It's been yet another stellar year in the world of television, with top notch dramas, gripping thrillers, laugh out loud comedies and of course, that show with dragons you may have heard about. It was also an incredible year for women on the small screen, with far more female-led TV shows on our list than in previous years. More of that please, 2018.
Choosing a top ten is no easy feat, and a lot of quality shows got left on the editing room floor here. However, after much consideration, here are our picks for the best shows of 2017.
1. The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale was a dark dystopian tale that felt a little bit too close to the bone considering the current state of unrest in the world today. Based on a book by Margaret Atwood, it's set in a world where declining birth rates have led to a new social order, the few remaining fertile women are kept as slaves to carry children for the regime's leaders. Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss stars as one of these women who naturally enough, struggles to cope with her new repressive existence, while Joseph Fiennes and Gilmore Girls’ Alexis Bledel also star. Gripping, disturbing and incredibly well-adapted from its source material, The Handmaid's Tale was undoubtedly this year's best new show.
2. Big Little Lies
When we first heard that Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon were teaming up with David E. Kelley to adapt Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies into a TV series, well, we naturally couldn't help be curious. Neither of these Hollywood A-list ladies has really ventured into the TV landscape before but they were doing so alongside a veteran of the genre, with a best-selling book as their source material.
The premise of the show at first seemed like nothing new - three wealthy American mums, all hiding secrets of their own out in suburbia - let's be honest, it had a bang of Desperate Housewives off it. Underestimating Big Little Lies, however, was our first mistake. The series managed to be the perfect amalgamation of wonderful acting, a solid script filled with suspense and foreshadowing, and a cinematography that really has set a new touchstone for prestige TV. While we are nervous about the recently announced second season, we are quietly optimistic that this show is in good hands.
3. Game of Thrones
Okay, okay, OKAY. We were first to point out the flaws in season 7 of Game of Thrones; the script was way too much fan-service at times and dare we say, there weren't enough shocking deaths? However, nothing can match Game of Thrones in terms of scale and production and it has become one of most complex and intriguing stories in TV history. It won't make our list next year as it sadly won't be back on our screens until 2019 for its last and final outing when we find out who will eventually sit on that Iron Throne. That is if there is even one left by the time The Night King is done with them.
4. The Crown
Never have we found the goings on of Buckingham Palace quite as gripping as we did in Netflix's spectacular drama The Crown. Each season follows roughly a decade of the queen's reign, with season two featuring her encounters with the Kennedys, the Suez Crisis, the wedding of Princess Margaret while it also addressed the long-held question mark over Prince Philip's faithfulness to the queen. It was also sadly Claire Foy and Matt Smith's last outing as the royal couple with Olivia Colman set to take the reigns in season three as the monarch. Incredible cinematography, marvelous performances and a pitch perfect score from Hans Zimmer earn The Crown a place as one of this year's standout shows.
5. Stranger Things
The summer of 2016 was dominated by talk of one show - Stranger Things - so there was a great deal of hype about its much anticipated second season, which arrived on Netflix in October. Thankfully for all concerned, it lived up to the heavy weight of expectation put on its eighties shoulder pads. The story managed to move seamlessly on to the next chapter and while 'Papa' may be gone from Hawkins lab, the place was still as weird and dodgy as ever only this time it was Paul Reiser at the helm of things. There were a few more added characters too that all served their purpose well, including of course the addition of eighties icon Sean Astin to the cast.
The second season expanded well on the original premise - the monster was even scarier and the stakes were much higher - but it still delivered that compelling slow-build to what managed to be a satisfying conclusion that still left you with plenty of unanswered questions to ponder while you await the already commissioned third season.
For our money, Catastrophe is currently one of the funniest shows on television and as luck would have it, it's written by and stars of our own, Sharon Horgan, alongside American comedian Rob Delaney. Season three kicked off in early 2017 and didn't let down as the show found even more ways to disturb and entertain with the deliciously dark humour of Sharon and Rob, but also had some genuinely touching moments too. Overall, to come back so solid into a third season of a show proves that Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney have struck gold in their comedy partnership, and to be honest, we'd be happy watching this pair grow old together with as many seasons as Channel 4 would undoubtedly be happy to give them.
7. The Leftovers
After a grim first season and a captivating and very surprising second one, The Leftovers returned for its third and final act with the knowledge it was ending, allowing for Damon Lindelof and co. to fully plan out a season that packed a lot into its eight episode run. While the show didn't give us any concrete answers about the overarching mystery of the show, we witnessed some of the best character development and acting on our screens this year. A beautiful triumph of storytelling, season three of The Leftovers will go down in history as one of TV's finest endings.
8. Twin Peaks
2017 saw the cult series Twin Peaks return after 25 years off the air and with it brought eighteen episodes of mind-bending story-telling that was David Lynch at his finest. It may be some of the strangest television we had this year but it was by far the most original and an experimentation with just how far the art of TV writing can be pushed. Love it, loathe it, or just don't get it, Twin Peaks has to be appreciated for the experimental rollercoaster of weird that it is, and its lack of fear in going against the typical TV narratives we have become used to. A damn fine TV show.
GLOW was the TV binge-watch of the summer and its made it onto our list for being one hell of an entertaining show packed full of talented women with a razor sharp script. What GLOW managed to do so well was hit us with an easily digestible first season that made us cheer, boo - and who would have thought it - but actually get the fascination with wrestling. It's funny too, and it's smart about its humour, with a joke rarely falling flat and decent actors that knew how to deliver them.
Most of all, GLOW was fun. From the big hair to the fist-pumping montages and that toe-tapping eighties soundtrack, it's a show that knows not to take itself too seriously but is far more than the sum of its parts. We don't doubt there is plenty more to come from these Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling and we'll want to be ringside every step of the way.
10. Doctor Foster
Season two of this nail-biting drama had got its claws into us once more after let's face it, a first season that was pretty difficult to top. Starring Suranne Jones in the titular role, it picks up two years after the events of season one, which saw Gemma Foster discover that her husband Simon (Bertie Carvel) was having an affair with a friend's daughter Kate (Jodie Comer). Gemma is doing well in her post-Simon world but the return of her ex-husband alongside new wife Kate soon wreaks havoc on her and her son's life once more. The suspense-driven plot along with, yet again, a stellar performance from one of Britain's most talented actresses, Suranne Jones, made Doctor Foster an incredibly compelling watch and earned it the last and final place on our list.