Thursday, December 22, 2016

Which TV Network Had the Best Year?

Veep posterBy Kenny Howell

Now that I have named my 30 best TV shows of the year, it's time to look at what network had the best year in 2016.

On the quantity side, you have to go with Netflix. They had eight shows in my top 30 and continue to churn out top quality stuff it seems weekly. Every time I sign on it seems like there is a new show released. I can't get to half of it, but more times than not, it is something worth watching.

On the quality side, you have to go with HBO. HBO has had a reputation of fading away the last several years, as the years of The Sopranos and The Wire are in the past and Game of Thrones is coming to an end. But they had three shows in my top 6 shows of the year (Veep, Silicon Valley and The Night Of), and lower down the list I had Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. I didn't even have on my list Game of Thrones or Westworld, which I didn't get to finish, but probably would have if I have been able.

There are really only two other players in the game, only two other networks had more than one show on my list. That is FX and Amazon. FX had my top show of the year in Atlanta, and The Americans, The People Vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and You're the Worst also appeared. Amazon is probably the rising star with two shows in the top 10 in Catastrophe and Fleabag, which will be continuing on the streaming service, and the solid continuing hit Transparent.

So what about everyone else. They are kind of searching for answers. None of the major networks are really players any longer, so it falls to cable channels. But only AMC is really close to the networks above because of past successes like Mad Men and Breaking Bad, as well as the current Better Call Saul. Showtime seems a bit lost. They continue to just go for way over the top stuff, and haven't really had a serious contender, though The Affair did win some awards. Starz and Cinemax are also a bit behind, but are putting things together. Hulu is getting there, but still haven't had that show that really has broken out. It's really a five network game right now, and everyone else is just playing catch up.

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