How we use and portray animals on TV perhaps reveals more about ourselves than the qualities they contain. Are they brought in to round out a nuclear TV family, or do they have greater narrative significance? Do they have personalities or are they plot devices that advance the story, and then forgotten? Do characters regard them with any real feeling?
IndieWire examined how the animal kingdom fared on our screens this year from a storytelling point of view, and determined which portrayals were the most significant. Because of this narrative aspect, we focused on two types: fictional animals whose characters were created for the purpose of the show, and non-speaking animals. This eliminated consideration of series like "BoJack Horseman" or "Animals," because those characters tended be more anthropomorphic reflections of humanity.
[Warning: Some spoilers follow.]