The Young Pope. Gianni Fiorito/HBO
Marvel's Runaways. Patrick Wymore/Hulu
The Handmaid's Tale. George Kraychyk/Hulu
Big Little Lies. Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/HBO
Big Mouth. Netflix
Looking for the best new TV series of 2017?
We’ve given you our favorite shows of this year — but what of the new ones that premiered this year? Here’s a roundup of the freshman series that impressed us the most.
The Young Pope
I don’t use the word “sensational” lightly. But Jude Law, as the titular young pope in HBO’s limited series was just that: sensational. As the charming, manipulative Pius XIII, Law was electric against the beautiful backdrop of Rome. Also, he wore a lot very good hats.
There are so many (perhaps, too many) Marvel series and films and flicks right now, and superhero fatigue has settled in for the long haul. Somehow, though, this Hulu series — about six teenagers uniting against their criminal parents — ended up being a breath of fresh air. Probably because the superhero bits take a back seat: although some of the characters are mutants (or at the very least, mutantesque) and there’s definitely some crazy shit going on, the series is also very much about the pains of growing into young adulthood.
The Handmaid’s Tale
A perfectly timed series that unflinchingly examines the patriarchy and Max Minghella’s pretty face? Yes please. Although hard to watch at times, “The Handmaid’s Tale” managed to be poignant but not preachy, while also turning out impressive performances by the likes of Alexis Bledel and Elisabeth Moss. And, well, everybody else too.
Big Little Lies
I at first dismissed “Big Little Lies” as nothing more than awards fodder for leads Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. And it is that, yes. But it’s also so much more. An acute portrayal of sex, lies, friendship — and everything else in between — in beautiful, beachy Monterey, “Big Little Lies” is straight up bingeworthy, start to finish. And Kidman, especially, gives the performance of a lifetime. Baby’s back!
An unexpected addition? Maybe. But this animated Netflix series, exploring that perilous, confusing time called puberty, is delightful, informative and so, so funny. Come for the ghost of Duke Ellington — voiced by Jordan Peele, of course — and stay for Maya Rudolph’s Hormone Monstress saying things like, “I don't use deodorant and I only take bubbuhbaffs.”