Peak TV is way more than a cliché. In 2016, there were 455 scripted series. In 2017? When the tally is official, it could exceed 500. So if you needed even more proof that the Top 10 list for TV is outdated and unfair to the efforts of creators, there you go.
For my annual Best of 2017 TV Series list, my goal was to reward deserving shows no matter the total (as usual). How to not just include everything, or truly separate the great from the very good? Simple, really. Of the series I’ve seen, these 46 had to be on the list. They demanded, by their outstanding seasons, originality and combination of writing, acting and directing, to be more memorable and more essential than all the others.
Despite the number (which is actually less than 10 percent of the scripted total), it was hard to cull the list. Yes, there’s that many deserving dramas and comedies out there. Factor in the ones that I didn’t review or haven’t had the time yet to see — the lament of every critic these days — and the number theoretically could have been higher.
I take these lists seriously because television is a brutal business. There’s no better time to be making content and no tougher time to get that content noticed, for myriad reasons. There’s excellent work in the industry and, at the end of the year, it shouldn’t be contained by an arbitrary number.