The Best TV Shows of 2016
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It's been a pretty depressing year in terms of politics and celebrity deaths, but thankfully 2016 did offer us a slight reprieve in the amount of great television that has captured our attention. Thanks to a surge in original content from streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, and more competitive efforts from the BBC and HBO, we've enjoyed several brilliant new series this year, ranging from the hilarious to the downright traumatic. As we enter a new year, our writers have determined their picks for the top 10 shows of 2016. So without further adieu, let us begin the countdown. 10. The Night Manager (BBC) This slick BBC drama based on John Le Carré's novel of the same name wowed audiences in February with its sultry cinematography, intense action-thriller sequences and all-star cast. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman, the series followed the exploits of an ex-soldier who embarks on a vengeful undercover mission to take down a ruthless arms dealer. A multiple nominee in the mini-series categories of 2017's Golden Globes, this series sent the nation into a frenzy as Hiddleston showed off his acting chops (and more besides) and proved his worth as a contender for Bond. Featuring tense, gritty dialogue and superb performances all round, The Night Manager serves as proof that the BBC are still more than capable of producing great British drama. 9. House of Cards (Netflix) Though the series first debuted on Netflix in 2013, House of Cards is still a firm-favourite among bingewatchers. Entering its fourth season this year, the latest episodes saw Frank and Claire Underwood (Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright) like we had never seen them before. Newly separated, the machivellian power couple were more dangerous than ever - and increasingly ruthless in their attempts to secure the presidency in a campaign not too dissimilar from the real US Election. Speaking of why she chose this as her pick of 2016, Carly-May Kavanagh from the University of Southampton said: "Frank Underwood is a straight up villain, looking out for himself and not afraid to dispose of anyone who gets in his way. Starting with him being passed over for secretary of state, the following episodes are all focused on his revenge plan, taking out the people who wronged him until he's the one on top. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright make a devilishly good power couple, and there really is nothing like this show out there at the moment." 8. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix) Another returning show that has won our hearts and fuelled our procrastination habits, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt stands apart from the more dramatic entries on this list for its fun-loving sense of humour and quirky characters. Co-created by Tina Fey, the show's second season continued to follow the misadventures of Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) as she adjusts to life outside the bunker she was held in for 15 years. Speaking of why she chose this as her pick of 2016, Lucy Fletcher at Liverpool John Moores University said: "It's one of those shows where every line is a joke, but at the same time you always have to be paying attention otherwise you'll miss something. It's so bright and colourful and appears pretty childish (although this directly links to the storyline), and it's so over the top. Anything else as cheesy as this would think would be tacky and cheap, but Tina Fey has managed to write in so many levels to the story and create loveable and hilarious characters (See Titus - one of my favourite characters of ALL time)." 7. Black Mirror (Netflix) The return of Charlie Brooker's dark satirical anthology series was perhaps one of the most anticipated this year. Moving over from Channel 4 to Netflix, the third series continued to look at technology and society through a sceptical lens. The latest series also saw appearances from such stars as Bryce Dallas-Howard, Wyatt Russell and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Speaking of why she chose this as her pick of 2016, Olivia Krause from the University of Southampton said: "What's most fascinating but also most creepy about Black Mirror is that each short-film-like episode dramatises a technological development which could easily happen in the (perhaps not too distant) future. The episodes are gripping, emotional and full of twists, as well as offering a deep critique of the modern world. With excellent writing from Charlie Brooker and a cast individual to each self-enclosed drama, well-balanced between newbies and a few famous faces, Black Mirror certainly leaves a lasting impression." 6. The Missing (BBC) Another prime example of the BBC's competitive streak in the drama stakes, the second series of The Missing shocked viewers with the intense dual sub-plots surrounding the story of a girl who reappears 11 years after she was first declared missing. The series saw David Morrissey and Keeley Hawes take up the emotional reins of the story as the girl's parents.
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