It has been an exciting year for TV - even more exciting than film. TV has stepped up to the plate and has done more fearless and interesting things than films have done in years. This year has seen some stunning new original shows, as well as some fantastic sequels. Without a doubt, the mini-series - with its succinct serials that has created a slew of fantastic stories - has taken over television. For me, personally, the most thrilling part of television this year was the fabulous programs that celebrated women. There were numerous shows this year that embraced females stories and that were lead by strong and powerful female actors. After this year, I can’t wait to see how television continues to evolve. I wouldn’t be surprised if television finally surpasses film in the coming years - because for me (especially after this fantastic year) it is already there.
Here are my top 10 favorite shows from 2017!
Best of 2017
The Crown (Series 2)
Created by Peter Morgan
As one of the last shows to hit the small screen this year, The Crown shined, once again, as one of the best television programs of the year. Peter Morgan's immaculate story brought to life in vivid color the mysterious and illustrious life of the world's most famous family. Morgan finds the perfect balance between fact and fantasy and never ceases to captivate with intriguing history and family drama. Plus, the wonderfully articulate cast, lead by the fantastic Claire Foy as the Queen, bring Morgan's vision of the past glowingly to life.
Big Little Lies
Created by David E Kelley
HBO / Sky
Big Little Lies rocked the small screen this year with its big screen presence. David Kelley's stunning adaptation of Liane Moriarty's novel proves that an entirely female driven program can be critically and commercially successful. Big Little Lies embraced entirely what it means to be a woman in a man's world, and it never faltered in its quest to tell a strong female story. Jean-Marc Vallée crafted a wonderfully stunning production, but what truly made Big Little Lies one of the best programs of 2017 was its star-studded and full-bodied performances. Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern transcended in their roles, showing the full range and complexity of modern women. But Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård stole the show with their vulnerable and devastating performances.
The Handmaid's Tale
Created by Bruce Miller
Hulu / Channel 4
The Handmaid's Tale redefined television this year with its stunning dystopian story and fierce performances. Yet another fantastic representation of beautiful and honest female storytelling, The Handmaid's Tale pushed the limits of what television can accomplish. Miller's brutal, yet poignant, adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel, paired with chilling performances from Elisabeth Moss, Ann Dowd, and Alexis Bledel, brought this "not-so-sci-fy" dystopia strikingly into present-day politics. The Handmaid's Tale posed as a warning for the future - a reminder of what's to come if things don't change.
Sherlock (Series 4)
Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss
The fourth, and seemingly final, series of BBC's Sherlock split opinions on whether this series lived up to its previous (even though anything would have been better than the cringeworthy mess of series three). In typical Sherlock fashion, the show wobbled in some places - the entirety of episode one was a flop and a tough edit on all three episodes could have created a better pace - but it also stunned in others - episode two proved to be one of the best Sherlock episodes of all time and, of course, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman delivered brilliant performances. Although the show will never return to its peak of series one and two, it has proven that there is still some magic left in this beaten down program - even if it is just one episode a series.
Created by Joe Penhall
Mindhunter was one of 2017’s more underrated programs. Joe Penhall, along with the thrilling visionary David Fincher, created a program that combined chilling history with fiery drama. On top of Penhall’s disturbing, yet captivating, screenplay, the show delivered on stronger performances. Most notably, Jonathan Groff gave a subtle and nuanced performance that has made him a must-watch for the future.
Stranger Things (Series 2)
Created by Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer
It's hard not to fall in love with the Duffer brother's stylish and cool program. The first series, which captured the hearts and nostalgia of just about the entire planet, returned with an even stronger second series. The program's quirky plot, pop culture references, and throw-back styling helps to create an unmissable atmosphere that makes one want to watch forever. But the real treasure of Stranger Things is the amazing performances from its young cast. This group of misfit children truly bring life to this show - and proves their acting chops may be better than most Hollywood A-listers.
Created by Nicole Taylor
Three Girls was probably one of the most intense and distressing programs of the year because of its horrific place in history. Three Girls depicted, respectfully and honestly, the hidden epidemic overtaking not only Britain but the entire world. Taylor brought to life these heroic and brave women's stories and reminded the public that, no matter their background, these girls are losing their lives. The program's entire cast deliver heart wrenching and bold performances that help to bring justice to the real-life heroes of this story. Although Three Girls is hard to watch, its one of the most important social dramas this year.
Created by Jimmy McGovern
Broken became the most surprising hit of 2017. A show centered around a priest could have become entirely too - mind the pun - preachy for anyone's good, but McGovern found the perfect balance between confession and preaching, as the show questioned the institution of the church without dismissing the power of faith. Sean Bean - an odd choice to pay a soft-spoken priest - also surprised with a provoking and sentimental performance as a damaged priest. McGovern created a surprisingly insightful and powerful program that left you both emotional and provoked.
Created by Patrick Harbinson
Patrick Harbinson's program gripped the attention of viewers week after week with his smart, complex, and sophisticated story. The program, lead by the immaculate Helen McCrory, showed that a woman-lead program can be exciting, emotional, suspenseful, and thrilling. McCrory, like in every role she plays, gave an intense and full-bodied performance, giving her entire self to the character. Her fierce lead, followed by the equally powerful Wunmi Mosaku, were the driving forces behind this underrated ITV drama.
Created by Joe Ahearne
Disregarding the show's bizarre and cheap ending, The Replacement was one of the most intriguing and captivating programs of 2017. The program played out like a modern-day, female Hitchcockian picture, both in style and substance. Joe Ahearne created a wonderfully stylistic program that captured the audience's imagination like a Hitchcock thriller that was made for the 21st century. Although The Replacement had its faults, it still provided hours of suspense and, most importantly, proved, yet again, that a female-driven program can be just as exciting and entertaining as a male-driven program.
Click the images below to read each article
Red Carpet Interviews
Toronto International Film Festival 2022
Film East Chats Podcast on BBC Radio Norfolk
This is a small section of episodes from the Film East podcast. Click here to listen to all episodes.