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20 Best TV Shows of 2017

From mind-blowing sitcoms to fire-breathing dragons, the return of ‘Twin Peaks’ to ‘Rick & Morty’ – Rob Sheffield on the hightlights of our TV year

What a great year for TV – as opposed to pretty much any other aspect of life in America during 2017. Peak TV kept peaking all year, pushing to new creative heights. There was the heroic return of David Lynch, and the not-so-heroic return of Larry David. The screen was full of ground-breaking dramas – as well as stoner comedies, high-school bitchfests, zombie dragons, porn hustlers, thugs, con artists, hackers, psychedelic superheroes, cartoon time travelers and life-during-wartime documentaries. In a rotten year to be an American, the creative audacity of these shows (and one stand-up special) was a sign of hope. Here’s to next year.

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‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ (Showtime)

Agent Dale Cooper lives. So does Audrey Horne. And so, for that matter, does David Lynch, who revisits his legendary TV cult favorite and goes back to the haunted Pacific Northwest town he left behind in 1991. Twin Peaks: The Return could have been just a sentimental rehash – getting the old band back together one more time. But Lynch doesn’t merely live up to the original – he completes it. Nobody saw this coming. Our ghost town is full of familiar faces – Kyle McLachlan, Laura Dern, Sherilyn Fenn, Trent Reznor – and new ones. We see actors who died after filming their scenes (R.I.P., Log Lady) and some who passed to that red velvet room in the sky later, like the late, great Harry Dean Stanton. (Not to mention a poignant cameo from David Bowie, beyond the grave.) Cheers to Showtime for trusting Lynch, along with co-creator Mark Frost, to pull off all 18 hours. Nothing like Twin Peaks: The Return has ever happened before or will again. This is the water and this is the well.

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