Critics have been saying we've been in the Golden Age of Television since HBO debuted The Sopranos in 1999. Since Tony Soprano hit the small screen all those years ago, we've been #blessed with a ton of iconic shows. From Breaking Bad to Lost, there's no shortage of elite shows to binge watch on Netflix over your holiday break. If you're looking something more recent, though, you still have so many amazing options. There's no doubt that 2016 has been the Golden Year of the Golden Age of Television. We picked 7 of our faves from the past year, but honestly, this list doesn't even begin to cover all of the groundbreaking choices.
HBO tried its hand at a science fiction meets western genre mashup and the result is thrilling. Westworld is the kind of show that will have you scratching your head wondering WTF is going on, and then at the end when all the ~*~mysteries~*~ are revealed, you will SWEAR up and down that's exactly what you expected to happen. It has a stellar cast, featuring James Marsden, Evan Rachel Wood, Anthony Hopkins, Thandie Newton...and the list goes on and on.
Westworld isn't the only must see show HBO released this year. Issa Rae's Insecure is like Lena Dunham's Girls, but better and more diverse. You will find yourself in the characters Issa and Molly, whose struggles are your struggles. They'll have you laughing until your sides hurt about it, too.
3) Stranger Things
In a lot of ways, Stranger Things was this years Serial. Yes, Serial was a true crime podcast and Stranger Things is a homage to Steven Spielberg's vision of the 80's. The thing that binds these two unrelated shows together, though, is that they were THE THING to talk about right after their release. They both had you standing around the water cooler at work, sharing theories and dissecting the smallest details with your co-workers. You'll hit play on the first episode and won't want to get up until the final second.
4) Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
Samantha Bee took the late night talk show world by storm in 2016. Formerly a correspondent for The Daily Show, Bee is a seasoned comedian with the most iconic political takedowns out there. Bee is brutally honest and brutally funny. After a year that had people more sick of politics than ever, Bee somehow managed to make this reviled topic so enjoyable that you'll be begging her to come on EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Seriously, girl, WHY are you only on one day a week?!
You might know (and love) Donald Glover from his stint on the comedy Community. Or maybe you're a fan of his musical alter ego Childish Gambino. Either way, you haven't really seen the full extent of Glover's unique, creative talents until you've watched Atlanta. Glover stars as Earn, a young man trying to capitalize on his cousin's rap career. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
6) This Is Us
Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia star in NBC's newest drama. Oh, wait, that piece of information didn't immediately send you searching for the pilot episode? Weird, that was ALL we needed to know about this heartwarming (and occasionally heartbreaking) family drama. From that shocking twist at the end of episode 1 and literally everything that follows, you'll find yourself wishing to be adopted into the Pearson family.
7) American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson
Ryan Murphy took "the crime of the century" and turned into one of the most thrilling seasons of television we've seen in a while. The audience got weave in and out of every story line, seeing this case from not only O.J. Simpson's perspective but from prosecutor Marcia Clark's, as well. Even though we all know how this story ends, the show manages to make the ride so engaging you'll still find yourself gasping when that glove goes on.