Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful. It says so right there in the name. So let’s do that. Let’s be thankful. And while there are many other important things to be thankful for besides television, let’s all agree that this is a TV website and the world demands holiday-appropriate content, so here we are.
Let’s be thankful for TV.
Below, please find an incomplete list of TV things to be thankful for this year. The important word there is “incomplete.” There is so much TV and so many TV-related things happening right now that compiling a complete list of just my favorites would have taken most of November, and that doesn’t even take into account all the good stuff I missed, of which there was plenty. So here’s what we’re going to do: If you have a favorite moment, performance, scene, show, or “thing,” add it in the comments. Let’s make this as comprehensive as we can. I’ll start.
The Battle of The Bastards. There was, to understate things a bit, a lot happening on Game of Thrones this year. There was a naval battle involving dragons controlled by a fire-proof blond warrior queen and that was somehow like the third or fourth biggest moment of the season. That list was topped by the long-brewing Battle of the Bastards between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton. It was a big sweeping expensive episode with hundreds of extras and dozens of horses and one giant who martyred himself for the cause (R.I.P. Wun-Wun), and it was exactly the type of huge event Game of Thrones does better than any other show on television.
Every single thing that happened on The People v. O.J. Simpson. What a gift this show turned out to be. Sarah Paulson was so good as Marcia Clark, and Courtney B. Vance was so good as Johnnie Cochran, and David Schwimmer said the word “Juice” north of 40 times (but not, sadly, 100). And then there was Travolta. My God. John Travolta as Robert Shapiro gave a performance that was at once big and hammy but also perceptive and fascinating and it’s very upsetting to me, personally, that we aren’t still discussing it every day. At least I’ll always have this picture.
Bojack Horseman going underwater. One of the best and most touching episodes of the year was a mostly dialogue-free half-hour about a depressed famous cartoon horse who went underwater for a film festival and ended up trying to reunite a baby seahorse with its factory-worker father. Raise your hand if you saw that coming.
Zoo and the liberation of a mutated sloth that can cause earthquakes with its shrieks. I’m so happy to have this GIF of Bob Benson from Mad Men slapping a four-star general in my life. It’s almost better without context. Just email it to someone right now, with no subject line or text.
Janet from The Good Place. The entire show is great, and it’s exactly the type of colorful weirdo escapist comedy we could use right now. (It’s really a shame there’s not four or five seasons of it to binge over the long weekend.) But with all due respect to the fictional Florida fine dining establishment Stupid Nick’s Wing Dump, Janet (D’Arcy Carden) has been my favorite part. She pops up — literally — rarely, but when she does, usually with an answer or a cactus, she steals the scene like a master criminal.
America’s greatest comedy team, Richard T. Splett and Jonah Ryan. Veep sent these two off to campaign this year and the results were magical. Splett’s naive optimism and Jonah’s loud douchebaggery made for some of the funniest moments of the year. Possibly the funniest. This clip is incredibly NSFW. You should watch it anyway. Peter MacNicol was nominated for an Emmy for his guest role on the show but the nomination was rescinded when they realized this scene put him over the maximum number of episodes. Worth it.