Here is our selection of moments from the best TV shows of 2016. Make sure you’ve watched the shows first unless you want to be spoiled…
Cersei Lannister solved many of her problems in one fell swoop. Getting plenty of bang for her buck, it was less a case of boom goes the dynamite and more whoomp goes the Wildfire. So long, Sparrow! Move along, Margaery! And it was perfectly scored by Ramin Djawadi, as a haunting piano refrain built to something trailer editors will be using for years to come. It was one heart pumping moment in the shows history.
Supergirl kicked off its second season by celebrating being allowed to use the Man of Steel with a delightful first appearance by Tyler Hoechlin’s Supes. Not only does he pull off the ideal nerdy Clark Kent, but once he rips open his shirt to reveal that iconic logo and takes to the air, the joy level similarly soars.
Of all the twists and turns in Westworld‘s first season the most powerful was also the most heartbreaking. Some fans had started to speculate that Jeffrey Wright’s Bernard might be something other than human, but when he finally learned the truth, it was not less affecting. It helps, of course, that it was Wright, Hopkins and Sidse Babett Knudsen in the scene, but having Bernard not only face his true nature, but be ordered to kill the woman he’s been spending his nights with? Tragic.
The Night Of was a thrilling look at the criminal justice system and racism in the US, and featured a chameleonic, haunted performance by Riz Ahmed. But in the midst of the misery, there was an unexpected bright spot: John Turturro’s John Stone, a man fighting an endless battle with the system and with his feet. A shabby lawyer dealing with the itchiest of eczema might not sound like the most compelling TV, but Turturro brought his struggle to life. As he burned through different attempts at relief and generally grossed everyone else out, it made for some light within the darkness.
Gilmore Girls came back this year for A Year In The Life, four TV movies spread across a year’s worth of seasons. And, yes, there were the final four words still causing spasms among the fandom. Still, the truly memorable scene came between Lorelei Gilmore and her mother Emily as years of tension and family disagreements boiled over into a shouting match that therapy couldn’t solve. But this is Gilmore world, and the resolution was, if anything, just as good.
Mr Stokes was a smooth-talking panther prowling his territory. A crime boss with a deadly legacy – albeit one who never truly wanted to get into the life – Stokes looked set to be the big threat to Mike Colter’s Luke. But then came the confrontation with his cousin, Mariah Dillard, played by Alfre Woodard. If you’d been wondering why she was cast to play what had looked to be a lesser role, her rage exploded and she ended up slaughtering Cottonmouth, pushing him from his office window down into his club and then taking a microphone stand to his noggin.
Needing to stock up on her beloved Eggo waffles, Eleven heads to the supermarket. But what’s a girl to do when she doesn’t have money? Well, if she also has incredible telekinetic powers, it’s not a huge problem. And the scene is capped by her slamming the automatic doors shut as the manager tries to take chase.
The scene with very horny horse got plenty of attention. But do you really want to watch that again and again? Probably not. Instead, enjoy the sheer improv genius of TJ Miller (and the writers of Silicon Valley) as he confronts Stephen Tobolowsky’s Jack Barker, the new CEO of Pied Piper.
More thrilling than any big-screen action movie shoot-out or superhero stand-off was this reptillian showdown between a gaggle of baby marine iguanas and a team of seemingly villainous snakes. The might and resources of the BBC’s natural history unit makes conflicts on this scale seem gloriously cinematic. The snake’s limited vision, based on movement, while the unbelievable getaway of one plucky iguana from the snake’s clutches is like The Great Escape: Cold-Blooded Edition.