2016 gave us some of the best storylines in returning shows, from Game of Thrones packing a heavy punch while House of Cards continued Frank Underwood’s presidential reign. But 2016 also spawned some of the most exciting new shows. Here are some of the best.
Premiering to triumphant acclaim, Netflix’s latest series The Crown is based on Queen Elizabeth II’s epic reign. Starting in 1947, the show follows the early part of Her Majesty’s life, pulling back the curtain to eavesdrop on the most private conversations. From her wedding to Prince Philip, to her ascent to the throne at the age of 25 and dealing with her ailing Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the show packs a whole lot in 10 episodes. Wolf Hall actress Claire Foy is admirably quaint as the newly-appointed Queen Elizabeth II while former Doctor Who star Matt Smith is easily likeable as Prince Philip. The Crown is television at its finest, an outstanding achievement on every scale.
In the supernatural dramadey Lucifer, Tom Ellis plays the devil Lucifer Morningstar, who decides he’s sick of life in hell and comes above ground for a holiday – and some fun. He moves to Los Angeles where he’s successfully ‘working’ as a club owner, but the series focuses on his second job, helping a detective solve murders and crime. He finds an unlikely thrill from the job, but that’s probably because he’s got nothing better to do. If the show’s premise sounds absurd, its because it is. Lucifer is one crazy, strangely additive and entertaining joy ride, complete with Ellis’ snarky lines and corny devil puns. Ellis is perfect as the devil – he’s charming and playful, exactly what you’d expect from the character.
Netflix’s latest series Stranger Things is the result of a perfectly concocted storm. A plot that slowly unravels the mystery comes to a conclusion that neatly winds all the several story lines together. Winona Ryder brilliantly plays Joyce Byers, the deranged mother of missing kid Will who relentlessly believes that he’s alive and talking to her through Christmas lights. David Harbours plays the understated Chief Jim Hopper, a downbeat cop who tries to uncover the truth behind Will’s disappearance. Millie Bobby Brown’s subtle yet powerful portrayal of juvenile Eleven is just as commendable as Natalia Dyer’s take on the curious teen Nancy Wheeler who digs into her own mystery. With a beautiful aesthetic (the cinematography that recreates the 80s is spot-on) and an unforgettable score, the show is nothing less than perfection.
This Is Us
The new US drama This Is Us has quickly made a lasing impression on the television world, sweeping up several award nominations after just 10 episodes. The premise of the show is simple – we are introduced to several characters who are all celebrating their 36th birthdays. As the American way dictates, each character finds themselves at a crossroads, telling you that somehow reaching the age of 36 makes you stop and re-evaluate your life. The wilfully saccharine family drama is perfect enough to shed a tear or two each week, and that’s down to the undercutting of the fast-paced witty dialogue and the sentimental moments between the characters that we grow to love.