While you were busy devouring the latest seasons of Game of Thrones, Stranger Things and Rick and Morty this year, a minority of viewers were enjoying a bunch of less well-known TV shows that are equally worthy of your attention.
1. The Leftovers is a criminally underrated drama from the creator of Lost about the aftermath of the sudden disappearance of 2 per cent of the world’s population. The third and final season sees former police chief Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) confront his potentially messianic destiny as he heads to Australia to prevent the coming apocalypse. A philosophical and emotionally-draining drama full of twists and surprises, The Leftovers is guaranteed to make you ask yourself some of life’s biggest questions.
2. Twin Peaks: The Return, the cult mystery revived after a 25-year hiatus by director David Lynch, is essentially an 18-hour experimental film about the omnipotent good and evil in the universe. It’s often baffling, always compelling, and features a bizarre assortment of cameos from Michael Cera to Michael Bisping, plus an extraordinary performance by Kyle Maclachlan as FBI Agent Dale Cooper, and his evil doppelganger.
3. Bojack Horseman began as an animated comedy about an alcoholic horse and has rapidly become a very dark drama about an alcoholic horse that confronts issues of mental illness, substance abuse and sexuality with stunning sincerity and endless creativity. In Season four Princess Carolyn,a forty-something cat, deals with a traumatic miscarriage, while Todd (a twenty-something human) comes to terms with life as an asexual. You won’t believe Bojack Horseman can break your heart until it does.
4. Master of None is the smartest, funniest deconstruction of the American millennial lifestyle on TV, created by and starring Aziz Ansari (of Parks and Recreation fame) as struggling actor Dev, who returns this season from Italy with great ambitions and a greater love of pasta. Radical and romantic, Master of None is one of the best comedies about the world in 2017.
5. Feud: Bette & Joan sees Glee and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy apply his unique brand of sass to golden age Hollywood, as screen starlets Bette Davis and Joan Crawford do battle for the biggest role in the classic horror “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?”. Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange are phenomenal as these strong, stubborn women, but Feud is ultimately a show about the damage a career in Hollywood does to people’s private lives, a prescient and timely topic lately.
6. The Mayor is an incredibly likeable sitcom about a young African-American rapper who runs for mayor of his city as a joke, and wins. It’s Designated Survivor meets Atlanta, and there is endless comedic potential as Mayor Rose injects his youthful enthusiasm into local politics.
7. Fargo has been re-branding every year with a new cast and new setting, and though the third season wasn’t its strongest, it did boast superb performances from Carrie Coon (who also stars on The Leftovers), Michael Stuhlbarg, David Thewlis and Ewan McGregor. Plus, two of the best episodes were directed by DCU graduate Dearbhla Walsh.
Lucien Waugh Daly