CarterMatt Awards 2016: ‘Stranger Things,’ ‘Westworld,’ ‘This Is Us’ among Best New Show nominees

Wasn’t 2016 a tremendous year for new programming? Think about the shows we’ve got below in our Best New Show category for the CarterMatt Awards, and then think for a minute about the shows that we just couldn’t fit in. These are shows like “The Crown,” “Luke Cage,” “Billions,” and even some fun entries like “Speechless.” To get attention as a new show this year, you really had to work overtime to stand out head and shoulders above the rest.

After we share our nominees and the reasons why we chose them below, we’ll be turning this over to you in the attached poll! Voting is open every day between now and December 24, and you can vote however often you like.

Best New Show – The Nominees

Insecure (HBO) – It’s brutally honest, and that is one of the reasons why Issa Rae’s comedy gem works so well. It’s consistently funny for sure, but there is such an air of relatability about it. You get the sense that the characters in the show could be real people in life, and you get attached and care about them despite only getting so much time to get to know them. This is a show that is must-watch TV in the event that you’re looking for a story that will take you away from the real world, while at the same time producing a few memories of it and having a good laugh.

The Night Of (HBO) – It’s gripping, and at times it was horrifying. Yet, HBO’s series from this summer offered up a gripping take on the brutality of the prison system, and the prejudices that still exist in terms of someone of the Muslim faith. Yet, at the same time there was constant ambiguity over Nasir’s culpability in the series’ central crime, and by the end, that may produce significant debates between you and anyone else who watches it. It’s a show that makes you think, but it’s also a show that leaves you in awe in terms of the performances involved. John Turturro and Riz Ahmed each are absolutely fantastic, and they help to make this a crime saga like no other.

Stranger Things (Netflix) – If this show was just nostalgic, it’d be fun; however, it really is so much more than that. The Netflix series is mesmerizing, engrossing, and stuffed full of great writing and acting to boot — especially from Millie Bobby Brown and the other young actors, who give performances we haven’t seen from kids since “Game of Thrones” season 1. It’s a good old-fashioned monster show produced in a way that it almost feels like prestige entertainment, which is not necessarily a statement we felt that we’d ever write. It will remind you of a particular time in your life, while still feeling relevant to the present.

This Is Us (NBC) – It’s hard to know anyone who’s seen the pilot episode and not been moved by it. The entire premise is so simple — a story about a family — but it is executed so wonderfully by creator Dan Fogelman and the writers through the use of time, the design of the big reveals, and the performances from Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, and the remainder of the cast. It’s a show that makes you feel down to your core, and while there are lighter moments, it’s hard to watch an episode without getting emotional by the end of it.

Westworld (HBO) – By far, it’s one of the riskiest shows in recent memory — the budget was enormous, and there was a chance that this amusement park fell apart before it ever got in operation. Luckily, the Jonathan Nolan drama ended up being all sorts of phenomenal, even if the vast majority of its characters were morally corrupt and hard to root for. For much of the season, one of the general themes was watching various people torment and assault the AIs, whether it be at the park or behind the scenes. This show was unabashedly violent, but also incredibly smart and full of terrific twists, especially when it comes to determining who was human and who was an AI. By the end of it, even the characters had a hard time determining it for themselves.

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