TV is something that's gone from strength to strength over the past decade or so. Gone are the days where a show like Lost is an unusual spectacle. Instead we've become used to seeing huge productions and epic storytelling and recognisable faces from film making the jump to the smaller screen. That used to be seen as a sign of a career winding down but that's certainly no longer the case. Now television has the budget and the popularity to attract big names who want to test themselves and enjoy the longer methods of telling stories and getting deeper into characters. With Amazon and Netflix all stepping up and grabbing a piece of the pie there's no better time for TV fans than right now. But with so much choice it's hard to decide on a Top 10 for this year! We'll all have different opinions but here's what I settled on in no particular order...
Line of Duty Series 4
I love Line of Duty. There's probably no other show on TV that delivers excitement and addictive drama than the Beeb's epic cop show. Even though the first series was superb it wasn't until the follow up that the show really blew up and seemed to get the attention it really deserved. Line of Duty is a top example of what the UK can deliver in terms of top quality entertainment and it deserves all the love it gets these days. The fourth series gave us new faces in Thandie Newton and Jason Watkins who gave us yet another memorable storyline that stood alone well while linking in to previous series for long term fans. Thankfully another two series have been confirmed but we have to wait until 2019 for the next one! Oh well. That means plenty of time for another rewatch right?
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
One of the best things about Netflix and Amazon fighting to compete with each other is the sheer variety we get in shows. Amazon offer a number of pilots throughout the year to allow people to watch and vote which seems like a great way to approach making shows. One of the successful ones from early in the year was Mrs. Maisel which ended up being developed into a full season launched in November. Led by House of Cards' Rachel Brosnahan alongside Family Guy's Alex Borstein it's follows a fresh faced young woman who may have lost her marriage but follows her love of comedy instead. It's well worth a try if you haven't seen it.
A darker offering from Netflix has the dynamic duo of Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany tackling serial killers in the late 70s in the FBI. Throw in David Fincher and you've got a recipe for success. It's a tough watch at times but you'll remain glued to your screen for the ten episode first season and end up desperate for more. It's a little strange seeing Groff in such a serious role if you're used to his more musical side but he's perfectly cast and shows a great range as someone who's probably a little too curious about serial killers. Who knows where they'll go next?
Game of Thrones Season 7
It goes without saying really doesn't it? As sad as it is that the show is coming to an end it does mean we're getting some absolutely epic and tense and dramatic episodes on the way out and it's totally worth it. Dragons and white walkers and battles and EVERYTHING! There's also the added bonus of the show being beyond the books now so all developments are pretty much new to everyone and no one has a clue where they're going. Sure there's a few loose ends that have been planted in the books previously but on the whole we're in completely unknown territory and that's the most exciting thing of all. If only we could have the final season now!
The Leftovers Season 3
It was either this or Twin Peaks for me and my heart has to go with Justin Theroux and company just because I feel like they're completely underrated by so many people. The Leftovers is probably as close to a Lost replacement as I've found which isn't surprising seeing as Damon Lindelof is involved. It's a show that never rests on its laurels, is always willing to go to unusual and unexpected places and boasts a ridiculously good cast including Liv Tyler and Christopher Eccleston. So if you're one of those people that have never tried it and love compelling and challenging drama – GO AND WATCH ALL THREE SEASONS NOW. You'll thank me later. Obviously Twin Peaks is great too so watch that after.
Master of None Season 2
Another example of streaming services offering something a little different, this Netflix gem allows Aziz Ansari the opportunity to deliver his comedy in such an unusual and unconventional way that no two episodes are ever the same. Sure there are ongoing stories running through a season but there's no set structure and you're often thrown in a completely different direction to what you're expecting. That's half the fun of Master of None but beyond the slight weirdness there's a genuine look at life and relationships and something we can all relate to. Ansari has a huge future ahead of him if this is anything to go by.
Stranger Things Season 2
Netflix. Another second season of a great show. All feels a little predictable really doesn't it? But it's not easy delivering something that meets expectations and yet Stranger Things managed to do that. Not only did we get more of the awesome kids and awesome Steve and awesome Jim Hopper but we all got the chance to fall in love with Sean Astin all over again as Bob who was probably the true hero of the piece this time round. The first season may have been an absolute pleasure and surprise but in the second season we got to know the characters even better and damn those kids are talented. I just wish I could be as cool as Steve.
Blue Planet 2
One of those shows that comes along every so often and reminds you why the licence fee is justified. And it's usually Sir David Attenborough isn't it? It's funny how there's nothing quite so dramatic as real life, especially in the areas where we've rarely explored or cared enough to research. And that's the truth – the world is so big and vast that we're often so caught up in our own little bubbles that we don't consider the wider picture. Attenborough and co always manage to show us how massive the world really is and how our narrow minded views and actions have a huge impact. These documentaries aren't just for entertainment but hold really important messages for our lives and those of our children and beyond. Another massive success from all involved.
Big Little Lies Season 1
If you need an example of a show that has big Hollywood names attached to it then look no further. Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley led this adaptation of Liane Moriarty's book and had everyone talking. Loved by audiences and critics alike it managed to offer a highly addictive tale full of scandal and humour and everything you could want. Despite telling a whole story it has been picked up for a second season which isn't surprising. Let's hope they can give us more of the same next time round.
Perhaps an easy one to forget in a packed 2017 but this miniseries based on the Rochdale child sex abuse ring deserves to be remembered for its shocking realism and willingness to shine a light on something that could easily be buried. A really tough watch, especially knowing its true life roots, but these are often the things that BBC excel at making and a prime example of what the UK is capable of offering. No one does dark drama quite like us. It's even more impressive considering the limited acting experience of all the girls involved. One to make sure you watch if it appears on catch up again.
Close but no cigar...
The Handmaid's Tale, Twin Peaks, Black Mirror, Better Call Saul, Mr Robot, Bojack Horseman, Star Trek: Discovery, The Good Place, The Crown, Legion.