#2017RoundUp: Best New TV Series

Saturday, 6 January 2018

My name is Cass and I have a television-binging problem. I mean, sure, that sounds rather dramatic but I have worked it out and I probably watch five times more TV than the average person.
Just for reference: the average Brit watches 220 minutes of television a day which, according to my calculator, works out as just over 3.6 hours. Like, hello, what would I do with the rest of my day if I only watched 3.6 hours of television? Go outside? Ew. I mean, come on, 3.6 hours is only 3 episodes of anything that airs on HBO and it is imperative that you fit in an entire season, so that's not going to work.
Tearing my eyes away from the screen was extra difficult in 2017 - it seems like every month a new series premiered that completely blew away all of its predecessors. This year nearly every production company has seemed to step up its game in terms of writing, character-building and truly stellar cast performances; which means that, when it came around to the time of year when I had to write this list, narrowing it down to just five picks was... difficult to say the least.

Netflix's first foray into international series, Dark is a German series about... I mean, if I was forced to do so, I could probably narrow down its subject-matter to time travel, but this show is so much more than that. Be warned though: be sure to watch this show at a time when you can pay full attention to it, because you're going to have no bloody clue what is happening if it's just background music. I mean, you're probably going to have no bloody clue even if you actually watch it, but that's half the fun, right?

Big Little Lies
This show was so much more than I ever thought it would be; its so unexpected and surprising in its sheer nuanced brilliance. The squabble between kindergarten children and their overprotective parents manages to spawn into something so gripping that no one is going expect its depth just from a synopsis, so all I can do is urge you to watch this and see Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Alexander Skasgård give the performances of their entire careers.

God, I'm a sucker for true-crime so when this television adaptation was chewing my fingers off in anticipation of finally seeing this in action. And, boy, was it worth the antagonising wait. Mindhunter is the one time where I feel that the adaptation far surpasses the source material, the arrogant (and probably ghost-written) 90s memoir by FBI Criminal Profiler, John E. Douglas. The show is essentially a tour de force of stellar performances, particularly that of the man playing Edmund Kemper who is so able to replicate nuances of the infamous Co-ed Killer.

The Handmaid's Tale
Would this list be complete without the inclusion of The Handmaid's Tale? Despite Margaret Atwood's original text being written in mid-80s, 2017 seemed to more than ever apply to horrifying nature of this particular dystopian society. More than any other speculative future fiction, The Handmaid's Tale appears a likely conclusion to the current political climate and for that, it seemed as though everybody couldn't tear their eyes away from it in 2017.

The Deuce
Gritty and honest, The Deuce told the story of prostitution and the rise of the porn industry in New York in the 1970s. It managed to blend darkness and light to create human characters, and the realistic landscape of a NYC I have never seen before. An entire crowd of stellar performances made this series a weekly highlight, but particular props go to James Franco (who played twins!) and the always fantastic, Maggie Gylllenhaal.

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