Travis Hymas’ Top 10 TV Shows of 2016
Spoiler: I really like animation, especially this year.
Star Wars: Rebels (Season 3) – The surprising thing about Rebels this season is its commitment to the slow burn. After season two’s giant finale featuring Darths Vader and Maul, this season has been focused on taking steps backward to establish exactly how far Phoenix Squadron has come and how far they need to go still.
Archer (Season 7) – Honest to god, Archer’s main conceit-espionage via incompetence-should be more than old by now. Taking the cast out of the spy business once more for a riff on P.I. shows gives enough material for new ideas without going too far off the farm.
Gravity Falls (Weirdmageddon 3) – Only one (technically a two-parter) episode of Gravity Falls aired in 2016. That one episode is still worth including alone. Weirdmageddon 3 managed to deliver on Gravity Falls’ recurring themes without being preachy and pays off on a lot of lingering jokes.
Adam Ruins Everything – Easily television’s smartest show, in which host Adam Conover debunks common misconceptions. This year, Adam ruined wedding traditions, shopping culture, the DARE program, and inevitably the election. There really isn’t anything like this on TV right now.
Supergirl (Season 2) – Supergirl did with genre TV what $475 million and two movies couldn’t accomplish: properly adapt Superman. Supergirl’s second season takes on various themes, such as the struggles of refugees finding a place to fit in and for locals to look past their bias and accept them; to a well done coming out story that actually helped save a life. Oh, and Superman’s actually in this season too.
Stranger Things – A lot of the focus is on the nostalgia-factor that is being traded on, but I don’t think that’s the key to why this all works. Things doesn’t constantly lean back on 80’s references to artificially create emotion. What we have here is a well done period drama that also happens to be science fiction.
Luke Cage – I’ve been in love with the Cage since he resurged in early 2000’s Marvel comics, but Luke Cage feels just as relevant (if not moreso) now. But is it any wonder that with the culture in play, that Cage has the MCU’s best music, one of the best villain turns, and some of the strongest characters?
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – I’ve already lauded praise on Sammy B, but it bears repeating. Having a female voice and a diverse staff of writers also gives way to segments that wouldn’t fly anywhere else, including Bee’s previous employer The Daily Show.
Agent Carter (Season 2) – Straight to the point: it’s a crime that ABC pulled the plug on this show. Hayley Atwell was one of the MCU’s best discoveries. In a noir-style mystery, Iron Man villain Madame Masque is retooled into a scientific genius forced to play Hollywood starlet was inspired and a great foil to Peggy and the previous season’s message of “I Know My Worth.”
BoJack Horseman (Season 3) – When film editor Allyson Johnson asked the staff here to pick the better of two episodes, I couldn’t. This season starts to head exactly in the direction I expected, but a last second plot twist in the season finale once again makes me hope for the best. BoJack Horseman is very much a melancholy show, but it’s those glimmers of fleeting hope that keeps me thinking about it.