While I may have watched more films in the cinema in 2016 than I have done any other year, I also found plenty to watch on the small screen last year as well. In no particular order, here is my rundown of my top ten TV shows that aired new episodes in 2016. Any older series that I may also have seen last year will not be featuring on this list – that’s for another day…
10. Rillington Place
This period drama that took a look at the murders committed by John Reginald Christie at 10 Rillington Place during the 1940s and 50s did really well in my book. Tim Roth was magical as the lead character, and was supported well by Samantha Morton as his wife Ethel. I really enjoyed this three-part mini-series, and would certainly recommend it to people.
It seems a long time has passed since this TV adaptation of John Le Carré’s novel of the same name was on our screens. It provided us with Sunday night viewing that BBC1 hasn’t been able to match since it finished. Since then, the show has aired all over the world I would imagine, and has won numerous Golden Globes. I clearly wasn’t the only one impressed with this one.
Seeing as it’s been on our screens since 1996, I don’t think you need me to tell you too much about Silent Witness. Obviously I haven’t been watching since the very beginning (I wasn’t born then), but it is a show I’ve looked forward to seeing every year since I started watching about four or five seasons ago. I have no real explanation for why I enjoy this show so much – there are a number of reasons for why I love it as much as I do, that’s all I can say.
7. Peaky Blinders S3
I got into this show as it started it’s second season and it became a favourite straight away. The excessive violence and creative use of language are always something I enjoy seeing, but there are other things that Peaky Blinders has always had going for it. Firstly, we get to see Cillian Murphy in the lead as the delightful Tommy Shelby, and then we get a whole host of big names alongside him – Tom Hardy and Sam Neill are just a couple. The performances are brilliant, the sets are tremendous, and overall, the show is a winner from start to finish.
6. The Five
With a story that came from the mind of acclaimed thriller writer Harlen Coben, The Five sounded promising. This was another mini-series that was very impressive. The story was phenomenal, and I, nor anyone else who watched it with me, had a clue about who did what right until the very end. What more could you want from a crime thriller?
I don’t really know what reception this was met with. What I do know is I was really looking forward to seeing it, and when it came to sitting down and watching it, The People Vs. O.J. Simpson went way above my expectations. Some of the performances here – specifically Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clarke, Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran – were mind-glowingly good. This one didn’t focus so much on the person who may or may not have committed the crime, but more on the drama that unfolded in the courtroom and lawyer’s offices behind the scenes. Compelling stuff!
4. Ray Donovan S4
Another show i got into as the second season began was Ray Donovan, and as I write this I am waiting to find out where season five will pick up. This most recent season of the drama that revolves around the life and work of L.A. fixer, Ray Donovan, was, in my eyes, the best to date. Ray’s work and family life clashed this time round, which raised the stakes massively and made it unbearable waiting for a new episode each week.
3. Ripper Street S4
One of my favourite shows to ever exist is Ripper Street. When BBC cancelled it after season two, I signed every petition going and even wrote a letter to the head of whatever to tell them what a terrible decision they had made, and when it was announced that the show was being decommissioned for seasons three, four and five… well, you can imagine my reaction. Season four was fantastic as always, but dealt us a blow at the end that I’m still not quite over, and I don’t think I ever will be.
The highly anticipated second season of The Missing arrived late in 2016 and was actually far better than it’s predecessor. I hadn’t been that excited for it, but was pleasantly surprised by what was actually presented to me. The story was excellent and with some real British acting heavyweights in two of the lead roles, plus Tchèky Karyo returning as Julien Baptiste, the performances weren’t half bad either.
1. The Night Of
One of the biggest, most talked about shows from last year arrived at some point around September or October I think. The Night Of won me over when I saw the face of The Wire‘s Michael Kenneth Williams in the preview, and I’m glad I saw him then because I may otherwise not have watched the show. A perfect example of what can be achieved with solid storytelling and acting is one of the greatest compliments I could give this show, and with talks of season two starting before it had even finished this one, I am looking forward to it’s return.
So there’s my list of my top ten shows that aired in 2016. Some great newcomers, the return of old favourites and a few pleasant surprises would be a great way to describe last year’s TV for me. How about you? What are your thoughts on these shows? What would have featured on your list? As always, let me know! It’s nice hearing what you guys think.