Television: Best and worst of 2017

January 4, 2018

Once upon a time, television used to be the poor man’s cinema. If you were a film actor who transitioned to TV, your career in film was over. The same went for filmmakers. That being said, the last 25 years have seen a renaissance for the television format. As a television student, I am a critic and I give you my best and worst of TV in 2017.

The masterful David Fincher serves as an executive director on Mindhunter, focusing on the FBI in 1977, during the early stages of criminal profiling. The show illustrates how profiling not only came into play but instated investigations even up to this day. It’s a beautifully shot show, as well as masterfully acted and is definitely worth a watch.

The smash-hit Stranger Things from 2016 was a hit again this year for its second season. That said, I thought the season fell flat and couldn’t get off the ground. I thought the first season was well made but relied too heavily on nostalgia from the ’80s. The second season was even worse, including the characters and storyline. I will not be watching the third season.

Our favourite horse-man hybrid – Bojack Horseman – was back for a fourth year and it was an astonishing season, filled with many laughs but with an equal amount of real-life scenarios that resonate with audiences. For a show in which animals talk and live like people, this is one of the most human shows out there right now. I highly recommend it if you’re into dramedies.

Big Mouth is by far one of the strangest shows to grace Netflix. This crude, lewd and rude offering about the tribulations of puberty was well received by critics and audiences for its unashamed approach to the subject matter and its willingness to ‘take a risk.’ I admit, I found it enjoyable the first time I watched it but after a second viewing, I was wrong about it being enjoyable. The show has interesting concepts, yet never utilizes them. It also has no idea what it wants to be and who it’s made for. Steer clear of this one.

But the best of this year has to be Twin Peaks.

This renaissance of TV we currently find ourselves in can be traced back to 1990 with the hit show created by filmmaker David Lynch and writer Mark Frost. The massive hit that spawned homages and parodies is my all-time favourite television show. It mixed drama, mystery, horror and Lynch’s signature surrealism and brought that into the mainstream.

I wouldn’t mention this show if it had no relevance. After 25 years of being off the air, Twin Peaks came back to people’s television sets for an 18-episode season. Season 3 or better known as The Return, aired on Showtime and brought the characters we fell in love with back into our living rooms. If you were expecting the quirky soap opera that it was before, you’re in for a treat. Lynch and Frost create an 18-hour surreal trip into the minds and realms that inhabit this world. Some fans were turned off by this and others marveled in it.

From the opening moment of the first episode, I knew I was in for a wild ride. I had my arms fully extended outside of the cart. Every line of dialogue, every strange occurrence, every second of ambient silence and every confusing plot line, I was invested. I took the journey that FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper had in order to reach the town of Twin Peaks once again. By the time the season finale came, I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want to say goodnight to these characters or this world again. The Return was a massive hit for Showtime’s streaming service and proved to people that Lynch still had it. If you’re a fan of Lynch or of Twin Peaks, you have to watch the new season. Twin Peaks: The Return was the greatest thing to come from television in 2017.

– Mackenzie Gates