Sound In The Signals – 15 Best NEW Shows of 2016!

2016 is a year that most of us will remember. Some for good reasons and some for unfortunate reasons. The same can be said for the new television shows of 2016. Like in other ways, 2016 was another year we wanted to be served up our 'member berries' with shows being adapted from movies and shows being brought back in general. The X-Files miniseries run comes to mind as an interesting choice, and while I don't officially consider Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life a new series, it is definitely worth mentioning and watching, as well. We still have the hipsters-trying-to-find-their-way struggle shows, the superheros making good shows, and plenty of adaptations from comics and books. Last year a lot of reviewers said we were entering 'peak TV'. However, this year shows that there are plenty of great new shows, but I'll admit I did scale back some and really only watched what I liked. Once again there are some shows that did not make the list because they are still on the DVR or on Netflix queue or didn't have quite what it took to land in the top 15, but I've included them at the bottom in an honorable mentions list. It includes shows that I like but that didn't quite make the list and shows that I think are promising but that I haven't got to see enough of just yet. Let us know what you enjoyed this year! Note: There are no major spoilers in the descriptions! (Check out some of our other Best Of...Lists.)

1. Stranger Things (Netflix)
Perhaps the most discussed show of 2016, Stranger Things, was introduced very mysteriously. A boy goes missing and his mother cannot find him. While that premise has been covered way too many times, maybe, this series takes a very different form than what you might initially think. The series is set in the 1980s and pays homage to the pop culture of the time in a way that many love. The sci-fi supernatural series is fun to watch, has great quotable lines, introduces relatable and endearing characters, and already feels like it's part of the 'classic club' for many. Season 2 debuts in 2017.

2. Fuller House (Netflix)
I grew up watching Full House so I was very interested when I first heard about Fuller House, the continuation of the original series now starring DJ Fuller and her three sons, Stephanie Tanner, and best friend Kimmy Gibbler. The original cast and creators signed on (sans the Olsen twins), which is a must for this series to work. I was very curious to see how they would bring it to the present, make the campiness work, and most importantly if the cast could actually still be the Tanner family. While I enjoy Girl Meets World, it does not feel as much like Boy Meets World as I would like so I was hoping that Fuller House would introduce a cool young cast of kids and also still focus on what made the original cast fun to watch, as well. They pulled it off. The series recently released its second season and announced season 3 will debut in 2017. It is fun to watch, feels very much like coming home, and stands on its on legs, as well.

3. Luke Cage (Netflix)
Netflix has done it again. They've proved their skills at bringing superheros to life with past series, Daredevil and Marvel's Jessica Jones and have created a relatable, somewhat reluctant hero in Luke Cage. Mike Colter stars as Luke Cage. We first met him in Marvel's Jessica Jones, but he is exploring more of his past and his own struggles in his series. The series is based in Harlem and it thrives on the city's landscape and music. While not giving much away, Cage has many obstacles that he has to get through before he can try to reclaim his life and freedom. It has been renewed for a second season and Luke Cage will join the other Netflix heroes for The Defenders miniseries, as well.

4. Westworld (HBO)
I'll admit I wasn't completely convinced about the series when I first heard about it. It wasn't the world-within-a-world story or the cast and creators that concerned me. The series takes place in Westworld, a place created for rich guests where they can do whatever they want within the park. Perhaps my initial concern was I'm already in the 'people shouldn't do whatever they want' camp and I didn't want to see too much objectification and pointless violence. It won me over by giving more story and life to the androids quickly instead of just having them be hosts (sometimes of the worst kind) for the guests. There are many surprises that will have you guessing right up until the last episode. Thandie Newton is a standout on the series and definitely earned the many awards she has been nominated for on the series. It has been renewed with plans for a 2018 debut.

5. Preacher (AMC)
While I knew about the comic this series is based on, I hadn't read much of it prior to watching the series. Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen and Sam Catlin developed the series for AMC. Immediately, the cast sticks out to me as a highlight of this show. Dominic Cooper, as the town Preacher, really stretches the character and provides an interesting context to the show. Ruth Negga's Tulip is captivating from her very first introduction on the series. Jackie Earle Haley provides the perfect antagonist to the series. I'd say this is a great comic-to-TV adaptation and it's no surprise that it ended up at AMC. Without giving much away about the series, there are many high-speed/high-action scenes that will leave you laughing and gasping at the same time. It's a great mix of comedy and gore that features the supernatural and many surprises along the way. Season two debuts in 2017.

6. Vice Principals (HBO)
Danny McBride meet Walton Goggins. Both are well-known actors who have almost become their past characters somewhat, so it was exciting to see them take on new roles. They step into the world of teenagers and workplace politics in this series. The result is laughs, gasps and more laughs at their somewhat surprising antics when dealing with those things. McBride is the uptight, hard nosed vice principal who is competing with his co-vice principal, the sly, conniving Goggins until they both realize they will have to work together to remove the outside person chosen to become principal ahead of both of them. Their antics take cringeworthy and destructive turns at certain points, but Kimberly Herbert Gregory is their perfect opponent and holds her own throughout the series. The second, and previously planned final, season premieres in 2017.

7. Teachers (TV Land)
Teachers comes from the improv group, The Katydids. It is one of those shows that really captures what it is like to be an elementary school teacher if all the teachers were your friends and likeable. Six of The Katydids star as teachers at the school. Each has her own issues, in and out of school. Their humor and the ensemble-based format of the show is a highlight. Season two premieres in January 2017.

8. Legends of Tomorrow (The CW)
Legends of Tomorrow joined the DC Universe on The CW alongside The Flash, Supergirl, and Arrow. It fits into the universe nicely and even features characters who seemed to lose their places on their original series homes. Time Master Rip Hunter brings together the team, including most notably Sara Lance, to defeat Vandal Savage (and others along the way). They travel through time and to many different time periods to prevent things from happening and to save the future. The cast's dedication and love of the series/DC Universe is a highlight of the show and a reason why you can sometimes forgive a slow episode. This series has also had a revolving door of its characters with some coming and going. It's currently in its second season with new episodes airing in January 2017.

9. Wrecked (TBS)
Wrecked, which can be seen as a parody of Lost, follows a group of people who get stranded on an island. However, it's definitely more fun while still exploring some of the original ideas behind Lost. The ensemble-based comedy features many interesting characters and stories. Notable moments include when they find an 'interesting' suitcase and try to figure out who owns the belongings, running through the jungle on a wild vision quest, and the chaos that ensues after they try to hold an election. Although some of it is surprising, I could actually see people responding this way if they were stranded. It has been renewed for a second season.

10. The Detour (TBS)
The Detour works in a way that other shows of its ilk wish they did. It tackles struggling with kids, a less than satisfying lifestyle, and mid-life crisis in a way that is more funny than depressing, which ultimately makes it much more watchable than the others. Jason Jones and Natalie Zea star as the parents who take their kids on a family road trip. Another thing that works for the show is that the kids are funny and less whiny than kids usually featured on this type of show. They meet several outlandish characters along the way all while dealing with Jones' overarching work issues. It's fun, humorous, and worth a watch. It's been renewed for season two.

11. Sweet/Vicious (MTV)
This show has grit and tackles a tough subject in a pretty bold way. It explores rape culture on a college campus while focusing on college student, Jules who is in a sorority and spends her nights taking on the flawed system that allows males to take advantage of female students. Ophelia, Jules' partner, is the super-smart slacker type. She has the quasi "punk rock/hipster" look and she spends her days rebelling, wise cracking, dealing drugs out of a record store, and being a computer wiz. It's tough to maintain a lighthearted series while dealing with the extremely serious content that the show is tackling, but they seem to pull it off. The writing is above average, the dialogue is witty, and both female leads come across as very interesting, deep characters. I'd compare the vibe and feel of the story to something like Veronica Mars meets The Heathers meets Dexter. It's currently in its first season with new episodes airing in January.

12. Outcast (Cinemax)
Outcast, based on a comic by Robert Kirkman, is a supernatural horror story that deals with demonic possession and its title character, the Outcast. Patrick Fugit stars as the Outcast who has been plagued by demons inhabiting friends and family throughout his life. He and Reverend Anderson investigate the possessions and are surprised with what they find out about the demons and the town they inhabit. There are some neat side stories and surprises throughout the series. It has been renewed for season two.

13. Love (Netflix)
Love, a romantic comedy meets hipster chic series, explores modern dating and quarter-life crisis in a way that you may be familiar with, but it still offers some laughs and interesting stories along the way. Gus' life (Paul Rust) may seem unbelievable, at times, and you may find yourself wondering why he is having such a hard time with all that he has going on. Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) definitely has moments where she 'Britta'd it' and may also seem unjustly annoyed with life, at times. It's the modern exploration of life and what it is to actually be happy. They have decent chemistry and definitely leave you wondering what will happen next. Season two will debut in 2017.

14. Atlanta (FX)
Atlanta comes from the mind of Donald Glover. He stars as the cousin of up-and-coming rapper, Paper Boi. The series explores their daily lives and struggles in Atlanta, Georgia. Glover, a Princeton dropout, seeks to impress his ex-girlfriend and provide for their daughter, but can't seem to get it together. It explores the modern music business, going viral, the struggles of trying to break out, daily life, and more. I'm curious to see where they take the story. It has been renewed for season two.

15. The Magicians (Syfy)
The Magicians aired a special preview in December 2015, which got me excited for the series. The pilot, to me, was the best episode and the most exciting story. The basic premise follows Quentin Coldwater and his group of friends at Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy. The idea of a Harry Potter-esque character going to college seemed very interesting. I was a bit disappointed, at times, with the stories, the character evolution, and the direction of the series. It is based on a novel so I imagine it follows that direction, although I chose not to read it ahead of time since reading the book can sometimes make the adaptation seem not as good. However, it seems that more would make sense and pieces left questionable to the viewer would be more clear if the viewer already knew the source material. I am curious to see where they take the story next. The second season premieres in January 2017.

Honorable Mentions:

Search Party (TBS)
Insecure (HBO)
The OA (Netflix)
Lady Dynamite (Netflix)
11.22.63 (Hulu)
The Get Down (Netflix)
Better Things (FX)
Legends of Chamberlain Heights (Comedy Central)
Voltron: Legendary Defender (Netflix)
Outsiders (WGN America)
The Ranch (Netflix)
Son of Zorn (Fox)
MacGyver (CBS)
Lethal Weapon (Fox)
Idiotsitter (Comedy Central)
Counterfeit Cat (Disney XD)
Angie Tribeca (TBS)
Shadowhunters (Freeform)
The Shannara Chronicles (MTV)


No comments: