The Best And Worst Shows On TV In 2016

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Photo: FX Network

9. Better Things

Pamela Adlon plays Sam Fox, a middle-aged, working actress and single mother, raising three daughters in Los Angeles. That’s an unfair simplification, because while this show is technically about Sam and her girls, it’s really about Sam grappling with the struggles of being a mother, a woman, a daughter, and just merely a human being.

You might remember Adlon from Lucky Louie, and she shares a producing credit with Louie CK on this show as well. Its humor and aesthetic is reminiscent of Adlon and CK’s past projects, but this half-hour comedy is something completely unto itself. There’s no gimmicky premise or high-concept, just a handful of characters that are making us care about them immensely, and being someone that audiences can recognize immediately.

The life and breath of the show are the scenes between Sam and her daughters, Max, Frankie, and Duke. I’ll admit, what drew me to this show was the mother/daughter angle, but what kept me tuning in, is the heart and wit of every episode.

Every character is drawn with such complete and thorough strokes that they feel like real people. This may not seem like much praise, but in a TV landscape so chock full of archetypes and stereotypes, Pamela Adlon is serving up actual, well-rounded characters.