1. Stranger Things (Netflix)
This show was an instant cult-classic, largely helped by Netflix releasing the entire season at once so we could binge-watch it and be pulled into the world entirely. Combining 80s and childhood nostalgia with sci-fi suspense, coming-of-age humour and the magic of an awesome ensemble cast (welcome back, Winona!), Stranger Things pretty much had it all.
- Siena Yates
2. The Crown (Netflix)
It's been a year of royal dramas, but although TVNZ's Victoria initially impressed, she was quickly usurped by Elizabeth in Netflix's The Crown. Armed with the biggest budget in television history, The Crown delivered an equally addictive and authentic insight into the life of QEII, as she struggled to balance life as queen, mother, wife and sister.
3. OJ: Made in America (ESPN)
You may think 2016's best true-crime binge was Netflix's Making a Murderer, which dominated the early months of 2016. But, arriving hot on the heels of The People vs OJ Simpson, this five-part movie-length series made even more compelling viewing. Yes, the build up to OJ's nine-month court case was riveting, as was all that home video footage. But it was the revealing interviews, historical resonation and ridiculously intricate details that really made this a drop-everything binge.
4. Veep (SoHo)
Before American politics proved itself to be a total joke, Veep had once again been the funniest, smartest and, yes, crudest comedy on the telly. The show's fifth season was as frantically paced, densely scripted and full of blink-and-you'll-miss-them zings and one-liners as ever. And with the appointment of new showrunner David Mandel (ex-Seinfeld) the political satire finally shook off those comparisons to its Brit cousin The Thick of It to become its own brilliantly potty-mouthed thing.
5. The Night Of (SoHo)
A classy whodunnit?, this gripping murder-mystery kept you guessing right until the end. And even then it left a smidge of grey just to mess with you. Watching the wheels of justice spin, oiled with gross injustice and insane amounts of money, was infuriatingly compelling as was watching the accused transform from nerdy student to prison thug as he awaited his trial. But really, it was John Turturro's schlubby, streetwise lawyer who kept bringing us back. Character of the year? No doubt.
6. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (SoHo)
Did anyone else make 30 episodes of consistently engaging television this year? If they did, it's unlikely it was as funny as this. Let's face it, John Oliver's third season of
Last Week Tonight
faced a tough time delivering lolsin the face of Donald Trump's rise to the top. But he did it, time and time again. The occasional presence of National Party politicians from New Zealand was just the icing on the cake.
7. This Is Us (TVNZ 2)
As free-to-air television loses its grip on our attention, not everyone caught this new TVNZ 2 drama, which serves up compelling family drama with a modern twist. Set over the course of 35 years, This Is Us charts the lives of three triplets, jumping between eras to slowly reveal just how they became the unique individuals they are. Unexpected twists and turns balance the feel-good factor.
8. Game of Thrones (SoHo)
It was a slow start that had many wondering if Game of Thrones had finally jumped the dragon. But it was hitting its stride by episode four, and when episode nine rolled around, as Jon Snow bashed, slashed and smashed his way through the Battle of the Bastards, a resounding battle cry could be heard as the show not only got back to its best, it delivered one of the best episodes of TV of all time. Season seven can't come soon enough.
9. Westworld (SoHo)
For a silly sci-fi show about a theme park populated by living robots, Westworld sure proved divisive. But it was a slick and entertaining show, propelled by some fantastic performances and just enough intrigue and mystery to keep you tuning in each week. It had its problems, namely a slow middle section and a couple of hard-to-care-about storylines, but it redeemed itself entirely with an absolutely cracking season finale that has us hanging out for season two. Bring on the samurais!
10. Real Housewives of Auckland (Bravo)
Surprisingly, RHOA totally went off and soon became a hot topic of conversation around the country - especially the episode where one housewife called another the n-word. It had impressive production value, some very real (and very petty) drama and it gave us a glimpse of the life of the super-rich, which most of us didn't even know existed in New Zealand. I never thought I'd say it, but I genuinely do hope there's a season two.