The Pilot Light Team's Top TV of 2016

All our favourite shows are wrapping up for the year and the christmas specials are inbound, 2016 is nearly up! It's been an amazing year for us here at Pilot Light, with the first season of our festival being an immense success; it's also been an amazing year for TV in general. We thought it'd be a great idea to ask around the team at Pilot Light HQ and see what each of us has had big love for on the small screen this year!

Hit the jump to read our teams top TV picks and thoughts!

Thanks again for all your support this year, in making our first year of existence pretty amazing!


Greg's Top 10 - Festival Director

'Let it be known that 2016 is the year TV official took over my life. When I've not been busy producing this festival I've been sat in front of the TV keeping up with the insanely large amount of quality TV that has come out this year. More than anything this year I'd say 2016 has brought us the rise of some absolutely amazing, diverse 20-30 min so-called comedies/dramedies; sitting up top of my list are Atlanta & Fleabag, both were masterfully crafted by amazing creators and had me howling with laughter then teary eyed the next second (My favourite type of TV!); along with them in that camp are BoJack, Transparent and High Maintenance. Of course there were still plenty of longer form shows that captivated me: Westworld filled that Battlestar Galactica sized TV sci-fi hole in my life superbly, Halt & Catch Fire remains one of the best US dramas on TV since Mad Men, Braindead & Crazy Ex-Girlfriend both had pitches you could never imagine suits getting excited about but both became two of TV's most original new shows and finally I have Ezra Edelman's outstanding 8 hour doc OJ: Made in America, which was one of the most captivating, enraging 8 hours I've spent on a sofa this year.' - Greg Walker (@thatsnogreg)

1. Atlanta

2. Fleabag

3. Halt & Catch Fire

4. Transparent

5. BoJack Horseman

6. High Maintenance

7. OJ: Made in America

8. Braindead

9. Westworld

10. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Here's to 2017 which will bring even more amazing TV and Pilot Light TV Festival: Season 2 and more!


Laura's Top 10 - Festival Coordinator

'I can't believe that it's time for end-of-year lists already - there's still so much TV from 2016 that I'm yet to catch up on! But from what I have managed to watch, some definite highlights stand out. Sorrentino's The Young Pope is as visually stunning as any of his feature films and Jude Law is brilliantly sassy in the title role. Stranger Things and Westworld have satisfied my sci-fi kicks, while British comedy Fleabag and season 3 of Netflix's BoJack Horseman have both been hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure. And despite the fact that it won't be returning for a 2nd season, I have to give some credit to BrainDead.. I won't be forgetting THAT Michael Moore cameo in a hurry. Last but not least, I can't deny my love for reality TV so final spot on my list goes to KUWTK for fuelling so much #KimExposedTaylorParty drama. Sorry not sorry.' - Laura Scott (@pakorascott)

1. The Young Pope

2. Stranger Things

3. High Maintenance

4. Westworld

5. Bojack Horseman

6. Fleabag

7. Transparent

8. BrainDead

9. Atlanta

10. Keeping Up With The Kardashians


Craig's Top 10 - Festival Coordinator

1 - High Maintenance.An absolute triumph for the web series circuit.

2 - Atlanta. A masterclass in TV production from Donald Glover and his team. Massive shout to the utterly brilliant cast, writers and directors.

3 - Stranger Things.Spielberg-esque 1980’s small town America sci-fi. Exactly what I needed. Exactly what everyone needed.

4 - Veep That dialogue.

5 - The Expanse. Praying for this to fill a Galactica shaped hole in my heart. Not a bad start, psyched for season 2.

6 - Crazy Ex-GirlfriendRachel Bloom up there with the best of them. Outstanding lead actor who created a delightful bit of television.

7 - iZombieThe only zombie show on TV worth watching and features the bromance of the year.

8 - You’re the WorstRelationship drama with a dark, twisted edge, just how I like ‘em.

9 - Master of NoneHonestly feel like his pop-culture references were aimed directly at me.

10 - Game of ThronesObligatory GoT vote. They really brought it back from, what I thought was, a lacklustre previous season.


Rob's Top 11 - Festival Programming Team

11. Alan Partridge Mid Morning Matters S2 + Scissored Isle Special - Partridge’s recent run has been some of his funniest material ever, easily the best series since I’m Alan Partridge. Alan working on the supermarket checkout is the funniest scene I’ve watched all year.

10. Better Call Saul - Seems to get better and better with every episode. Amazing writing and performances. So great to explore the Breaking Bad world from a completely different angle.

9. Black Mirror - Bigger ideas and bigger budget saw this already brilliant series improve even more. ‘San Junipero’ may be the finest thing Charlie Brooker has written yet.

8. Camping - Julia Davis created another dark comedy gem. Her best since Nighty Night and so many laugh-out-loud moments.

7. Fleabag - Amazing writing and performances, looked like a beautifully shot indie and such a strong new voice running through the series.

6. - Halt and Catch Fire - The third season was the finest yet. Bringing Cameron and Donna to the foreground was a genius idea and Joe Macmillan continues to be TV’s most interesting alpha male since Don Draper.

5. - Mum - Another unheralded gem quietly put on to BBC2. Fantastic writing, direction and performances all around. Like a brilliant Mike Leigh comedy condensed into half an hour.

4. - People Just Do Nothing - The best British comedy on TV and hardly anyone seems to watch it. Explored every character in much more detail and ended it with a sublime last episode.

3. - Stranger Things - A lot of my favourite 80s references rolled into one series, ran out of steam towards the end but an excellent watch nevertheless.

2. - The Night Manager - Great to see the BBC producing such pure entertainment with the sweeping grandeur of a Bond film. A great cast clearly enjoying every moment.

1. - Westworld - HBO’s most purely entertaining series in ages. Superbly made and great to see Sir Anthony Hopkins in another commanding, iconic role.

Rob Reed (@roblreed)


Olivia's Top 10 - Marketing Designer & Photographer

There's been a lot of great TV this year - almost too much! It's hard to choose just ten shows but those that stood out most for me include new shows Westworld and Stranger Things - perfect levels of sci-fi and spookiness, and the ever great Game of Thrones. Happy Valley and The Missing satisfied my love (/obsession) of British crime dramas with two amazing second seasons. Transparent came a close second but Planet Earth II stole my top spot with it's beauty and wonderment - and guilty pleasure GBBO had to have a special mention because.. cake. - Olivia Lennon (@livjlenn)

10 - Great British Bake Off

9 - Westworld

8 - Game of Thrones

7 - Stranger Things

6 - The People vs OJ

5 - Happy Valley

4 - Broad City

3 - The Missing Season 2

2 - Transparent

1 - Planet Earth II



Jim's Top 10 - Festival Programming Team

1 - Fleabag

2 - Horace & Pete

3 - Outcast

4 - Preacher (AAA+ Casting!)

5 - Bloodline (See above)

6 - The Girlfriend Experience

7 - The Night Of

8 - Game of Thrones

9 - Black Mirror

10 - Gomorrah


Matt's Top 10 - Festival Volunteer

10 - BrainDead - Mixing black comedy, science fiction and political drama with ease, one season is all BrainDead needed to leave a lasting impression.

9 - You're The Worst - With tremendous performances from Aya Cash and Chris Geere this "anti-rom-com" is still one of the best comedies on television.

8 - Better Call Saul - Even without it's top quality writing and direction, this show is worth watching just for the fantastic, multilayered central performance by Bob Odenkirk.

7 - Broad City - Equal parts hilarious and heartfelt, Broad City continues to be the most relevant sitcom on television.

6 - Supergirl - No show on television captures the importance of hope, empathy and optimism quite like this one, a true highlight of what the superhero genre has to offer.

5 - South Park - After almost 20 years of broadcasting, South Park manages to remain contemporary and is as good as it has ever been.

4 - Westworld - With top class acting, writing and production across the board, this is one of the best debut seasons of all time.

3 - Lucha Underground - Part wrestling show, part grindhouse telenovela, there's never been anything else quite like Lucha Underground.

2 - American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson - The surprise hit of the year, recalls the twists and turns of the trial of the century while providing new insight into the key figures involved.

1 - Game Of Thrones - After five years of build up the endgame of this fantasy epic finally starts to play out while continuing to up both the stakes and the quality.

Matt Chambers (@BigChambowski)

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