Movies & TV

Quark Henares' Top 10 TV Shows of 2017

The film director (and fan) talks about the small-screen shows that inspired him.
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10 | Game Of Thrones followed their best season ever with something that felt a bit rushed and forced. To be fair, I think season 7 was underwhelming only because GoT really is one of the best shows this decade, if not the best.


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9| Stranger Things.  Part of the reason season 1 was a phenomenon was because it came out of nowhere. No one expected it, and it explored something that no one else was exploring (but always should have) at the time. Season 2 had the burden of expectation and repetition, but (warning: *SPOILER-ish) when the kids got together in the last two episodes they saved the day, for Hawkins and me.

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8| Mr. Robot. If season 2 was an overlong and mostly tedious reset button for the chaos that ensued at the end of season 1, season 3 is a more visionary and experienced re-placement of the chess pieces. It also feels a little more mature, until creator/writer/director Sam Esmail pulls of show-offy (but still amazing) stunts, like that one-shot episode [five].

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7. The Young Pope is what happens when you get a good ol' American-style TV anti-hero and put him in a European art film. This shit transcends.


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6| Master of None. Feel-good, confessional, and very humanist, Master of None succeeds especially when it examines the lives of Dev's (Aziz Ansari) supporting characters. It's a celebration of life when we most need it.


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5| Mindhunter is Zodiac the TV series. Who would have thought people talking in rooms could be so beautifully shot? And DAVID FINCHER! When your two favorite directors release TV shows, you know it's a good year.

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4| The Handmaid's Tale. It's hard to watch dystopian shows, especially when you live in a dystopia. The Handmaid's Tale hits close to home too often, but Offred's journey provides inspiration for the guts and resilience we need in these trying times.


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3| Big Little Lies shows how formulaic TV can become mindbendingly amazing at the hands of a brilliant director and an even more brilliant cast. Any student of cinema can learn tons from how Jean-Marc Valee shoots flashbacks, dream sequences, violence, rape, location and childhood. And NICOLE KIDMAN + REESE WITHERSPOON. OH MY GOD.


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2| The Leftovers. I know, guys. Twin Peaks is an acquired taste. Not everyone can, or should, watch it. But the Leftovers is something you all SHOULD watch. Every episode of the very short season 3 is perfection, and I found myself just shaking my head and going "wow. holy shit. wow," every time the credits came on. If I had to choose one show to teach writing for television, The Leftovers would be it.


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1| Twin Peaks: The Return
Because it's my favorite anything in life. Because I never thought I'd get this 25 years later. Because it is unlike anything else.

I've talked about Twin Peaks too many times this year, but I just want to share how happy I am that some of the creators of the aforementioned shows have cited it as their reason for being. Mr. Robot's Sam Esmail called it "Transformative. I don't think I'll ever be the same after watching this." The Leftovers' Damon Lindelof says that "it's something I always hoped for, but never thought I'd have."


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Quark Henares
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