It’s been another busy year of watching TV. Some beloved shows bid adieu, some jumped the shark, others enjoyed a creative resurgence, and many new excellent shows were added to my watchlist. To celebrate, here’s my ‘best of’ list for 2015. As always, this list is both subjective and ultimately meaningless. Cheers to the new year!
I already compared Jessica Jones to Buffy the Vampire Slayer so I’m not sure what more I need to say in my defense for selecting this as my pick for best new show of 2015.
Bonus Award: Best Super ‘Hero’ (and Best Pun)
Rami Malek is absolutely incredible as Elliot in USA Network’s new series Mr. Robot. From his voiceover work to his expressive eyes, Malek uses everything in his arsenal to help audiences connect with his otherwise unreliable and unstable character.
Broad City went back to its roots during the break and dropped a series of excellent webisodes. See Abbi and Ilana navigate Halloween, Yom Kippur, Columbus Day, and more.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have picked a Lifetime series to be one of my favorite new dramas. It’s dark and soapy, and lots of fun despite the fact that just about every single character is incredibly flawed and generally unlikable.
It was sad to say farewell to Leslie, Ron, April, Andy, Tom, Donna, Ben, Jerry/Larry/Garry, and the rest of Pawnee, IN but Parks and Recreation’s thirteen-episode final season provided more than enough laughs and closure to end on just the right note.
There’s a lot of highlights from Master of None’s first season, including early episodes “Parents” and “Indians on TV”, but the cold open from the episode “Ladies and Gentlemen” was the standout scene of the series for me. It hilariously, and honestly, depicts the different experience men and women have while walking home at night.
Just try to not get this song stuck in your head, I dare you.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Halloween episode was the perfect culmination of Jake and Captain Holt’s annual competition, and that episode alone would have earned them the ‘Best Holiday Episode’ title. But then they went ahead and made a Die Hard homage for their Christmas episode. That’s basically a mic drop move.
There was no such thing as a sophomore slump for the AMC 80s drama Halt and Catch Fire. Vast improvements were made from season 1 to season 2, the primary being the show’s shift to focus on Cameron and Donna’s quest to make Mutiny a viable company.
Dubbed the #SummerofAnswers, Pretty Little Liars finally revealed who the infamous ‘A’ was. Reactions to the much awaited reveal were pretty mixed, I won’t spoiler it here, but I think everyone can agree that the moment’s been a long time coming.
Despite an uneven four seasons, I strongly believe Revenge’s series finale “Two Graves” ended on just the right note, and with the perfect soap opera twist to boot.
It was a strong year for Survivor, but I’ve got to give this nod to Sarah Rice from MTV’s The Challenge for sending The Challenge ‘king’ Johnny Bananas into the dome, and thereby orchestrating his elimination right before the final. It was a bold move, one that put her in the best possible position to take home the grand prize. And win she did. It was also one of the only strategic moves made in the game by a female competitor.
The writers and / or the show’s composer Reinhold Heil must have one hell of a sense of humor because in just about every episode there’s one scene in which the music undercuts the seriousness of the drama unfolding on the screen. It is perhaps one of the best things about the now-cancelled SyFy series. Both seasons are available on Netflix, I recommend checking out the show, not so much for the plot, but for the excellent score and soundtrack. (See Above.)
The final sequence of the second season finale of WGN America’s Manhattan, where all the characters are witnessing the successful test of their nuclear bomb, is visually stunning.
Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and America’s Best Dance Crew all showcased amazing dancers and numbers this past year, but my top pick is Travis Wall’s Ghost Light routine. In addition to the actual dance, the technical aspects of it, like the lighting and camera work really made it something special. I also saw the routine live during the SYTYCD tour and it was just as awesome.
2015 was a busy year for John Oliver and his weekly HBO news program. He interviewed Edward Snowden, Google bombed Marlboro with Jeff the Diseased Lung (google image search “Marlboro” and see what comes up), got into a TV feud with a FIFA official, started a church, and covered a wide variety of stories including gun violence, elections, the refugee crisis, and more.