8 great TV shows we watched in 2017


Cape Town – It’s been quite a year for television.

Networks and streaming services have been pushing the boundaries in bringing us entertaining, thought-provoking fresh shows. 

It was very hard to choose but the Channel24 team rounded up their best TV shows of the year.

Here’s what the team loved on the small screen this year:


BIG LITTLE LIES

Available on: Showmax

Big Little Lies starts with a mystery. A death. The victim’s identity deliberately kept secret. The events surrounding the tragedy a blurry memory until the climatic finale. The unfolding story is told through the perspective of three mothers – Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Celeste (Nicole Kidman), and Jane (Shailene Woodley) – using detailed flashbacks. With each jump back in time we learn more about our female protagonists and their dirty little secrets surrounding their marriages, sex lives and friendships. Only in the very last minute of the show does it all masterfully come together in a shocking conclusion. Big Little Lies tightly weaves together different story lines through the delicate nuanced performances of its A-list cast. It’s a carefully curated masterpiece that oozes sexiness, mystery and a dab of dark comedy. With only 7 episodes in the series it’s an indulgence worth savouring one bite at a time. – Herman Eloff (Editor)



GLOW

Available on: Netflix

The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling aka Glow was one series this year that I could not stop watching. Following the personal and professional lives of a diverse group of women working for a wrestling organisation in the 80s already sounds unique and interesting but it exceeded my expectations. From the stellar cast, energetic music and fitting wardrobe to tackling prominent social issues without preaching, Glow is funny, fresh and so worth the binge. I can’t wait for season two! - Bronwyn McKay (International News Editor)

GAME OF THRONES S7

Available on: Showmax

My favourite TV series for this year is definitely Game of Thrones season 7. While the season started out quite slow for me, it ended with so many things happening that I just want more. There’s Arya who returned to Winterfell, Jon and Daenerys meeting and doing business, and then Jon pledging himself to her, I mean the sexual tension is insane. Then there was the epic fight where one of the dragons died, that made me cry, but then he awakens from the dead to become part of the army of White Walkers. Insane! And of course we find out that Jon is a trueborn Targaryen. I mean, what more do you want?! - Jean-Marie Korff (Music Editor)

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK S5

Available on: Netflix

After an agonising year-long wait, Orange Is The New Black season five was finally released in June. I’ve been religiously watching OITNB since it was first released, and I’m obsessed. What I love most about the show is the diverse cast, including transgender actress Laverne Cox. During each episode, we learn a bit more about the different characters’ background, and how they ended up at Litchfield. You feel like you know the inmates on such a personal level and it keeps me hooked. There’s plenty of witty one-liners (here’s looking at you Black Cindy!) but the show still manages to pull at your heart-strings with deeply personal moments, including death – I won’t say who – riots, and when an inmate has to deal with being pregnant in prison. It’s all about girl-power and thankfully it’s been renewed for another two seasons! It’s just that good.  – Graye Morkel (Editor, The Juice)

STRANGERS

Available on: Facebook

2017 has been a great year for returning network TV shows like Broad City and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend but my favourite series is one that you won't find on TV or any of the streaming services you've come to know. It's called Strangers and its on Facebook for free. The episodic comedy follows the adventures of Isobel, who is renting out her spare room after her boyfriend leaves her and she struggles to make rent. Each helping of the show centres on a different eccentric renter. I love it because it's new, funny and unpredictable with a great performance by Zoe Chao as the lead and created by the talented Mia Lidofsky. – Alex Isaacs, (Content Producer, The Juice)

THE HANDMAID’S TALE

Available on: DStv Now

The breakout series of the year for me has to be The Handmaid’s Tale. With 8 Emmy wins under its belt it’s safe to say that this series is one of the top TV shows of the year. Margaret Atwood might have written the novel in 1985 but the story has never been more relevant that now. At times the show feels like a prequel of what’s to come – you just have to look at everything that is happening in the US with regards to women’s reproductive rights. The setting, the costumes, the themes explored and the superb acting makes this a powerful drama – this is a cautionary tale that we should not ignore. – Leandra Engelbrecht (TV and Movies Editor)

THIS IS US

I love this show because it's the only one on TV that makes me cry consistently every week. And sometimes in life, you need the catharsis. The drama is relatable, the stories are sometimes heartbreaking but also triumphant and the theme of family and loyalty is something that I love. The acting is so brilliant and they've cast this really well. Sometimes I even forget that Mandy Moore is not an old lady! - Zayaan Schroeder (TV Critic)

JAN

Available on: Showmax, VIA (DStv 174), DStv Now

My best new show of 2017 on South African television came as a complete and stunning surprise – the arrestingly beautiful fly-on-the-wall docuseries profiling South Africa’s Michelin-star chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen at his Nice restaurant in France and beyond. Visually akin to the Netflix series Chef’s Table, JAN is by far the most breath-takingly beautiful show that was seen on SA television in 2017. Co-produced and available on Naspers’ streaming service Showmax, the other surprise was its linear TV channel partner, VIA (DStv 147) where JAN definitely ranks as the channel’s most sumptuously shot show ever among a channel offering more down-to-earth lifestyle shows. Produced by Brainwave productions and boasting the best production values and stellar attention to detail, lighting, camerawork, editing and a casting coup in terms of Jan who finally relented to being filmed, the show is a mesmerisingly beautiful and immersive work of art. JAN is in Afrikaans, English, French and Italian but has English subtitles making it universally watchable. – Thinus Ferreira (TV Critic) 

ALSO CHECK OUT: 

- The best flicks of 2017 according to us

6 songs we’ll be partying to this summer

(Photos: AP, Facebook, Anelia Loubser, Netflix/Cara Howe)

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