The many memorable films and TV shows that came out in 2017 proved why the sci-fi, fantasy and horror genre dominated our minds. These modern-day gems stood out thanks to many factors like production values, f/x and acting. But more importantly due to smartly written scripts that allowed these productions to stand out and excel. These are the best films and TV shows of 2017 along with some honorable mentions.
10. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Episode 8 of the main Star Wars saga is its most controversial and divisive film. Despite its script and pacing flaws, the film had many merits and took the saga into unexpected directions.
9. TIE: Justice League/Thor: Ragnarok
This year’s final superhero flicks were great in their own ways. Justice League is a true guilty pleasure and wildly underrated. The epic team-up of DC’s greatest heroes was sloppy and erratic but deep down was a lot of fun. Meanwhile, Thor: Ragnarok was the most vibrant and fast-paced Thor film that put the heroic demigod through the wringer and teamed him up with the Hulk.
8. Get Out
Suspenseful and tense, Get Out exposed our current society’s racial fears in a groundbreaking way. The intelligent script kept us guessing about the plot’s many twists, while playing on racial misconceptions.
7. Blade Runner 2049
A brilliantly filmed sequel to the sci-fi masterpiece isn’t quite as good as Ridley Scott’s original, but it comes so close. Astonishing visuals and thoughtful themes stayed with you long after the film was over.
Pixar did it again with this original (finally, enough of the sequels!) and beautifully animated tale about a colorful afterlife, family and remembrance that tugged our heartstrings so powerfully.
One of the best Stephen King adaptations ever is harrowing and downright frightening. But what made It so popular was its young character studies, as well as the performances from the film’s actors, including Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, the clown from hell.
4. War For the Planet of the Apes
This thought-provoking final film in one of the best film trilogies thoroughly examined the haunted and tortured soul of its main character, Caesar, the super intelligent ape. He was an eerily realistic CG and mo-cap creation, who carried the film with his moving personal battle to salvage his soul.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
The sequel packed more emotional punches than its heartfelt predecessor. Many characters went through intense personal arcs while the film itself was as charming, funny and thrilling as the first Guardians of the Galaxy.
2. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Smart, funny and exciting, Spider-Man: Homecoming is an amazing (corny pun intended) film comeback for the world’s greatest superhero. The first Spider-Man film in the MCU expertly captured the essence of Spider-Man, while modernizing the hero for today’s audiences.
This masterful deconstruction of the superhero is a poignant and powerful swan song for Hugh Jackman in his role of Wolverine/Logan. More than a superhero film, Logan is also a dystopian, neo Western that displayed many motifs from the both genres to tell this heartwrenching tale of Logan’s final days. The film was so beautifully crafted thanks to career-defining performances by Jackman and Patrick Stewart as the wizened Charles Xavier. Part of the reason why Logan resonated with so many is because of its universal and relatable message about growing old and facing your end. Logan is a fitting finale for Fox’s X-Men Cinematic Universe.
Honorable Mentions: Alien: Covenant, Bright, Downsizing, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Kong: Skull Island, The Lego Batman Movie, Life, The Shape of Water, Split, Wonder Woman
10. Stranger Things 2
Our favorite pre-adolescents from the 1980s returned in this sci-fi/horror fest that superbly recreated the flavor of genre classics from that era. The second season was not as good as the first but it was still one of the best sci-fi/horror shows of the year.
9. Black Mirror
The fourth season of the sci-fi anthology is a very late entry having just premiered on Netflix. It continued the show’s tradition of presenting disturbing and chilling stories of technology run amok. Episodes like “Arkangel”, “Hang the DJ”, and “Metalhead” felt more relevant to modern audiences with their anti-technology messages.
Fox Studios outdid Marvel Studios and the DC TV shows by producing the edgiest and mind-tripping superhuman TV show. The mind-bending story of a superpowered mutant evoked quirky shows like Twin Peaks and The Prisoner and had us wondering about the state of the main character’s sanity.
A paranoid and desperate look at life under alien occupation did not disappoint with its sophomore season. Mysteries regarding the alien invaders were explored while Colony showed how dire things were for the main characters and human civilization.
6. 12 Monkeys
Out of the many time travel TV shows that aired this year, 12 Monkeys was the best of the lot as it took advantage of its time travel plot device to deliver stunning episodes. Also, Syfy’s idea to air the entire third season over one weekend was inspired and pleased binge watchers.
5. The Orville
An obvious Star Trek clone that in many ways outperformed the current Star Trek show in capturing the spirit and tone of the earlier shows. Creator and star Seth MacFarlane clearly respects the source material with this light-hearted and thought-provoking spoof of Star Trek.
4. Star Trek: Discovery
After 12 long years, Star Trek returned to home screens in this bold, edgy and controversial series. It’s not a perfect show and some reimaginations were unnecessary and jarring; case in point the so-called Klingons. Still, Star Trek: Discovery was a powerful, new vision that pushes boundaries.
3. The Handmaid’s Tale
This harrowing and paranoid adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel pulled you so vividly into this downbeat future. We quietly cheered the main character Offred (Elizabeth Moss) as she struggled to survive in a despotic, male-dominated society.
2. The Expanse
The best sci-fi show on TV right gave us a grounded and gritty look at life in a colonized solar system. The scope of the series was expansive with intense characters and situations as Earth and the other powers in the solar system geared up for war against each other.
1. Game of Thrones
The greatest live-action fantasy presentation began its fateful conclusion with spectacular battle sequences. The best of those were whenever those magnificent flying dragons appeared in battle. While the most bone-chilling were the battles with the nearly invulnerable undead white walkers. The entire series had a high-quality film look that raised its epic quality. At the same time, the political machinations kept us fascinated as many powerful characters finally met. This season took us far beyond what George R.R. Martin has written and the storyline is just as captivating as his works.
Honorable Mentions: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Ash vs. Evil Dead, The Flash, Incorporated, Legends of Tomorrow, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Orphan Black, Rich and Morty, Runaways, The Strain, The Walking Dead