2016 brought us a stream of shows that tugged our hearts, messed with our minds and got us feeling awkward and alive all at the same time. From Divorce to Stranger Things to Westworld to Search Party to the Path to Chance, the titles themselves are intriguingly varied and so too is the subject matter.
One takeaway we did see in 2016 was the power of the TV ensemble–each show didn’t rely on solo standout stars, but a cast that met us with life happenings (figuratively and imaginatively) that sucked us in and spun us dry repeatedly, until the next cycle that is.
Dramas were also a big part of the 2016 programming that stuck, with the exception of new sitcoms like American Housewife and
Joey Matt Leblanc’s most recent effort, Man With A Plan, the majority of the critic and public checkmarks were given to shows with specs of drama-suspense weaved into the narratives and plot lines.
While we await the return of our screen delicacies, we must also leave room for a whole new stack of shows that promise to wow in their own delightful (and freaky) ways. While traditional networks like FOX and NBC continue to push out primetime hits (like Empire and This Is Us, respectively), Netflix, FX, Hulu and even Amazon have become fruitful avenues for new wave creation and distribution; expect to see more of this model in the coming year(s). Here’s a selection of shows to watch this year.
The OA (Streaming now on Netflix)
This eight-part series has been on Netflix for only a couple weeks and it’s already garnered a lot of attention. The OA, is a “powerful, mind-bending tale about identity, human connection and the borders between life and death” and is built around Prairie Johnson (played by Brit Marling who also co-created the show) who disappeared for seven years with no one knowing what happened to her. She’s since somehow returned and the once blind child is no longer blind. The trailer hints at otherworldly aspects to Johnson and whether she’s full on possessed or can see between the dead and the living is yet to be told, but there’s something experimental and weird happening to the young girl. Where was she? What happened? Was she never really gone? Is she even alive or is this a Sixth Sense moment? In due time we will have our answers, or at least some script to scribble our minds with.