Our Favorite TV Shows, Movies, Books, and Music of 2017

15 min read

We don’t know about you, but we love reading end-of-the-year-best lists. They give us more new worlds to explore‚ÄĒoften books and films and music and TV we never knew existed. And sometimes, one more positive review can push you over edge, making you realize that you, too, should finally stop being such a curmudgeon and actually watch that damn show everybody but you has been raving about. (You’ve still never watched¬†The Americans?¬†Seriously?)

Anyhow: Here’s the list of our favorite TV shows, books, movies, and music of 2017. Hope you find something great here. Please feel free to add your own.


Nick Honeywell:¬†Game of Thrones is a cultural phenomenon for good reason. I hope Bronn wins the whole thing.”

Stephanie Feller:¬†“I really enjoyed¬†The Handmaid’s Tale.¬†It made me cringe regularly, but it was great storytelling.”

Christine Hudson:¬†“I hate that I put off watching¬†Atlanta for so long. Funny and real and challenging all at the same time. Darius was my favorite character in any book, movie, or TV show this year.¬†Ozark¬†reminded me of¬†Breaking Bad¬†in terms of plot and subject matter, but, like…better. Just a lot better in many ways (cinematography, writing, characters. And I loved¬†Breaking Bad.)¬†Broad City: Truly ROFL. Raucous laughter. Like, knee-slapping, I’m-wheezing-and-I-can’t-catch-my-breath, rewind-it-so-I-can-watch-that-again laughter.”

Kristin Baxter: “The Handmaid’s Tale¬†is haunting. It took the famous book to the next level with incredible acting: The show was perfectly cast, and the costumes were incredible. I have a thing for costuming, apparently.¬†And A Series of Unfortunate Events:¬†This dark, dark, dark comedy-drama was released on Netflix this year. The storyline can be a bit¬†monotonous, but the characters, costuming, and set design are incredible. And there is a ton of literature humor that I completely appreciated.”

Amy McAdams-Gonzales:¬†“Favorite TV show I watched, by far, but wasn’t released in 2017: Burning Love.¬†Favorite TV show released this year (so far): Mindhunter (so far).”

Joe Judd:¬†“I enjoyed The Great British Baking Show. It was charming and quaint. Pretty much exactly what one might expect from a show about baking in England. And it was surprisingly entertaining. Fire Chasers,¬†a four-part documentary chronicling the wildfire season in SoCal, was every bit as gripping as it sounds. Having family in the Los Angeles area, the show had a little extra meaning for me.¬†Mystery Science Theatre 3000 is another one that I’ve really enjoyed. It’s fun, cheesy, sarcastic, and clever‚ÄĒthe¬†perfect show to watch on a Sunday evening.”

Melissa Sunsdahl: “I would say best shows of the year were Stranger Things (because it’s amazing and I love Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin!) and This is Us‚ÄĒsuch a good story, despite the fact that Mandy Moore is in it, and I’m not sure I’ve watched a single episode that didn’t make me cry. It’s good TV, like Parenthood¬†good, in my opinion.”

Luke Burkhart:¬†“1)¬†Ozark: It was interesting to see Jason Bateman in a more serious role. You can tell that he is a good man at heart but certain circumstances have challenged his moral compass. It‚Äôs a great representation of how far some people will go to protect the ones they love. I also love that it‚Äôs difficult to predict what will happen next. 2)¬†Mind Hunters: Just a brilliant show that attempts to dive into the mind of historic serial killers and determine why they did what they did before characterizing them as ‚Äúmonsters.‚ÄĚ They do this in order to predict that type of behavior in the future and hopefully prevent these types of killings. Although it does get quite gruesome at times, I found it extremely interesting to dive into the psyche of their behavior to find out what exactly made them tick. 3)¬†Bloodline: I found myself not being able to tell if the main characters were good guys or bad guys as they are developed slowly and cleverly. Should I root for them to get away from the police and get off scott-free? Should I hope the authorities catch them and bring them to justice? I still don‚Äôt know. I would rank this up there with one of my all time favorites, True Detective (the first season‚Ķ not the disastrous second season). 4)¬†Narcos: Having the protagonist as the narrator gave it a true Goodfellas feel and added depth to the storyline. Also, a show that dives into the life of Pablo Escobar‚Ķenough said.”

Matt Gonzales:¬†“The third and final season of The Leftovers was a beautiful coda to one of the strangest, saddest, most haunting TV shows in recent memory.”

Brian Deer: “I echo Luke’s comments on¬†Ozark:¬†Jason Bateman shows that he has range beyond just the casual sitcom and one-off movies he’s done for so long. He’s dark and scary and scared. Laura Linney is so good, she would normally make any other actor seem inferior, but Bateman holds his own here.¬†Also agree with Matt on The Leftovers final season.¬†And, ya know, Game of Thrones was pretty great.¬†On the kid front, Star Wars Rebels was as enjoyable for me as it was for my son. They really start butting up against the rest of the Star Wars universe and tying things together. Thrawn!”

Lucy Smith: “My favorite show of 2017 was¬†Insecure.¬†Why? While sometimes overly dramatic and exaggerated, it’s often refreshingly authentic, poignant, and humorous.”

Robin Beery:¬†“Among my favorite TV shows of this year were three that outsmarted the conventional expectation of a sophomore slump. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency took its Douglas-Adams-inflected adaptation to even weirder and more lovable new places.¬†Lady Dynamite was funnier and more bizarrely moving, and changed the way I saw the first season. And in Baskets‘ second season, Chips Baskets and his family are just as pathetic and awful to one other, but somehow I found myself feeling more for all of them.”

Brandon Martin:¬†Halt & Catch Fire. I started it on a whim after seeing an ad for the final season that was about to begin. Really, really good writing and, given the subject matter (tech industry/PC boom), visually awesome. Felt reminiscent of Mad Men at times, in that much of it took place in the office, but also the number of characters you come to invest in. Also, Dark.¬†It’s amazing.”

Brittany Mason:¬†“Big Little Lies: This came out early this year so it simultaneously feels like forever ago and yesterday, but c’mon. It was great. With a star-studded¬†cast like that, we knew it would be good, but somehow, to me, they all crafted their best characters to date. (The book was good too, but I read that in 2016, so it doesn’t qualify for the list).”

Tori Walker:¬†The Handmaid’s Tale:¬†Elisabeth Moss is amazing in this show. She also looks like Well Done’s very own Kristin Baxter! And¬†Stranger Things 2:¬†I went into Season 2 with relatively low expectations because Season 1 was just so good. It’s safe to say my expectations were met and exceeded. Steve Harrington as the unlikely hero was everything.”

Brian McCulloh:¬†“Fargo¬†Season 3¬†caught ahold of me and never let go. Along with the gorgeous atmosphere and bleak, mysterious world that is Fargo, the characters are the reason you keep coming back. Michael Stuhlbarg, Ewan McGregor, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead killed it.”

Ken Honeywell:¬†“I’m not sure I’ve enjoyed anything as much as¬†The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.¬†It’s set in Amy Sherman-Palladino’s amped-up version of the late ’50s, and it’s filled with anachronisms and totally unbelievable characters, and it all works, anyway. It’s like¬†Gilmore girls,¬†only dirty.”


Stephanie Feller:¬†What Happened to Monday: A really interesting sci-fi story about overpopulation and septuplets trying to hide from the government. And¬†OtherLife: More sci-fi. A virtual reality experience that gets out of hand; the VR comes in the form of eye drops and, of course, it’s used against its creator.”

Tori Walker:¬†Dunkirk: It was one of the best war movies I’ve seen in a long time. I loved how the storyline unfolded over the course of one week on the ground, one day at sea, and one hour in the air. Plus, Harry Styles made his big screen debut, and he looks great on the big screen.”

Lisa Vielee:¬†“Favorite movie: Lady Bird. It was lovely and mean and melancholy and funny and sarcastic. Just like life.¬†Favorite documentary: I Am Not Your Negro. I watched it on Netflix and learned so much about the civil rights movement because I truly saw it from the POV of black Americans. I was and still am ashamed of how awful humans can be to one another.”

Nick Honeywell:¬†Lady Bird is hard to beat. Infinitely relatable and expertly paced, it manages to run an emotional gauntlet in just about every scene without being hammy or contrived.”

Joe Judd:¬†“Recently, I watched¬†Murder on the Orient Express and Wonder Woman. Both were entertaining and enjoyable films. Earlier this summer I also saw Dunkirk, which was fantastic. The film has very little dialogue, but it was heart pounding‚ÄĒI found the palms of my hands to be sweating at many points throughout. I haven’t seen it yet, but I already know that The Last Jedi will be on my list of favorite films in 2017.”

Matt Gonzales:¬†Get Out was a marvel of a film; it succeeded both as social commentary and pure genre entertainment, which is too rare a feat these days.”

Ken Honeywell:¬†The Lovers¬†is a smart little romantic comedy in which Tracy Letts and Debra Winger play a long-married couple who are cheating on each other, then start cheating with each other. It gets complicated as relationships do, right up through the ending.”

Melissa Sunsdahl:¬†“My favorite movie this year was Beauty and the Beast. I’m lame, I know. Sorry! I’ve loved the story since I was a little girl, so it was a win for me.”

Christine Hudson:¬†“I’ll know in three days: If Star Wars doesn’t dazzle its way to the top of my list (Ed. note: It did.), my favorite movie of this year was actually¬†Thor: Ragnarok. Yikes. Who am I? Why was this movie so good, though?? But, I think¬†Get Out¬†was probably the most important movie that came out this year. I just can’t watch it again because it terrified me to my core, NBD.”

Brian McCulloh:¬†Get Out is a really well-done psychological thriller with a couple of great performances.¬†The Lego Batman Movie was so funny and a great watch with the whole family. It’s probably the funniest movie overall I’ve seen in the last few years.¬†Manchester by the Sea was basically a 2017 release since it was still in theaters in January, and because it is one of the best movies I’ve seen in the last decade, I absolutely have to include it. I literally had tear stains on my shirt from this film. So powerful!”


Brittany Mason:¬†“Basketball (and Other Things):¬†Shea Serrano¬†is¬†?. If you have even a passing interest in anything basketball, read this book. I qualify mostly because for three years straight, I dressed up as Scottie Pippen for Halloween. (Who needs MJ & Dennis when you have Penny Hardaway in shiny tights and four-finger Casper?) The Light We Lost: It’s a love story. It’s told really well. I laughed out loud, I cried, I gave it to my mom and sister so they could read it and we could talk about it and they loved it, too. If you want a book that makes you feel but isn’t a crazy rollercoaster of a plot, this is it.”

Lisa Vielee: “Evicted¬†by Matthew Desmond. After the election, our client, Jon Laramore at ILS, said I needed to understand how the deck is stacked against those living in poverty. Society often thinks the poor should constantly be working to better themselves. (How dare they take time to laugh and relax?) Evicted showed how hard society makes it to do that. This book also reminded me that everyone has a right to and can find happiness, joy, and love, even in the poorest of situations.”

Joe Judd:¬†“It wasn’t released in 2017, but going along with the fire theme (see above),¬†Young Men and Fire was recommended to me.¬†The book begins as a retelling of the facts and timeline of the Mann Gulch wildfire that took place in 1949. But it takes a suspenseful and haunting turn as the author, Norman Maclean, begins to investigate the truth about the tragedy.”

Ken Honeywell:¬†“Well, I made it all the way through¬†In Search of Lost Time¬†this year, which was my major accomplishment. It’s easy to understand why it’s such an important work. In the classics department, I also loved¬†All the King’s Men,¬†Never Let Me Go, Giovanni’s Room,¬†and a couple of beautiful little Muriel Spark novels:¬†The Girls of Slender Means¬†and¬†Loitering With Intent.¬†As for books that came out this year, Elizabeth Strout’s¬†Anything Is Possible¬†was a heart-rending followup to¬†My Name Is Lucy Barton.¬†And my most-recommended book of the year was Andrew Sean Greer’s¬†Less, a picaresque romp that will have you tearing up at the end and laughing out loud throughout.”

Brian McCulloh:¬†“Disclaimer: These books didn’t come out in ’17, but I read them this year.¬†Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes was a good one. Bible passages that have been familiar to me my whole life, when put into proper cultural context, are often rendered with completely different (and sometimes opposite) meanings after reading this book. Extremely interesting, easy read, which blows away a lot of preconceptions about The Good Book. And¬†The Lord of the Rings trilogy was a fantastic read again this year, as always. I believe this was my third time through the trilogy, and it was the best one yet. Makes me excited (and a bit nervous) for the recently announced Amazon Original series based on Tolkien’s world.”

Robin Beery:¬†“As for reading, I was really just catching up with 2016 (and even further past). I loved Mister Monkey, by Francine Prose, for its deep interior glimpse into an array of characters surrounding a New York play based on a beloved children’s book. And Before the Fall inspired me to go back and read more Noah Hawley (the Good Father), and I highly recommend both of those.”

Stephanie Feller:¬†Destination Simple¬†by Brooke McAlary.¬†This is a super-short read, but full of some really useful tactics to help simplify and de-stress. Highly recommend for anybody looking to change the pace of their life.”


Joe Judd:¬†“I only purchased one album in 2017‚ÄĒGrateful Dead, Cornell 5/8/77‚ÄĒbut that one album has gotten a lot of play. I even catch my wife (who claims not to enjoy the Dead) tapping her feet to songs like ‘New Minglewood Blues,’ ‘Brown-Eyed Woman,’ and ‘Scarlet Begonias.’”

Brian McCulloh:¬†Painted Ruins by Grizzly Bear is my favorite album of the year so far.”

Brittany Mason:¬†“Niall Horan’s¬†Flicker: Here’s the thing, guys: It’s actually a really great pop album. I knew no one else at Well Done would give a shout out to any previous 1D’er, so I had to fill that void. And I’m not ashamed. It’s the best solo album of the former boy band (RIP). Harry, I love you and I can’t wait to see you in June, but Flicker > Your Self Titled. Don’t @ me.

Nick Honeywell:¬†“CyHi The Prynce‚Äôs ‘Movin‚Äô Around’ from the contemplative¬†No Dope on Sundays is essential late-night cruising music. As the kids say, it‚Äôs lit.”

Robin Beery:¬†“The album I loved best was the Shins’ Heartworms:¬†wry, sweet, and heavily indebted to the early Eighties. How could I not?”

Kristin Baxter:¬†“Sylvan Esso, The Shins, and Spoon topped my music charts this year. Worst album: Arcade Fire‚Äôs Everything Now. I know this is supposed to be a positive list, but I‚Äôm still pissed about it.”

Stephanie Feller:¬†“Not necessarily an album, but I’m obsessed with Walk Off The Earth’s covers. They are incredibly talented and creative with their use of random objects as instruments. (Fav: ‘Hello,’ the Adele cover.)”

Ken Honeywell:¬†“I probably played Grandaddy’s¬†Last Place¬†more than anything this year‚ÄĒbut I also love so much of The Magnetic Fields’¬†50 Song Memoir.¬†It’s ridiculous how many Stephin Merritt songs get stuck in my head. Also: Shoutout to Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s¬†Lotta Sea Lice.”

Amy McAdams-Gonzales:¬†“Favorite album: LCD Soundsystem, American Dream,¬†which has my favorite song of the year: ‘Oh Baby.’”

Matt Gonzales:¬†“LCD Soundsystem’s song ‘American Dream’‚ÄĒa massively sad, synth-smeared, apocalyptic epic‚ÄĒis the best track of the year, for my money.¬†If you’re looking for something softer and sunnier, Michael Nau’s latest album, Some Twist, will do more than Bayer can to soothe your Sunday morning headache.¬†Honorable mention: The song ‘The Pure and the Damned,’ a collaboration by Oneohtrix Point Never and Iggy Pop, signals that Iggy may be able to match Leonard Cohen when it comes to brutally honest late-life song poetry.”

Christine Hudson: “Cry Cry Cry by Wolf Parade: One of my favorite bands ever got back together and put out an album and I’m losing it, thanks. Phantom Anthem by August Burns Red: The 16-year-old metalcore lover in me will apparently never die and this album brought it back to life. (It wasn’t just a phase, Mom.) DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar: ‘DNA’ is probably my favorite song of the year. I was driving the first time I heard it. I lost myself in the bass drop, forgot where I was going, and missed my turn.” More Life by Drake: This was a ‘playlist,’ not an album (whatever that means) and it’s my most streamed album of 2017. Fun fact: I cancelled a date to stay home and listen to the world premier of this album.”

Brian Deer:¬†“Jason Isbell and the 400 unit: The Nashville Sound. Just a great, heartfelt alt-country-tinged rock record, if you’re into that sort of great stuff.”