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The Top Twenty Episodes of TV in 2016 — Part One!

I hope you all enjoyed my list of the Twenty Best Movies of 2016!  And now, onward to TV…

Just like I felt when considering all the movies I’d seen in 2016, on the one hand I feel like I watched a lot of amazing TV in 2016, and on the other hand, in this era of Peak TV I feel that what I saw was just a drop in the bucket compared to all the great TV that is out there.  I never found time to watch: Veep, Transparent, Silicon Valley season 3, Horace and Pete, Atlanta, Better Things, Roots, The Man in the High Castle, Preacher, Powers season 2, Documentary Now!, Halt and Catch Fire, Red Oaks, Lady Dynamite, Fleabag, Search Party, Rectify, The Good Place, and many other great shows.

But, on the other hand, I saw so much great TV that I felt the need to expand what had once been a Top Ten list and which was, in 2015, a Top Fifteen list, to a TOP TWENTY list this year.

And so, I am proud to present to you my list of the Top Twenty Episodes of TV in 2016:

20. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: “President-Elect Trump” (aired on 11/13/16) — Week in and week out in 2016, John Oliver solidified his claim as heir to the throne of Jon Stewart (whose tenure as host of The Daily Show was deeply, profoundly missed this tumultuous election year).  I was all set to write about Mr. Oliver’s searing indictment of Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump in his “Make America Drumpf Again” episode (watch it here), or his warnings about the dangers of Brexit (watch it here), and yet following the upheaval of November 8th I found I could only post Mr. Oliver’s final show of 2016, which aired just a few days after the election.  Mr. Oliver perfectly summed up the emotions felt by the almost 66 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton.  You can watch the whole episode at the link above.  It’s been a rough past few weeks without Mr. Oliver’s presence and I can’t wait for his return in early 2017.

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19. Daredevil: “New York’s Finest” (season two, episode three, released on 3/18/16) — The second season of Netflix’s Daredevil wasn’t as consistently spectacular as season one, but other than the anticlimactic rooftop ending I still thought it was a great season of superhero TV.  This third episode was a standout, possibly the high point of the season-long story of Daredevil’s confrontation with violent vigilante Frank Castle (“the Punisher”).  This episode begins with DD defeated and chained up on a roof in … [continued]

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Josh Reviews Westworld Season One!

December 26th, 2016
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I’m a little bit behind on all of my TV watching.  In this era of Peak TV, there is so much great television to watch that I find it hard to keep up!  Being a fan both of sci-fi and HBO, I was of course hugely excited last year as I read about the development of Westworld.  I’ve never seen the original film, written and directed by Michael Crichton, but the premise seemed ripe for a deeper exploration on TV.  I wanted to start watching the show immediately when it started airing on HBO a few months ago, but life got a bit away from me and the episodes began to pile up in my DVR.  Thankfully, over the past two weeks I was able to tear through season one, and I am now caught up with the rest of the world.

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There’s a lot to love about season one of Westworld.  I was very hooked into the show right away, fascinated at the slow peeling back of the onion of this sci-fi/fantasy world and the show’s many mysteries.  The production design is gorgeous, and the show boasts one of the finest assemblage of incredible actors that I can ever recall seeing before.  (Many TV shows have great ensembles, but usually these successful TV shows make stars of their previously-unknown actors.  Has there ever before been a TV show so jam-packed with already-famous, incredibly talented performers?)

The show’s weakness is it’s Lost-like willingness to ask all sorts of questions that it never seems that interested in answering.

I will avoid major SPOILERS as I proceed with my analysis, but I do warn anyone who has not yet completed season one to perhaps stop here and return when you are caught up.

Despite my arriving to the show a little late, I miraculously managed to remain free of spoilers, which was a blessing in a show as filled with mysteries as this one.  I hadn’t expected Westworld to be a show that would have so many narrative mysteries at its core; that was a surprise to me as the show unfolded.  In many respects, I enjoyed the mysteries.  It was fun to try to puzzle out just what the heck was going on with Dolores, Ford, Bernard, the Man in Black, Theresa, Charlotte, and so many of the show’s other inscrutable characters.  Here was a surprising benefit of being late to the show and, rather than watching it over the course of ten weeks, viewing it at a much faster pace over the course of just a week-and-a-half to two weeks.  Once I finished the show, I began reading about it on-line and it became apparent to me that, … [continued]