My Top 20 Television Shows of 2015

3 Jan

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Haven’t seen: The Jinx, Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex Girlfriend, South Park, Casual, Catastrophe, Bob’s Burgers, Halt and Catch Fire, The Flash, Looking, Steven Universe, Doctor Who, Ash vs. Evil Dead, Outlander, Key and Peele, Manhattan, The 100, Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, Making a Murderer, F Is For Family, American Crime, Fresh Off the Boat, Getting On, Wolf Hall, Agent Carter, Black Sails, Agents of SHIELD, Inside Amy Schumer, Empire, House of Cards

Honorable Mentions: Louie, Transparent, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, UnREAL, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Master of None, Silicon Valley, Shameless, Veep, Orphan Black, Better Call Saul, Narcos, Strike Back, The Affair, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Homeland, The Last Man On Earth, The Knick, Arrow, iZombie, The Man In the High Castle, Continuum, Masters of Sex, Game of Thrones, True Detective, Penny Dreadful, Childrens Hospital, Orange Is the New Black, Community, New Girl, Archer, Togetherness, Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Good Wife

The most notable honorable mention: Fargo (I prepare for your wrath)

20. Sense8

19. Rick and Morty

18. Bloodline

17. Daredevil


16. Mr. Robot

15. Show Me a Hero

14. Please Like Me


13. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp

12. Person of Interest

11. You’re the Worst

10. The Americans: Anchored once again by brilliant performances from Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell, and Holly Taylor, season 3 of The Americans handles a key revelation with poise and delivers one of the biggest emotional impacts with “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?”

Bojack Horseman

9. Bojack Horseman: Along with You’re the Worst (and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, from what I hear), television is exploring depression in more nuanced and complex ways. Bojack can be hilarious, but its real power lies behind masterful episodes like “Escape From LA”.

8. Review: This show takes a unique concept to absurd levels, but also maintains an undercurrent of humanity. Andy Daly is turning in one of the best performances on television here.

7. Mad Men: One of the driving forces of this recent “golden age of television” is this show right here. It bows out with a wonderful seven-episode run that does justice to all of its characters, and episodes like “Time & Life” remind us of seasons past while looking forward. One of the most polarizing questions of the year–“Did Don make the Coke ad?”–is perhaps best left unanswered.

6. Nathan For You: Like Review, this show finds poignant human moments in absurd scenarios, and “The Movement” and “The Hero” are two of this year’s greatest television accomplishments. Also, Nathan Fielder is the best.


5. BansheeLike I said in my “Best Episodes” list, this season feels like season finale after season finale. It’s an awesome, badass, and absolutely thrilling ride all around, and it’s not just an action show; it has interesting characters and themes as well.

4. HannibalThe fact that this lasted three seasons on NBC is impressive. Nevertheless, season three is magnificent yet again, both closing off the Mason Verger storyline and introducing the Red Dragon. “Wrath of the Lamb” is as perfect of a series finale as we could’ve asked for.

3. RectifyA beautiful show in every way possible. Heartbreaking and uplifting, and affecting on a level that most shows never reach. Plus, the entire cast delivers Emmy-worthy performances each week.

2. The LeftoversI loved season one, but I understand why season two has been met with so much more acclaim. It really turns it up a notch here, moving to a new setting and expertly combining character studies with supernatural elements. And once again, I’d be remiss not to mention the excellent cast.


1. JustifiedNow, we get to my favorite show of the year (following Breaking Bad in 2013 and Hannibal last year). The admittedly weaker fifth season probably lowered opinions about the show as a whole, but it without a doubt rebounds–and more–in its final season. It’s a near-perfect final run, and the new characters are integrated nicely into the story as the lovable main cast gets one final spotlight. And of course, it all culminates in that beautiful and satisfying series finale. “We dug coal together” indeed.

Photo credits: FX, Justified, Banshee, Cinemax, Netflix, Bojack Horseman, WHAS: First Day of Camp, Mr. Robot, USA, Comedy Central, AMC, Mad Men, Nathan For You, The Americans, Hannibal, NBC, Mad Men, HBO, The Leftovers


8 Responses to “My Top 20 Television Shows of 2015”

  1. JustMeMike January 3, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

    Well let me be the first to commend you for putting your choices out there for the public’s gaze. Many of the shows that you included in your top 20, I either did not see, or did not choose to watch (there is a difference). Just as you did not see or choose to watch House of Cards.

    But I will take you to task for the inclusion of Bloodlines, which may have directly or indirectly led to the exclusion of Fargo. Well we all know that in Best of Lists, there is no right or wrong. We all have different tastes, backgrounds, and schedules.

    Now as it happens I have watched Bloodlines, and rather enjoyed it. But Bloodlines – despite the stellar setting, cast, performances and writing – started a step behind by ‘opening’ the show by showing us how the show’s major element would play out. Not a new technique or scenario, but, in my view, it hurt the show.

    Obviously, you didn’t attach the same importance. But that is just how it goes. Thought I’d let you know.

    • polarbears16 January 3, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

      Thanks for the comment! I do tend to agree with you there about Bloodline; I’m definitely not a fan of that technique for most shows, and I do not feel it added anything to this. I also wasn’t a fan of the final scene of the season. Nevertheless, I was a big fan of the season as a whole, of everything in between. As for Fargo, I’d say it just missed the cut, although I do acknowledge its stellar cast and some great episodes.

  2. Polarbears17 January 3, 2016 at 8:16 pm #

    So with Fargo, does it just not click with you, or do you think it’s actually just a lot more flawed then others? Like, say, with me, I’m not the biggest fan of The Sopranos, yet I still agree with anyone who says it’s one of the all time greats despite the fact that it wouldn’t rank in my top 20 shows.

    • polarbears16 January 4, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

      Doesn’t click for me, I’d say. I can recognize that it’s very very well made though.

  3. Polarbears17 January 3, 2016 at 8:20 pm #

    So with Fargo, does it just not click with you, or do you think it’s actually more flawed then most people?

  4. peggyatthemovies January 4, 2016 at 12:40 am #

    Wow.. I am in on your #1..there hasn’t been a better finale than that one in quite some time.. But I’ve never even heard of Review,..Bojack Horseman??? Nathan for you..Please Like Me & Rick & Morty.. and i watch a lot of TV and know of many shows I don’t watch or have given a try to but decided nah.. that’s 5 shows..hahahahah

    • polarbears16 January 6, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

      Haha yeah, those are much lesser known comedies for sure. But at least we can agree on Justified!!! Love and miss that show so much.

      • peggyatthemovies January 6, 2016 at 3:55 pm #

        I miss it SO MUCH! Timothy Olyphant is an absolute hoot w/Rob Lowe & Fred Savage on The Grinder tho.. he does comedy well.. 😀

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