The Best TV of 2015

I‘ve really been lazy and neglecting this blog as of late, and I’ll try to remedy that in the new year, that is, unless I make it a resolution, as we all know how those turn out.

But I’m already making excuses… so let’s get to the best television that has aired this past calendar year. Sure, I could go through and put them in some sort of order, but that is trivial and will cause some people to call me an idiot (which I don’t dispute) for not liking a certain show or putting it too far down on the list. So instead I’m cheating and listing things alphabetically. Yes, I’m a chicken-shit like that.

So here are the 15 best TV shows of 2015:

Broad City – Abbi and Illana are not like most women you see on television. They feel real. They have dreams and flaws like every human on this earth. Yet their characters are what you’d normally see in a Judd Apatow-esque comedy from the dudes. But these girls make me laugh over and over, week-after-week and I can’t wait for season 3. Best episode: Knockoffs (S02E04)

Catastrophe – When I first landed on Twitter I followed a bunch of celebs and comedians before finding out that I was wasting too much of my time and deleted a bunch. One of the few that I kept following was Rob Delaney, so I was stoked to find out he would be starring in a TV series. While this comes from across the pond, it still hits home by having Delaney as the American fish-out-of-water who sticks around after knocking up Sharon while in London. While series from Channel 4 are shorter than their American counterparts, I wanted more episodes, even if the two series that aired this year perfectly paced. Best Episode S02E01

Game of Thrones – Of course Game of Thrones is on my list, but it is quickly falling in rankings if I were to put this in numerical order. At times I wish the season could be longer as there are just too damn many characters to deal with, so each character seems to only receive a couple minutes of screen time per episode. But I keep coming back. Best episode: Mother’s Mercy (S05E10)

The Jinx – I was late to the game on The Jinx, having to binge the series in one week to be caught up by the time the finale rolled around. Robert Durst is an interesting man. A man who believes everything he says, or is it that he perfectly calculates every move, word and emotion that he utters? The man is clearly insane, but as each episode unravels, more is added to the madness, all coming to a strong conclusion in the final minute of the series. Did Durst know he was still mic’d, and it was all part of the game, or did he finally slip up once and for all? Best Episode: What the Hell Did I Do? S01E06

Last Week Tonight – I used to have time to watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, but as 2015 became more and more insane with each passing week, the amount of free time to watch 8 episodes a week was perfectly boiled down to an hour a week from John Oliver. Some episodes barely contained laughs, while others had perfectly crafted segments to go viral so they could educate some of the masses on a variety of topics.

The Leftovers – Season 1 was depressing as anything I’ve ever endured on television. It was bleak. Bleary. And knowing the creators would never answer the question surrounding why three percent of the world’s population vanished, I was questioning if I should go on another ride from Damon Lindeloff. But season 2 has cemented this show as one of the finest things to grace the small screen. Sure, there were more questions than answers, but the finale at least gave the viewers enough closure, that if HBO were to cancel it too soon, at least it would be satisfactory. Thankfully the decision makers have decided to give it one more season to come to a conclusion. Also it helps that this show has some of the best use of music of any filmed medium, supervised by Liza Richardson. Best Episode: International Assassin S02E09

Master of None – Speaking of use of music… Master of None has the second best use of music in a television series. But that isn’t all this show has going for it. The laughs are solid. The characters all feel real, the situations seem true to life, and having a great mix of supporting characters helps balance out Aziz. Best episode: Parents S01E02 (Hell, this episode could be chosen based on the cold open alone)

Mr. Robot – I was weary stepping into this show based on the title and billboards that were everywhere in LA. Plus coming from USA, which hasn’t been known for its serious dramas, didn’t help matters. By the end of the pilot I was hooked for the rest of the series. The idea of a blackhat hacker isn’t new. Hell, the show is even obvious to some of its predecessors that it was clearly influenced by (e.g. An instrumental of Where is my Mind). Hopefully Rami will be someone that shoots up on the casting departments lists. And honestly, this show has me struggling on which is the best episode, so I’ll say Eps1.0_hellofriend.mov S01E01 so you start at the very beginning.

Parks and Recreation – Sure this might be the weakest pick on the list, based that it had one of the weaker seasons in recent memory. Or maybe it’s the fact that NBC decided to burn this off with a shortened season where 2 episodes aired each night. I don’t know why it felt weak to me, but it did. Where it exceeded though is in the series finale. Think back to previous series finales for a comedy, and some of the most loved shows had final episodes that even the most beloved of fans hate (e.g. Seinfeld). But the creators sent all the characters of Pawnee off in fashion, perfectly wrapping up the present with a magnificent bow. Best episode: S07E13

Rick and Morty – No, this series doesn’t make the list because it was co-created by fellow Manteca alum Justin Roiland, but because it is one of the most crazy, bat-shit, insane thirty minutes of television each and every week. And thankfully they toned down the burning of Rick this season, as it was one of the few complaints from season 1. Best episode S02E04 Total Rickall

Silicon Valley – Another great season, even if it didn’t have a moment as wonderful as the “Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency” that was in season 1. Though the show was strong from beginning to end, constantly following the paradigm of Entourage, but in a way that feels fresh and invigorating week-after-week. Sure, every episode begins with the guys on top, then being knocked down, only to try and end up or further down by the end of the episode. Yes, it’s formulaic, but somehow works. Probably from the strong ensemble cast, where there is not one week character. Best Episode S02E04 The Lady

South Park – Seriously? How the hell is this series still this strong so deep into their run? It could be due to the short production window (from concept to air in 6 days), or maybe when the world is in such a horrific PC-state, those who do satire well have the pulpit to preach from. And the season-long arcs help each episode to build to an epic (though I had higher hopes) conclusion. Best episode S19E08 Sponsored Content

Transparent – Okay, this is sort of a cheat, as I haven’t seen any of season 2, which is what actually aired this calendar year. But I’m making a decision to include this, as I finally was able to catch season 1 during this year. Sure, it’s cheating, but it’s my list and I’m allowed to make a single concession without losing credibility (like I have any). The Pfefferman’s are all sorts of fucked up, but they’re worth going on the journey. No one is likable, and this is proof against those screenwriting gurus that constantly tout “you’re characters need to be likable!” It’s Always Sunny has been on the year for how many years, and those are some of the most despicable humans on TV (except maybe the two leads on Difficult People – which deserves an honorable mention), yet they keep coming back year-after-year. Best Episode S01E08 The New Girl

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – The new 30 Rock. What, you didn’t like that? Then you might as well move on as you will hate this show (probably) just as much. The laughs come flying a mile a minute, and the just downright likable Ellie Kemper as Kimmy, this show makes me smile non-stop. But Zac, you contradicted yourself from the previous entry regarding the whole likable/unlikable thing. See kiddos, there are no rules in storytelling, other than to make your stories riveting and the characters someone you want to see week-after-week, whether you love ’em or hate ’em. Best episode S01E05 Kimmy Kisses a Boy

You’re the Worst – Never has a comedy made me feel so bad at times. While season 1 was a true gem, season 2 took everything and pushed everything up a couple notches. I would laugh one minute and have “the feels” (god, how I hate this saying) the next. Some people complained that they went a little too deep with Gretchen and her depression, but that is what sealed the deal for me. I’ve been there. I’ve been there before and I know how that feels. I know what it is to push something away, yet want nothing more. To feel like you’ll never be good enough, but know you kick ass. Thank you Fxx for having the faith to give this hard-to-sell show another season. It makes up for cancelling The Comedians, which for some reason people hated, but I found a soft spot for it in my heart. Best episode S02E13 The Heart is a Dumb Dumb (but since I’ve put too many season/series finales I’ll say S02E08 Spooky Sunday Funday

Stuff that I didn’t watch that I plan to catch in 2016:

The Affair (season 2), Ash vs. Evil Dead, Better Call Saul, Daredevil Fargo, Jessica Jones, Making a Murderer, True Detective (yes, I still haven’t seen season 1), Unreal.

So is there anything that I missed that I should add to my watch list?

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