There’s no way to deny the fact that 2017 has been an incredible year for television programming. Between Netflix’s production of increasingly amazing digitally-distributed TV shows and HBO’s continued dominance of the subscription channel market, TV lovers have been treated to some of the most incredibly-produced seasons to ever air.
The sheer number of impressive television shows that made it to critical acclaim in 2017 makes for a tough cut when attempting to review this year’s run for the best performers, which is unlike the casino industry online where brands like Casumo have taken the market by storm.
However, three shows really rose to the top, at least from our perspective: Game of Thrones: Season 7, Stranger Things: Season 2, and Twin Peaks (you’re probably as surprised about this one as we were!)
In this article, we’ll explore just what made each of these shows worthy of mention among a year of top-notch television.
Twin Peaks: The Return (2017)
Launching to critical acclaim after a somewhat baffling announcement, David Lynch’s revival of Twin Peaks this last year took the world of entertainment by surprise. The original series, which ran from 1990 to 1991, was a remarkable success, featuring David Lynch’s famous love of the surreal unfolding across two seasons of tense storytelling.
After the original run of Twin Peaks, David Lynch created a feature-length prequel movie called “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me,” which was received less favorably than the television series. The reborn 2017 series occurs 25 years after the original, set in the same small, Washington town of Twin Peaks.
Twin Peaks: The Return fell just decimal-points lower in ratings than the original series according to the www.IMDB.com aggregate score. Its massive success was a surprise even to fans of David Lynch, especially given that the original Twin Peaks won 3 Golden Globes among countless other awards and the follow up did not perform as well.
Twin Peaks: The Return features a number of the actors and actresses from the original series, including Kyle MacLachlan, the star of the original series, who reprises his role as FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper.
The plot centres around Agent Cooper’s return to the town of Twin Peaks and the very strange events that come upon him along the way.
Following its release, Twin Peaks: The Return was immediately praised by critics as a terrifying, strange, and “Lynchian” (according to Emily L. Stephens of The A.V. Club) series that well lived up to the legacy of the original series. The episodes dove deeply into the surreal and the strange, taking viewers for a ride that challenged them to watch closely and listen even more closely.
Game of Thrones: Season 7
The second-to-last season of Game of Thrones marks the record-breaking series’ departure from the novel series it is based on, A Song of Ice and Fire. Partially in thanks to the fact that the novel series’ author, George R. R. Martin, was involved heavily in the creation process, the HBO series has largely stayed loyal to the novels, choosing mostly to cut out the extensive backstories in place of making major story modifications. Season 7, however, breaks with this trend because of an odd dilemma: the HBO series has actually surpassed the novels regarding the internal storyline of the series.
The first significant storyline deviations came during the later parts of season 6, leading to fandom clashes between purists of the novel storylines and fans who skipped the book and opted to watch the show alone.
Fandom disagreements and community splits like this are frequent with novel adaptations, but the one within the Game of Thrones fan community is strange since it isn’t as much about where the show creators changed existing content as it is about how they chose to write their version of the end of the story.
For those of us who can appreciate both parts of the Game of Thrones universe, cinematic and literary, season 7 was as thrilling as the rest, bringing us deeper and deeper into mysteries that have taunted us from the very first season.
While there is still much to be resolved in the final season of the show, season 7 was addicting, mystifying, and definitely delivered on the grungy, tense, and devious style of fantasy we’ve come to love from the series.
Stranger Things: Season 2
Netflix’s Stranger Things took the world by storm in 2016, delivering to homes across the country an endearing horror series that tapped into what may turn out to be the new normal regarding period pieces: 80s nostalgia. The first season pulled heavily from favorites of the 80s and early 90s – The Goonies, Friday the 13th, and Halloween– featuring a gang of neighborhood kids who enjoy Dungeons and Dragons, Atari, and the school science club on screen. The soundtrack was heavily synth-driven, hearkening to the popular music of the decade.
Season 2 continued to carry the torch of the first season, but widened the scope and changed the nuance. Season 2 pulled more from Alien, Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Thing than the first season did, leaning harder into the supernatural without losing touch with the characters we’ve come to love.
2017 Hits Hint at Exciting New Trends
The new age of television is upon us, and gone are the days of television being judged as the artistically-inferior of the cinematic arts. Talent that would have once been guided solely to big-budget Hollywood films is now more willing than ever to appear in specials by companies like Netflix and HBO.
If Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, and Twin Peaks are predictors of what’s to come for fans of television series, the future looks very bright indeed.