As we kick off the final month of 2016, it’s time to look back at all the things TV shows, movies and books gave us. Entertainment soared in 2016 and it’s time to give a shout out to some of our favorites!
TV changed a lot this year. Between saying goodbye to fan favorite characters across the board to surprising plot lines to happy ending, TV shows gave us a lot to cry over and to celebrate. While some shows faltered, there’s something to be said for the old shows that kept our attention and brand-new favorites we can’t wait to see more of in 2017.
To kick off December, we’ve rounded up fifteen TV shows that went above and beyond in 2016. From new shows to revivals to some genuinely good seasons, we’ve got a lot to look back on.
Check out the full list below!
One of our FAVORITE new shows in 2016, Timeless landed on NBC this fall. Starring Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter and Malcolm Barrett, Timeless follows an unlikely trio as they travel through time to stop unknown criminals and preserve the timeline. Yes, we’ve been bombarded with time travel TV shows in 2016, but Timeless stands out in the crowd. Between the beautiful costume design, the witty writing and the emergence of one of our favorite new ships, this show makes the list as one of our favorites in 2016! We can’t wait to see what adventures they go on in 2017 and we will be here for every single one of them!
2. Stranger Things
It’s hard to talk about TV shows in 2016 without mentioning the phenomenon that is Stranger Things. Since coming to Netflix over the summer, the hit show has taken the entire TV community by storm. Starring the most adorable cast of children ever (and Winona Ryder), Stranger Things follows a group of children as they try to find their missing friend, Will. Along the way they encounter terrifying and out of this world forces that lurk in their small town of Hawkins. A massive throwback to beloved 80’s films, Stranger Things is the biggest breakout TV hit of 2016 and one of our favorites.
3. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
We never thought we would travel back to Stars Hollow and now that we have we don’t want to leave. Netflix reigned supreme throughout 2016 and that continues with Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Starring Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel and Kelly Bishop, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is set almost a decade later and follows Lorelai, Rory and Emily as they go through a year of major changes following the death of Richard. It will make you cry, it will make you laugh and it gave us a grand performance by Graham. A good portion of 2016 was defined by the return of Gilmore Girls and we loved every second of it! So, we pour out a cup of coffee and salute Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life as one of the best of 2016.
4. The Crown
One of my personal favorites from 2016, The Crown brought us some breathtaking performances. Starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith, The Crown portrays the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II. A beautifully crafted series, The Crown has several reasons as to why it’s one of our favorites from 2016. Between the unbelievable costume and scenic design to the simply mesmerizing performances from Smith, Foy and John Lithgow, this show is one of the finest of 2016. Not only did it fill our Downton Abbey void, but it gave us a strong, leading character and actress we will rally behind. Personally, I’ll be re-watching The Crown over and over until season 2.
In 2016, Outlander gave us a monumental, astonishing season two and it’s definitely one of the best seasons of TV this year. We travelled to lavish dining halls in Paris and back to the Highlands of Scotland, but the locations were only the starting point for what made this season extraordinary. Outlander shines this season thanks to the tour de force performances by Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan. Both go above and beyond in season two as they portray two characters who are desperate to save their friends and family. If you want further proof as to why Outlander season 2 is one of the best TV shows of 2016, just watch two episode: “Faith” and “Dragonfly in Amber.” Those should be reason enough.
6. Luke Cage
One of the biggest Netflix series to date, Luke Cage took the TV world by storm in 2016. It’s earned major success across the board as it tells the story of Luke Cage, a wrongly accused man with superpowers who escapes prison to become a superhero for hire. From career defining performances by Mike Colter and Simone Missick to storylines that allow us to dive deeper into our current culture, Luke Cage is a must watch. If this is any indication on what The Defenders will look like, we are SUPER excited!
Another one of our new favorite TV shows from 2016, Frequency continuously breaks our hearts and then puts them back together. A favorite of ours since SDCC, Frequency tells the story of Rami Sullivan, a police detective in 2016 who discovers she’s able to communicate with her father via a ham radio, even though he died in 1996. Starring Riley Smith and Peyton List, the show has stood out in a swarm of time-travel shows. Like Timeless, the show brings a new, engaging twist to the time-travel narrative. Frequency deals with the butterfly effect and what it means to change the course of history. We are excited to see how the season wraps up and we pray for more episodes moving forward.
8. The Walking Dead
We are still in shock over The Walking Dead in 2016. Between Negan’s brutal bashing cliffhanger at the end of season 6 and the after effects in season 7, The Walking Dead has kept us talking all year long. While the show is in its 7th season, we are constantly impressed by the commitment of every single actor and crew member on the show. They create some amazing TV moments each year and 2016 was no different. The acting in 2016 was also a notch above other seasons. From Norman Reedus to Lauren Cohan, each actor gives 110%. We couldn’t mention our favorite TV shows from 2016 without giving The Walking Dead a shoutout.
Another new show from 2016 and one of our favorites, Pitch has brought out the diehard baseball fan in all of us. Starring Kylie Bunbury, Pitch follows Ginny, the first female pitcher drafted to a major league baseball team. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, Pitch will have you hooked from episode one. It’s one of the less talked about new shows this season, but it still packs a monumental punch. Week after week we are entranced by Bunbury’s performance and 2016 wouldn’t be the same without her portrayal of Ginny.
10. Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones has aged like a fine wine. Each season we build upon the world and without fail it continues to surprise us. More so than any other season, 2016’s season six packed one of the biggest punches. It re-energized the hit HBO show in ways no one could’ve expected. From monumental battles to a Stark reunion, Game of Thrones reminded us why it’s the king of drama series. The season built upon previous ones, but also propelled us towards the shows abbreviated final two seasons. We can’t even think about saying goodbye right now, so we will continue to revel in the amazingness of Game of Thrones in 2016!
11. This Is Us
The biggest new network TV show of 2016 is NBC’s This Is Us. No questions asked. The new drama introduces us to our new favorite TV family: The Pearsons. There’s Jack and Rebecca, who are struggling to raise their kids, twins Kevin and Kate, who are each struggling to re-define themselves and Randall, who is searching for his birth father. This Is Us has brought back the great family drama and we will follow it to the ends of the earth. Each character is brilliantly crafted to represent honest and flawed people and it’s a joy to watch them week after week. This Is Us defines the 2016 network TV season and we are excited to watch it grow!
First of all, if you aren’t watching Veep you are missing out on some of the best comedic writing on TV right now. The HBO comedy’s fifth season did not disappoint in 2016 and reminds us why Julia Louis-Dreyfus continues to be the Queen of Comedy. The episode “Mother” this season had us in stitches as Dreyfus’ Selina deals with the passing of her mother. It’s witty and comedic in all the best ways. 2016 continued Veep’s reign as the king of comedy and we couldn’t mention great TV shows this year without it.
13. Designated Survivor
ABC’s latest political drama impressed us in a major way during 2016. Designated Survivor leaves us on the edge of our seats week after week. Starring Keifer Sutherland, the show follows Tom Kirkman, who has become President of the United States after a catastrophic attack kills everyone above him in the Presidential line of succession. Although it’s another political drama, Designated Survivor has been able to craft a new kind of narrative. Since SDCC, it’s been one of our favorites and 2016’s TV season wouldn’t be the same without it!
14. How to Get Away with Murder
Talk about an OMG-inducing season! How to Get Away with Murder’s third season manages to surprise us around every corner. Although we said goodbye to one of our favorite characters, it’s a show that continues to amaze us. With Viola Davis leading the charge, each and every actor on How to Get Away with Murder has grown exponentially since season one. Each character is varied and flawed. We’ve loved the journey the show has taken us on. How to Get Away with Murder’s 2016 run is one of our favorite TV shows no questions asked.
15. The People vs. OJ Simpson
Another massive series from this year, American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson amazes us in all the best ways. From career-defining performances by Sarah Paulson and Sterling K. Brown, this show is another massive hit from 2016. The show amazingly portrayed one of the biggest trials of the century. Ryan Murphy effortlessly transports us back in time and it’s no wonder it cleaned up at the 2016 Emmy Awards. The 2016 TV season wouldn’t have been the same without this massive anthology series and it remains one of our favorite TV shows from this year.