Welcome to another installment of GHG’s Top “Geek” TV of the Year! All the following lists take a look at our favorite superhero, sci-fi, fantasy, horror and geek-related programming of 2017: cable TV and streaming services included. This side of a few mentions however, not included this year is animation (we will have a separate animation/anime list in just a couple weeks).
Otherwise, let us know what you think on the tweetstream @GodHatesGeeks!
1. Legion (FX) – For the longest time, Hannibal has been my favorite show. Geek or otherwise, it still is; but this one came damn close from taking the top spot. Even the taking liberties with the source material, its incredible writing, striking viral style and fantastic cast put this ahead of the–very stacked–competition. It’s hard to pick one standout performance, but I’m going with Aubrey Plaza <3. – 5/5
2. American Gods (Starz) – I was at best cautiously optimistic since I loved the book (don’t worry, this won’t derail into an annoying “book person” review), and wasn’t thrilled by Ricky Whittle‘s casting as Shadow… And then was thrilled to learn Ian McShane was going to be Mr. Wednesday. As far as book-to-screen goes, it rarely gets as good as this, especially with how they translate some of the more surreal imagery. It’s gorgeous. Standout performance (tie): McShane and Gillian Anderson. – 4/5
3. Preacher (AMC) – Any other year, this easily takes my number one spot. Capturing the spirit of the comics perfectly, Preacher gave AMC a much needed boost with geeks (people are finally seeing that TWD is pure basura). It captures the shitty, small Bible Belt town vibe perfectly along with great character portrayals. Standout Performance: Joe Gilgun. – 4/5
Honorable mentions: The Punisher, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Defenders.
1. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) – Yeah, you’re reading this right. AoS, the show that hasn’t been able to maintain even a third of its original viewership is the best superhero show on TV, and yeah, this is a superhero show. This season was the most “comic booky” season of a superhero show in every way, with a story structured like a comic run, separated into three story arcs that all come together at the end of the run. It also introduces Marvel comics lore while building on the lore of both this show and the MCU as a whole. Structure aside, the story itself was the best in a single season of a superhero show. – 5/5
2. Legion (FX) – The silent movie fight set to Bolero music alone makes this show worth watching. It’s one of the most creative and enjoyable fight scenes I’ve ever seen. I really can’t wait to see what comes next for this show. – 5/5
3. Supergirl (CW) – I can’t remember the last time a show made me feel real, genuine emotions.. much less a superhero show. As much as I love superheroes in comics, movies, and TV, they generally aren’t successful at presenting real world issues without a degree of escapism on account of the fact that real world issues like racism and homophobia can’t be solved by punching someone in the face, running as fast as the speed of light or shooting arrows. This season of Supergirl, however, has done an excellent job of blending both real world issues and social criticism with allegorical representations and fun superhero action, making virtually every episode a roller coaster of emotions. And that doesn’t even include the crossover, “Crisis on Earth X,” which, if I could have included on its own, would have finished top of this list. – 4.5/5
Honorable mentions: The Defenders, Rick & Morty (fav animated), Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, The Orville.
1. American Gods (Starz) – The rookie season takes what was great about the much-heralded source material and added amazing visuals, compelling pace and a stellar cast. Who’s to complain? – 4.75/5
2. Legion (FX) – A surprisingly rich, intense and off-the-wall “superhero” series that satisfied my need for mutants way better than those last few terrible X-Men flicks. – 4.5/5
3. Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu) – Brian K. Vaughan’s fan favorite Marvel comic-turned-streamer gets props for not destroying its source material and making the adult characters as compelling as the kids. – 4/5
Honorable mention: The Defenders.
1. American Gods (Starz) – Bryan Fuller finally brought to life Neil Gaiman’s work of art in such a way that it is both beautiful and chilling. Without Fuller in the driver’s seat next year, one can only wonder how that will impact the show. – 4.75/5
2. Lucifer (FOX) – Usually the “will they/won’t they” shows tend to be a bit slow, but Lucifer has been able to keep people guessing from season to season while also bringing equal parts humor and drama. – 4.5/5
3. *TIE* Legends of Tomorrow/Supergirl (CW) – Arguably the two least popular of the CW superhero shows had such great bounce-backs from their previous seasons, while touching on topics the other two wouldn’t go near. – 4.25/5
Honorable mentions: Riverdale, The Punisher, Gotham, The Walking Dead, The Defenders, Preacher, Runaways, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Legion, Future Man.
Non-Geek Honorable mentions: The Good Place, Saturday Night Live, The Goldbergs, Black-ish, Will & Grace (yeah, it’s topical and hilarious).
1. The Punisher (Netflix) – First Dolph Lundgren, Thomas Jane, and Ray Stevenson had their hand with the giant dripping white skull; and–now–Jon Bernthal (Shane, of Walking Dead fame), thanks to superb writing and his own incredible performance, takes the infamous Marvel antihero to icon status. it doesn’t hurt to follow great story arcs from the comics we loved growing up, either. Geeks, has there ever been a greater time to be alive? – 4.25/5
2. The Defenders (Netflix) – All geeks cheered when this was Marvel Team-Up was announced. I mean, who doesn’t want a crew of roughnecks to defend the hope of the neighborhood people. The Hood Captain America in Luke Cage, the killer punchlines (and punches) of Jessica Jones, an improved albeit a little slightly Iron Fist, and the always masterful Daredevil.. we’re talking from the streets level heros that make the Justice League look.. second league. – 4/5
3. Young Sheldon (CBS) – From the young life of Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory, fans of the longtime hit show get the chance to witness Jim Parson‘s iconic nerd’s many adolescent issues. Better, is the humor that comes from a child with a higher-than-average IQ in a plain-minded world. –
1. The Walking Dead (AMC) – While so many on the interwebs shout their disapproval of how this show has progressed over the last year or so.. I could care less. The war between the possible next Batman in Geoffrey Dean Morgan‘s Negan and the three tribes was an enjoyable change of pace from the past seasons that just focused on brain dead zombies. – 4.5/5
2. Vikings (History) – In its fourth season we saw the death of its biggest character in Ragnar Lothbrok. At the same time, we also saw the rise of Lagertha as queen and the introduction of Ragnar’s sons as grown men. While the swan song for Ragnar was at times mediocre, the development of his sons shows a changing of the guard and a new invigorating direction for the series. – 4/5
3. *TIE* The Strain (FX) / Preacher (AMC) – I’ve enjoyed every season of The Strain as it continuously told of how the evil strigoi marched on to take over the planets entire populace, while the crazy absurdity and fantastic originality of Preacher‘s S02 left its previous season in the appropriate dust. The hilarious trio of Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy are one dysfunctional group but their outlandish adventures backed by a unique collection of supporting characters make this one of the most creative shows on TV. – 4.25/5
Honorable mentions: G.L.O.W., Riverdale, Man Seeking Woman, The Gifted, Legion, American Gods, Supergirl.
Non-Geek Honorable mentions: Better Call Saul, Fargo, The Sinner, Big Little Lies.
1. The Defenders (Netflix) – Of all the great shows in 2017, Marvel’s super team-up was the show I was most excited about and — thank the Jack Kirby gods! — it did not disappoint. While a shortened season in comparisons to its solo acts, the bit we did see definitely has me hyped for the next seasons of Daredevil and Jessica Jones — and that’s great enough for me. – 4/5
2. Stranger Things (Netflix) – Season 2 (to which you can read my review if you click on the title to the left…) would have been first on my list — if not for that spin-off episode. Thankfully, there are many more intense CGI sequences this time out that make the vibe feel much more like a movie rather than a show. Bravo. – 4/5
3. Star Trek: Discovery (CBS All Access) – While I love anything Star Trek, this was definitely not the show I was expecting. But that’s not a bad thing! Like anything we’ve loved our entire lives, Discovery took some time to warm up to.. yet, that epic final episode — and the gift of its slow burn — now has me anxiously awaiting the debut season’s second half. – 3/5
Honorable mention: The Punisher, Bob’s Burgers (fav animated), Castlevania.
1. Game of Thrones (HBO) – Did y’all forget who is Ki.. Queen? It’s a race to the finish in the World’s Most Popular TV Show (even if the HBO #’s don’t show it; can we finally admit that GoT has overcome TWD in terms of popularity?), with David Benioff and D.B. Weiss pushing Season 7 at literal breakneck speed — past both George R.R. Martin’s novel time and our Westeros-level expectations. Gone, was the slow plod that plagued much of S06; here, were fights, twists and turns so surreal, we never had a second to breath. Sansa became someone we could root for; Arya became someone we could fear. And someone please make a “Dragon Club” t-shirt with the crazy lit faction Dany now has with Jon and Davos; the Lannister’s don’t stand a chance. – 4.75/5
2. American Gods (Starz) – “Religion inspires in those who fear nothing, fear of the gods, and using that fear requires a certain element of fucked up.” My god, Ian McShane is GOD. Old God, New God, Humpday God.. I’m not even gonna front; I’m actually slack-watching this show — the end of its eight episode run — as I write this description and McShane is stealing every scene with his every whisper, every ounce of forehead sweat, and every second of his perfectly pronounced, blasphemous wisdom. The evil pace, anxious editing, masterful color hues, stilted performances (and a kick-ass, underrated soundtrack), whip up preacher curls on my fav show of 2016: Preacher. If it wasn’t for Fuller and Michael Green‘s departure I’d say there was a new nerd religion in town, but… – 4.5/5
3. The Punisher (Netflix) – Had this dropped before Daredevil Season 1, this might be my fav of the Marvel Netflix stash; still, Bernthal’s enthralling season 1 ride as Frank Castle lived up to many expectations and was a far bigger character piece than we expected from the co-star in DDS02. Microchip (an ultra impressive Ebon Moss-Bachrach) was fully dimensional and more than a slob-ass fanboy, and the rise of Jigsaw (Billy Russo) was hinted in front of our face the whole time (what a much better backstory than a mindless one-note mob figure, too!). Yeah, you had no fuckin’ idea either. Showrunner Steve Lightfoot took a a street level comic book character only known for one thing and made it so much more. Thanks for re-energizing this once impeccable marathon streaming stroll. – 4.5/5
Honorable mentions: Mr. Robot, Preacher, Legion, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Defenders.
Non-Geek Honorable mentions: Billions, Homeland, Ray Donovan (with all the wrestling and anime I devoured this year, I didn’t watch shit for “TV”).
1. American Gods (Starz)
2. Legion (FX)
3. The Defenders (Netflix)
4. The Punisher (Netflix)
5. Preacher (AMC)
Honorable mentions: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Walking Dead, Supergirl.