Best of 2017: The 17 Biggest TV Moments, From Will & Grace to Big Little Lies and Beyond

What a year in TV it's been! Looking back on the biggest moments, from returns to finales and everything in between

By Chris Harnick Dec 21, 2017 12:00 AMTags
Milo Ventimiglia, DeMario Jackson, Alexis Bledel, Dania Ramirez, Megan Mullally

Well, we finally (almost) did it. We (almost) made it through 2017. What a year in television it's been! There was incest, drunken trips, harrowing stories, hilarious stories and everything in between. TV was pretty great in 2017. We had The Handmaid's Tale, Big Little Lies, Game of Thrones, The Good Place and so much more great stories. But not every moment this year was one to celebrate.

Take a walk down memory lane below with the biggest moments of the year in television, from reality TV scandals to surprising character actions and so much more.

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Melissa McCarthy's Sean Spicer, Saturday Night Live

Spicey alert! Melissa McCarthy's Sean Spicer impression debuted in February 2017 (yes, this year has been LONG) and netted her a second Emmy. Her take on the former White House press secretary was instantly iconic and SNL at its best.

The Reboot, Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time quiet literally changed everything with its seventh season. Fan-favorite characters departed, others got new identities and the ABC fantasy drama became fun again.

1 Tequila, 2 Tequila, 3 Tequila, Floor, RHONY

The Real Housewives of New York City continued to be one of the best shows on TV this season. The ladies capped the standout season with a wild (drunken) trip to Mexico where tequila flowed like water and the always-composed Luann de Lesseps tumbled—literally—not once, but twice, creating the perfect GIF to encapsulate all of 2017.

The End of Pretty Little Liars

The finale for Freeform's Pretty Little Liars finally answered questions fans had been waiting years for, complete with a twin revelation (Troian Bellisario's Spencer had a twin sister, Alex Drake, who was menacing the ladies as A.D. to avenge Charlotte's death). While the finale didn't necessarily sit right with all fans, it was a big way to bid adieu to the Pretty Little Liars.

Zeke's Outing, Survivor

The long-running reality show made headlines when Jeff Varner outted Zeke Smith as transgender to a stunned nation. "There is deception here. Deceptions on levels Jeff that these guys don't even understand," Jeff said on the show. "Why haven't you told anyone that you're transgender?" The revelation on national TV prompted a much-needed discussion in popular culture.

A Big Reveal, This Is Us

Since This Is Us told viewers Jack Pearson was dead, speculation about his demise has run rampant. In the first episode of season two, the NBC drama revealed just how Jack perished: in a house fire.

Eleven's Episode, Stranger Things

The highly anticipated return of Netflix's science fiction series featured a totally rad makeover for Millie Bobby Brown's breakout character Eleven. You could say it was …bitchin'. But the episode itself…yeah, not quite as good as the makeover. The episode featured Eleven reuniting with her "sister" from  the Hawkins lab and embarking on a brief life of crime. The episode felt out of place and memorable for all the wrong reasons, unlike the makeover.

Dany and Jon, Game of Thrones

They're two of the Game of Thrones' most well-known characters and had never met, but when they did, well, everything changed. Suddenly fans were rooting for Dany and Jon Snow to not only work together, but also get together. Even if they're aunt and nephew. (They are). Strange times. It did happen and it was…hot.

The Twist, The Good Place

NBC's comedy from Parks and Recreation co-creator Mike Schur was a fun little afterlife comedy during its first season. Good, but not groundbreaking…until the twist at the end of season one (which aired in January 2017): Eleanor, Chidi, Jason and Tahani weren't in heaven; they were part of a new torture experience in hell. Boom. Everything changed—for the better.

Robin Wright's Turn, House of Cards

The sexual harassment and assault awakening shook up the entertainment industry and almost shut down one of Netflix's most prestigious shows. Following allegations leveled by Star Trek: Discovery star Anthony Rapp, more charges of harassment and unwanted sexual advances came out regarding House of Cards star Kevin Spacey. Production was shut down while Netflix and producer Media Rights Capital figured out what to do next. The final season was already shooting with at least two episodes done. After months of deliberation, it was announced the show would go on, focused solely on Robin Wright. As her character said in the final episode of season five: "My turn."

A Good Revival, Will & Grace

TV revivals are a tricky beast. From the start, there's a lot of attention on whatever show is currently coming back from the dead from the start. Some shows stumble in returning to a TV landscape that has changed so much since they were last a part of it, but in the case of Will & Grace, the NBC comedy exceeding expectations and came back a better show than when it left. Still politically savvy, still filled to the brim with jokes, Will & Grace is the bar TV shows should set for themselves when getting revived.

The Women United, Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies was a triumph in so many ways. The series produced and starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman featured some of the best performances on TV of the year and one of the most memorable moments when the ladies of Monterey stood together and faced the abusive Perry (Alexander Skarsgard).

The Investigation and Shutdown, Bachelor in Paradise

Quite possibly the biggest reality TV scandal of the year riveted viewers and readers as the sexual misconduct investigation on Bachelor in Paradise shut down production. The contestants at the center, Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson took to the press while the events played out. Production resumed, the reality stars did not return and the allegations were addressed on air. Corinne and DeMario now? All good.

Alexis Bledel's Moment, The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale was on of the year's most celebrated shows receiving rave reviews and awards left and right—and for good reason. One of the biggest moments on the show wasn't exactly a scene or character's action, but rather Alexis Bledel's having a moment in general. The Gilmore Girls veteran shocked audiences and won an Emmy for her heartbreaking and badass work on the series as Handmaid Ofglen/Emily.

Claire and Jamie's Reunion, Outlander

Hot, hot, hot. Need we say more?

Bughead, Riverdale

While Jughead was revealed to be a-sexual in the comics the series is based on, the show shook up the once central love triangle between Archie, Betty and Veronica in a major way by pairing off Betty and Jughead. The town's ultimate girl next door and ultimate outsider has now become Riverdale's most beloved couple…and one of TV's new great ‘ships. You never forget your first love, right?

Rebecca's Suicide Attempt, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Few shows dare to "go there" as much as Crazy Ex-Girlfriend does on a routine basis. In the third season, co-creator Rachel Bloom's character Rebecca Bunch hit rock bottom after being jilted at the altar. After undergoing a revenge spiral, Rebecca tried to take her own life. She didn't succeed and the ensuing episodes have focused on the character finally getting a diagnosis—she has borderline personality disorder—and seeking treatment for her mental illness. The series handles mental illness with grace, while balancing it all with its trademark whip-smart humor.

What was your favorite TV moment of 2017? Tell us!