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CHUD's Fifty Best Television Episodes Of 2016

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 

Apparently there are thirty-six days left until 2017 and so now seems like as good a time as any to pool our collective television brains and establish what were the definitive fifty best hours (or maybe a little longer) of the small screen for 2017. 

 
When submitting your entry, remember to try and spoiler any major surprises just in case your write-up prompts someone to check out the show for the first time. Nobody wants to know that Fred kills Wilma in episode nine.
 
Let's start with....
 
1. 
 
"San Junipero" - Black Mirror (Episode 4, Season 3)
 

 

Almost certainly the standout episode in a very strong season, it's hard to discuss this episode without explaining what makes this episode so special. Indeed, for the first half of the episode, it's hard to see how "San Junipero" even fits into Black Mirror - a show of technology, paranoia and unease with the world.  
 
Bucking the usual trend of dystopian futures and murderous phone apps, "San Junipero" takes us to the titular Californian town during the 1980's and charts the growing romance between Yorkie and Kelly (heart-warmingly portrayed by Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis).  The episode does such a great job at establishing these two characters and investing you in their developing relationship that, by the time it begins to play its cards in the second half, you want to see what lies at the end of their journey. 
 
"San Junipero" may be the least flashy episode of the season, but it's an incredibly effective piece of television that exists as both a great love story and as evidence that the show doesn't always need to - as writer and showrunner Charlie Brooker said - "power down 200 miles per hour toward Dark Town". It really is one of the very best television episodes of the year.
 
Why You Should Watch It: So you know why your co-worker is suddenly crying at her desk to Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven Is A Place On Earth". 
 

 


Edited by MrSaxon - 11/25/16 at 8:47am
post #2 of 72

2.  The People vs. OJ Simpson - "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia"

 

 

 

 

It's still unfathomable to me how good this show really was, and how it turned decades-old punchlines into real drama and tragedy.  That alchemical conversion was most striking in Sarah Paulson's showcase for Marcia Clarke and the world's most tragic perm.  It's heartbreaking but unsentimental, darkly funny and acted to the nines.  Could've been titled "Emmy, Emmy, Emmy".


Edited by Schwartz - 11/25/16 at 11:46am
post #3 of 72
3.
"The Winds of Winter" - Game Of Thrones (Season 6, Episode 10)

Perhaps not the most popular choice for the episode of the season... certainly "Battle of the Bastards" finishes the arcs that the whole season was visibly building up to (Snow vs Bolton & Daenerys vs Slavers Bay). The real central story to Game of Thrones has always been events in King's Landing however, and boy does this episode deliver. The season was full of resurrections and surprise back-stabbings and for this episode, we pretty much all knew how Cersei was going to escape justice from the hands of the High Sparrow and her enemies. In the age of Reddit speculation, it's impossible to surprise an audience with a plot development that is so built up on established events without it being completely ludicrous and out of left field.

Faced with this dilemma, Game of Thrones did the only thing it could do... it produced one of the most elegantly paced and perfectly crafted ten minutes of drama this year. Lena Heady is perfect as she watches the Great Sept from afar as she waits and hopes for her plan to come to fruition, relying on a mere two allies and a small group of viciously stabby children. A slow, graceful introduction that culminates in one of the most subtle and self satisfied moments of victory I've seen a villain do in a long time.

giphy.gif

Doesn't hurt that the show finishes on one of my favorite tropes, which is Evil Pyrrhic Victory. "The Villain who gets everything they want, but loses everything they cared about in the process"

God I really don't want to lose Cersei, but she really deserves it. smile.gif

I leave you with Light of the Seven, the first major use of the piano the score for GoT has used, and easily my most listened to piece of music this year:


Edited by flint - 11/25/16 at 9:57am
post #4 of 72

4. MULDER AND SCULLY MEET THE WERE-MONSTER, THE X-FILES

 

 

Yeah, the X-Files reboot had some problems. But for one shining, glorious episode, everything was the way it should. Darin Morgan's pitch-perfect script feels exactly of a piece with his prior contributions - playing with the monster's perspective, with narrative reliability, the relative competence of Scully and Mulder - and doing it with a wonderfully light touch.  This is bolstered by a hysterical guest performance by Rhys Darby, who completely nails the perspective-switch on the werewolf that compromises the episode's biggest twist. Guy Mann is a splendid comic creation, and he and Mulder play off each other beautifully. Meanwhile, Anderson has a great time once again playing Scully as the lone bastion of sanity in this insane world - and she even gets a new dog named after a Melville character as a reward.

 

And Morgan brings it all home in the final moments, as Mulder shakes the monster's hand and has his faith restored. It's a rare win for the guy, especially in the Morgan X-Files. But by God, he's earned it.

post #5 of 72

5. "Act of God" - The Crown, Season 1, Episode 4

 

Probably the perfect episode to recommend to someone who wants a taste of what The Crown is about without committing to the entire run, "Act of God" centers on the infamous Great Smog of 1952 that kept all of London locked down for several days.  And it's an apt metaphor for the states of both the yet-to-be-coronated Elizabeth and her government, both unsure of what to make of the other, both trying to find their way through their own respective fogs.  

post #6 of 72
6. Bojack Horseman - "Fish Out Of Water"




Bojack is the best comedy running, and generally its animation serves to disguise the fact that it's also the most bracing. This (mostly) silent episode at an underwater film festival instead uses it to tell a more whimsical (if still melancholy af) story, with the chronically depressed protagonist becoming the hero of a Chaplin-esque lark. It's beautiful, it's touching, it's funny, it's sad and it's laden with puns. And it ends on the absolute perfect, really the only, note it possibly could.
Edited by Schwartz - 11/27/16 at 11:38am
post #7 of 72
7. Bojack Horseman "That's too much man"



Beating out the previous seasons "Escape from LA" in the brutal watching stakes (which it skillfully calls back to), this is like watching the last half of requirm for a Dream. But harsher. And funnier. Too describe it ("the bender to end all benders") without massive spoilers does it so little justice, as it uses everything that's gone before to absolutely eviscerate Bojack. Some truly amazing voice work lends it that extra gravitas. This one just blew me away when I watched it.
post #8 of 72
Thread Starter 

8.

 

Episode Thirty - Last Week Tonight (Episode 30, Season 3)

 

The final episode of the season and the first after the results of the 2016 election, it was clearly not the episode host John Oliver had envisaged.

 

In place of the usual format, where the host briefly discusses the week's news before moving to a longer speech on a focused topic, Oliver instead devoted nearly all of the episode to the results. Over the course of the finale's running time, Oliver not only took aim at Trump and the media, but he asked his audience to do more than just passively agree with him. "We're going to have to stand up for one another" he told his audience after highlighting some of Trump's potential policies, "If you care about women’s health, donate to Planned Parenthood or the Center for Reproductive Rights,” he implored. “If you don’t believe manmade global warming is a ‘silly issue,’ donate to the National Resources Defense Council. If you don’t think refugees are a terrorist army in disguise, donate to the International Refugee Assistance Project.”

 

The episode finished with a video containing a message that most of us would certainly appreciate whether due to the political surprises, the death of celebrities we loved, natural disasters, or simply for our own personal reasons: Fuck you, 2016.

 

 


Edited by MrSaxon - 11/25/16 at 12:44pm
post #9 of 72
9.

"Congressional Ball" - VEEP (Episode 7, Season 5)


"You're playing a very dangerous game of chicken with the head fuckin' hen."

Armando Iannucci may have flown the coop but that didn't hamper the ability of Veep's creative team to conjure up the kinds of vicious bullseye take-downs that'd make the devil himself wilt, nor did it prevent Julia Louis-Dreyfus from proving once again that she deserves literally all the awards, sinking her verbal claws into both Tom James and Penny Nickerson in two of the most magical confrontations the show has ever concocted.

Nor did AI's departure hamper their ability to make Jonah Ryan's delusional idiocy endlessly entertaining, showing, if anything, they could pump up those jams to even greater levels of magnificence by having the "seven foot seven goony-looking Lithuanian who's going to drop dead of Marfan Syndrome" run for congress, putting his weapons-grade buffoonery on a literal pedestal and into the literal spotlight in ways it never had been before while also allowing the mining of more and more gold from the infinitely deep vein of his right hand man Richard Splett ("We've been getting increasingly angry letters from Tom Petty, but hey, who hasn't?").

Add in Mike's typically ham-fisted attempts to get a job with the NHL by crowbarring goofy hockey metaphors into his speeches and gormless Gary apparently being considered #21 in the list of "Washington's 50 Hottest Staffers" and the Season 5 team showed they could come up with a cracker of an episode whether the show's Godfather was at the helm or not.

post #10 of 72

10.  "The Vanishing of Will Byers" -- Stranger Things, Season 1, Episode 1

 

There may be more satisfying or thrilling episodes in the season, but nothing can match the sheer giddy realization of just what the Duffer Brothers are pulling off as the premiere episodes unfolds.  This is a show lovingly, unapologetically in love with a time and place, and this is the magical first date.

post #11 of 72

Stranger Things is the most overrated show of the year.  But the pilot was pretty great.

post #12 of 72

Dammit, I've only seen 2015 episodes of The Grinder!

post #13 of 72
11. Baskets - 'Easter in Bakersfield' (1.4)

I've yet to see Bojack, but for my money, this beautiful and strange examination of loneliness and disappointment was my surprise favorite this year. This particular entry begins to provide the context for the relationships between Chip and his 'wife', Penelope . . . and, more appropriately, him and his mother, Christine (Anderson's work here and throughout is incredible). The increasingly solipsistic statements the French translation cassette tape makes as Chip sneaks away to smoke, the boorish manner in which Chip interrupts the Easter service to tell his mother that her car is about to be towed, and the entirety of the awkward and informative intrusion into Martha's families' church luncheon table by the two Baskets are the standout bits of the episode, but the final moment with Martha (who by all rights should stand alongside another Martha this year), driving and singing along with Neil Diamond, her voice subtly cracking under the weight of her sadness, is the real shimmering tear that is shed.
post #14 of 72

12. You're the Worst- Twenty Two

 

 

 

While it might ruin any rewatches of earlier episodes since Gretchen and Jimmy come off as the worst human beings to inhale oxygen, I think this is the best episode of You're the Worst. The current season has been very uneven, but this view in to Edgar's life is better drama than most shows could ever muster. It portrays the struggles veterans go through in America, a subject woefully undertold. Desmin Borges goes above and beyond in his portrayal of a veteran on the edge, and deserves every praise possible. I believe it to be the best serious episode of a comedy ever. 

post #15 of 72

Vice Principals - A Trusty Steed

 


The pilot demonstrated that familiar McBride/Jody Hill nastiness, but it wasn't until the next episode, where the two protagonists burnt the principal's house to the ground, did it become clear that this show was most certainly not fucking around. Witness the birth of Lee Russell, potentially the most evil character to appear in anything this year. Whenever Vice Principals reached for the black-hearted ugliness demonstrated in this episode, it was at its best.

post #16 of 72

14. The Get Down, "Raise Your Words, Not Your Voice"

 

 

A fun-if-uneven half-season ends on its highest note. The climactic musical number is probably the most exhilarating sequence I saw all year. When the Star Wars music hits . . . WOW.

post #17 of 72

15.  Broad City - "Two Chains"

 

Broad City is rolling strong in its third season, and the premiere is a very funny if for-the-course episode of the gals swimming upstream through the chaos of NYC to accomplish a simple task and embarrassing themselves (well, Abbi anyway - Ilana isn't really capable of embarrassment) at a high society function.  But the episode itself is just gravy on top of one of the comic smorgasbord that is the opening bathroom montage.  A more perfect, and perfectly in character, two minutes of comedy did not exist in 2016.

post #18 of 72

16.  Penny Dreadful - "A Blade of Grass"

 

 

 

The horror equivalent of MAD MEN'S "The Suitcase", this episode focuses on just two characters, tortured Vanessa Ives (alternate-universe Emmy winner, Eva Green) and her mysterious "orderly" at the insane asylum (Rory Kinnear).   The best goddamned acting in any show, genre be damned.  

post #19 of 72
Thread Starter 

17.

 

"The Original" - Westworld (Episode 1, Season 1)

 

 

 
Whatever you may think of the show that developed afterward, the opening episode for HBO's latest big venture was incredibly strong. Set thirty years after the book (and movie) on which it's based, the pilot does a great job at grounding the science-fiction elements for an unfamiliar audience whilst introducing the main characters - both human ("Guests") and robot ("Hosts") - of the show.
 
That the episode manages to effortlessly set up what could be an otherwise confusing concept - "Would you like some dystopian sci-fi corporate thriller with your western, mam?" - is only one part of what impresses. It manages to take the audience's expectations and flip them on their head (a sequence seemingly introducing a new human to the park soon turns out to be a pre-conceived storyline being played out between two robots, for example) whilst also allowing for humor amongst the violence (the highly theatrical and much heralded arrival of an infamous bandit is quickly concluded in an exceptionally mundane way).
 
When was the last time an episode was able to make you excited for what was to come next simply because someone swatted an insect?

Edited by MrSaxon - 11/30/16 at 9:03am
post #20 of 72

18.

 

“Nailed” – Better Call Saul (Season 2, Episode 9)

 

 

After a mid-season lull, episode 9 of Better Call Saul’s second season turned things around and had me on the edge of my seat. Mike begins to demonstrate that he’s a true badass when he takes down one of Hector’s trucks with a spike strip. Gilligan and Co. brilliantly capture Chuck’s descent into madness as we see the effects of Jimmy tampering with the address listed on the documents. Our hearts break when Kim really starts to show that she is as corruptible as the rest of them. And I almost slipped off the edge of my seat when Jimmy bribes the clerk, and then Chuck shows up to confront the clerk before falling and gruesomely slamming his head.

 

I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of Better Call Saul, but this episode redeemed a season that had begun to slag a bit. On top of turning the season around, it also notched the show up another level and proved that it is very much deserves to exist. It made an argument that it’s not unreasonable to mention Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul in the same sentence.

post #21 of 72

19.

 

“The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears” – The Americans (Season 4, Episode 8)
 

 

 

The time-jump makes the ep feel like a season finale, but the opening, with Marsha heading to Russia during a sequence which plays in almost complete silence, is absolutely gutwrenching. Season 4 featured this show's best stretch of episodes, and this might be the highlight.

post #22 of 72
I was gonna list The Americans 'The Day After', but Copperfield is still quite acceptable.
post #23 of 72
I kept going back and forth between several Americans episodes. Martha's exit does have to be take the cake, though.
post #24 of 72

I had the chance to buy the first season of The Americans for $5 at Target, but I resisted for a couple of reasons. 1) It was DVD, and I'd rather have blu if I like it. 2) I have yet to finish The Wire, The Shield or Strike Back, so I was hesitant to start something new.

 

I will get to it one day.

post #25 of 72

20. RETURN 0 - PERSON OF INTEREST

 

One of two series finales this year worthy of the list, "return 0" faces the challenges a series finale must overcome with aplomb. It's rare to see a series finale that so confidently and successfully closes off every remaining character arc, and follows through on the show's overarching themes. There's still time for some good ol' PoI shenanigans too - Finch putting on his "Ben Linus" face to con his way into the Federal Reserve using his FitBit (and mumbling an explanation of why he has a FitBit: "The machine thinks I need more exercise"), Shaw and Fusco using the subway train base as, well, a subway train in a thrilling escape from Samaritan goons, Reese knocking out some poor schlub with a gold bar, and a delightful valedictory appearance from Bear (Bear!).


But it really comes back to two rooftops - one where Finch, believing he's about to die, has his final conversation with his also-dying Machine about, naturally, death. It's heady and surprisingly emotional sci-fi, and beautifully played by both Michael Emerson and a hugely-Emmy-robbed Amy Acker, whose Root is one of the most fascinating TV characters of the last four years (and remained equally fascinating once she became the voice of the Machine). It takes the show's most important arc words - "you are being watched" - the mantra of paranoia that underlies the entire series - and turns it into something deeply moving,

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

which then pays off on the second rooftop, where John Reese makes his heroic sacrifice and meets his long-delayed end-via-cruise missile. It's a powerful conclusion, especially with its moving/fist-pump-inducing coda, where Finch reunites with his fiance Grace, the Machine at last defeats Samaritan, and Sameen Goddamn Shaw continues the good work, and proves one last time that she deserves her own '80s-action-film with, like, Commando-levels of carnage with the single most badass pre-mortem one-liner on TV this year.

 

"Your friends wouldn't want you to kill me."
"Yeah, but they're all dead." BANG.

 

As the AV Club comments had it, This. Fucking. Show.


Edited by Dent6084 - 11/30/16 at 8:51pm
post #26 of 72

21. DAREDEVIL - NEW YORK'S FINEST

 

 

After a sterling introduction spread out over the previous two episodes, we are finally given an entire episode to see what Frank Castle is all about. Matt Murdock, captured and chained is forced to deal with the ramifications of his morals and how they interact with his desire to be a masked hero. This is one of the best instances of a "bottle episode" in recent memory as we spend almost the entire episode on this rooftop seeing two people with the same goals but vastly different methods clash and debate their ideologies. Jon Bernthal's performance as Castle is one for the books and with this and the following episode (I REALLY wrestled between choosing this or Penny and Dime for the list) he truly cements his version of this damaged and dangerous character. Just an uncompromising and unstoppable force of will going against Matt's seemingly unbreakable Catholic faith. And as difficult decisions are made, the episode ends with what is, for my money, THE best fight scene ever done with a Superhero TV show. Nothing done by Marvel or CW has come close to this. 

post #27 of 72
I was debating that or Seven Minutes In Heaven for the Daredevil pick. Some strong episodes this season.
post #28 of 72
Thread Starter 

22.

 

"XXVIII" - Black Sails (Episode 10, Season 3)
 

 

 
"It's a hard thing to look your successor in the eye and know that their time is nearing while yours is almost through” - John Silver
 
What makes this episode so special aren't the events which happen across the hour - even though they're often tense, well-acted and well-choreographed - but what it means for the show as a whole. 
 
In a sense, all of the proceeding episodes have been leading to this very point by first establishing "Long" John Silver as a man concerned only with himself, then showing him gradually building relationships with the crew, before - in this season finale - finally shaping him into a boogeyman for other pirates (including his own Captain) to fear.
 
As the third season concludes with a battle between pirates, liberated slaves and English soldiers on the sand and sea, the episode takes its time in showing the dangerous, hypnotic power which Silver now wields among Captain Flint's crew, before a knowing glance between Flint and Silver underlines that the former now recognizes the one-legged danger which lurks on his ship.

Edited by MrSaxon - 12/3/16 at 1:16am
post #29 of 72

"NYC's Finest" is definitely the right pick for Daredevil.  That stairwell fight is one of the best action sequences ever to appear on television.

post #30 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
 

I had the chance to buy the first season of The Americans for $5 at Target, but I resisted for a couple of reasons. 1) It was DVD, and I'd rather have blu if I like it. 2) I have yet to finish The Wire, The Shield or Strike Back, so I was hesitant to start something new.

 

I will get to it one day.

The Americans was a good show from the jump, but season 4 is great. As mentioned, there are several eps from that season worthy of this arbitrary message board list.

 

23.

"The Open-Ended Nature of Unwitnessed Deaths" - (Last Man on Earth, Season 3 Episode 6)

 
 
Last Man on Earth has always been an odd show, never quite sure of its tone. Despite the show's plottiness, the show has also dabbled in melancholy, but would usually retreat to indulge the stupid antics of Will Forte's character. But this episode finally struck the balance which eluded the show for a couple of seasons. What starts as the usual grating Forte/Schaal nonsense morphs into something genuinely moving. Also, January Jones cosplays Shawshank Redemption and Mel Rodriguez does a glorious Morgan Freeman impression. This show isn't great, but it did produce this great episode.

Edited by Mangy - 12/2/16 at 7:00am
post #31 of 72

23.  Game Of Thrones - "Battle Of The Bastards"

 

 

 

 

Cinematography.  Choreography.  Performance.  Scoring.  Yes, yes, all well and good.  But Ramsay Bolton gets eaten by his dogs.  The rest could've been a marionette show scored to acoustic Sum 41 covers and that still would've made it the most satisfying hour of television this year.

post #32 of 72

24. Black Mirror- "Nosedive"

 

 

San Junipero understandably gets the love, but this episode is also peak Black Mirror without anything that could remotely be mistaken for that bothersome stuff knows as sweetness or light.  It's all bitter, albeit in a pastel colored candy shell.  And its aesthetic is perfectly matched by its central performance, which is almost exhausting to watch, so I can't imagine what it must have been like to actually play.  Bryce Dallas Howard's turn as Lacie is what the term tour de force was meant for.  It is committed, relentless, hilarious, cutting, and more than a little bit scary. 

 

post #33 of 72

25. The Expanse - Critical Mass/Leviathan Wakes

 

The Expanse marked the Syfy Channel's return to a harder edged science fiction that had been lacking since the conclusion of Battlestar Galactica (and Caprica's aborted run). It's first season was a little uneven (though I suspect it plays better binged), but the conclusion was where it really kicked into gear. Two of the ongoing plot threads that had seemed only tenuously connected finally merged and proved to be much more intimately connected than we realized, and a third that seemed completely unconnected became connected, and a little bit more dangerous.

 

And then things got weird.

 

post #34 of 72
Thread Starter 

26. 

 

"COME HOME" - THE MISSING (SEASON 2, EPISODE 1)

 

 

 

The opening hour of this eight-part BBC thriller introduces us to a relatively simple concept: in 2003, the young daughter of a British soldier stationed in Germany is kidnapped.... and eleven years later she mysteriously returns. If the concept is simple, the execution is designed to deliberately to puzzle the viewers with flashforwards and flashbacks between these two time periods whilst adding a further jump two years later as French detective Julien Baptiste continues to investigate the case due to his own connection with it.

 

The beauty of the script is how it builds mysteries between these time periods and forces the audience to notice the inconsistencies; a character bears a noticeable scar in one time period but not another, for example. As the foundation for answering these mysteries across the next seven episodes is prepared, the script also takes its time to introduce us to the main characters - a family somehow strengthened via tragedy who find that their greatest wish might actually be their undoing, and a detective whose obsession with learning the truth may burn down everything around him.

 

As the episode reaches its conclusion - after three time periods, four countries, two abductions, two missing babies, two suspects and at least one suicide - we arrive at a cliffhanger that turns everything upside down, ensuring you'll be back for the next episode.

post #35 of 72

27. Peaky Blinders - Episode 6, Season 3

 

 

 

I'm not sure there's a big following of this show on here, so this entry may not be received well. I admit the show is not perfect, but I think it always has good finales. The show always looks great. It sounds great. The acting is outstanding. This last season was no exception. I'll avoid spoilers here, but to say this episode was a nail biter is an understatement. The last few minutes are insane and they are perfectly punctuated with the stellar use of the Radiohead song, Life in a Glass House.

post #36 of 72

28. Atlanta - 'The Club' (Season 1, Episode 8)

 

 

Although I'm sure most people would pick episode 7 (B.A.N) - and rightfully so, if I'm being honest - 'The Club' was a perfect half-hour of TV for me.  From the solidification of each character's personality and a solid statement on where they're all headed going forward, to the spot-on portrayal of spending a night in a club (easily one of my most loathed ways to spend an evening), to Chris' increasingly slippery ways to get out of paying Ern and Alfred, it was a non-stop laugh riot infused with the moments of pathos and introspection that had become both standard and a highlight by this point in the season.

And, of course, one of the greatest set-ups/pay-offs to ever 100% blindisde you and leave you speechless for a few seconds before nearly dying from laughter.

post #37 of 72
29. The Grinder - "The Ties That Grind"



I don't know if nominating a cancelled show is kosher or not but this episode is funny as shit. Rob Lowe's Dean swears off the famous TV character that brought him fame, fortune and legitimacy, and of course, no one believes him for a New York minute. Maya Rudolph guests as his highly unethical therapist (is there any other kind on TV?) and the whole thing adds up to more than the sum of its parts. I will miss this show.
post #38 of 72

30. OJ, Made in America - "Part 5"

 


The entire miniseries is a must-watch, but the final episode details Simpson's bizarre post-trial life, from his ill-conceived prank show to the details of the Las Vegas heist fiasco, including the judge's punitive sentence which deliberately echoed the Simpson/Goldman case. A fittingly absurd end to this strange, tragic story.

post #39 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by The NZ Natural View Post
 

28. Atlanta - 'The Club' (Season 1, Episode 8)

 

 

Although I'm sure most people would pick episode 7 (B.A.N) - and rightfully so, if I'm being honest - 'The Club' was a perfect half-hour of TV for me.  From the solidification of each character's personality and a solid statement on where they're all headed going forward, to the spot-on portrayal of spending a night in a club (easily one of my most loathed ways to spend an evening), to Chris' increasingly slippery ways to get out of paying Ern and Alfred, it was a non-stop laugh riot infused with the moments of pathos and introspection that had become both standard and a highlight by this point in the season.

And, of course, one of the greatest set-ups/pay-offs to ever 100% blindisde you and leave you speechless for a few seconds before nearly dying from laughter.

 

 

"B.A.N." is great.  "The Club" is better.  That gag is too good for this world, and even the specificity of "Wendy's Double Stack" in that grab kills me.  This episode also crystallized what I loved about Darius.  

 

And apparently Donald Glover's new album is incredible as well.  It's completely unfair that he is one guy, and not six.

post #40 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post
 

Stranger Things is the most overrated show of the year.  But the pilot was pretty great.

 

Sorry, can't let this pass. Overrated by whom exactly? I think most of the people who enjoyed or even loved the show wouldn't put it up against shows like GoT or Fargo or what-have-you. It was a cultural phenomenon, not a critical one.

post #41 of 72

Everyone I know asked me about Stranger Things this year, and pretty much all of them loved it.  Whereas I had to fire my net gun at people and hang them them over the lava pits to get them to talk Fargo to me.

post #42 of 72
Fargo is a lot of fun - but is it necessary? I watched the first two episodes and decided I had already seen the definitive "Fargo" experience in the film.
post #43 of 72

The first season's incredible, the second even moreso.  Allison Tolman gives a breakout performance for the ages in S1, while you've got an incredible ensemble anchored by folks like Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton (both doing some of their best work) around her, and whipsmart, hilarious plotting to boot.

 

The second one features career-topping work from Patrick Wilson, Bokeem Woodbine and Kristen Dunst with an absolutely jaw-dropping cast around them, a special cameo by Bruce Campbell as Ronald Reagan, and arguably some of the most suspenseful TV in years, all building up to a batshit insane climax that has to be seen to be believed. There are definitely considerable pleasures to be taken in the Fargo TV series.

post #44 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post
 

Everyone I know asked me about Stranger Things this year, and pretty much all of them loved it.  Whereas I had to fire my net gun at people and hang them them over the lava pits to get them to talk Fargo to me.

 

Which reflects this thread in its entirety. How many people have seen fucking Bojack Horseman?

 

Just because something is popular and entertaining doesn't mean it's overrated.

 

EDIT: Just as something unseen and depressing can't be quality.

post #45 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightning Slim View Post

Fargo is a lot of fun - but is it necessary? I watched the first two episodes and decided I had already seen the definitive "Fargo" experience in the film.

 

"Necessity" is a difficult thing to argue with any work of fiction.  But TV Fargo is magnificent.  One of the very best things the medium has ever produced, and imo, better than the film.

post #46 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob Singer View Post
 

 

Which reflects this thread in its entirety. How many people have seen fucking Bojack Horseman?

 

Just because something is popular and entertaining doesn't mean it's overrated.

 

EDIT: Just as something unseen and depressing can't be quality.

 

Are you saying everyone has seen Bojack, or no one has?

 

As to the popular and entertaining not meaning overrated, I agree, at least semantically.  I do love the Marvel films, and I'd argue that their quality is actually underrated, despite (or because of) their popularity.  Stranger Things had a fantastic score and an setting/ambiance that should have done more for me, given how my peers took to it.  But it never felt like anything more than a technically accomplished cover band to me.  I don't think it sucked, but when it became one of the most celebrated bits of pop culture of the year, it provoked a "...Her?" reaction.

post #47 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post
 

 

Are you saying everyone has seen Bojack, or no one has?

 

I'm just saying this list has a lot of indy stuff most of America has never seen and/or doesn't have access to.

post #48 of 72

In total agreement with Schwartz here. (Tempted to steal that last post to piss off my Facebook friends.)

 

I thought Stranger Things was fine, but it was not the masterpiece that so many of my family and friends declare(d) it to be. People I would have never expected were raving about it. My mom doesn't know shit about Netflix and even she asked me if I had seen it a week after it came out. She still doesn't remember me telling her (half a dozen times now) that she should get Netflix for Orange is the New Black because she'd love it. From my perspective, Stranger Things was a damn cultural phenomenon.

 

Ultimately, I got around to it about about a month later than everyone else, and when I finished it I sort of shrugged and moved on to the next thing in my queue. I'll watch season two, but they're going to have to do a lot more than have retro music and costuming to get the 80s kid in me hopping up and down with excitement.

post #49 of 72

<sigh>

 

Yeah, my whole point was that Stranger Things was a complete masterpiece. Yep. That was it. Totally.

post #50 of 72

I wasn't saying you did. Just about everyone else I knew did. I was simply agreeing that I thought it was overrated. However, you and I have had this discussion already, Jacob. I meant no offense.

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