2019) the show does pair up each younger character with their older counterpart in split screens to make it easier, but many of the older women in 2019 have the same hairstyle and general appearance about them so it took me a good 5-6 episodes to start figuring out which character was which.
This is a bittersweet paranormal drama with, again, science fiction elements woven into it. A bunch of people crawl out of their graves, wreaking emotional havoc on their loved ones. A little reminiscent of Les Revenants in the concept and emotional aspects of the show, but with a very different backdrop (set in Australia, this is a long way from France’s cold and misty mountains).
One of my favourite scenes is the main character, James, kneeling down to pray and then rapidly changing his mind, muttering ‘fuck this’ and storming off, which to be honest pretty much sums up the whole mood of the show. Glitch is emotional and at times a little sinister, but mostly good-humoured, and lets you get really invested in some great characters who, let’s be honest, you probably won’t like right away, but most of them will grow on you pretty quickly (looking at you, Paddy).
This is essentially a buddy show between two women on the run from the Australian authorities after witnessing a murder. There are so few of this style of friendship stories between women that this is a real gem. Although this is a crime thriller, the show’s really all about the relationship between Chelsea and Lola, two very different women of different ages and backgrounds who are thrown together and suddenly have to rely on each other in order to survive. As with Glitch, this show has a lot of typical Australian good humour which makes it a really fun watch that isn’t too heavy, but is still quite exciting and keeps you hooked pretty much all the way through. I think I watched both series of this one within just a few days (which is totally not what I do with every show….)
The Handmaid’s Tale
Although I’ve not read The Handmaid’s Tale, I have read other books by Atwood, so I expected this to be bleak, but oh my god this was an intense emotional ride through a dystopian nightmare where no one can be trusted and everyone is watching. Often infuriating, and always heartbreaking, this show is beautifully shot and well acted, and well worth watching if you can handle the fairly awful subject matter.
Of course this would end up as one of my favourite shows of all time. What’s not to love about a narcissistic, depressed and bitter horse-man hybrid? I started this show a couple of years ago, and then for some reason didn’t quite get into it. Now the show is in its 4th series and it just keeps getting better. Usually after more than 2-3 series shows take a drastic downhill plummet, but there’s so much to these characters and they keep developing (and backsliding, and then developing again, and backsliding). It’s a cartoon and yet the writing is very real, the characters are solidly believable (despite most of them being talking animals), and as you may have heard, the show has some great ace rep as well as dealing with some pretty heavy subjects like depression, addiction, and dementia. Plus, it’s fucking hilarious.
Honorary Mention: The Strain
Now in its 4th series I’m amazed I hadn’t heard about this earlier. It’s a really cool vampire dystopia set in New York, with old myths blended into modern-day science. Two main characters are a 90-something Jewish vampire hunter and a 40-something CDC doctor, which gives you an idea of the show overall. The vampires are just grim as hell and the show is a good mix of creepy, gory, and light-heartedly camp. Don’t take this one too seriously, but still watch the hell out of it!
Other shows I’ve enjoyed this year are The Expanse, and Blue Planet II (because anything narrated by David Attenborough is gold by default, and some of those sea creatures are even weirder than the The Strains’ vampires).