Tags: 12 Monkeys, Gilmore Girls revival, Mr. Robot, Orphan Black, Penny Dreadful, Stranger Things, Suits, the x-files
It’s that time of the year again when most entertainment news sites round up the best and worst shows on TV this year. As a self-confessed TV addict myself, I watch a lot of shows every year. And while I don’t watch some of the most popular and well-loved shows out there (yes, I have my own unique taste), I have compiled a list of TV series I regularly watch that made an impact on my viewing experience this year. Some made it on the list for the shocking, did-not-see-that-coming twists in the story while a few were notable for their delightful surprise.
Warning: Spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen the latest episodes of any of these shows and don’t want to be spoiled, I suggest you look away now.
- Mr. Robot
While I have read a few fan theories about the second season of Mr. Robot, I was still surprised to find out that Elliot Alderson was in prison all along and not living with his mother. This was the first big reveal in season 2. I always suspected that he was in a mental institution because of his rigid daily routine but surprisingly, that was not the case. After watching the “h4ndshake” episode, it now made a lot of sense.
The second big reveal came at the end of season 2 where viewers found out that Tyrell was alive after all and not a figment of Elliot’s imagination. It was a pretty intense season 2 finale as Elliot came to learn that his alter ego Mr. Robot and Tyrell were in cahoots with the Dark Army and planning something big. I cannot wait for season 3 to find out what happens next.
- Penny Dreadful
I have a bone to pick when it comes to Penny Dreadful. For me, this show pulled the most shocking reveal this year. This was one of my favorite shows to date and I had high expectations of its third season. Unfortunately, the show abruptly ended its run when it revealed after the season 3 finale that the show was over – as in, it will never come back for a fourth season. It has been cancelled. My initial reaction to this revelation was utter confusion. Surely, they could not end the show like that. There was no prior announcement of the show’s cancellation. There was no warning at all. The story arc of the third season felt like there was going to be another season. And yet, they pulled the plug. And all because the show creator John Logan wanted it that way.
There was a lot of backlash after Penny Dreadful got cancelled. Many fans were outraged and felt betrayed as I was. In fact, I wrote an article about the series finale on this site where I expressed my utter disappointment with the show. To this day, I cannot bear to rewatch old episodes of the show because I still could not shake my disbelief of its cancellation. We were blindsided big time.
- 12 Monkeys
The second season of 12 Monkeys also pulled some surprising twists. For the most part of season 2, viewers were curious to know the real identity of The Witness. The Witness has always been a mysterious figure that wears a mask and a dark robe. Cole, Cassie and Ramse want to kill him because he, along with the Army of the 12 Monkeys, is hell-bent in destroying time.
In the season 2 finale, it was finally revealed that The Witness was the unborn child of Cole and Cassie. Apparently, he was conceived when Cole and Cassie were stuck in 1959. After this cliffhanger, I’m really curious to see what Cole and Cassie will do about this revelation. Will they attempt to travel back in time again to prevent his conception?
I’m also hoping that Madeleine Stowe will return as a guest character for the third season. It’s a delight to see her play another character in the show contrary to the role she played in the original movie. I also wish to see Brad Pitt make an appearance in the show in the future.
- Orphan Black
One of the things I liked about season 4 of Orphan Black was the fact that it finally showed the back story of the last days of Beth Childs. It was gut-wrenching to see her struggles with work and her personal life, especially her deteriorating relationship with Paul. But one of the most memorable scenes for me was in “The Scandal of Altruism” episode when Evie Cho told Cosima that Delphine was dead. Tatiana Maslany, who plays the different clones in the show, was so fantastic as Cosima in this scene. You can just see and feel the pain and devastation on her face when she found out about Delphine. She displayed such raw emotions. And I’m just glad that Tatiana finally won an Emmy award this year for her performance in the show.
Of course, Tatiana’s performance as Krystal was also one the best this season. Her scenes with Donnie at the fertility clinic and at Sarah and Felix’s hideout in the comic book store were really hilarious. The season had the perfect balance of drama and comedy which not many shows could effectively deliver.
- Stranger Things
This was the breakout show of 2016. Stranger Things came out of nowhere and it became so big and popular by word of mouth. It was because of the major buzz it made and through the recommendation of a friend of mine that I decided to check out this show. And it instantly became my favorite.
There were so many memorable scenes in season 1. But perhaps one of the many that stood out for me was when Eleven disguised herself in a pink dress and a blond wig and went along with Mike, Dustin and Lucas to their school to help them locate Will. Another memorable moment for me was when Joyce Byers hung that now-famous Christmas lights on the wall of her living room and scrawled it with big letters of the alphabet in an attempt to communicate with her missing son Will. The scene where Nancy and Jonathan set up a trap for the monster was pretty intense, too.
- Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
The last four words spoken in the final scene was the most surprising moment in the Gilmore Girls revival. Those words sort of summed up what became of Rory Gilmore’s life after college. Her poor choices when it comes to her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and current boyfriend as well as her career were surprising for me, not to mention disappointing.
But I think most fans including myself were also surprised at how Emily Gilmore turned out in this revival. It was indeed a delightful surprise to see the softer and vulnerable side of Emily. She became more likeable in this revival.
- The X-Files
The mytharc episodes in The X-Files revival were a big disappointment for me. It’s a shame really since I’ve always wanted to see the return of Mulder and Scully for a long time and I was expecting so much in the revival. But show creator Chris Carter has lost his spark when it comes to writing gripping mytharc story lines.
For me, the only memorable episode in the revival that I truly loved was “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster,” which was written by Darin Morgan. This was a stand-alone, monster-of-the-week episode that was littered with Easter eggs for the hardcore X-philes. The dialogues were just witty and humorous. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were great in this episode as well with their usual banter and comedic timing, which was reminiscent of the old funny episodes of the show.
If ever there would be season 11, I hope the mytharc episodes would improve. It’s also time to introduce new villains in the show. While fans love to hate the Cigarette Smoking Man, I think it’s time for him to be killed off for good.
Most of season 6 of Suits was forgettable. The show’s writers stretched the prison story arc for too long that I got bored quickly. It was also a waste of time watching guest characters got more screen time instead of the six main characters, especially Donna (read my season 6 review here).
What saved the season for me was the midseason finale where it was more about Jessica and her back story, and of course that Donna and Harvey scene at the end. It was a major surprise to see Jessica leave the firm. But fans of the show came to learn after the midseason finale that Jessica was intentionally written off because Gina Torres who played the character wanted to leave the show. Jessica’s farewell scene was a truly touching moment.
The scene at the end between Harvey and Donna was also memorable for me. After seeing Harvey as a tough, uber confident and emotionally unavailable guy in previous seasons, it’s so good to see that he’s finally breaking down his walls. He’s finally willing to be open and show his vulnerability. And he showed that when he told Donna that he doesn’t want to be alone at that time when he realized that Jessica is gone and left the firm in his hands.
When Donna reached for his hand and he held her hand and they stood wordlessly by the window, it was a pivotal moment for Harvey and in their relationship. It’s a sign that their relationship might finally progress towards a romantic one. And it’s about time that they do.