TV and Movies·Posted on 10 Dec 2016These Are The TV Shows We Absolutely Loved In 2016Featuring Black Mirror, The Crown, Love Island, and more. This post contains spoilers for some shows.by Scott BryanBuzzFeed TV EditorFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink BuzzFeed UK staff were asked to write about the shows they loved this year. Here are their responses: 1. Black Mirror, "San Junipero" (Netflix) David Dettmann/Netflix Black Mirror has of course previously portrayed relationships, but the innocence of Kelly and Yorkie's love was something incredibly new and refreshing among stories of how technology is tearing us apart – here is a relationship that can only exist thanks to futuristic innovation. Not only was their relationship a massive diversity win, the episode as a whole was also a much needed middle finger to the tired television trope of recklessly killing off LGBTQ characters for dramatic effect. Months later I still think about the pure joy of the final moments of that episode: the couple driving into the sunset together, cut with a shot from the lab where their consciousnesses sit next to each other, showing them finally together both in the real world and the virtual, defeating all odds. I cried. It's a fairytale ending, finally realised thanks to technology.Imagine if "San Junipero" was a whole series in itself – what a wonderful experience that would be. – Rachael Krishna 2. Fleabag (BBC Three) Two Brothers Pictures / BBC Three I'd seen a few people on Twitter talking about it but I wasn't sure about it because of the title. Then I was stuck on a nine-hour flight and I saw it on the in-flight entertainment system and I thought, I might as well. I'm so glad I did.I think the most refreshing thing about the series is that it's a show by a woman, mostly following the lives of women, but the jokes and plot lines aren't just about "being a woman", they're just jokes. It's sort of like a British version of Girls, in the sense that it's about a young woman finding her way in the city, but it's so much more self-aware and it sort of satirises some of the hipster cliché of that show. When you begin watching the first episode it seems just really funny, but then the bleaker, sad elements of the main character's backstory are revealed over the series. She's very much a person who uses humour to get through the crappier parts of life, which I think is what makes it so appealing. If you've ever lived in a shit flat in a new town, had disappointing sex, argued with youe family, or struggled with the loneliness of the big city, please make some time for it. – Sophie Gadd 3. Stranger Things (Netflix) Netflix Studios In 2016 especially, we didn’t always get what we wanted. Sometimes it felt like the world was so out of tune with us it was scary.But then there was Stranger Things, and it was everything we wanted. It was a TV show based on the imaginations of kids brought up on ET, Poltergeist, The Goonies, and Stand by Me. The purest Americana: reassuringly familiar, but exciting and scary enough to be worth the watch.And for a show so committed to plundering every cultural reference of our childhoods, the surprise was it managed to create new icons we could relate to. A lot of people were Barb: the awkward friend who didn’t get the guy. Eleven was the sort of girl lead who could never have existed in the actual ‘80s.Here was yet another story of young people fighting a dark adult world that moves in mysterious ways against them. We’ve seen it a million times before. But, as it turns out, it’s a story we need to keep telling. – Becky Barnicoat 4. The Night Of (Sky Atlantic) Craig Blankenhorn / Home Box Office This dark, complex whodunnit filled the void in my life left by another eight-episode HBO crime thriller, True Detective, though The Night Of proved to be a much more substantial offering.Based on British series Criminal Justice, The Night Of follows Riz Ahmed’s Naz, a Pakistani-American accused of murdering a white girl after a drug-fuelled night out. With Jon Turturro as his eczema-afflicted lawyer, and Michael K Williams as the prison kingpin who takes Naz under his wing, the series explores issues of race while highlighting the frequent lack of justice in the American justice system. Even with the stellar cast, it’s British actor Ahmed who steals the show, as his nervous, shy Naz slowly morphs into a far more sinister character behind bars. The scene where he shaves his head, starts to sit taller as the hair falls, and begins to embody his new persona, until he’s staring at himself with the detached gaze of a dangerous criminal – transformation complete – gave me chills. – Daniel Dalton 5. The Missing (BBC One) Robert Viglasky / BBC/New Pictures/Robert Viglasky Fans of the first series of The Missing knew a second instalment had a lot to live up to. Season 1 was a haunting, heartbreaking story of a father’s hunt for his child who vanished on holiday in France. Its follow-up cut ties with the original and gave us a new cast and a story not of a lost child, but one who returns: Alice Webster, who reappears 11 years after being abducted near a British military base in Germany. The show jumps between multiple timelines, with twists and turns worthy of a seriously adventurous roller coaster. Refreshingly, the writers revealed the villain close to the middle of the series (a moment that coincided with a scene that will make you never want to look at a power drill again). This cleverly makes it less of a whodunnit than a why-they-dunnit, as the shocking reality behind Alice’s return comes into focus.Some of the best moments come in the quiet scenes between David Morrissey as Alice’s father, Sam, and Keeley Hawes as her mother, Gemma. Their understated, grounded performances as two parents slowly worn down by loss bind the whole thing together beautifully.And of course, there was Julien Baptiste (played by Tchéky Karyo). The myth. The legend. As the only returning character from Series 1, he's evolved from a cool retired police detective in the first series into a full-on maverick-on-a-mission in this one. His willingness to risk his health and his family has earned more than a few memes and a cult-like following. Amid the gripping bleakness of the rest of the show, we needed it. – Louise Ridley 6. American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson (BBC Two) Scott & Larry Productions / 20th Century I can't fault it. Most dramas, even great ones, have those scenes or those little bits that force you to do a "WTF are they doing oh PLEASE no" face to the person sitting next to you. With ACS, that didn't happen – there wasn't a single moment that was wasted, a single actor who missed the mark, or aspect of the trial that wasn't explored. This wasn't just a TV show; it was of the standard you would see in a film (only 10 hours long). If it had been shown in cinemas, it would have nailed the award circuit. I wish it had.You might expect that you'd have to know everything about the OJ Simpson trial to get the show and the depictions of the people involved. You don't, really. I was 6 when the trial happened and yet I was as captivated as someone who could remember watching the actual car chase and the action in the courtroom. So don't research first. Close Wikipedia and put down your phone.– Scott Bryan 7. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Netflix) The CW From the first time I heard the clever and ultimately very catchy opening song I fell in love with this show. The unapologetic way in which the writers have approached feminism and mental health is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Rachel Bloom stars as Rebecca, who is totally in love with Josh, a guy who is obviously wrong for her (not to mention not even interested). Despite being a hyper-intelligent lawyer she has totally bought into the idea that getting together with “The One” will fill up the cracks that have appeared in her life. Lovable, whimsical characters surround Rebecca yet no one is two-dimensional. In fact the show seems committed to giving each character their own storyline or even a musical number. In fact, this is what sets Crazy Ex-Girlfriend apart from other shows: the music. Each episode has two heart-tugging yet totally sardonic songs and you’re guaranteed to be singing them way after you’re done watching. My personal favourites: "I Gave You a UTI" and “The Sexy Getting Ready Song” – which is accompanied by a pretty groundbreaking anal waxing scene. – Maggy van Eijk 8. The Crown (Netflix) Alex Bailey / Netflix In 1936 the BBC managed to pull off its first television broadcast, from Alexandra Palace. On the very same night 80 years later, The Crown was out on Netflix. It was a British drama, starring some well-known British actors, filmed in Britain – exactly the sort of thing you would expect to be the jewel of a British TV channel, but it wasn't made by one. It wasn't even made for television. How much has changed.There's been a lot of buzz about how well Claire Foy and Matt Smith portrayed Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, as with Vanessa Kirby as the isolated and trapped Princess Margaret, but the real star of the series was John Lithgow as Winston Churchill. I could go on and describe his portrayal, but all I will say is go and fucking watch it. He's bloody excellent, especially in Episode 9.– Scott Bryan 9. BoJack Horseman (Netflix) Netflix Yes, BoJack Horseman is an animated show, and yes, it’s frequently hilarious. The latest series continued the bravura flights of whimsy and the plethora of background jokes, puns, witticisms, and one-liners fans have come to expect. But what BoJack Season 3 truly offered was simply the bravest and most unflinching study of major depression on television. BoJack’s inability to help himself, and his tendency to self-destruct in the face of happiness, is as heartbreaking as it is real. The writers’ commitment to exploring the effects of mental illness without playing it for laughs, or trying to tack on a happy ending, should be applauded. Not all animated shows are comedies, and not all endings are happy. That the series also managed to deliver the finest half hour of television in 2016 is testament to the genius of the creative team. “Fish out of Water”, Episode 4 of Season 3, sees BoJack visit a film festival in an underwater city. While there he has to wear a diving helmet, and therefore can’t talk to anyone. As such, the episode is almost entirely dialogue-free. BoJack, lonely and unsure of local customs, gets himself in a series of madcap situations while trying to avoid an ex-colleague he let down. It’s a masterpiece. Beyond the visual flair and masterful sight gags, the way the silence highlights the isolation and difficulty of communicating with those around you while living with depression is wonderful. As is the last minute twist: How simple life might be if it came with an instruction manual. – Daniel Dalton 10. The Last Man on Earth (Dave) FOX I fell in love with The Last Man on Earth this year, a very funny comedy about an average, slightly selfish guy called Phil Miller, who thinks he's the last survivor of an apocalyptic virus that swept the planet a few years ago. He's gone a bit weird due to being alone for a while: In true Tom Hanks in Castaway style, he paints faces on footballs and pretends that they're his friends. He whiles away his lonely spare time filling his Tucson, Arizona, mansion with stolen American artifacts like the Bill of Rights, priceless paintings, and the US constitution, stealing tanks, blowing things up, and lounging around in a paddling pool full of tequila – that type of thing. Eventually, other survivors find their way to Phil: a loose group of outcasts and oddballs who form an alliance. People being thrown together in odd circumstances is a great premise for a comedy, so it's a bit strange that no one's thought to make an apocalyptic sitcom before. Lets hope it paves the way for more unusual or imaginative comedies in future (I'd definitely watch a sitcom version of The Walking Dead) .– Hilary Mitchell 11. Better Call Saul (Netflix) AMC It’s an unwritten law in the world of television that spin-offs mostly suck. In trying to recreate the original, producers often lazily rely on the presence alone of an already loved character, thinking that alone will be enough to satisfy viewers. So when it was announced that Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman was getting the spin-off treatment, fans were rightfully skeptical. As it turned out, we had nothing to worry about. Two seasons in and Better Call Saul has already established itself as its own show. The highlight of this season came in the form of a montage that would make Brian De Palma proud. Seemingly inspired by an inflatable tube man, Jimmy McGill (Saul Goodman) sets off on a quest to try and get himself fired from his new job at the prestigious law firm Davis & Main. But underneath the comedic quick-cuts is the lingering question: is this really the right choice made for the right reasons?Like it’s predecessor, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul perfectly plays on the theme of man’s ego and misplaced pride. And in a year where privileged, white men are making their last stand by choosing a dangerous option at the voting booth: It’s a theme that’s scarily pertinent.– Jamie Jones 12. The Only Way Is Essex (ITVBe) Lime Pictures / ITV I have watched every single episode of TOWIE and I can say, with confidence, that 2016 was its best year yet. Yes, every episode follows the exact same format: The women put on a full face of makeup and then take a new exercise class, the men compete to find out who is physically the strongest, someone kicks off about being mugged off, and then everyone gets dressed up and has a fight about a picture on Twitter over a fruity cocktail at a costume party. But it’s this predictability, along with its endless relatable moments, that makes TOWIE so comforting and, in turn, fascinating to watch.The never-ending drama of Megan and Pete’s relationship was compelling at every stage. We’ve all been the girl who momentarily gets caught up in a new relationship and loses sight of how valuable her female friendships are. But we have not all been the girl who makes her cheating boyfriend apologise to her parents. Although now I certainly wish I had been.– Tabatha Leggett 13. The Eurovision Song Contest 2016. EBU / BBC / Via Twitter: @bbceurovision NO. The reason why the contest is included in this shortlist has nothing to do with the what makes the show infamous in the first place: the block voting, the British commentary, the outfits and the fact that Australia seems to be included by accident for the second year running. No.The reason why Eurovision 2016 is included is this: this is the year that the contest took the piss out of itself. This was the year that Eurovision became self-aware of its weirdness. This wasn't just down to Måns Zelmerlöw and Petra Mede being stand-out snarky and self-depricating hosts, it was the interval act "Love Love Peace Peace", a song listing every absurd way countries in past have tried to win the contest. "Love Love Peace Peace" so ambitious, so cutting. It was one of the most enjoyable moments of television I have watched all year.How Eurovision goes from year? I have no idea. I really hope it hasn't jumped the shark because of this.- Scott Bryan 14. Love Island (ITV2) ITV2 You don't need me to tell you that watching a bunch of fame-hungry twentysomethings lounge around in skimpy swimwear in a house filled with condoms is entertaining. But 2016 was the year that ITV2 executives realised it too.And 2016 was an absolute vintage year for Love Island. From Zara getting stripped of her Miss GB title because she gave Alex a blow job that she later regretted, to Rachel finding out that Rykard slept with Olivia and subsequently confronting him, and Emma and Terry having sex on top of their bedsheets, it was wonderfully smutty from beginning to end. Back in 2005, our Love Island standards were higher. We wanted celebrities (or rather, the offspring of celebrities) like Callum Best and Bianca Gascoigne to drink champagne and make out against a picturesque backdrop in Fiji. But in 2016, we settled for watching a bunch of TOWIE rejects shagging on Ikea bedding in Spain. And it made us feel dirty as hell. But we all watched it anyway. – Tabatha Leggett Do you agree with the list? What show should have been included? Let us know in the comments below.