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The Best TV Shows of 2017

We had a lot of great TV last year, which helped mitigate what sometimes felt like a world gone mad (and about to burn). This year feels about the same, but luckily we still have great TV to watch (while it lasts anyway). While the year to come will bring some phenomenal new shows and the return of some of our favorite series, the first few months have delivered some incredible shows featuring breakout performances, genre twists and turns, and the return of some of our favorite characters. Here are the year’s best TV shows (so far).
  1. Mindhunter

    On paper, the premise of David Fincher’s cerebral, appealingly off-kilter Netflix show does not sound fresh: Two FBI agents investigate a series of notorious murderers and find their work taking a toll on their personal lives. So far, so CBS—except that the emphasis of Mindhunter is not on chasing killers, but rather interviewing them and trying genuinely to understand them. Light on action and heavy on psychology, the show plays like a small-screen spinoff of Fincher’s masterful Zodiac, starring Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany as fictionalized versions of the agents whose research gave birth to the term “serial killer.” A rough first episode aside, Mindhunter is a meticulous, mesmerizing character-driven thriller which, thanks to its emphasis on real serial killers like Ed Kemper and Richard Speck, taps right into pop culture’s current true crime obsession. —Emma Dibdin

  2. The Deuce

    David Simon brings his meticulous eye to the gritty, seedy Times Square of 1971. As he did with The Wire and Treme, The Deuce (co-created with George Pelacanos) brings a multi-layered approach to examine the many people whose lives were centered on a handful of New York City blocks: the nightlife entrepreneurs, the mob, the cops, the pimps, and the sex workers. Maggie Gyllenhaal brings a tour de force performance as a woman who has aspirations of leaving the streets and entering into the movie business (in the burgeoning porn industry), and James Franco plays a pair of twins whose morals—and personal bond—are tested as they become entranced with the Italian mob. With an obsession to detail and a lively, exuberant appreciation of Manhattan’s very recent past, The Deuce is one of HBO’s most exciting series in years. —Tyler Coates

  3. GLOW

    Shoved behind the formidable characters of male wrestling—the Iron Sheik, Rick Flair, Hulk Hogan, etc.—was GLOW, the Saturday morning show from the 80s about the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Netflix dug up their story for its new original dramedy (produced by Orange Is the New Black‘s Jenji Kohan) in which the origins of women’s wrestling is portrayed as a shitshow of oddballs, washed-up movie men, and generally desperate humans. That being said, GLOW is a delight to watch. Alison Brie gives a perfectly irritating performance alongside scene-stealing Betty Gilpin and a growling Marc Maron. The rest of the women wrestlers are fairly unknown, but each gives you a reason to remember them once the show picks up steam (much like the newcomers on OITNB). You start to relish their moments of camaraderie in and out of the ring as they try to figure out how the hell to pull off a no-budget women’s wrestling show. As for the wrestling: it’s bad, but that’s the point. —Sarah Rense

  4. American Gods

    Any show that depicts a man vanishing into the vagina of a goddess in the first 20 minutes of its plot is obviously not going to be your typical new series. If anything, American Gods continued to get weirder and more visually stunning from there. It’s a dense show, but it’s also vastly rewarding as long as you’re willing to put in the effort to follow along. American Gods is at once a faithful adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s 2001 masterpiece while providing a worthwhile update to the themes and content for 2017. The series’ creators Bryan Fuller and Michael Green have an imagination to match Gaiman’s while making what might be one of the most visually stunning shows of the year. —Matt Miller

  5. The Leftovers

    There was actually a pretty convincing Instagram campaign going on, which enticed Emmy voters to nominate The Leftovers cast by promising to show possible messiah and definite hunk Justin Theroux naked. It’s a pretty good idea! But, it should also be telling that Theroux’s abs were far from the best thing about this show. In three seasons, The Leftovers wove an elaborate, mysterious, and often confusing story, the likes of which hasn’t been told on television since Lost. And its final season turned out to be its finest, juxtaposing the grandest existential human questions with these character’s most intimate, beautiful moments. —Matt Miller

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