From left: Fox News; ABC/Image Group LA; Gene Page/AMC
With 455 scripted shows plus live events and reality, 2016 was a stocking stuffed with the nice and the naughty. So let's raise a glass to some of the high (and low) points from the last year!
Cheers to Michael Weatherly For his quick TV turnaround. Before we could complain about the NCIS favorite's exit, Weatherly did us a solid by promptly bringing his infectious charm to the Dr. Phil-inspired Bull.
Cheers to James Corden For being Uber to the arts. Whether he’s hosting the Tonys or strapping in Broadway’s best for “Carpool Karaoke,” nobody drives attention to the theater like the Late Late Show star.
Cheers To Musicals On TV Hairspray Live!, Grease: Live and Rocky Horror all earned standing Os for their lively jumps to the small screen that showcased the often-unsung gifts of stars like Vanessa Hudgens and Laverne Cox. Brava!
Jeers to Showtime For Penny Dreadful’s dreadful ending. It’s scary how we got no warning from the network that the sexy horror soap would be wrapping up with its Season 3 finale. At least the tortured Vanessa (Eva Green) got to rest in peace, because we’ll be haunted by this move well into 2017.
Jeers to Superlong Hiatuses Even though there’s more TV than most humans can handle, it’s still not OK for some shows to take a year or more off in between seasons. And yes, we’re looking at you, Game of Thrones, American Crime Story and Fargo.
Darren Michaels/Warner Bros.
Cheers to Comedies For being more than just a laugh. By treating gender, addiction, depression and race as realities instead of “very special” issues, Transparent, Mom (with Allison Janney and Anna Faris), You’re the Worst, Atlanta, black-ish and Insecure proved the best humor is inclusive—and informative.
Cheers to Jimmy Kimmel For his A+ Emmy-hosting chops. The Live! crack-up was edgy and affable and relied on sharp writing instead of the gimmicky party games that previous awards-show emcees have fallen prey to. Next up: the Oscars.
Jeers to That NCIS Twist Even if Cote de Pablo couldn’t appear in Michael Weatherly’s final episode, killing her Ziva off screen and revealing she’d kept Tony’s daughter a secret from him wasn’t just a needless character death…it was character assassination.
Cheers to Reboots That Fit Right Turns out nostalgia works best when injected with a new attitude (like the high-tech fun of paper-clip cowboy MacGyver), enhanced by a charismatic cast (like Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford in Lethal Weapon) or embraced as an old friend (Fuller House, Gilmore Girls).
Peter Kramer/USA Network
Jeers to Sophomore Slumps Granted, it would’ve been a herculean feat for UnReal and Mr. Robot to top their dazzling first seasons, but we expected more than Melrose-ian antics on the Everlasting set and that slower-than-dial-up pacing from Elliot’s (Rami Malek) hacker squad.
Cheers to New Blood at the Emmys Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon and Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany finally won. The fab black-ish and The Americans earned overdue nods. Even Aziz Ansari’s Master of None was recognized. It was like the Academy finally woke up and changed the channel.
Cheers to Madam Secretary For making elections great again. Honestly, we’d sit through an entire season of Elizabeth (Téa Leoni) and Dalton (Keith Carradine) smartly maneuvering for the POTUS spot.
Cheers to the 2016 Election All-Stars No matter your affiliation, we can all agree that MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN commentators Van Jones and Ana Navarro were the most fascinating guests at the year’s weirdest political party ever.
Cheers to Game of Thrones’ Battle of the Bastards Balancing a cinematic scale and suffocating close-ups of Jon Snow (Kit Harington) being buried alive by rampaging combatants, this tour de force forever reminds us that Game doesn’t play around.
Jeers to Death's Overkill RIP, The Walking Dead’s Glenn and Abraham (Steven Yeun and Michael Cudlitz) at the hands of Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, above) bat, How to Get Away With Murder’s Wes (Alfred Enoch), Sleepy Hollow’s Abbie (Nicole Beharie), Shades of Blue’s Saperstein (Santino Fontana), The 100’s Lexa and Lincoln (Alycia Debnam-Carey and Ricky Whittle), Arrow’s Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy)…we’d go on, but this list is already killing us.
Cheers to Beyoncé From her buzzy, beautiful HBO special to her world-stopping performances at the Super Bowl, the MTV VMAs, the BET Awards (with Kendrick Lamar) and the CMAs (with the Dixie Chicks), Queen Bey dominated TV in 2016, and we gladly drank the lemonade.