Screenshot: The Young Pope

In The A.V. Club’s attempt to carve the mountain of TV released in 2017 into a monument commemorating the year’s best programming, we took a slightly different tack than in years past: Ballots were limited to 10 shows apiece, separating the absolute favorites from the fondly remembered and the honorable mentions. Once their votes were tallied, contributors were invited to comment on their picks that didn’t make the big list; in tomorrow’s AVQ&A, we’ll stump further for the shows that deserved to make the cut (but didn’t).


Erik Adams

The Good Place (Photo: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

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  1. The Good Place
  2. The Leftovers
  3. Halt And Catch Fire
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. One Day At A Time
  6. GLOW
  7. The Young Pope
  8. The Deuce
  9. The Americans
  10. Rick And Morty

Joshua Alston

The Leftovers (Photo: Ben King/HBO)

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  1. The Leftovers
  2. The Good Place
  3. The Handmaid’s Tale
  4. Queen Sugar
  5. Big Little Lies
  6. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  7. Superstore
  8. Insecure
  9. Speechless
  10. The Exorcist

Laura M. Browning

Alias Grace (Photo: Jan Thijs/Netflix)

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  1. Alias Grace
  2. Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
  3. GLOW
  4. Legion
  5. American Vandal
  6. The Good Place
  7. The Americans
  8. The Bold Type
  9. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
  10. The Young Pope

Les Chappell

Twin Peaks (Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime)

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  1. Twin Peaks
  2. Legion
  3. The Good Place
  4. BoJack Horseman
  5. Better Call Saul
  6. Rick And Morty
  7. American Gods
  8. Fargo
  9. The Young Pope
  10. Brockmire

Danette Chavez

One Day At A Time (Photo: Michael Yarish/Netflix)

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  1. One Day At A Time
  2. Legion
  3. The Handmaid’s Tale
  4. American Gods
  5. Rick And Morty
  6. Better Things
  7. The Good Place
  8. The Young Pope
  9. BoJack Horseman
  10. The Deuce

Marah Eakin

Halt And Catch Fire (Photo: Tina Rowden/AMC)

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  1. Halt And Catch Fire
  2. Big Little Lies
  3. Legion
  4. The Good Place
  5. The Young Pope
  6. Better Call Saul
  7. Girls
  8. GLOW
  9. The Crown
  10. Riverdale

Kyle Fowle

Twin Peaks (Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime)

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  1. Twin Peaks
  2. The Leftovers
  3. Halt And Catch Fire
  4. Better Things
  5. The Americans
  6. BoJack Horseman
  7. Billions
  8. American Vandal
  9. Better Call Saul
  10. Mr. Robot

William Hughes

The Good Place (Photo: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

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  1. The Good Place
  2. My Brother, My Brother And Me
  3. BoJack Horseman
  4. Lady Dynamite
  5. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  6. Review
  7. Rick And Morty
  8. Stranger Things
  9. Legion
  10. Ghosted

Gwen Ihnat

Big Little Lies (Photo: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/HBO)

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  1. Big Little Lies
  2. Feud
    I looked forward to Ryan Murphy’s Feud for what I thought would a fun look at the golden age of Hollywood. Instead, Feud used the hypnotic performances of Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis and Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford as a springboard for discussing female friendships, the impossible position of women in Hollywood (only underlined by recent and re-surfaced allegations), creativity, attractiveness, addiction, and even aging. By the end, I was downright shook, and unbelievably sad to see it go. I have watched Davis and Crawford movies since I was a kid, and I know I’ll think of this series every time I watch another. In any year that did not have Big Little Lies in it, this would be my number one.
  3. Stranger Things
    Believe the hype: Everything about this series is wonderful, from the irrepressible cast to the ’80s-movie homages to the certifiably spooky Upside Down and its creatures so terrifying, we only cheer harder for the young scamps and brave adults who take them on. If anything, season two was even more fun that season one; so I have high hopes for season three, now that it’s finally been officially announced.
  4. BoJack Horseman
  5. Alias Grace
  6. The Good Place
  7. Legion
  8. Runaways
    A perfectly spot-on adaptation for a beloved comic series that not only honors the original but also smartly adapts it for a different medium. These Runaways have yet to run away, but I’m so enjoying getting to know all of them better and seeing more from the perspectives of their parents, I don’t mind if the show stretches this whole plotline across several seasons.
  9. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  10. Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later
    Every time a new series featuring my beloved Camp Firewood comes out, I hold my breath, and every time it just gets better. All the regular players were superlative in this sequel, with some valuable adds like Alyssa Milano and Adam Scott and returning First Day Of Camp all-star John Early.

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Alex McLevy

Twin Peaks (Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime)

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  1. Twin Peaks
  2. The Leftovers
  3. The Handmaid’s Tale
  4. Legion
  5. Better Call Saul
  6. The Good Place
  7. The Americans
  8. Rick And Morty
  9. Mr. Robot
    Those who dropped out after the end of Mr. Robot’s big reveal at the end of season one have missed out on an increasingly unusual tale. Season two was uneven, but this year has featured some of the most aesthetically ambitious and artistically daring work showrunner Sam Esmail has done yet. It may not be consistent on every level, but Mr. Robot features cinematography and imagery you won’t find on any other TV show.
  10. Bates Motel
    In its fifth and final season, Bates Motel stuck the landing, providing a closure to the story of Norman Bates that never felt pat or facile. Almost more impressive, it managed to do justice to the narrative of Psycho, reframing Alfred Hitchcock’s take on in a way that—miraculously—kept it fresh and surprising, something that deserves some sort of special award in itself.

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Myles McNutt

American Vandal (Photo: Netflix)

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  1. American Vandal
  2. The Leftovers
  3. The Handmaid’s Tale
  4. One Day At A Time
  5. Mindhunter
    Faced with an overflow of Netflix shows, I intended to sample a few pilots, but after starting Mindhunter I abandoned this plan. Yes, David Fincher’s direction and some great performances are part of it, but the core of the show’s appeal for me is the way it draws tension from genre. It’s the premise for a procedural, but the world around our “heroes” isn’t ready for that work to be done, and the whole thing unravels into a self-destructive serial that’s stuck with me for weeks.
  6. Better Things
  7. The Good Place
  8. GLOW
  9. Catastrophe
    With only six episodes, released all at once in the U.S., Catastrophe struggles to stay in critical conversations. But it uses those six episodes so efficiently, combining its quick-paced jokes with the gradual deconstruction of Rob and Sharon’s happy life in ways that question whether it was ever truly happy. Even without the emotional gut-punch of one of Carrie Fisher’s last performances, the season digs deep into the tragedy of Rob’s character, never forgetting that the show’s signature dysfunction comes with a dark side the show is just as willing to explore.
  10. The Americans

Josh Modell

The Leftovers (Photo: Ben King/HBO)

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  1. The Leftovers
  2. Nathan For You
  3. Better Call Saul
  4. Fargo
  5. Game Of Thrones
  6. Catastrophe
  7. The Deuce
  8. Lady Dynamite
  9. Mr. Robot
  10. American Vandal

Vikram Murthi

Twin Peaks (Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime)

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Please note that my yearly schedule didn’t permit me to catch up on key shows this year that would’ve likely impacted this list. These shows include The Americans, Better Call Saul, Halt And Catch Fire, and Nathan For You.

  1. Twin Peaks
  2. The Deuce
  3. The Vietnam War
  4. The Leftovers
  5. Review
  6. Rick And Morty
  7. The Good Place
  8. Mindhunter
  9. GLOW
  10. American Vandal

Noel Murray

Twin Peaks (Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime)

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  1. Twin Peaks
  2. Halt And Catch Fire
  3. The Leftovers
  4. Black-ish
  5. Fargo
  6. The Good Place
  7. One Day At A Time
  8. Brockmire
  9. Feud
  10. Great News

Sean O’Neal

Twin Peaks (Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime)

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  1. Twin Peaks
  2. The Leftovers
  3. Halt And Catch Fire
  4. Review
  5. The Good Place
  6. Better Call Saul
  7. Baskets
  8. The Deuce
  9. Rick And Morty
  10. Search Party

Caitlin PenzeyMoog

The Americans (Photo: Patrick Harbron/FX)

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  1. The Americans
  2. You’re The Worst
  3. The Good Place
  4. The Handmaid’s Tale
  5. Insecure
  6. Lady Dynamite
  7. Legion
  8. Stranger Things
  9. Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later
  10. GLOW

Dennis Perkins

Twin Peaks (Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime)

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  1. Twin Peaks
  2. The Good Place
  3. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
    Late-night comedy in the age of Trump has become a nightly (or weekly, in the case of the Emmy-winning Last Week Tonight With John Oliver) exercise in finding the cleverest way to scream into a void of spiraling awfulness and unreason. And no one’s comic cries for sanity echo with more resonance than Oliver, whose half-episode dives into issues as seemingly dry and heavy as net neutrality or economic development incentives manage to provoke as much laughter as dudgeon, while the surgically silly Brit still makes time for thought-provoking, direct-action goofiness. (Like trolling Alex Jones with fake InfoWars merch, or provoking lawsuits from corporate polluters with the help of a giant squirrel mascot.) And while Last Week Tonight is currently on hiatus, Oliver’s willingness last week to ask tough questions of a Hollywood legend and alleged sexual harasser show the crusading host is still on the clock.
  4. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  5. Better Things
  6. Better Call Saul
  7. Review
  8. Rick And Morty
  9. Halt And Catch Fire
  10. Big Mouth

Clayton Purdom

Twin Peaks (Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime)

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  1. Twin Peaks
  2. The Leftovers
  3. Rick And Morty
  4. Big Little Lies
  5. Mindhunter
  6. The Deuce
  7. The Young Pope
  8. Legion
  9. Vice Nightly News
  10. Silicon Valley

Emily L. Stephens

The Americans (Photo: Patrick Harbron/FX)

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  1. The Americans
  2. Review
  3. The Good Place
  4. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  5. Better Call Saul
  6. Twin Peaks
  7. American Gods
  8. GLOW
  9. Insecure
  10. Big Mouth

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