Neil Davey's Top 10 Streaming Shows of 2016

If "Netflix and chill" was the euphemism of late 2015, 2016 is the year when the on-demand services really stepped things up. Long-standing winners such as Orange Is The New Black and House of Cards maintained their high standards, and new shows – and revisits – demonstrated a healthy grasp of quality and understanding.

Is this a definitive list? Hell no. Who has the time to watch everything out there on demand? There are many things I suspect will be of similar quality that I just haven't got round to and given the sort of things Amazon alone has primed for 2017, I may never catch up. Christ, I still haven't finished Breaking Bad, The Wire or Six Feet Under. But here are a few things I watched and REALLY enjoyed, mostly on Netflix and in no particular order ...

Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life

gilmore girl year in the life 2016 streaming embedI was a latecomer to Gilmore Girls and, in truth, binge watching seven seasons in a matter of months in advance of this four-part sequel did make the show's flaws both obvious and annoying. Happily, this revisit, nine years after the end of the final episode, brought everyone back together with a very good script, brilliant in-jokes and one of the most perfect endings of this or any other years,

Stranger Things

Spooky happenings – and 80s references aplenty – in this sci-fi drama that reinvented Winona Ryder and wormed its way under the skin even as you weren't entirely sure what the hell was going on.

Narcos

narcos season one 2016 DVD competition featuredYeah, I know it started in 2015 but: a) I only started watching it this year; and b) Season 2 is every bit as good as the first. Slick, funny, exciting... it's a great binge watch, brilliantly written and played.

The Crown

When asked if I've seen this or that costume drama, I typically reply that there are two reasons why not. They're called "testicles". Given the budget of The Crown, it was hard to ignore at least one episode but the results are stunning whatever your feelings towards the genre.

Daredevil

Season One was one of the finest, grittiest, most involving superhero adaptations of recent years - and that's saying something. Season Two was, if anything, even better, with Jon Bernthal's Punisher a brilliant, nuanaced addition to the the Marvel canon.

Trollhunters

trollhunters 2016 streaming embedNot to be confused with the overrated Scandinavian horror-y thing of similar (non-plural) name, this Netflix animated original has proved my bingewatching surprise of the Christmas season. It's family fare of the best kind, from the somewhat unlikely source of Guillermo del Toro.  Jim (voiced by the late Anton Yelchin) is chosen to be the Troll Hunter, the guardian of both the human and troll worlds, much to the surprise of, well everyone. At the same time he's handling school problems, family life and budding romance. It's bright and noisy for the kids, with a strand of sophistication (and some brilliant sight gags) for the grown-ups.

All or Nothing: A Season With The Arizona Cardinals

Aha. Not Netflix. This one is on Amazon Prime and possibly worth the investment on its own. Again, it doesn't sound promising - an American football documentary - but it's gripping, moving and up there with the likes of Hoop Dreams.

Grace & Frankie

Again, another second series but what a second series. Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda being as good as they ever have been is reason enough to binge this, before you even factor in support from Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen. Frequently hilarious, regularly moving.

Garfunkel & Oates Trying To Be Special

garfunkel oates trying to be special 2016 streaming embedAs well as providing a home for their under-appreciated series, Garfunkel and Oates have a fantastically rude and fantastically funny special available on Netflix. If you have time, watch the series and the special. If you don't, find 60 minutes to revel in – and snort over – their NSFW lyrical mastery.

David Cross: Making America Great Again

You might have seen him in Arrested Development or Alvin & The Chipmunks, but David Cross is also a brilliant comic and satirist. This attack on the sort of pro- "Murica" chest-thumping that saw our new tangerine-faced overlord win power is proof  that there's still hope out there. Watch it daily after January 20th and tell yourself it's all going to be alright...

Neil Davey is a freelance writer who specialises in things you can do sitting down, such as travelling, eating, drinking, watching films, interviewing famous people and playing video games. (And catching the occasional salmon.) Neil is the author of two Bluffer's Guides (Chocolate, and Food, both of which make lovely presents, ahem), and, along with Stuart O'Connor, is a co-founder of Screenjabber. Neil also writes / has written for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Square Mile, Delicious Magazine, Sainsbury's Magazine, Foodism, Escapism, Hello! and Square Meal.

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