Best Moments on TV of 2016

Sarah Paulson and Sterling K. Brown
in 'The People v. O.J. Simpson'
When talking about television in 2016, there's one name that stands above and that name is OJ Simpson. Earlier in the year, the FX network aired a 10-part series called The People v. O.J. Simpson. It was a dramatization of the events surrounding and including the infamous murder case of 1995, the so-called "trial of the century." It starred Cuba Gooding Jr. as OJ Simpson and John Travolta as Robert Shapiro. It was a hit for FX garnering huge ratings. It was also critically acclaimed. It got nominated for 22 Emmy Awards. It won 9, including Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Lead Actor for Courtney B. Vance who played Johnnie Cochran and Sarah Paulson who played Marcia Clark.

The breakout star of that series, however, was Sterling K. Brown who also won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor. His turn as Christopher Darden has been the talk of the town. It's been so especially because Brown is also the star of the hit NBC series This is Us. He's no new actor though. He's been in the business for almost 15 years. His biggest role til now was Army Wives, which ran for seven seasons.

Yet, this series about OJ Simpson certainly boosted his profile. ESPN also did a series on the football player and the subsequent trial along with the aftermath. OJ: Made in America has thus been turned into a movie that is getting Oscar consideration. Simpson has been so pervasive that even a web series called About Him, which is set in the 90's, also commented on Simpson.

Gary Lavard (left) and Brandon Karson in 'About Him'
Speaking of the web series About Him, it's one of several LGBT web series to go online. Unfortunately to the L and T, gay male or even bisexual stories have been the most successful or prevalent on the web. About Him is about a teenage black kid exploring his same-sex attraction. It's way more interesting and compelling than Moonlight (2016). Speaking of series that focus on the black and gay experience, Love@FirstNight is a romantic comedy that's a bit lighter and fluffier. Another light and fluffy, gay web series is Daddyhunt: The Serial that was all to promote the dating app for smart phones but it was cute and clever. One of the most successful, gay web series of the past few years is Where the Bears Are and Season 5 this year was just as much fun as anything else online.

Tons of new TV shows hit the airwaves or go online every year. The ones that really rose to the top were NBC's This is Us and Netflix's Stranger Things. This is Us is a family drama that follows the parents of three triplets. One of whom is adopted. It also flashes forward and follows those triplets as adults. Stranger Things is a sci-fi fantasy about a group of children in the 1980's who become aware of a monstrous dimension and a government conspiracy to keep it quiet.

2016 is also notable for the amount of new TV shows focusing on black culture that became successful. Donald Glover in Atlanta on FX is probably the standout having just won two Golden Globe Awards, including Best Television Series, and being recognized by AFI. However, HBO premiered Insecure, the show based on the web series created by Issa Rae. That wasn't, however, the only series that centered around black women and their families. OWN premiered in 2016 Queen Sugar and Greenleaf. Comedian Nicole Byer also saw the release of her new sitcom *Loosely Exactly Nicole on MTV. It didn't get a lot of high ratings but it was one of the funniest things of 2016.

Alexis Bledel (left) and Lauren Graham in
'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life'
Netflix continues to dominate the conversation with its continued output, which includes the resurrection of cancelled TV series. It brought back Full House and the Gilmore Girls. Probably, its most buzz-worthy resurrection is the return of Black Mirror. The British series, compared to The Twilight Zone, saw a longer and more Americanized bent but didn't disappoint too many fans.

Of the reality TV shows, there was nothing too much of note. ABC did renew four game shows. A few of which have been genuinely fun. My favorite has been To Tell the Truth, which is hosted by Anthony Anderson, a black comedian. In many ways, he has helped to open the show to an audience that might not have checked into it. The same could be said of Logo doing its version of ABC's The Bachelor. Logo put on the air Finding Prince Charming, which was an all, gay-male spin on the dating show of one suitor and multiple contestants.

I don't really spotlight soap operas, but I have to make mention of a great moment on General Hospital back on March 4th. The character of Morgan Corinthos, the son of mobster Sonny Corinthos and hotelier Carly Corinthos, is committed to a mental institution because his bipolar condition has gotten out of control. The scene where Sonny and Carly inform Morgan that he'll be sent away was particularly devastating and Bryan Craig who plays Morgan delivers what would become an Emmy-winning performance. It might be melodramatic and over-the-top, but I wanted to single it out. Here's the clip.

Kerry Washington in 'Confirmation'
Best TV Movie / Special

LOOKING: THE MOVIE (HBO)
GREASE: LIVE (FOX)
CONFIRMATION (HBO)
BARRY (Netflix)
OUT OF IRAQ: A LOVE STORY (Logo)
BLUE MOUNTAIN STATE (2010) (Netflix)

Best Reality / Variety

I AM CAIT: SEASON 2 (E!)
REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER (HBO)
LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER (HBO)
FLIPPING OUT: SEASON 9 (Bravo)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC)
TO TELL THE TRUTH (ABC)

Best Comedy Series

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK: SEASON 2 (Netflix)
SILICON VALLEY: SEASON 3 (HBO)
THE GRINDER (FOX)
INSECURE (HBO)
THE MINDY PROJECT: SEASON 4 (Hulu)
GRANDFATHERED (FOX)
UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT: SEASON 2 (Netflix)
FRESH OFF THE BOAT: SEASON 2 (ABC)
LOOSELY EXACTLY NICOLE (MTV)

Best Drama Series

BLOODLINE: SEASON 2 (Netflix)
BATES MOTEL: SEASON 4 (A&E)
HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER: SEASON 2 (ABC) 
AMERICAN CRIME: SEASON 2 (ABC)
11.22.63 (Hulu)
SHADES OF BLUE (NBC)
SCANDAL: SEASON 5 (ABC)
BLINDSPOT (NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE: SEASON 4 (NBC)
NOTORIOUS (ABC)

David Duchovny in 'The X-Files'
Best Individual Episode

THE X-FILES: SEASON 10 - "Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster" (Feb. 1)
HOUSE OF CARDS: SEASON 4 - "Chapter 42" (March 4)
THIS IS US - "Pilot" (September 20)
CHELSEA DOES - "Chelsea Does Racism" (Jan. 22)
GIRLS - "Hello Kitty" (April 3)
BOJACK HORSEMAN - "Fish Out of Water" (July 22)
GOTHAM: SEASON 2 - "A Dead Man Feels No Cold" (March 7)
THE FLASH, ARROW & LEGENDS OF TOMORROW - "Invasion!" (Nov. 29)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: SEASON 42 - "Dave Chappelle / A Tribe Called Quest" (Nov. 12)
UNDATEABLE - "The Backstreet Boys Walk Into a Bar" (Jan. 29)
CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND - "Josh and I Work on a Case!" (Feb. 22)
THE CHARACTERS - "Natasha Rothwell" (March 11)
THE REAL O'NEALS - "The Real Grandma" (April 5)

Tom Hollander (left) and Tom Hiddleston in
'The Night Manager'
Best Individual Performance

Danny Miller - Emmerdale
Audra McDonald - Lady Day
Sarah Paulson - The People Vs. O. J. Simpson
Tom Hollander - The Night Manager
Olivia Colman - The Night Manager
Bryce Dallas Howard - Black Mirror
Blair Underwood - Quantico
Ben Whishaw - London Spy
Tom Cavanagh - The Flash
Tom Stevens - Wayward Pines
Daniel Dae Kim - Hawaii Five-0

Best Individual Moments

10. BeyoncĂ© releases Lemonade on HBO (April 23)
9. BeyoncĂ© performs during Super Bowl 50 (Feb. 7)
8. Series finale of The Good Wife airs with a surprising slap in the face (May 8)
7. SNL pays tribute to Prince with "Goodnight, Sweet Prince" (April 22)
6. Jon Snow returns to Game of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 2, "Home" (May 1)
5. "Onions" - Apple iPhone commercial (April 25)
4. Stage Crasher at the People's Choice Awards on CBS (Jan. 6)
3. Kendrick Lamar performs at 58th Grammys (Feb. 15)
2. Larry Wilmore at White House Correspondents' Dinner uses the N-word (April 30)
1. Jesse Williams gives amazing speech at the BET Awards (June 27)

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