Best TV of 2016: 'Poldark,' 'Daredevil,' 'Reign,' 'Bates Motel,' 'GoT' & more!

The Punisher, Poldark, Reign - Eclectic Pop's Best of 2016 TV
What everyone is saying is true. Television was at its best in 2016. Between gorgeous costume dramas, a mystifying sci-fi series, and an ambitious take on the superhero drama, these were Eclectic Pop’s picks for the best TV of 2016...

Best Action/Adventure Drama: “The Blacklist”

For proof of how awesome “The Blacklist” was in 2016, you need to look no further than Season 3’s two-parter, “Mr. Solomon (No. 32).” The series kicked into high gear with a fake-out death that never fooled viewers but gave its characters lots of very real drama to sift through.

The greatest on-screen strength of “The Blacklist” is its outstanding ensemble. While the cast is filled to the brim with talent, Season 3’s MVP was undoubtedly Amir Arison, who stole every scene he was in as lovable computer whiz, Aram.

Best International Show: “Narcos”

Wagner Moura gave one of the absolute best performances, television saw in 2016, as the infamous Pablo Escobar met his fate. Squaring off with him, was actress Paulina Gaitan, whose expanded role as Pablo’s conflicted wife Tata, balanced out the series, by giving Moura a formidable actor to play off of. The result was a fireworks show.

Best New Sci-Fi Mystery Series: “The OA”

Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij are at again. This time with an alluring sci-fi drama, that is either about other dimensions and secret portals, or a traumatized young woman”s parable about her kidnapping. Either way, it is riveting. If “Friday Night Lights” combined with “Lost” (at its peak) the forthcoming series would look a lot like “The OA,” and that is a huge compliment.

[Image by Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for Masterpiece]

Best Costume Drama: “Poldark”

The adventures of Cornwall’s Pol-dark-and-handsome hero continued in Season 2. Picking up exactly where it left off with Season 1’s heart-wrenching cliffhanger. What would Ross Poldark’s fate be? Would his marriage to the delightful, Demelza, survive it?

“Poldark” was many things in its second season. A courtroom drama, a romantic epic, a business thriller, and the list could go on. While other series have tried their hand at various focuses, it never splintered the quality, or integrity of the BBC series.

The thing that sets “Poldark” apart is that it features a beyond likable, and flawed hero as its lead, and his romance with wife Demelza, as its cornerstone relationship. Both aspects “Poldark” never shied away from testing in its second installment. Nor did it shy away from delivering one of TV’s most memorable ending scenes, in Episode 8.

There are not enough positive things that can be said be said about actors Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson, or their electrifying chemistry. As Ross and Demelza Poldark, the show rises and falls on their shoulders and on them, “Poldark” soars.

“Poldark” Season 3 will premiere on PBS Masterpiece, October 1, 2017, and on BBC One in June 2017.

Best Final Season: “Penny Dreadful” 

(Honorable Mention: “The Fall”)

One of the shows that were the saddest to say goodbye to was Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful.” Brought to a devastating close that saw no long-term dreams realized, “Penny” somehow managed to outshine the disappointment because the characters and cast, were so consistently beguiling.

Best Miniseries: “The Last Panthers”

(Honorable Mention: “War and Peace”)

This visceral drama about the collateral effects of a diamond heist gone sideways is everything a miniseries should be; a sharp and sprawling slow-build. The memorably enthralling viewing experience featured a breakout performance by actor Goran Bogdan, which left a lasting impression.

[Image by The CW]

Best Royal Drama: “Reign”

Few shows have maintained the consistent level of quality CW’s “Reign” has. In Season 3, it managed to expand its reach further, as Mary (Adelaide Kane) set sail for Scotland. As it turns out Season 3 was the penultimate season of the series and it was a magnificent one. The dialogue was sharp, the ensemble’s performances brilliant, and the storytelling, always intriguing.

Best New Show: “Medici: Masters of Florence”

A mesmerizing watch with strong performances by its cast, “Medici: Masters of Florence” proves early on that it knows what it is doing. The marriage between Cosimo (Richard Madden) and his wife Contessina (Annabel Scholey) marks one of the more refreshingly developed television marriages in some time.

Best Legal Drama: “Goliath”

Billy Bob Thornton turns in another golden performance, this time as a wayward lawyer, who finds something worth fighting for, in this vividly scripted dramedy.

Game of Thrones - Eclectic Pop's Best of 2016 TV
[Image by HBO]

Best Show: “Game of Thrones”

Season 5 was a tough one for “Game of Thrones” fans, and it was easy to come into its next with guarded expectations. After two solemn episodes, “Thrones” answered the question fans debated for an entire summer. When Jon Snow (Kit Harington) took his first post-death breath, the show ignited, and it never stopped.

A season of momentous strides forward culminated in two back-to-back episodes worthy of a movie theater. “Game of Thrones” had a lot to overcome in Season 6 and it succeeded. In Season 6, “Game of Thrones” became the show we have all been waiting for.

After watching the Starks get burned year after year, they finally sparked a new beginning for themselves. 2016 was one of the better years to be a Stark and an even better one to be viewers.

[Featured Image by Netflix, Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for Masterpiece, The CW]