I think I can speak for everyone when I say that this year has been tough. From all of the celebrity deaths to Brad and Angelina splitting up, it's been tough on us all. However, in among the horror of 2016 there was one place that was thriving — one place where we could find comfort away from the noise of the outside world and that place was television.
2016 has proven to be a great year for television, with Game of Thrones producing it's strongest season yet and The Walking Dead's unforgettably gruesome season premiere. We also got the CW's epic superhero crossover between Legends Of Tomorrow, The Flash, Arrow and Supergirl as well as the highly anticipated sophomore seasons of the brilliant Happy Valley and the enticing Mr. Robot. Gilmore Girls made its long awaited comeback and how could we forget about American Horror Story's new terrifying direction that keep us guessing until the very end?
Although 2016 may have been kind to the blockbuster shows above, we can't forget about the new arrivals that filled us with joy, broke our hearts and won us over. Television juggernaut HBO and streaming service Netflix definitely produced some of their best work yet. Let's take a look at the new shows that grabbed us and never let go. They eased the horrors of the outside world and we couldn't let the year go out without mentioned the few things that made us thankful.
1. Westworld (HBO)
I think we were all expecting big things from HBO's hugely anticipated Westworld and the remarkable thing is is that it delivered on all fronts. From the first episode, Westworld challenged the viewers to open their minds and — unlike several other HBO series' — I found myself immediately immersed in the world from the very first episode.
The show takes place in a world where artificial intelligence is more than just a myth and where a customer can pay to take part in a storylined narrative of their choice, interacting with and killing the robots before it all begins again. However, the lies and deception prove that there is much more to this than meets the eye. Westworld has been a global success and if it produces a second season half as good as the first then Game Of Thrones will face some competition as HBO's flagship show.
2. Stranger Things (Netflix)
Netflix really came into their own in the past few years with their own original series' and 2016 took things to thinnest level. On top of new releases in their darker Marvel universe, the streaming service began putting out their own original series' and none of them was more popular than the hauntingly brilliant Stranger Things.
The supernatural series focuses on a small town that is rocked by a series of disappearances and as some of the residents investigate they discover that not all is what it seems. Like Westworld, the series offers mystery and yet maintains a strong solid writing and acting along the way. Moreover, Stranger Things had elements of the classic creature feature films from the '50s which made it all the more enjoyable.
3. Preacher (AMC)
I wasn't sure how I would feel about AMC's Preacher before it began airing and even after viewing the pilot episode I wasn't completely hooked. However, despite a slow start, the series wasted no time in getting down to the important stories and within three episodes I found myself eagerly awaiting the next. Although it started as a Sunday replacement for Game Of Thrones, Preacher became the show of the week for me and one episode simply wasn't enough.
By the end of the season I was mourning the loss of the epic drama. The Dominic Cooper led drama is incredibly dark and disturbing yet maintained a light hearted comedic tone. Preacher is unlike anything else I've ever seen on TV and I'm still counting down the days until Dominic Cooper can take me to church once more.
4. MacGyver (CBS)
The biggest suppose of the year was without a doubt CBS' remaining of MacGyver. Unlike many remakes before, MacGyver manages to update the series yet maintains the essence of the original. Starring X-Men's Lucas Till in the titular role, there is literally nothing Mac can't do and Till portrays the role so well that one would think it was written specifically for him.
MacGyver not only surprised me but it was also surpassing in the rating depart,went — bringing in over 11 million viewers on a Friday is almost unheard of and hasn't been accomplished since Ghost Whisperer did it back in 2005. What's great is that the show has managed to maintain a solid 7 million week on week and if the show continues to be as successful as this then Mac could be fixing up our TV sets for several years to come. We should be so lucky.
5. Divorce (HBO)
When it comes to comedy, nobody does it like HBO and it's great to see that Divorce manages to keep up that trend. Although she appeared in a few episodes of global phenomenon Glee, Divorce marks Sarah Jessica Parker's return to the television since her Sex and The City days.
Parker's character Frances decides that she wants a divorce from her drab and dreary husband Robert but this doesn't end her problems — its only makes them worse. Filled with brilliant lines and some great acting performances, Divorce is everything you could want from a comedy, and it's a little heartwarming too.
6. War & Peace (BBC)
The word 'epic' gets thrown around a lot these days, but when using it in reference to film or television it usually refers to the grand scale of production. There was nothing bigger and grander on television this year than BBC's eight part mini-series War & Peace which enthralled viewers around the world.
The mini-series, based on Tarkovsky's famous novel, was beautifully written, paced, directed and acted. Although it was broadcast in HD, there was a filmic grain layered over the series, which added to the beauty of the entire procession. The battle scenes were spectacular, the locations were magnificent and the clothing was spot on. With a standout performance from Happy Valley's James Norton as the troubled yet loveable Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, War & Peace had everything you could possibly want from a mini series.
7. The O.A (Netflix)
The OA was released on the same day as Season 2 of Amazon's The Man In The High Castle and as a result I almost missed out on this one. After making time to watch #TheOA, I completed the entire series in two sittings — yes, it's that good. Full of mystery, madness and the unknown this series is excellently written and acted and I couldn't stop watching.
I watch a lot of TV series' but it's been a long time since a show resonated with me like The OA has. If you have a couple of hours res, move this one to the top of your must watch list. I thoroughly hope there is a second season.