Dope or Nope: 2017 TV Recap

As someone who writes about TV, I’m contractually obligated to mention that we are in the “Golden Age of TV” when making a year in list. 2017 was another golden year in a golden age, with noteworthy series finales and a few surprise debuts. So without further ado, my favorite 5 shows from 2017, which are all DOPE:

5. Rick and Morty, Cartoon Network

Why’s it DOPE? Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith came back strong with a 3rd season of intergalactic science fiction adventures that tears from laughs to tears from sadness ratio is getting ever so tighter.  It’s just as good as the previous 2 seasons, but a lack of Interdimensional Cable creates a whole as big as Rick’s portal gun.

Best Episode? “The Ricklantis Mixup”- I’ve watched this episode 3 times now, each time my deep contemplation of the episode’s tough themes is broken up with hard chuckles from C-137 Rick and Morty’s summary of their Atlantis adventures.

4. Mindhunter

Why’s it DOPE? One of the year’s strongest debuts features David Fincher direction, a cerebral true crime tale, and the dude that played King George from Hamilton.  While that third ingredient seems like an outlier, Jonathan Groff makes this show, and he’s bound to be a star for a long time.

Best Episode? Without any spoilers, the final scene of the season has the most badass use of music in television of 2017, featuring Led Zeppelin.

3. Mr. Robot

Why’s it DOPE? If you NOPE’d out on season 2 of Mr. Robot, do yourself a favor and push through, because season 3 is as strong as ever.  While I could do less with the show’s incorporation of our current day politics, the twists and turns combined with the performance of Rami Malek are unrivaled.

Best Episode? While several episodes are stellar, all for different reasons, the technical achievement of episode 5, “Eps3.4runtime-error.r00,” warrants several rewatches to fully appreciate its greatness.

2. American Vandal

Why’s it DOPE? Undoubtedly, the surprise of the year for me.  This is a picture perfect true crime mockumentary that captures the drama of high school by asking one crucial question, Who drew the dicks? American Vandal will make you laugh non-stop, until the story amps up the drama and makes you contemplate one crucial question, FOREAL WHO DREW THE DICKS?

Best Episode? This whole season is 8 episodes, 30 minutes a pop.  Just do yourself a favor and binge it all.

1. The Leftovers

Why’s it DOPE? For the last 3 years, Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta have torn our hearts out exploring grief.  The great departure left a lasting mark on the whole world, from New York, to Texas, and finally Australia; just as The Leftovers has left it’s mark on TV.  The final season of The Leftovers is a triumph, and will grow stronger in the coming years as more and more people discover it in HBO’s extensive library.

Best Episode? It’s hard not to pick the Series Finale, or the Matt episode centered on a sex boat, but I’m partial to the International Assassin episodes, so I’ll go with “The Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother).”

And a quick NOPE- Streaming Wars

As Disney announced its proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox, it’s obvious they are ramping up their library for a streaming service that will hope to rival Netflix.  So you need cable to watch your sports, you need Netflix to watch Mindhunter and American Vandal, and you need Disney/Fox app to watch Atlanta and the Americans (both coming early 2018).  But don’t forget, you need an HBO subscription so you can rewatch Game of Thrones every summer during baseball season!  This doesn’t even consider Amazon Streaming or Hulu, nor the looming giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple that will surely make a move into streaming sooner than later.  In 2017, we lost 2 of the greatest binge watches of all time from Netflix, 30 Rock and Friday Night Lights.  NBC sold 30 Rock to Hulu, and Friday Night Lights is no where to be found.  These classics had become immortal with streaming, and now that status is in jeopardy.  As the streaming wars heat up, more and more shows will meet the same fate.  Once we all “cut the cord,” we’ll be faced with more streaming services than ever, paying just as much as our current cable bills.  The price of TV isn’t changing, the way you pay for it is.

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