Heather's pick: The Librarians - TNT
My favorite show of the year is The Librarians, which is kind of a mix of Warehouse 13 (which ended in 2014) and Doctor Who with a library thrown in. It is family-friendly and combines some history with folklore and fantasy. The adventures are fun and the mysteries take turns you do not expect. My kids, husband, and I love to sit around the TV on Sundays at 8/7c and see what will happen and what new, obscure fact we can find out about history. Just getting us together is magic.
Sonya's pick : The 100 - The CW
My favorite show this year was The 100. I love the characters. They are not afraid to go dark. The characters make mistakes and are not perfect; they are flawed, yet I still like them. They may be the bad guy, but on this apocalyptic show there are no good guys. Each season gets better and, needless to say, season 3 was its best yet.
Londynn's pick: The Good Place
It is hard to find a TV show, or even a movie, that doesn't remind you of something else these days. You have the crime dramas that all follow the same crime of the week type theme. You also have the family comedies that follow one family that is a little different from the rest. However, they are not that different compared to other family comedy shows. It's times like these that make me wish there was a show that stands on its own. A show that is fresh and unique like no other. Fortunately, for me, NBC came out with The Good Place this past fall. It stars Kristen Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop, an ordinary woman who enters the afterlife. However, somewhere down the line somebody forked up because instead of being sent to the Bad Place, which is definitely where she belongs, she finds her way in a loving, peaceful place. This becomes a problem because now a lot of bad things are happening to this once peaceful place. What really sets this show up is the fact that it is not based on religion. You might think that due to the title, but really it's a story about what makes a good person, well, a good person. In fact, I don't even think that the good place is set in heaven. It's another place, which means that the show is taking a new approach on the afterlife as we know it. Instead of preaching to fans about what's in the bible and what it says to do to get into Heaven, it comes up with another set of rules to go by. Very nice. You can't offend anyone by going that route. But the story isn't just a fresh idea, it also delivers a new kind of comedy for us to laugh at. Not only is it a bit sarcastic, but it's also a little dark and serious at the same time. Most comedies come off as a little too silly, but with The Good Place, you get a little bit of everything when it comes to comedy, even a serious story to follow.
Julia's pick: Major Crimes
Major Crimes is currently in its 5th season (12th season if we count its predecessor The Closer), and people still can't get enough of the procedural show. The cast is brilliant and blows away the audience on a regular basis, while the writing continues to be current and on point. This year the show altered its dynamics a little and crafted two multi-episode arcs (one in season 4, one in season 5) to which the audience responded very positively. Storylines stretching out over more than one episode provide the opportunity for more developed personal storylines, something viewers patiently have been waiting for. The only thing leaving a nasty taste in fan's mouths is the fact that TNT neither released a return date for the show to air its last 8 episodes of season 5, nor did they renew the show for a 6th season yet.
Anam's pick: This Is Us
When This Is Us premiered, it looked like it was going to be a decent family show, but by the end of the hour, they had tossed in a twist that blew our socks off. The idea that the people they had been showing were a family, that the couple was their parents and that they were all siblings trying to navigate life, was what stole our hearts. This show delves into problems that everyone has dealt with in some shape or form. It's very relatable, and, to top it off, they always manage to throw in some twist you don't see coming and you're left wondering how you didn't see it all along.
Christine's pick: The Originals
With the introduction of a monster that can kill the indestructible Klaus Mikaelson, a prophecy announcing the downfall of the Mikaelson family, and 2 heartbreaking deaths (Cami and Davina), this season of The Originals was, by far, the best show of 2016. Every episode had you on your toes waiting to find out who was going to turn on each other, who was coming back from the dead, and who was the real threat to the Mikaelson family. Even Klaus sacrifices himself for his brothers and sisters, which is something he has never done in The Vampire Diaries or The Originals. The biggest twist of all: the monster set on destroying the Mikaelson family is none other than Marcel - a vampire Klaus saved from enslavement as a boy and raised as his son. As Haley and their daughter search for antidotes and a way to save each Mikaelson, we are left to wonder if a task of this magnitude will bring in characters from The Vampire Diaries 5 years later.
Aaric's pick: Eyewitness
Not many TV shows are based on LGBTQ characters, but the USA network is changing that with its new show Eyewitness. It follows Philip and Lukas, teen lovers who witness a triple homicide. This storyline actually gives off a very realistic feel to fans of the show since it deals with internalized homophobia, which is something almost all gays go through at the beginning of their realized sexuality. But the drama is not only with Philip and Lukas, but with many other characters. It also deals with other real life struggles such as addictions and PTSD. Yes, the plot is not that different from most shows like this, but the whole story is done right, which gives it its own fresh storytelling. It will make you feel that something like this can happen, and actually it can. This is no fantasy; this is what life looks like for many, which is why it's the best show of 2016. It lets others who are going through similar situations know that they are not alone. It's very uplifting, which is rare when a story is so dark.
Dee's pick: Conviction
Coming off on a Castle-high, Conviction may seem to be some sort of copycat of the previous tenant of the 10pm Monday time slot, but it's not. Conviction is actually more serious and much darker than its predecessor and, frankly, more compelling because it opens past cases. The team of the Conviction Intergrity Unit (CIU) must prove the integrity of a case, whether it happened 10 or 100 years ago, a feat that they have to overcome within five days. The stories are also compelling and intriguing...and at times discuss controversial issues such as racism and rape, which Castle successfully avoided, for a good reason, for eight years. It makes you think; the gears in your head will surely turn as you ponder if the case was rightfully closed and the real suspect behind bars. It's the best for me for those reasons, and I'm disappointed and surprised that it doesn't have the demographics it needs.
Eve's pick: Fleabag
I was totally caught by surprise when I watched the first episode of this little British gem. I'm not sure what I expected, but it wasn't what I was getting. Fleabag's short description is as follows: "A London-based woman tries to cope with life in a big city while coming to terms with a tragedy." The first part of that sentence is hilariously funny as we watch Fleabag (no other name is given), played by actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge, coping with life, singledom, relationships, a failing coffee-shop and a troublesome relationship with her sister and father. The fourth wall is broken on numerous occasions, but it gives us a sense of camaraderie with Fleabag. We are with her, there at that moment. The second part of that sentence, the tragedy, is a punch in the gut you didn't see coming until it has left you a blubbering mess. This is an outstanding TV series that needs to be seen and deserves a spot in every best TV of 2016 list.
TJ's pick: Timeless
Time travel has been a very popular theme with a handful of television shows lately, but there is one show that makes it feel more realistic than most. Of course I am talking about the new NBC series Timeless. It premiered October 3rd and comes from the creator of Supernatural, Eric Kripke, with the help of Shawn Ryan.
Each week, fans go back in time to popular historical events that we learned in history class or heard about from our grandparents. Trust me, I am not a history buff, and I sucked at it in school, but this show makes history a lot more fun. In fact, the writers do all the research for us, so all we have to do is sit back and watch it. We will learn what "really" happened during these events, but most likely things will change, for the better or for the worse. Heck, we even get to see what this era in time looked like by the way the set is and what clothes were popular back in the day.
But one thing that I really love about this story is that you don't really know who the bad guy is, or if there even is one. At the moment there is one guy, Garcia Flynn, who appears to be the villain, but at the same time maybe he's not. He has declared that his motives are for the greater good, but at the moment we don't exactly know how true that is. Most shows will set up an enemy that you come to hate, but over time I think many fans have grown to love Flynn. He may be trying to rewrite history, but we all kind of see the good in him.
Another thing that really makes this show the best is the fact that it's not much sci-fi in the story. Sure, it can be considered sci-fi since it's about time travel, but really it's about history. This makes the series a fresh approach to other time traveling shows that are out there. Right now, Timeless is on its mid-season break, so now is the perfect time to start and get all caught up. Because I mean, who wants to miss a show that has action, humor and the greatest story of 2016?
Charlotte's pick: Game Of Thrones
Season 6 of Game of Thrones gave fans almost everything they had been asking for: family reunions, character returns, epic fights, as well as the confirmation of a long debated fan theory. Season 6 was one of the best seasons yet, and concluded with a long season finale that was full of massive plot developments that everyone had been waiting to see. The highlight of the season, however, can be summed up in 4 words: battle of the bastards. Not only did this episode win multiple Emmy awards, but it was also an epic, groundbreaking experience unlike anything ever done on a television series before. Seasons of Game of Thrones are short and the wait between seasons is long, but if season 6 taught us anything it’s that the wait is worthwhile.
Kellie's pick: 12 Monkeys
12 Monkeys was initially, on the surface, just a run of the mill spin-off from the 1995 film. An interesting idea, yes, and with potential, and the first season did start out along the same lines which may have put some people off. However, if you did stick it out until the end of season 1, and then onto season 2, you would by now have figured out it is much more than the original film. In fact, probably one of the more ambitious and inventive sci-fi shows we have seen in a long time. It has re-written the book on time travel. This is not a new topic by any means and 12 Monkeys knows this, but the show seems to have transcended this niche and made a show so much more than the one concept of sending someone back in time to stop a disease.
These are our picks for best TV shows of 2016.
Who do you agree with? Vote in the poll below!