The Ark of E Presents - The Best TV of 2017

10. South Park S21 (Comedy Central):

2017 was a return to form of sorts for Matt and Trey after Season 20 (which went a bit off the rails with its sometimes convoluted continuity). Season 21 retained what worked about the previous season (PC Principal , Cartman's new girlfriend) but managed to stay away from the slavishness to the Trump of it all. From Kaepernick to Weinstein and every controversy in between, Season 21 delivered a few New Instant Classics ("Sons A Witches" , "Super Hard PCness"); and it reminded everyone that South Park is still the most consistently hilarious and insightful comedy on television. NB

9. Vice Principals S2 (HBO): 

The latest Hill/McBride collaboration went out with a bang with its second and final season. The darkly entertaining tale of rival Vice Principals turned unlikely / untrusting allies may have not been for everyone; but for those who like their comedy with a heavy dose of cringe, nothing topped it this year. McBride was reliably awesome (playing a bit against type) but it was Walton Goggins as Lee Russell who truly steals the show. If you missed this one in its initial run, do yourself a favor and catch up! NB

8. Lady Dynamite S2 (Netflix):

This gem, created by Mitchell Hurwitz (Arrested Development) and former South Park Producer Pam Brady, caught us completely off guard. The brilliant and uniquely talented Maria Bamford takes you inside her wonderfully weird brain to deliver one of the most original comedies in recent years. Lady Dynamite is brimming with genius comic performances (Fred Melamed, Mary Kay Place, Mo Collins, just to name a few) sharp writing, fantastic editing, and above all else a true beating heart anchored by Bamford and the wonderful Olafur Olafsson as Scott. Unfortunately, it looks like Season 2 may also end up serving as the final season of the show; but regardless, take the time to catch up with this one. NB

7. American Gods S1 (STARZ):

American Gods is imaginative, engaging, and insanely weird. The concept and story, based off the novel of the same name, takes ancient mythology and merges it with a modern world. It has an incredibly strong cast and is one of the most visually stunning things on television right now. The series was renewed after only two episodes but the future of the series doesn’t look so bright after showrunner, Bryan Fuller, exits. Regardless, the first season is worth the watch. SM

6. Fargo S3 (FX):

Noah Hawley continues his odyssey through the Coen's-verse and in the process delivers his best season yet! Fargo Season 3 is an absolute blast filled with standout performances from Ewan McGregor (as both Ray & Emmit Stussy) Michael Stuhlbarg (one of many Coen favorites that graces the season) and David Thewlis as Varga (one of the most deliciously despicable villians in recent memory). While its seemingly only loosely connected to the events of Seasons 1 & 2, Season 3 adds a lot to the growing Fargo mythos; and even if this ends up being it for the foreseeable future, fans who start playing catch-up now will find a rich web of consistent themes and narrative threads that have created one of the most unique and rewarding shows of TV's New Golden Age. NB    

5. The Deuce S1 (HBO):

In some circles, the arrival of a new David Simon show is anticipated with as much fervor as the latest Marvel movie; and if you know where we can find such a circle, please email : This is a very simple and honest PSA : DO NOT SLEEP ON THIS SHOW! Simon and longtime collaborator George Pelecanos have delivered another masterclass in narrative storytelling, and we're only 1 season in. This mosaic of 1970s New York is propelled by one of the finest ensemble casts ever assembled. Season 1 standouts include: a heartbreakingly vulnerable and alternatively tough as nails Maggie Gyllenhaal as Candy, and the seductive and charismatic menace of Gary Carr's C.C. and Method Man's Rodney. The Deuce does not shy away from its subject matter; but, like every Simon project, it treats it with honesty and intelligence at every turn. NB

4. American Vandal S1 (Netflix):

American Vandal is arguably the smartest and dumbest show to grace our streaming services. This show acts as a perfect parody to the true-crime genre that has flooded our entertainment outlets in the past few years. The content is intentionally juvenile but done with such craft that it is a must watch! SM

3. The Leftovers S3 (HBO):

This season showed us some of the best performances on television in 2017. Each episode of the final chapter is engaging and leaves the viewers with a lot to chew on. I was always lukewarm on earlier seasons but this season has made me want to give the series another chance. SM

The Leftovers Final Season cemented it as one of my favorite television shows of all time. Not since Six Feet Under (still my undisputed Favorite Show) have I encountered a series with such stark emotional power. Lindelof and Perrotta absolutely stuck the landing, and the phenomenal cast, anchored by career best work from Justin Theroux and Carrie Coon, blew me away. Too many people checked out of this show, and admittedly it's a tough sell and not for everyone; but I implore you, GO WATCH THIS SHOW! NB  

2. Dear White People S1 (Netflix):

Few shows decide to carry the mantle in pushing the American people forward in the way that Dear White People does. The shows pulled early criticism from the public that viewed it as an attack towards white individuals; however I believe that its narrative and unforgettable imagery act as, not an attack, but a window that allows viewers to gain insight and to hopefully enact change. The show is top notch. SM

1. Twin Peaks: The Return "S3" (Showtime): 

Twin Peaks: The Return is simply beautiful. It is a dark and twisted ride through the mind of David Lynch and his uncomprimised vision. SM

Simply put, Twin Peaks: The Return was my favorite piece of entertainment from 2017. It's a miracle of a season as far as I'm concerned and I still can't quite believe it exists. It was a long, wonderful, and strange trip indeed, but one I can't wait to take again. And I also must shout out my personal Best Actor of 2017 : Kyle MacLachlan, for his tour de force as not 1, not 2, but arguably 4 wholly unique characters (is that a spoiler, I'm not even sure if that's possible with this show?). Put even more simply, Twin Peaks: The Return is Damn Fine Television! NB