And now for my 16 fave TV shows of 2016 …
Thanks, BoJack, Fleabag and Mozart.
Somewhere, even Bob from Twin Peaks is crying in a corner, hoping 2016 will just hurry up and end.
So yeah, it’s been a dark 12 months. But let’s find some joy in a year that also brought “peak TV,” or so many rad shows we’d have to quit our jobs to see them all.
Below, I list my faves — and see ya next year, Bob:
15. Lady Dynamite. The first season of Maria Bamford’s comedy mixed sideways fantasies with real-life challenges into something both fresh and familiar.
14. Mozart in the Jungle. Even if you’ve never seen this Amazon series, watch the stellar “Not Yet Titled” (Season 3, Episode 7), and you’ll fall hard. Mozart looks as pretty as it sounds, and I love crawling into a world where Paganini and Olivier Messiaen are treated as hipster heroes.
13. Red Oaks. This ‘80s-set Amazon comedy takes a page from movies like The Last American Virgin and The Sure Thing, giving us underdogs, partial nudity and Roxy Music galore. (Plus, I get such a rush when I see directors Hal Hartley and Amy Heckerling listed in the credits!)
12. Westworld. I’m still unsure whether this sci-fi, mega-budget series lives up to the hype — I mean, every big “twist” you can see a mile away — but dang, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright and Thandie Newton could smack gum for an hour and I’d be riveted.
11. Rectify. Man, I’m gonna miss these people. After four intense and beautifully written seasons, Daniel and Amantha and all the rest feel like family.
10. Bajillion Dollar Propertie$. In terms of out-loud, crap-I’m-waking-my-kid laughs, this Seeso series wins, hands down.
9. Game of Thrones. I don’t really think about GoT during the off-season, but when it’s on, I’m on it like Jaime Lannister is on … oh, never mind.
8. Black Mirror. The heaven-on-earth romance of “San Junipero” is so picture-perfect, I would’ve paid to see it in a theater. After watching Season 2, it’s a miracle I haven’t deleted all of my social media accounts.
7. Fleabag. Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s series makes me ache in all the funny, sad and sexy places.
6. Younger. Look, I know I’m the target demo for this show, which follows a 40-something masking as a 20-something. But damn, it’s too good to be considered a guilty pleasure, and Debi Mazar is queen of my dreams.
5. Transparent. There might be #toomuchTV, but each Transparent season is still too dang short. Though I wanted to savor Season 3, I wound up going on a two-day Pfefferman bender. Judith Light just slays me.
4. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I’d be impressed if Rachel Bloom made just five or six eps each season; her talent and productivity boggles the brain.
3. BoJack Horseman. BoJack’s equine qualities melted away this season as he gave us a window into the soul. To echo many others, that underwater episode was a poetic triumph.
2. Stranger Things. Thanks to Winona and waffles, I had a pretty bitchin’ summer.
1. The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. I can’t name a more surprising, poignant and mesmerizing show this year. Even for those of us who watched hours upon hours of the trial, this series managed to shed light on the case and make us love David Schwimmer again.
I also loved loved loved: Ali Wong: Baby Cobra (comedy special), The Americans, Baskets, Better Things, Catastrophe, Easy, Gilmore Girls, High Maintenance, House of Cards, Take My Wife, Togetherness, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Vice Principals
And because I value sleep more than TV: In order for this list to truly be complete, I still need to watch The 100, Animals, Atlanta, The Girlfriend Experience, Horace and Pete, The Night Of, Roadies, Search Party and Veep.
Whitney Matheson (@whitneymatheson) is a writer and teacher who lives near Nashville, Tennessee. For 15 years, she wrote USA Today’s Pop Candy blog. Holler at email@example.com.