YEAR IN REVIEW: Top 20 TV Shows of 2015

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By Michael Cherrito
  1. BLOODLINE – Season 1 (Netflix)
bloodline-premiere Kyle Chandler, Sam Shepard and Ben Mendelsohn, I’m in. This show could have been about raking sand in the Bahamas and I would have watched these three actors do it. Stumbles a bit towards the end, but one of the better shows Netflix has put out. Why You Should Watch: Kyle Chandler, Kyle Chandler, and Kyle Chandler. 19. MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE – Season 1 (AMAZON) the-man-high-castle-main_header-1764x700 What if we had lost WW2 and the U.S. was split into two territories by Japan and Germany? The concept is fascinating. A really cool reimagining of what New York as “New Berlin” would have looked like, the politics between the Japanese and the Germans being the most interesting part of the show. It’s definitely worth watching. Why You Should Watch: Watching the politics between Germany and Japan evolve into its own cold war.
  1. GAME OF THRONES – Season 5 (HBO)
Game-of-Thrones-header  Game of Thrones, love it or hate it, has changed television. It brings a big budget epic to the small screen with, usually, a well-told story. This season stumbled a bit with short-ended plot lines, under par visuals (with the exception of a battle scene of which it’s quality you would be hard pressed to match anywhere on the big screen), and tried to make it up with an eye-rolling cliffhanger finale. Only because we all really know that Jon Snow isn’t dead. Why You Should Watch: At this point, not to be left out of every water cooler conversation.
  1. YOU’RE THE WORST – Season 2 (FX)
ytw An excellent show that’s flown under the radar for the first two seasons. You’re the Worst looks at the reality of relationships between self-absorbed people in modern Los Angeles/Hollywood. The second season took an unexpected turn dealing with depression within a relationship and how the opposite partner deals with it. This probably doesn’t make it sound funny, but that’s part of the genius. High hopes for this show in the future. Why You Should Watch: The Halloween episode!!!  
  1. THE AMERICANS – Season 3 (FX)
maxresdefault A cool and very under-watched show about a suburban family of undercover spies for the Soviet Union living in 1980s Cold War Washington, D.C. The premise is great and I give it props for subtly developing plot and then seeing it through. That being said, it does drag at points. Kerri Russell of Felicity fame is off the charts. Why You Should Watch: The soundtrack and 1980s setting are legit.  
  1. PARKS AND REC – Final Season (NBC)
parks-and-recreation-season-7-netflix-1024x576 The last truly great network sitcom. This show made the careers of almost its entire cast: Amy poehler, Chris Pratt, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza… It gave Rob Lowe a career again for god’s sake! This show could not have had a better final season and thankfully went out with a bang. Pour out some liquor to celebrate. Why You Should Watch: Literally no reason not to.  
  1. THE JINX – Miniseries (HBO)
jinx  This shit was crazy, and if you haven’t seen it I don’t want to spoil it for you. This is a crime documentary at its best. Robert Durst’s killing spree spanned three decades and it’s wild to think that he wanted to do this documentary considering the outcome. Why You Should Watch: Watching these guys re-investigate 30 years of evidence and bring it to its shocking conclusion.  
  1. HANNIBAL – Final Season (NBC)
mads-mikkelsen-hannibal-buffet-froid I know, a T.V. remake of the characters and stories from the Hannibal Lecter movies and books sounds like another terrible, lazy idea. For most, Hannibal was nailed into the social psyche by Anthony Hopkins portrayal in the 90s and early 2000s; for others (probably only me) it was Michael Mann’s excellent and underrated 1986 Manhunter. I loved this show. I couldn’t believe that it lasted three seasons on network television; it’s absolutely disgusting, but in a good way. The art direction is outstanding. Mads Mikkelson takes a character that’s been done to death and does something completely authentic and o’ so creepy. I will knock the final season a bit here; it was the worst of the three in my opinion. That being said there are talks of a movie in the future (as the finale leaves you on an uncertain note) that I would love to see. Bravo to NBC for putting something like this on T.V. Though a failure technically, I hope it paves the way to up the quality that networks put out in the future. Why You Should Watch: The art direction is second to none. The way the show runners humanized cannibalism is shocking  
  1. TRUE DETECTIVE – Season 2 (HBO)
true-detective-season-2-ep2-ss05-1280 I didn’t hate it like everyone else did. I’m pretty sure that the season executed exactly as intended, like it or not. Yes, the show needed another creative head whether that’s a single director (the excellent Carey Fukunaga who helmed season 1), or a writer’s room. Regardless, top notch acting, production, cool story, and Colin Farrell in a bolo tie.? Yes. For all of its storytelling shortcomings (and there were a few) Nic Pizzolatto is probably the most ambitious show runner and writer in the industry right now. I will always applaud someone trying to push the medium. Why You Should Watch: If you’re a fan of La Detective noir, Chinatown, Touch of Evil, etc.  
  1. SILICON VALLEY – Season 2 (HBO)
Silicon-Valley-Cast-Logo  A hilarious take on the Tech World in Northern California. Show made me smile in the first season, but actually made me laugh in the second. Props to Mike Judge—I’m glad you had something else up your sleeve besides Beavis and Butthead. Why You Should Watch: Russ Hanneman  
  1. DAREDEVIL – Season 1 (Netflix)
dbfc67b8554757a0d65bd5c1e2215b94f4f99c12 People freak on this show. It’s a little overhyped, but I’m interested to see how it evolves. Mainly it was nice to see a Marvel property with some blood and grit, something outside of the Robert Downey JR. formula that’s getting done to death in the theatres. Why You Should Watch: Rosario Dawson as the Night Nurse.  
  1. VEEP – Season 4 (HBO)
veepseason3  Caught onto Veep late, but it might be the funniest show on T.V. right now. Like Parks and Rec, this is truly an ensemble comedy with everyone pulling their weight. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss is charmingly stupid as the titular VP. This show reminds me of the best seasons of the Office with more edge. Why You Should Watch: I don’t even know where to start.  
  1. SHOW ME A HERO – Miniseries (HBO)
show-me-a-hero-oscar-isaac A heartbreaking look at the true story of Nick Wasicsco, the youngest mayor elected to office in U.S. History. One of the many great things about David Simon (writer and creator of The Wire) is the way he approaches situations that affect social culture in such large ways, and with this current government, most of the time there is no right choice. I loved this miniseries, and who knew that Yonkers was ever a nice area? Did I mention it has Oscar Isaac in the lead? Why You Should Watch: Jon Bernthal chews up scenery in the small but memorable role as NAACP Lawyer, Michael Sussman,  
  1. BETTER CALL SAUL – Season 1 (AMC)
better-call-saul A very appropriate prequel to Breaking Bad. Why You Should Watch: More Mike Ehrmentrout.  
  1. THE KNICK – Season 2 (MAX)
Watch-The-Knick-Streaming As it sits now, this is the final season of The Knick. If that holds true, my hat is off. Watch it until the end and soak it all in. It’s a perfect example of an auteur like Soderbergh getting the opportunity to paint with different colors, in most cases that color is Clive Owen. Why You Should Watch: Where to start… from the ensemble to its direction to its slightly techno score. 5.HALT AND CATCH FIRE Season 2 (AMC) HaltandCatchFire-full A fascinating case study of a show that made a pivot from a mediocre season 1. Changing its focus from the two main male characters (one of which is a perfect Patrick Bateman knockoff, and I mean that in the best possible way) to the two female characters is unprecedented and it works. This show was without a doubt originally pitched as “Mad Men but in the 80s, and instead of marketing, it’s computers!” Is it as good as Mad Men? No, but what is? Why You Should Watch: Lee Pace and Mackenzie Davis   4. THE LEFTOVERS – Season 2 (HBO) the-leftovers-teaser-poster   The Leftovers went from being the most depressing show on television to something great. I can’t hype this show enough; it’s an Avant Garde Lost. Like Halt and Catch Fire, the show runners shook up the second season and embraced what made it so interesting in the first place. Mystery. Why You Should Watch: What can’t Justin Theroux do?  
  1. FARGO – Season 2 (FX)
lvfargo27f-4-web Season 1 was a solid piece of television. But season 2 takes it to another level with mid-western gangsters set in 1979.   Why You Should Watch: Bokeem Woodbine as Mike Milligan MR. ROBOT -- "da3m0ns.mp4" Episode 104 -- Pictured: (l-r) Christian Slater as Mr. Robot, Rami Malek as Elliot -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/USA Network)
  1. MR. ROBOT – Season 1 (USA)
  I wrestle with this ranking because Mr. Robot could very well be the best show to come out this year. For the record, I was talked out of positioning it at #1. This show came out of nowhere, out of the ethos if you will. From a network that’s typically known for Blue Sky Programing that mostly appeals to a larger, vanilla demographic, Mr. Robot does not fit the bill. It’s shocking and well executed. A love letter to the 90s and the generation that grew up within its decade, and I can’t remember being this impressed with a freshman season since Breaking Bad.   Why You Should Watch: Rami Malek as the disturbingly conflicted Elliot. Jon Hamm as Don Draper - Mad Men _ Season 7, Episode 14 - Photo Credit: Justina Mintz/AMC
  1. MAD MEN – Season 7 (AMC)
  It’s the end of an era, the end of something great. There has never been a show like this and I doubt there ever will be. Props to Matthew Weiner for figuring out how to end such an immaculate show the way he did. At least we have re-uns.   Why You Should Watch: Among so, so many reasons, the brilliance of the silver fox sage, Roger Sterling.

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