The Top 10 TV Shows of 2016: Game of Thrones, Quarry & Peaky Blinders

by | Dec 9, 2016

What a tremendous year of television – once again. We finally surged past the source material on Game of Thrones in show-stopping fashion, we discovered in horrific detail who Negan beat to death and although Banshee came to a close, showrunner Greg Yaitanes came up with the thrilling sleeper hit of 2016 – a hitman thriller named Quarry. 

#10. Mr. Robot (Season 2)


Mr. Robot season 2 is more of an ensemble piece as we really get to explore the tremendous supporting talent to Malek (who deserved his Emmy this year – big time). I loved spending more time with Darlene, newcomer Grace Gummer (a Fed hunting down F Society), the sociopathic but lovable E Corp CEO played so well by Michael Christofer and even Tyrell’s wife played by Stephanie Corneliussen. Her dialog near the end of the season to someone I will not name? Holy shit guys…. She’s terrifying and AWESOME. That was some of the most metal stuff I’ve ever heard in a drama… Insane. I’d recite it here but it would spoil a major twist. Hell – I can’t say much without spoiling anything that genius Sam Esmail conjured up for season 2. Read my full review HERE. 

#9. Daredevil (Season 2)


Jon Bernthal. When the Punisher came into the picture for the second season of Netflix’s greatest original series, it not only made it better overall, but we finally, FINALLY, got to see the greatest Frank Castle adaptation yet. Adapting good chunks of Garth Ennis’ Punisher comics, Daredevil Season 2 may have been lacking some much needed Kingpin and too much Elektra, but with the injection of Castle who is a lethal vigilante thrown into the mix, the stakes were raised significantly on all sides. Daredevil season 2 also featured the best action sequence of 2016 with the staircase fight – all filmed in one take holy shit. I loved this season so much – I flew through it and loved every minute – this is the best Marvel Studios franchise in my opinion.

#8. The Walking Dead (Seasons 6 & 7)


100 plus issues of the Walking Dead have finally been adapted to the small screen. Negan, Jesus, Lucille, Dwight, Gregory, Ezekiel, Shiva and more were all finally introduced to the show and fans were treated to some of their favorite and iconic comic moments getting the live-action treatment. I always loved how the Alexandria storyline plays out in the comics. Rick and his group start to realise that they aren’t the only players left in the world. Other communities have been formed and they’ve been functioning for quite some time. By the end of season six, Rick finally gets a much needed dose of reality after assuming he’s the biggest bad-ass around. Not even close buddy and you deserved the wake-up call.. Read my full review of Season 6 HERE.  – Note: Season 7 is only half over (so no full review yet), but that premiere was bonkers. Can’t deny the power of that episode. Not to mention Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been spectacular as the new big bad. More than spectacular really…

#7. Westworld (Season 1)


This is truly a fascinating series in the way it balances these wild west themes and storylines while bouncing to the behind-the-scenes operations of the park where we see Anthony Hopkins and Jeffrey Wright constructing storylines, interviewing the hosts and dealing with the day to day shenanigans of a greedy business takeover and so very much more. You will likely never understand Hopkins’ true intentions for Westworld until the finale, but when you do, you will love him for it. He plays one crazy bastard and he will most definitely be nominated for an Emmy here. Read my full review HERE. 

#6. Voltron: Legendary Defender (Season 1)


Studio Mir (The Legend of Korra) went all out to craft a gorgeous series that rivals some of the finest anime shows today. The way they created the breath-taking fight sequences blew my mind. The sceneswhere Voltron is fighting other giant Kaiju-inspired monsters are badass – the new Power Rangers live-action film should take notes from Voltron.  I realize the original Voltron came before Power Rangers – and after watching this latest incarnation after never getting familiar with any of the previous shows, it’s actually kind of disturbing how many elements Power Rangers ripped off from this mythology. Stick with Voltron – the original and still the best in my opinion. Read my full review HERE. 

#5. Quarry (Season 1)


Quarry is the most intense and atmospheric thriller since True Detective Season 1. From the mind of Max Allan Collins and translated for the smallscreen by former Banshee showrunner Greg Yaitanes, Quarry is a gloomy but fascinating look into the world of contract killers, Vietnam war veterans coping with shellshock, 1970’s race relations and more… The world that we dive into in Quarry is both bleak but captivating as we spend time with Mac (aka Quarry) and each and every other contract killer or their family members. Logan Marshall-Green is our leading man and he is real as hell – I’m not sure he’s acting – I think he just really is THAT guy. And that’s kind of sad when I think about it. Read my full review HERE.

#4. Black Sails (Season 3)

Black Sails Season 3

I loved the chemistry between Flint (Toby Stephens) and Silver (Luke Arnold) this season. Those two began this show as enemies forced to work together but we’re now starting to see this odd friendship develop. The conversation that these two have near the end of the season where Arnold explains how he’s gained the crew’s trust was one of the finest moments of the show so far. I feel like Luke Arnold has stolen this series in 2016. He has my favorite line of the season, “My name is John Silver and I’ve got a loooong fucking memory,” he has the most tragic moment in episode 2 when their ship is taking on water and he owns the most badass kill where he peg leg curb stomps an asshole that I’ve been waiting to go for a long time now. Cheers, Luke Arnold – you have won season 3. Read my full review HERE.

#3. Peaky Blinders (Series 3)


Cillian Murphy is a star and a leading man that I feel never got his just dues on the big-screen. He’s always been a terrific villain or supporting actor in some of Hollywood’s biggest films, but his performance as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders puts him amongst some of the greatest TV roles ever – right up there with Tony Soprano or Walter White… He goes to such dark places in series 3 – this man may have been tested in series 2 but he is pushed to his breaking point in these six episodes. By the end, it’s hard to say if he’ll be able to come back from the choices he’s made for himself, his family and his Peaky Blinders crew. Read my full review HERE. 

#2. Stranger Things (Season 1)


Netflix and The Duffer Brothers have created a nostalgic powerhouse of a TV series in Stranger Things. The eight-episode sci-fi masterpiece feels like The X-Files met The Goonies and proceeded to have Stephen King’s Baby (which in the show would be a hungry demon from another dimension). I’m in love with Stranger Things: the performances, the throwback music, the title credits, the suspense, the amount of 1980’s flair thrown in for good measure… As a kid who grew up renting as many 80’s monster B-movies as possible, this show was made for people like me and I’m forever in the Duffer Brothers’ debt. Read my full review HERE. 

#1. Game of Thrones (Season 6)


Game of Thrones has wrapped what has to be their finest season yet in a fiery curtain call of death for several major characters. This would be the moment of truth for several novel fans who have been waiting and wanting to know if Jon Snow truly did die at the hands of the Night’s Watch, as season five ended with his dead body, so too did George R.R. Martin’s fifth novel when it came out six years ago. Season six not only answered that lingering question, but many more that have yet to be revealed in the Song of Ice and Fire book series in which the show is adapted from. Martin took too long to write the books, so the TV series is marching full force ahead towards an inevitable end instead. I’d be more pissed off as a novel fan, but when the show is so damn good it’s hard to get angry at a work of genius. Read my full review HERE.

Honourable Mentions

Top 5 Performances By a Leading Actor


#5. Kit Harrington – Game of Thrones

#4. Rami Malek – Mr. Robot

#3. Logan Marshall Green – Quarry

#2. Riz Ahmed – The Night Of

#1. Cillian Murphy – Peaky Blinders

Cillian Murphy has always been such an intense performer – I’ve loved his films since 28 Days Later and even when he has a smaller role, it is always a memorable scene-stealer. For Murphy to be front and center in Peaky Blinders, we really get to delve into his potential and greatness as a leading man and this latest season of the UK crime drama was the finest one yet. I compared Murphy’s Tommy Shelby to Walter White and Tony Soprano in my review. I meant it. Read my full review HERE. 

Top 5 Performances By a Leading Actress


#5. Evan Rachel Wood – Westworld

#4. Rhea Seehorn – Better Call Saul

#3. Carly Chaikin – Mr. Robot

#2. Lena Headey – Game of Thrones

#1. Millie Bobby Brown – Stranger Things

12-year-old Millie Brown owned 2016 when Stranger Things decided to come outta nowhere this year and steal the hearts of every 80’s B-Movie fanatic. Her performance as Eleven, a child who escapes an experimental lab which has given her telepathic abilities, is easily my favourite overall for any actresses all year – including film. From her quiet moments when she’s just afraid, to the ones where she stands up for her friends and kicks a bully’s ass, Eleven was the coolest superhero of 2016 in my opinion. Read my full review HERE. 

Top 5 Performances By a Supporting Actor


#5. Luke Arnold – Black Sails

#4. David Harbour – Stranger Things

#3. Peter Mullan – Quarry

#2. Jon Bernthal – Daredevil

#1. Jeffrey Dean Morgan – The Walking Dead

The fact that Jeffrey Dean Morgan is my favourite “supporting actor” of 2016 may not be all that accurate because if anything they’ve given him the most screentime and lines thus far in the first half of Season 7. Holy shit this guy. He has stolen the entire Walking Dead series and not only become the most frightening villain in all of TV this year, but he’s also the most likeable in a sick twisted kinda way. He goes from smashing a beloved characters head to smithereens one episode, to saying the funniest shit. I love that most of his dialog is ripped from the page (minus the flurry of fucks), because it shows us just how powerful Robert Kirkman’s writing really is and how well it translates to the smallscreen.

Top 5 Performances By a Supporting Actress


#5. Hannah New – Black Sails

#4. Ingrid Bolsø Berdal – Westworld

#3. Bella Ramsey – Game of Thrones

#2. Stephanie Corneliussen – Mr. Robot

#1. Thandie Newton – Westworld

Thandie Newton’s performance as a robotic whorehouse madame was mesmerising to watch unfold over the 10 episodes of Westworld’s debut season. She goes from your stereotypical prostitute, to a rebellion leader who wages an all out war against the false gods who have been torturing her with repeated murders, resurrections and lies. I loved her performance and over the course of the season she became the most powerful and deadly force on the show, with her plans to escape the facility gloriously unfolding into a chaotic reality by the finale. Read my full review HERE.