After revealing my 10 best series of the year yesterday, it’s time to spotlight the new kids on the block: those freshman shows that immediately broke out of an oversaturated field and established themselves as essential TV viewing.
There are so many overwhelming television choices—the 450-some scripted series that aired this year is more than double the number from 2009—that my initial reaction to any new series announcement is more dread than excitement. How am I ever going to fit yet another show into my overpacked schedule?
But when it comes to the 10 shows on this list, I couldn’t have been happier to make the time. In an era of “peak TV,” where it is harder than ever to break through the clutter and connect with audiences, these shows emerged fully-formed, and are already holding their own with the finest in broadcast, cable and streaming.
First, an important distinction: I define “new shows” as ongoing series, and not miniseries or other limited series. That’s why a few 2016 debuts from yesterday’s top 10 list, including the two O.J. Simpson miniseries and Horace and Pete (creator/star Louis C.K. has said that story is finished), are absent from the list below.
So clear out some DVR space and set aside some holiday binge time for these worthy freshman series.