Game of Thrones, The Best of 2016: Part 2

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Earlier this month, we rounded up several of the instances of recognition for Game of Thrones, but it was early yet, and there are many more! Critics are making their best-of-2016 lists, and GoT has made the cut on quite a few. Here are some of the highlights!

Game of Thrones takes the number one spot on Flickering Myth‘s list of The 5 Best TV Shows of 2016. FM‘s Samuel Brace says, “This is the show and this is the place to be. We are deep into the back nine of this epic journey of kings and queens, dragons and ghouls, the end is very nearly insight. This is sad but this very depth, the very history the show now has helps propel this always exquisite series to being top of the pile once more.”

In their list of The 11 Best TV Shows of 2016, Nerdist says that season 6 delivered “some of the biggest and bloodiest battles, the most shocking twists, and absolutely bonkers theories we’ve seen to date.”

Maureen Ryan of Variety names Game of Thrones to her list of The 25 Best Returning Shows of 2016. Ryan says that “thanks to this show’s cast, its visual poetry, its perceptive moments and its complicated take on the costs of gaining and losing power, this HBO tentpole is unmissable.”

The show lands at number two on io9‘s list of The 10 Best (and Five Worst) TV Shows of 2016. Katharine Trendacosta says, “After a lackluster season five, Game of Thrones season six not only proved that the show could rebound, it proved that show might even be better untethered from the source material.”

Bella

The AV Club has published their annual best TV of 2016, with Game of Thrones sliding into the number seventeen spot. AVC’s Caroline Siede says, “For the first time ever, Game Of Thrones worked entirely outside the pages of George R.R. Martin’s novels, putting readers and non-readers on the same foot. That collective sense of unknown made its surprises all the more satisfying. From a major character return to an emotional sibling reunion, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss began to offer concrete narrative momentum after several seasons that frequently felt like they were spinning their wheels.”

Additionally, season 6 scene-stealer Bella Ramsey appears on The AV Club‘s list of The 35 best TV performances of 2016 (and one worst). They say that Ramsey, who played Lyanna Mormont, “steals every scene she’s in not just because of her youth, but also because her small size belies a commanding presence and impressive verbal dexterity, matching (and at times arguably doing better than) the rest of the cast when it comes to stirring speech-making.”

Game of Thrones grabs the number five spot on Gothamist‘s list of The Best TV Of 2016. Among the highlights of the season they include are, “the resurrection of Jon Snow, the tragic origins of Hodor, the reunion of Jon and Sansa, the surprise return of The Hound (as a pacifist lumberjack), Tormund Giantsbane flirting with Brienne of Tarth, the incredible Battle Of The Bastards, and the thrilling finale.”

Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter places Game of Thrones at number nine on his list of The Best TV of 2016. Goodman says, “What do you say about a drama that has been ridiculously ambitious and dense from the jump and has dominated television for much of its existence? That its sixth season was one of its finest and that it never, even for a second, lost its magnetic watch-this-immediately pull.”

The season 6 finale’s explosive opening scenes make Empire‘s list of The Best TV Moments of 2016. According to Empire, the opening where Cersei eliminates all her enemies with a cache of wildfire, was “perfectly scored by Ramin Djawadi, as a haunting piano refrain built to something trailer editors will be using for years to come.”

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Paste salutes The 25 Best TV Performances of 2016, including Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton on the list. Paste‘s Jacob Oller says, “Rheon manages to pull the monster off like a maniac rather than a cartoon. When he sheds his convincingly sadistic smile, it’s as heavy and frightening a transformation as Andy Serkis’s Gollum. With a true human villain to face in the midst of the ‘force of nature’ evil of the White Walkers, Rheon gave this series’ sixth season a chance to bring off some much-needed catharsis, thanks in large part to his unrelenting performance.”

GQ names “Battle of the Bastards” as one of The Best TV Episodes of 2016 in their year-end roundup. Critic Scott Meslow applauds the “tense, bloody battle sequence” that is “exceptionally well-executed by director Miguel Sapochnik” and notes that “the episode also makes time for character moments, with particularly memorable moments for Ramsay Bolton, Jon Snow, and Sansa Stark. As its best, Game of Thrones is like nothing else on television, and this episode stands alone.”

Meredith Blake looks back at the best of television this year for the Chicago Tribune and discusses Game of Thrones season 6. Blakes says, “Resurrected Jon Snow may have gotten most of the attention, but this was truly the Year of the Woman in the Seven Kingdoms, the season that Cersei Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen and Sansa and Arya Stark rose up to enact spectacularly gruesome acts of vengeance. After five seasons of misery, it felt cathartic.”

TVLine awards the season 6 finale “The Winds of Winter” the title of Best Single Episode of a Drama, and gives the show a shout-out for Best CGI for “Battle of the Bastards.” Melisandre’s (Carice van Houten) shocking reveal from the season 6 premiere “The Red Woman” makes the list of the Biggest TV Plot Twists of 2016. Poor King Tommen (Dean Charles Chapman) is among the TV Characters Who Had an AWFUL 2016, while Walder Frey (David Bradley) wins the dubious honor of Most Enjoyable Murder of 2016. In less enjoyable deaths, Hodor (Kristian Nairn) lands at number three on the list of 2016’s Biggest TV Deaths.

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TVLine also has a fun collection of the Best TV Quotes of 2016 which includes a familiar line. The devastating verbal origins of Hodor’s name that foretold his fate- “Hold the door! Hold the door! Hold the door!”- became a pop culture phenomenon this year, appearing on door stops and much more after “The Door” aired.

Game of Thrones lands at number nine on Screen Crush‘s list of The Best TV Shows of 2016 (According to Kevin Fitzpatrick). Fitzpatrick says of the latest season, “Battle of the Bastards” will likely prove the foremost memory of anyone’s look back on Season 6 – and with good reason, given the unpredictability and production value – but the sixth year started paying off investments in the series like never before. Not only were years-long character arcs like Arya’s training or Cersei’s humiliation finally blossoming into major shifts in the status quo, but the series seemed to recognize some of its own past missteps in the process.”

Whatculture includes one of Thrones‘ leading ladies on their list of the 10 Best TV Performances of 2016. Lena Headey wins the number two spot on their list for her performance as Cersei Lannister, with the website saying, “Throughout Season 6 we get to witness her quiet devastation, her desperation, her harrowing revenge, and tarnished joy. On this show, Headey really is the Queen.”

The Boston Globe places GoT at number five this year on their Best TV Shows of 2016 list. Critic Matthew Gilbert says, “This season felt different as the story careened ahead of the book series. The cast began to shrink, the players for the endgame became clearer, and the story encompassed both epic battle moves and, with much-needed warmth, redeemingly intimate moments.”

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Brian Lowry of CNN says in his look back at The Best TV of 2016, that when it comes to Game of Thrones, “simply nothing rivals its mix of feature-film-quality spectacle and serialized storytelling. Handsome new dramas like ‘Westworld’ and ‘The Crown’ generated ample buzz with intriguing but somewhat flawed first seasons, but even with plenty of pretenders, ‘Thrones’ remains in a class by itself.”

GoT earned a spot in EOnline‘s list of favorites in And the 10 Best TV Shows of 2016 Are…. They compliment the epic Battle of the Bastards, and note that “season after season, the HBO hit manages to leave us breathless and captivated with its epic storytelling, especially in season six, which finally set the stage for the final battle (and two seasons).”

The Atlantic names “The Winds of Winter” as one of The Best Television Episodes of 2016, citing the episode’s many major moments. The Atlantic‘s Lenika Cruz says the episode” made for breathtaking television, thanks to the magic of the director Miguel Sapochnik and the composer Ramin Djawadi, whose work on the opening sequence was nothing short of virtuosic.”

JoBlo names GoT to their list of Top 10 Best Shows of 2016, saying season 6 is “probably the most satisfying season of the show so far.” JoBlo‘s Paul Shirey says, “Daenerys’ return in the Battle Mereen was straight up dragon fantasy bliss, while Jon Snow’s fateful throwdown with that son of a bitch Ramsay Bolton in the Battle of the Bastards is simply one of the best action sequences ever seen on television.”

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Yahoo‘s collection of The 30 Best TV Moments of 2016 includes another moment full of fire but this one is all Daenerys. As Yahoo points out, “She’s not called the Unburnt for nothing. Daenerys re-earned that title after her capture by the Dothraki.” The khaleesi torches the khals, acquires a khalasar and wins a spot on the list.

Game of Thrones is at number nineteen on Alan Sepinwall’s 20 Best TV Shows Of 2016, for Uproxx. Sepinwall has some criticisms for season 6, but says “the finale — particularly its explosive opening sequence in King’s Landing — was the show’s best-crafted episode ever, and in other moments like Tyrion talking to Dany’s dragons or Hodor’s devastating origin story, Game of Thrones felt the weight of its own history more beautifully than even its most ardent fans could have imagined.”

TV has never been better than it is right now – these 16 shows are proof,Mashable’s headline declares. Naturally, Game of Thrones is part of that proof, with the critics observing, “Beloved characters died, hated characters died, that fan theory was confirmed, battles were won — and now the stage is now set for a perfect Season 7. Winter is officially here.”

Vox‘s list of The 39 best TV moments of 2016 includes Cersei’s fiery victory from the finale. They note, “It was a horrifying, callously executed move, but it was hard not to feel a thrill of triumph along with Cersei as she surveyed the wreckage with a sip of wine and a smirk.”

And finally, Game of Thrones has once again topped the Most Popular TV Shows list at IMDB, for the fifth year running! IMDb’s senior film editor, Keith Simanton, says to CBSNews, “Game of Thrones has demonstrated unparalleled and enduring popularity over the last five years. Not surprisingly, its lead actors are beloved as well. Emilia Clarke for example, is IMDb’s No. 2 top star of 2016, a spot she also occupied in 2015.”

Kudos to the creators and stars of Game of Thrones, and to everyone who works hard on putting this amazing show together!

19 responses

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    1. Go Thrones! Season 6 was exceptional 🙂

      OT, to any Germans or Berlin citizens who might see this:

      Mein herzliches Beileid zu den tragischen heutigen Ereignissen… Während dieser traurigen Zeit denkt die ganze Welt an euch. Seid stark.

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    2. Wow!! That is quite an impressive list!! And every one well deserved! It was a fantastic season with so many big moments. I think the last two will be equally amazing. I LOVE GoT, there is no show like it!!!

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    3. I always enjoy reading these annual retrospectives. I’m not particularly invested in where the shows that I love – Game of Thrones foremost among them – slot in numerically on any one list, even those offered up by writers that I respect and read regularly. But taken all together, these lists foster a generally celebratory atmosphere that allows me to look back on the artistic triumphs of the season with a warm sense of fondness, now months removed from the more frenzied sense of hype that can be overwhelming when the show is actually airing.

      More importantly, seeing the show receive this widespread recognition serves as a reminder that I didn’t enjoy this season in a vacuum. Millions of people out there derived similar senses of joy, excitement, heartbreak, awe, and appreciation as I did from watching these characters we love find new life and new hope, pass through fire and triumph over their enemies, take up old names and embrace new responsibilities, suffer painful losses and achieve bittersweet victory. It’s fun to share in that sense of paying collective tribute to a show that’s given us so much. The search for that sense of community is why we’re all here, after all!

      To that end, seeing Game of Thrones finding such strong representation on these lists and being enthusiastically acclaimed for a sixth season that I thought was thrilling, cathartic, and altogether stellar is exciting and gratifying. It’s a great way to celebrate this show that we love and the people who make it special as we close the book on what I believe was the best season yet and endure the long, dark wait until the next one arrives.

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    4. Game of thrones
      Long may it reign.
      My favorite show, Season 7 is coming <3
      glad that critics have Battle of the bastards and the winds of winter in their top episodes list.

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    5. Its not surprising GoT ranks high with the reviewers. I’ve seen plenty of historical TV dramas and series over the years both factual and fictional, but nothing beats GoT. The acting is superb, the directing excellent and along with modern day CFG its compulsive viewing!

      Over the last couple of months, Sky Atlantic have aired the entire series and now over the Christmas period are doing it again showing two episodes each night. I must have watched GoT so many times now I have lost count, but just can’t resist yet another binge watching session 🙂

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    6. Game of Thrones has been the best show on television since it first started.
      Season 6 was it’s best season to date. No other show comes close at present.
      Nope, no other show.

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    7. I love this show. And I agree with Mau… in its SIXTH season, it boggles my mind how it only continued to GROW and not the opposite. I cant imagine that changing for the last two seasons. Airing the show in the summer might affect the “ratings” but in the end, the same people are going to watch it… and more. I can think of THREE people in my social circle/colleagues that binged seasons 1-6 AFTER season 6 ended… and are now waiting for season 7.

      This is amazing. I am so happy!

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    8. mau,

      Ahh that makes me so happy to hear! 😀

      Do you say that in general or because you know whats coming in season 7?

      Nothing stops this train, I agree.

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    9. There were also several Best-Of articles that mentioned GoT but didn’t actually include it in their top 10 (or 20) because they wanted to include fresh blood instead. Which is dumb to me, but whatever.

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    10. Uproxx released their annual Television Critics Poll today (it used to be the Hitfix Television Critics Poll, before Uproxx absorbed that website). They solicited Top 10s from 59 TV critics working all across the U.S. and Canada and compiled their lists, with 10 points being awarded for the first-place show, 9 points for the second-place show, and so on.

      http://uproxx.com/sepinwall/tv-critics-poll-2016-best-shows/

      Game of Thrones finished 5th in the poll, with 138 points. 103 different shows received at least one vote (The winner of the poll this year was The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story).

      For reference, in previous years Game of Thrones finished 5th in 2012, 3rd in 2013, 3rd in 2014, and 6th in 2015. It’s the only show to make the Top 10 in all five years that the poll has been running, which is a testament to its longevity, widespread popularity, and consistently high levels of critical support (Mad Men also made the Top 10 in the first four years of the poll, before ending last year).

      As Peter Dinklage would say, still going strong! 🙂

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