TV We're Thankful For in 2016: This Is Us, Gilmore Girls, Grease: Live and More
Before you binge on a Thanksgiving feast and the Gilmore Girls revival, let’s take a moment to express our gratitude, yes? No, not for our friends and family, but for all our TV favorites. Duh, we’re talking about the important stuff here.
Each turkey day, our TV Scoop Team lists the shows, stars and trends we’re thankful were provided by our TV screens over the past year, and 2016 was pretty bountiful. From Lorelai and Rory’s long-awaited return to a welcome fresh voice in late night to our new weekly therapy session (Hi, This Is Us!), we found a lot to be grateful for.
Here’s everything we’re thankful the small screen provided us with this year…
Bravo, Bravo! 2016 is the year I officially accepted my destiny…and became a fan of almost every Real Housewives show (RHONY reigns supreme in my household) and Vanderpump Rules is Shakespearean drama doused in spray tan. (Oh, and if you know a way to watch Southern Charm, tweet at a sister, please!) Who knew in a garbage year that becoming a garbage-consuming person would be the healthiest thing for me?
Gilmore Girls‘ Return: Thank you, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Daniel Palladino and Netflix for bringing our fast-talking Girls back and not f–king it up, as many revivals tend to do. Sure, A Year in the Life is nostalgic, but it’s not weighed down by its history. In fact, watching the revival feels like finding an old favorite sweater and being delighted it still fits/is just as comfy as you remember.
Sterling K. Brown aka our New National Treasure: That. Is. All.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: What began as a show description that sounded too absurd to be, well, good, turned into one of TV’s best series. I’m talking about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The CW series created by Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna has become my sanctuary, my happy place. Bloom’s Rebecca Bunch never fails to delight in song and life choices (even the disastrous ones). The series is whip-smart and depicts relationships in a refreshing light. It’s unlike anything else on TV in the best way possible. Please don’t ask me how many times I’ve watched “The Math of Love Triangles” because it’s way too high to admit. OK, I’ll admit it, it’s 1,326 times.
The Good Fight/Christine Baranski: We’re all in agreement that The Good Wife didn’t have the best final season—nor the best series finale—but that’s OK because I’m thankful for The Good Fight. Yes, I’m thankful for something that hasn’t premiered yet. Of all the TV characters we have said goodbye to in the last year, Diane Lockhart was one I was really not ready to let go, and now I don’t have to. The Good Fight should be the star vehicle Christine Baranski needs and deserves.
The Emmys Got It Right! Normally, it takes the Television Academy a while to break out of their safe patterns (i.e. why Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory won for, like, 75 years in a row). But this year they broke tradition in so many ways—by finally nominating The Americans (AND Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell), by giving Emmys to Tatiana Maslany and Kate McKinnon and Rami Malek and Master of None (for writing) and Sarah Paulson (though that was inevitable)—yeah, it was a good year. Listen, they can’t get everything right—justice for Lemonade!—but I’ll absolutely take this huge step forward.
The Great British Baking Show: How can a series that features weekly scenes that just show nice British people staring into ovens and watching cakes bake be so tense and emotional? I don’t know how, but this reality competition features everyday Brits literally just baking different types of desserts (and occasional savory items) with no actual prize—just the pride of being named Britain’s best baker—is somehow one of the most gripping shows on television. God bless British baking doyenne Mary Berry, comedian hosting duo Mel and Sue, and Mary’s fellow judge Paul Hollywood for creating such a perfect piece of TV. I just want to give the entire show a hug and thank it for being such a bright light in such a tumultuous year.
Grease: Live (and All TV Musicals, TBH): Speaking of bright lights, this former HMHS drama club member, frequent theater patron, and loyal Smash viewer is thrilled that the live musical trend continues to thrive. This year has brought us the best in the genre—that would be the absolutely thrilling Grease: Live, duh—an imperfect non-live musical that was still super-fun—The Rocky Horror Picture Show remake—and another promising entry on NBC’s lineup—Hairspray Live! Let us hope that 2017 gives us continued blessings and helps remind the world why the arts are so important.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: No year has been more politically difficult than 2016. That’s just a fact. Thankfully, TBS had the good sense to give Daily Show grad Sam Bee her own weekly pulpit, where she used her weekly sermon to both sooth our souls and stoke our fires with her righteous indignation. She’s mad as hell and she’s not going to take it anymore—and we’re all better off because of it.
The Good Place: No comedy debuted this year with more inventiveness and heart than The Good Place. Creator Mike Schur has moved on from Pawnee, Ind. to actual heaven, but his knack for giving us a female protagonist worth rooting for above all else remains intact. Kristen Bell‘s Eleanor Shellstrop may not have begun as inherently likable as Leslie Knope, but she’s quickly become one of my favorite characters of the fall. Add in Ted Danson doing some of his career’s best work and D’Arcy Carden‘s hysterical Siri-like AI Janet and you’ve got yourself the recipe for one forking fantastic comedy.
Full Frontal with Sam Bee: I’ve worshipped Sam Bee since she was dressing up as feminine hygiene products on The Daily Show, so I could not be more thankful for a show where she’s at the helm, rocking those blazers and making some sense of the world. If only she would be willing to do that every night instead of just once a week, and maybe also for an hour instead of a half an hour, and maybe I could also have her call me every night to reassure me before I go to sleep?
This Is Us: I have, in the past, automatically rejected shows that attempted to make me cry with every episode, but This Is Us had me hooked from that first glimpse of Milo Ventimiglia‘s…face. The Pearsons are my second family now, in any decade, and I’m happy to give them all the tears I have.
The Return of Gilmore Girls: It’s no secret that 2016 has been a year filled with garbage, but the fact that we have new Gilmore Girls to look forward to is what has gotten me through the hardest times. I almost don’t ever want to watch it so that I can have it to look forward to for the rest of my life, but I’m so thankful to have had this year of knowing it was coming, and having that light at the end of all those tunnels. I hope the four final words are “Be back next year.”
What TV are you thankful for this year?