Here is a look at the highest rated brand new scripted TV shows that debuted in 2016. The ratings are averaged from the scores on IMDb, and Rotten Tomatoes.
An anthology series centered around some of history’s most famous criminal investigations.
The first season, subtitled The People v. O. J. Simpson, chronicled the murder trial of O. J. Simpson, and was based on the book The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin. It premiered on February 2, 2016. The second season, subtitled The Assassination of Gianni Versace, chronicled the murder of designer Gianni Versace by spree-killer Andrew Cunanan, and based on the book Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth. It premiered on January 17, 2018, and concluded on March 21, 2018. The third season, subtitled Impeachment, chronicles the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal, and is based on the book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President, also by Toobin. It premiered on September 7, 2021.
Within the first season, eight episodes unpacked the story of the Black female experience from the perspective of two female protagonists, Issa (Issa Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji), who have been best friends with each other since their college days at Stanford. Both in their late 20s, they navigate career and relationship experiences while living in their hometown of South Los Angeles, California.
The two share a close bond, and throughout the show, they deal with internal struggles, their friendship and the African American community. Issa works at a non-profit that benefits middle-school aged students of color called “We Got Y’all”. She struggles to reignite the passion in her relationship with her long-term boyfriend, Lawrence (Jay Ellis), who has been slacking in their relationship since his start-up company failed. Molly is a corporate attorney who has career success but difficulty with dating men. The half-hour series explores social and racial issues that relate to the contemporary American Black experience
The Night Manager stars Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander, David Harewood and Elizabeth Debicki.
Jonathan Pine, night manager of a luxury hotel in Cairo and former British soldier, is recruited by Angela Burr, the manager of a Foreign and Commonwealth Office task force investigating illegal arms sales, to infiltrate the inner circle of arms dealer Richard Roper.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is based around the eccentric Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett) who claims to be a “holistic detective”, investigating obscure cases based on the inter-connectivity of all things. During the first season he befriends Todd Brotzman (Elijah Wood) and Farah Black (Jade Eshete) who help him with his cases. Dirk’s past is linked with “Project Blackwing”, a secret CIA project to evaluate subjects with strange abilities. Dirk is not only followed by agents of Blackwing trying to recapture him but also by Bart Curlish (Fiona Dourif), another Blackwing subject who considers herself a “holistic assassin” and believes she is destined to kill Dirk.
Based on the comic book of the same name and starring Peter Serafinowicz as The Tick.
The Tick is a nigh invulnerable superhero in a blue tick suit who arrives in the city to help combat crime and uncover the mysterious figure behind the city’s underworld. He befriends a nervous and mild-mannered young man named Arthur who becomes his sidekick. They come to realize that an apparently long-dead supervillain called “The Terror” may still be pulling the strings in the city’s underworld.
Atlanta is an American comedy-drama television series created and starring Donald Glover.
The series follows Earn (Donald Glover) during his daily life in Atlanta, Georgia, as he tries to redeem himself in the eyes of his ex-girlfriend Van (Zazie Beetz), who is also the mother of his daughter Lottie; as well as his parents and his cousin Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry), who raps under the stage name “Paper Boi”. Having dropped out of Princeton University, Earn has no money and no home and consequently alternates between staying with his parents and his ex-girlfriend. Once he realizes that his cousin is on the verge of stardom, he seeks to reconnect with him in order to improve his life and the life of his daughter.
The Durrells (known in North America as The Durrells in Corfu) is a British comedy-drama television series loosely based on Gerald Durrell’s three autobiographical books about his family’s four years (1935–1939) on the Greek island of Corfu.
The series begins in 1935, when Louisa Durrell suddenly announces that she and her four children will move from Bournemouth to the Greek island of Corfu. Her husband died some years earlier and the family is experiencing financial problems. A struggle ensues as the family adapts to life on the island and a shortage of money. Despite a lack of electricity and of modern sewage systems, Corfu proves to be a cheap and earthly paradise.
The Crown is a historical drama television series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
The first season covers the period from Elizabeth’s marriage to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1947 to the disintegration of her sister Princess Margaret’s engagement to Group Captain Peter Townsend in 1955. The second season covers the period from the Suez Crisis in 1956 to the retirement of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in 1963 and the birth of Prince Edward in 1964. The third season spans 1964 to 1977, includes Harold Wilson’s two periods as prime minister, and introduces Camilla Shand. The fourth season spans 1979 to the early 1990s and includes Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as prime minister and Prince Charles’s marriage to Lady Diana Spencer. The fifth and sixth seasons, which will close the series, will cover the Queen’s reign into the 21st century.
The series is centered around an afterlife in which humans are sent to “the Good Place” or “the Bad Place” after death. All humans are assigned a numerical score based on the morality of their conduct in life, and only those with the very highest scores are sent to the Good Place, where they enjoy eternal happiness with their every wish granted, guided by an artificial intelligence named Janet; all others experience an eternity of torture in the Bad Place.
In the first season, amoral loner Eleanor and small-time criminal Jason believe that they have been sent to the Good Place incorrectly. Eleanor’s assigned soulmate, Chidi, a moral philosopher, attempts to teach them ethics so they can earn their presence there. Jason’s soulmate, wealthy socialite Tahani, attempts to help Michael, the kindly designer of their neighborhood, deal with the chaos apparently caused by Eleanor and Jason’s presence. In the season finale, Eleanor realizes that the four humans have actually been in an experimental Bad Place all along, chosen by Michael to torture each other emotionally and psychologically for eternity.
Mum is a British sitcom written by Stefan Golaszewski centred around recently widowed, suburban 59-year-old Cathy (played by Lesley Manville) and her family, following her husband’s death.
We follow her and her family through a year of new beginnings as she rebuilds her life following the death of her husband. Mum is joined by her supportive life-long friend Michael. Through a year of new beginnings she rebuilds her life surrounded by her family: son Jason and his girlfriend Kelly; her brother Derek and his new partner, Pauline; and her in-laws.
A great year for the BBC with a record 5 entries into the top 25. Netflix did well with two of its flagship shows launching in 2016.