Every year, I reflect on what entertainment from the previous year I enjoyed the most. I do this so that others may find something they didn’t previous know about or wasn’t sure it would be worth their time. I, of course, didn’t see every movie, watch every TV show, or read every comic. With that disclaimer in mind, here are my favorite TV shows of 2015.
Master of None (Netflix) – I was a big fan of Parks and Recreation, so, when I heard Aziz Ansari was staring in a new show for Netflix, I was immediately intrigued. Master of None follows Dev, Ansari’s character, who is an actor trying to make it in New York. The show plays as a reflection on Ansari’s real life as a struggling actor/comedian trying to find his place in the world. Also starring Noel Wells as Rachel as Dev’s girlfriend, Rachel and Dev’s relationship centers the show and is the strength of the story. Ansari’s real-life parents star as themselves, and Master of None dives into their struggle of coming to America and teaching Dev his cultural background. If you’re looking for something funny, yet heartwarming and real, I recommend giving Master of None a shot.
American Crime (ABC) – This new series on ABC, features some of the best acting on network television. American Crime is a raw look at racial tensions in America. The show pushes buttons and looks at how relationships between races are still very different, both literally and by perspective. The show illustrates the ripple affect that one decision can have on multiple families and lives and how race plays a part in those decisions. Some of the best acting is on display from actors such as Timothy Hutton, Felicity Huffman, and Caitlin Gerard. Regina King and Elvis Nolasco highlight the best of the group with truly powerful performances. American Crime is back for season two in 2016 with most of the same cast, but telling a completely different story. You can find it on ABC and ABC on demand.
The Leftovers (HBO) – The Leftovers was the show that displayed the biggest improvement from the previous season. I enjoyed season one but season two took what season one did well, focused it, and told a more concise story. Season two also made me care more deeply for the characters and want them to make it through the trying times. The Leftovers revolves around mysterious disappearances, world-wide, and specifically follows a group of people who are left behind in the suburban community of Mapleton. They must begin to rebuild their lives after the loss of their family members and friends and why some were taken and why they were left behind. I'm very interested to see where they take the storyline for season three, which will be the show’s final season.
Sense8 (Netflix) - Sense8 is the first TV show from the Wachowskis who are famous for The Matrix movies and Jupiter Ascending. It follows a group of people around the world who are mentally linked to each other, and must find a way to survive being hunted by those who see them as a threat. The show’s strength is its character development and how the writing draws you into their lives. I watched it all the episodes in one day because it was so gripping. It definitely isn’t for everyone but the mix of great characters with a sci-fi overtone really appealed to me. I would recommend giving the first episode a chance and if it grabs you like it did me, you are in for treat.
The Affair (Showtime)–The Affair spread its wings in season two. Season one focused on an affair between two married people and how it affected the lives of their families. This is done through two different segments in each episode, each one from a different character's point of view. In season two, the writers expanded to show four points of view by adding the ex-spouses. By adding these views, it allowed for a better perspective of the collateral damage of the affair. Dominic West and Ruth Wilson give outstanding performances as the people in the affair and Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson give equally powerful performances as the ex-spouses.
Hannibal (NBC) – Hannibal is one of those special shows that comes along so rarely. So many times while watching this show, I couldn’t believe it existed and was on national television. Brian Fuller, who created another amazing, underappreciated show, Pushing Daisies, took the Hannibal Lector universe and created the best interpretation of Hannibal to date. So many times, what was on screen was both grotesque and beautiful at the same time. It was also the most beautiful cooking show on television. Mads Mikkelson as Dr. Lecter gave a layered performance and Hugh Dancy as Will Graham along with Lawrence Fishburne as Jack Crawford, show how difficult relationships with Dr. Lecter can be. Hannibal was not only my favorite show this year but also one of my favorites of all time. I cannot recommend it enough. Unfortunately, it isn’t available online but you can purchase the entire series on Blu-Ray for about $45.
That wraps up my best of 2015 list of TV shows. I, of course, love other popular shows like Game of Thrones and Walking Dead, but I wanted to highlight some shows that don’t have the popularity that I think they deserve.
Come back next week, as I turn my focus to movies from 2015.