Top 5 Network Shows of 2017
1. 'The Carmichael Show' (NBC): The network multi-cam sitcom is a hallmark of American television. However, in recent years many of our appetites have changed, with many of these series seeming inferior to the more auteur comedy series, such as Master of None. I too admittedly carry around a pre-conceived perception of these series as inferior. Yet, this year there were not one but two excellent shows that demonstrated how effective the multi-cam sitcom could be, when done correctly. The first was the new reboot of One Day at a Time on Netflix; however, for this segment I'm going to specifically talk about the Carmichael Show. This year marked the series' third season, and unfortunately its last. Shamefully, NBC gutted what may have been the best comedy on Network television. Each episode allowed the always hilarious cast to dive into touchy hot-button issues in a way that was both humorous and enlightening.
2. 'The Good Place' (NBC): Sometimes there's joy in seeing a series that knows what it is and is made by people who are masters of the form. These series aren't trying to reinvent the wheel, they just pride themselves in having smart writing, interesting characters, and well paced story structure. That's essentially the joy in watching The Good Place. The comedy series focusing on a group of characters struggling with what it means to be a good person in the afterlife, is arguably the best series on network television. One look at the team involved and it's not hard to see how this series feels so effortlessly clever. After all, with stars like Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, along with Parks and Recreation head Michael Schur working the writers room, you got all the ingredients for a successfully entertaining series.
3. 'This Is Us' (NBC): Some of us watch TV to laugh, others for suspense, and then there are those that simply want a good cry. If you fall into the latter group and you have not been watching NBC's hit drama series, what are you doing with your life. The family drama has exploded in the last two years as not just a ratings juggernaut but an outlier in today's prestige television climate. Network dramas have largely fallen out of the conversation as edgier cable programs continue to push boundaries. However, This Is Us managed to strike a chord with both its exceptional acting and tear-jerking feel good stories that a large base of Americans were looking for.
4. 'black-ish' (abc): ABC has arguably one of, if not the best comedy line-up on network television and their best series arguably remains black-ish. Like many other great comedies on this list, black-ish excels by playing into the familiar beats we've come to expect in half-hour comedy, especially those focused on families. However, the show has demonstrated again and again that it isn't afraid to discuss hot-button issues. This series has moved way beyond simply being a chance for greater diversity, its a show that encapsulates the modern American family.
5. 'Riverdale' (CW): Did you ever read the Archie comics in the grocery store line as a kid a wonder, what if it was sexier? That's essentially the premise behind the latest break-out hit from the CW. The series gives the characters of Archie comics a dark, twisted update. Imagine if someone took the the dark teen soap opera elements of Twin Peaks and built a show off that. There's serial killers, drug smugglers, and plenty of other dark debauchery nestled underneath the small-town 50s-pop aesthetic. Sure, it's a little campy, but there's also fun to be had. Riverdale may not be the best written show on television, not by a long-shot, but for those seeking a juicy and wild teen soap, look no further.