End of the year lists for the best of TV are becoming increasingly futile yet increasingly necessary. With over 450 scripted shows airing this past year on broadcast, cable, and streaming, it’s impossible to watch everything. Doing a Top 10 list feels too meager, so like last year, I’ll be expanding to a Top 25. But the reality is that I’m limiting myself to 25. I watched some or all of well over 120 series this year, which is only a fraction of what was available. Even among all of that noise (and there was a lot of mediocrity out there), there were some series that truly managed to stand out for me — alongside a host of honorable mentions, which ignores still the huge list of shows that maybe aren’t great but I still really enjoyed.
There are also a large number of heralded series I just didn’t get to — Godless, Halt and Catch Fire, She’s Gotta Have It, The Leftovers, among many others — which is why Chris Cabin (who reviewed a lot of those for us) will have his own Top 25 coming up as well.
We’re both blessed and cursed to live in this era of Peak TV, because there are only so many hours in a day. But below are my favorite comedies, dramas, and miniseries from 2017 (as well as one regrettably cancelled series). This list includes the shows that surprised me, astonished me, made themselves memorable, and offered something unique. Consider it a guide to some you might have missed out on, or even forgotten from earlier this year. It’s never too late to catch up!
For more of the Best of 2017, check out Chris Cabin’s top 25 TV shows of the year, Dave Trumbore’s list of the best new animated series, Emma Fraser’s look at the best songs on TV, and Evan Valentine’s ranking of the year’s superhero TV.
(A note on spoilers: I’ve tried to keep things pretty general, especially regarding the series most people haven’t heard of, but if you have any doubts then skip on to the next!)
Related: The Best TV Shows of 2017