If TV is slowly getting out of the rerun business, I should do the same. That doesn’t mean my best-of list consists solely of brand-new programs. Some shows just take time to develop into greatness — or get on my radar.
1. “O.J.: Made In America” (ESPN): It was lots of fun watching big-name stars play dress-up in “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” but this thorough documentary was the must-see event of the year, dissecting the trial of the century and the events that led to its seemingly improbable verdict.
2. “Master of None” (Netflix): Many aspire to be to be the next Louis CK, but Aziz Ansari made the strongest case as his heir apparent with his charming meditations on race, dating and food trucks. The premiere season dropped in November 2015, but I didn’t get around to recognizing its genius until a few months later. Ansari is not a great actor, but he’s a brilliant, bold auteur — a gift that’s far more rare.
3. “The Crown” (Netflix): “Game of Thrones” had its most spellbinding season to date, but all its battle-worn warriors must bow down to Claire Foy’s Queen Elizabeth II. Her performance as the shellshocked majesty, buoyed by John Lithgow’s Winston Churchill and Jared Harris’ King George VI, was mesmerizing, as was writer Peter Morgan’s belief that historically based drama can be more riveting than any big-budget version of Dungeons and Dragons.
4. The 2016 PBS Fall Arts Festival (PBS): As some cable outlets moved away from their initial role as fine arts benefactors, public television has doubled down, but never with such consistency and delight as in this recent string of high-caliber specials. We got to watch Imelda Staunton take her turn as Rose in “Gypsy,” Lin-Manuel Miranda transform Alexander Hamilton into a rap star and Alan Cumming rework Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” into a torch song. PBS still has rhythm; who could ask for anything more?
5. “Atlanta” (FX): Donald Glover has gone off the deep end before — quitting “Community,” touring under his rap persona Childish Gambino — and always has managed to stay afloat with confidence and unexpected strokes. He’s topped himself with this latest pet project about an accidental drifter saddled with high aspirations and bad luck. The awards circuit is treating the show as a sitcom, but I’m not so sure. This one belongs in a category all its own, as does its creator.
6. “The Night Of” (HBO): The death of intended star James Gandolfini loomed large over this thinking man’s version of “Law & Order,” which may explain why it has been so underrepresented on the awards circuit. But in retrospect, no American miniseries was so haunting and deserving of a second chance.
7. “Gilmore Girls” (Netflix): The return to Luke’s Diner was overcaffeinated, with too many cameos and a musical that nearly warranted an intermission, but the crisp quips from creator Amy Sherman-Palladino made it easy to swallow the sweeteners. And that highly anticipated exchange between mother and daughter in the final scene? Goosebumps.
8. “Life in Pieces” (CBS): “This Is Us,” which proved that networks are still in the tear-jerker business, deserves every accolade floating its way, but don’t ignore this equally heart-wrenching family affair. Disguised as a “Modern Family” rip-off, it manages to sneak in tender moments while keeping viewers in stitches.
9. “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore” (Comedy Central): This “Daily Show” companion was just finding its groove when the network yanked it from the air, in the middle of the election season, no less. Did Russian hackers play a role? If so, the last laugh will surely be on them. Wilmore won’t be silenced, as he’s proved by co-creating HBO’s “Insecure” and inking a development deal with ABC.
10. “One Mississippi” (Amazon): Comedian Tig Notaro has always marched to her own drummer on stage, an approach she maintained in this semi-autobiographical sitcom about dealing with the loss of family members and negotiating with the ones left behind.