Monday, December 21, 2015

TQ's Year of TV (2015)

TV related tweet of the year, featured in a post on Bustle

YEAR OF TV 
(my favorite shows of 2015)
2011's post / 2012's post / 2013's post / 2014's life threatening list / 2014's non life threatening list
According to a study put together by FX, there were 409 scripted series on TV in 2015 or nearly double what it was only six years ago. That includes broadcast networks, basic and pay cable networks, and over-the-top content. We’re no longer in the golden age of TV; it’s the Too Much TV era. ~ Uproxx 
2015 was the biggest year yet for PeakTV. Therefore, I have attempted to chronicle my televised viewing in the most comprehensive way possible. My personal rankings are decided by a single question: if two shows have a new episode on my DVR, which would I want to watch before the other? These are my favorite shows. For shows I didn't watch, I also published a List for that topic.

65. Ballers (HBO)
Sports Entourage. A waste of The Rock's magnetism. And I successfully quit it... Until I was bored one lazy Saturday and lazily half-watched back half of the season in three hours while Twitter scrolling.

64. @Midnight (Comedy Central)
Who's G.D. C. do you have to S. to get a RT? [NOTE: I didn't see every episode of this show this year]

63. Saturday Night Live (NBC)
On occasion (host driven) I'll watch an episode, but for the most part I let the collective strength of the internet determine which sketches are worth watching. [NOTE: I didn't see every episode of this show this year]

62. The Comedians (FX)
This show was mercy cancelled. I don't know how it failed with as many amazing talents (like Larry Charles) guiding it.

61. The Walking Dead (AMC)
I'm serious this time sports fans, I'm done with this show. The show has officially "slid under the dumpster" and doesn't deserve my attention. It was only watched to get ahead of spoilers. I'm done.

60. The League (FX)
There was a time when The League (circa season 2 or 3) was outpacing It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. It was that good. It's decline was tough to watch as nearly everyone in the cast (except one actor that I still need more time to forgive) is an amazing comic performer. This was the last season of the show. You were great, but like many fantasy sports players, you weren't cut soon enough.

59. Maron (IFC)
I enjoyed the first season, but the later episodes felt like a bad copy of "West Coast Louie." I lost the will to watch it, similar to how I rarely listen to the WTF podcast nowadays.

58. The Last Man on Earth (Fox)
This show had two seasons in 2015. The pilot episode was amazing. I would have predicted a top 15 ranking based on that direction. But... you can see where its ranked currently.

57. Daredevil (Netflix)
The second episode is glorious. It will pull you through all the later episodes hoping for a return to glory. By the time I discovered it wasn't returning to that level, it was too late and I just chose to complete the season.

56. Jessica Jones (Netflix)
Please continue to read this post. I don't think any other ranking will be as controversial as this, lower than everybody else's, opinion. The plot dragged horribly during its middle episodes and there was no non-serialized episode that could have broken up that slog. I look back at the 25 hours I invested in Marvel TV with regret. I could've used that time to watch all of Rectify or The Knick. Netflix has a 5 picture series deal with Marvel. I won't watch the other two "street heroes" shows or it's encompassing Defenders show either. I'm done with Marvel TV.

55. South Park (Comedy Central)
The season long arc on Outrage Culture proves the show is as relevant as ever. [NOTE: I didn't see every episode of this show this year] 

54. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (Netflix)
There were a lot of good jokes here, and if you liked the movie you should 100% watch this season (especially for Paul Rudd). There was one character that really took me out of it, and it's why I'm ranking it low.

53. Kroll Show (Comedy Central)
It's tough to explain, but I enjoy talking about this show's sketches with other friends more than I did watching it on first viewing. The show didn't get me to laugh out loud much, but if I'm yell singing "L.A. Deli" in public nobody can tell me it's not funny. Nick Kroll moved on, there won't be new episodes - I'm using that as an excuse to bump it down low in the ranks.

52. Hard Knocks: Training Camp (HBO)
Important to note this point marks the shows that I will continue to watch. Their relatively low rank is a consequence of Peak TV and not a reflection of their own great quality. Picture a great golfer who goes out with their best round ever, only to have somebody else light up the course and erase that first golfer from the leader-board? But about HK:TC - the season sucked and was a bore of J.J. Watt pornography. Yet, I know I'll watch it eagerly next year (even after two bad seasons in a row).

51. Man Seeking Woman (FX)
I liked it. Any show that tackles the insanity of courtship has me in their corner. Comedies tend to mature and find their footing in a second season, which means I'll be eagerly watching the new episodes next month.

50. Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC)
Kid Cudi had an impossible task in replacing Reggie Watts. I wonder who Scotty Aux will get next?

49. The Eric Andre Show (Adult Swim)
BEST EPISODE: The Hannibal Buress Show. I still have it on DVR. I cut up video clips for my Instagram. Also, I've used "bird up" as a phrase in my new job and forever thankful nobody knows what it refers to in proper context.

48. Why? With Hannibal Buress (Comedy Central)
If there was a way to merge Eric Andre's show with Hannibal's show it would be a Top 20 show for me. Now that I've typed that previous sentence I realize that's an insane and implausible concept.

47. W/ Bob & David (Netflix)
Honestly, some of the sketches didn't hit with me. But the entire show is worth a watch for the excellent behind the scenes documentary that's also on Netflix. (honorable mention: all of Paul F. Tompkins warm up clips were pure gold!) 

46. Documentary Now! (IFC)
Everyone should watch the the Blue Jean Committee / Catalina Breeze episodes.

45. F is for Family (Netflix)
This is King of the Hill for the 21st Century (while set in the 70s). There are only six half hour episodes and more than worth three hours of your time. It came out last week on Netflix.

44. Girls (HBO)
This show is good enough to almost ruin some of Star Wars for me. I really liked the Hannah in Iowa subplot and for the incredibly NSFW GIF that I can only send to my closest of friends.

43. Key & Peele (Comedy Central)
The final season of an all time classic show (on par with Chappelle’s Show) never stopped with sketches that will live forever in humor and social significance.

42. Banshee (Cinemax)
A bountiful bevy of bonkers braun bullies butts bows brains bars banks bullets boobs burglars bangin-bam-booms brawling blows that was always bananas… BANSHEE!

41. Playing House (USA)
Loving complex characters with the warmest tone of UCB funny that fans of that school have comedy have come to expect.

40. Project Greenlight (HBO)
Always produces horrible movies with entertaining behind the scenes action. It’s clear that the movies exist to fail only to have a great show to document it.

39. House of Cards (Netflix)
What’s the point any more for this show? Hasn’t it accomplished everything it has wanted to / where is it supposed to go from here? It’s not the best show, but it knows how to be entertaining and I’ll be watching as soon as the new episodes are available.

38. Parenthood (NBC)
Last hurrah of the Bravermans. Not as much tears as I expected, but I appreciated the “Six Feet Under Light” finale.

37. Louie (FX)
It’s a sad state of Peak TV in which I’ve grown to the point when I expect greatness here. This is by no means a “number 37 show” but I don’t know what I can drop below it.

36. Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)
If you think this List is insane – I actually watched both seasons of HaCF this year. I had recorded the entire first season and left it dormant and unwatched expecting a cancellation to free me of it. However, not only was it surprisingly renewed, the second season is much better than the first.

35. Show Me A Hero (HBO)
For those experiencing The Wire withdraw.

34. Narcos (Netflix)
It was good, okay. I’m not so sure it should have gotten a Golden Globe nomination but I’m also not going to complain too loudy about it.

33. Shameless (Showtime)
Another example of a ranking I can’t believe is past 30 – maybe it’s best season to date. I know I say this every year, but it bears repeating: More Fiona / Less Frank / More Fiona / Less Frank.

32. True Detective (HBO)
This was fun. The sooner you realized s2 is not s1 (and free yourself of unimaginable expectations) the sooner you would have enjoyed it. This was a cop story that was very cop heavy with all the many cops in it acting copy with other cops as cops are cop to do.

31. Hannibal (NBC)
If I was a cheesy TV review (which I believe I am), I think all who watched Hannibal were quite full and satisfied after our helpings of this show. Sure we could have consumed more portions, but it’s not necessary. Compliments to the chef.

30. The Meltdown with Jonah & Kumail (Comedy Central)
The best showcase of stand up comedy I’ve ever seen on television. It gets the fun of the green room right, the experimentation only a small club WITH A RECEPTIVE AUDIENCE can produce and top notch talent every week. A victory for the medium.

29. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
The theme song is in your head now, right? You’re welcome.

28. Homeland (Showtime)
Here’s a good show that I want cancelled. How much more Carrie Cry Face can we all endure? How many more times will we get lost in Saul’s beard. Yes it’s fun, yes they haven’t returned to that horrible season 3 level, but why test fate?

27. Broad City (Comedy Central)
My friend helped me understand an aspect of Broad City I wasn’t noticing before he said it: no other show accurately describes the fiscal struggle of young life. It also happens to be fearless and funny. I wish people talked of this show in the same reverence they do with Girls.

26. Sense8 (Netflix)
Give it four full episodes. If you don’t get hooked by then, you’re free to quit it and I won’t question you. But if you’re able to suspend belief and enjoy the ride it’s worth it. This was a year of TV shows giving perspectives that were never seen before, illustrated perhaps the best here with multiple storylines as examples.

25. Bloodline (Netflix)
It's a toss up between this and Sense8 for best drama on Netflix. And also has the best acting performance seen on Netflix this year (hint: it's *not* Coach Taylor)

24. Togetherness (HBO)
This is a real show about real people acting in real ways that is all believable because it feels real.

23. You’re The Worst (FX)
Dramas never seem to accurately portray mental illness. Comedies usually don’t attempt to, or find a way for a miracle cure by its next episode. For a master class example of a character with depression, watch season two of You’re The Worst.

22. Silicon Valley (HBO)
How did they top the dick joke in season one? They did it with a SWOT analysis in season two.

21. Nathan For You (Comedy Central)
There was a slight moment when I thought this season's NFY wasn't going to be good as the others, but that was before "SEX BOX!"

20. Bojack Horseman (Netflix)
Not since The Simpsons have I discovered as many hidden jokes waiting for you upon multiple viewings. I wish I could also rank HSACWDTKDTKTLFO.

19. Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
Everyone needs to see the "12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer" episode that should win every award (that doesn't go to show #3).

18. The Affair (Showtime)
Another show on this List that represents multiple seasons watched. It wasn't on my 2014 List, but then it won a couple Golden Globes (and deservedly so, especially for Ruth Wilson). The second season was just as good.

17. Brooklyn Nine Nine (Fox)
We were blessed to have Parks & Recreation when The Office left, and now we are equally blessed for this precinct posse post Pawnee.

16. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Still the most important show to watch, even if the subject matter wasn't as sexy. And please note that every show (including this one) and yet to be ranked on this List is a top ten show in an freakishly packed era of PeakTV.

15. Mad Men (AMC)
Laughed out loud at the final moment. Mainly because the show for me ended with Peggy's last scene. The show was more about her than Don. Peggy triumphs and Don got thirsty on the coast.

14. Mr. Robot (USA)
Watch this before its second season starts. Yes, I know it's on the USA Network, but this ain't no Lawyers in a Hot Tub show.

13. Justified (FX)
A great final season for a show I used to always call the Best Show Nobody Realizes is a Best Show.

12. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FX)
This is an all time great comedy that I don't think has slowed down in the slightest. The single-shot episode proved it to me. My favorite aspect of the show is how the gang has remained unchanged throughout the years we have known them, yet everyone else that comes into their orbit continues to grow and add new depth to the world created around Paddy's Pub.

11. Rick and Morty (Adult Swim)
I'm happy for smart friends who also watch this show and can converse in its insanity.

10. Review (Comedy Central)
Review is impossible... to review. Every time I read a small synopsis of the show it looks completely stupid and nothing anybody should watch. Do only people aware of Andy Daly's skill watch it? Everyone needs to give it a shot. There hasn't been a show this awkwardly funny since the height of BBC's The Office (or more recently Hello Ladies). Finally, I haven't seen anything this dark since I last saw Requiem For A Dream.

09. Game of Thrones (HBO)
Great season, but good Lord does this show hate women or what?

08. The Jinx (HBO)
If you haven't seen it yet, don't Google anything about it. It will take you less than six hours to watch and has the best finale of any show on this List.

07. Parks and Recreation (NBC)
Canoe in peace, Ron Swanson. And an amazing series finale that took the "Six Feet Under Ending" with the funny angle I didn't know was possible.

06. The Leftovers (HBO)
Next season's third season will be its last. Please take the effort to watch its first 20 episodes before its last 10 air a year from now. It is a tough watch at times, it may make you depressed, but the show is not about why it makes you feel the way it does - the show is about how you have to deal with that feeling.

05. Better Call Saul (AMC)
Holy shit, the "Five-O" episode gave us a bonus episode of Breaking Bad! Not gonna lie about how nervous I was about this show before it debuted (impossible task?). Any anxiety I had was instantly calmed in the black and white and Cinnabun series opening.

04. Master of None (Netflix)
"How much is Master of None paying you to promote it?" - my friend responding to my nonstop talk of it on social media in the week after it was released. It's become my new "oh, you're also cool if you liked this show" litmus test.

03. Veep (HBO)
If the 1992 United States Men's Olympic Basketball team was a comedy series, it would be Veep. It is deserving of every award it wins.

02. The Americans (FX)
I loved its first season and thought its second season was even better. In 2015 its third season was better by a wider difference. It sat at the #1 spot for more than half the year until a late surge from it's channel mate knocked it off. There is moment IN THE MIDDLE of this season that I want to talk to you about right now, but I know most don't watch this show and I won't spoil it here. FX is horrible with people trying to catch up. It's not on Netflix (Hulu / Amazon: yes).

01. Fargo (FX)
This entire List has been in my mind all year. The first draft was written in October, with Fargo just inside the top ten (based on reputation earned from it's great debut season). With every episode I had to reconsider where I ranked it. It kept moving higher and higher. Some shows have a plot that drags in its middle (Looking in your direction Marvel messes), but not this one. Every episode in the back half felt like a finale. Fargo season 2 is what many wanted True Detective season 2 to achieve. An entirely different tale with a new cast that achieved higher ground. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

TQ's Top 15 IG Posts of '15

I'm @tomqu on Instragram. These aren't the most liked posts, or even the best quality, but they are my favorites. [past years: 2014, 2013]
 
#15
A photo posted by TQ (@tomqu) on
 

#14
A photo posted by TQ (@tomqu) on


#13


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#11
A photo posted by TQ (@tomqu) on


#10
A photo posted by TQ (@tomqu) on


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A photo posted by TQ (@tomqu) on


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A photo posted by TQ (@tomqu) on


#7
A photo posted by TQ (@tomqu) on


#6
A photo posted by TQ (@tomqu) on


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A photo posted by TQ (@tomqu) on


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#2
A photo posted by TQ (@tomqu) on


#1
A photo posted by TQ (@tomqu) on

Friday, December 18, 2015

TQ's Year of TV (20 shows I did not watch in 2015)


http://www.jakelowephotography.com/explosions/

YEAR OF TV (20 shows I did not watch in 2015)
  • My favorite shows (ranks 60-41 [will publish on Monday])
  • My favorite shows (ranks 40-21 [will publish on Tuesday])
  • My favorite shows (ranks 20-01 [will publish on Wednesday])
2011's post / 2012's post / 2013's post / 2014's life threatening list / 2014's non life threatening list


2015 was the biggest year yet for PeakTV. Therefore, I have attempted to chronicle my televised viewing in the most comprehensive way possible. My personal rankings are decided by a single question: if two shows have a new episode on my DVR, which would I want to watch before the other? These are my favorite shows.

As as you will see: although I have attempted to watch everything, there are still more shows that I didn't see for various reasons. Here are 20 TV shows that are either on my radar, stopped watching, or ran out of 2015 to see before this post.


Transparent (Amazon): I don't have Amazon Prime. I know it's a show I want / need / have to watch. Please accept my apologies.

Rectify (Sundance): When I look back at the worse shows I watch, I regret that I'm not using that time for this show I'm very curious to see. None of it has been spoiled for me.

Casual (Hulu): I don't have Hulu. This show looks great and right up my alley.

The Knick (Cinemax): Of all the shows on this list, this one is the most likely to get promoted.

The Incredibly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (IFC): A show I very much want to watch all seasons.

UnREAL (Lifetime): I quit on it. Not for lack of quality, but other watching priorites eclipsed it. If I didn't hook me deep enough.

Catastrophe (Amazon): Would watch in a heartbeat if I had Amazon. (if you're wondering why I don't... I guess I Have to draw the line somewhere after HBO, Showtime, Netflix...)

The Mindy Project (Hulu): I know this show is good. I know it. I wasn't able to get to it while it was on Fox, and now it's over on Hulu. It's probably even better on Hulu.

The Man in the High Castle (Amazon): I don't have much interest in this show. Which is bad for Amazon because it would be the 3rd show I would watch and it would get me over the hump to get Prime.

Orphan Black (BBC America): I didn't like season 2 as much as season 1, which allowed other shows to get watched ahead of it. The steady stream of PeakTV is leaving this show in the dust.

Masters of Sex (Showtime): I didn't like season 2 as much as season 1, which allowed other shows to get watched ahead of it. The steady stream of PeakTV is leaving this show in the dust.

Orange Is The New Black (Netflix): I didn't like season 2 as much as season 1, which allowed other shows to get watched ahead of it. The steady stream of PeakTV is leaving this show in the dust.

Undateable (NBC): It's pretty sad that I don't watch this when you consider I saw the whole cast's stand up show when they were touring to support its new season. Ron Funches is amazing, but the top two characters on the show... I have a lesser opinion watching.

Children's Hospital (Adult Swim): I know I'll get to this eventually.

Strike Back (Cinemax): Pass. I know I loved 24, but... pass.

Married (FX): People like me (wanted to watch but didn't) is why it got cancelled. Many I know loved it and it's a big 2015 regret.

Archer (FX): I've tried multiple times to get back into this show. It just makes me want to watch Frisky Dingo again.

Bob's Burgers (FX): I know, I'm sorry. Please forgive me.

Portlandia (IFC): At this point, I may continue to avoid this show because of how entertained I am when I see people shocked to discover I don't watch.

Real Rob (Netflix): A great illustration of how my TV and comedy cohabitation. The fact that I know a Curb Your Enthusiasm type show about a forgotten SNL cast member speaks volumes.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The 2015 TQ Music Awards

Music related tweet of the year
Welcome to my annual year end music review post. If you have the patience to read all of it, you will see:
  • My ten awards with winners and runners up
  • Embedded Spotify playlist of my favorite tracks
  • Photos of note I posted to Instagram from the shows I attended
[Previous Year End Reviews: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011]

1. The “Perpetual Repeat” Song of the Year:
"Let It Happen” by Tame Impala
[Runner up: “Loud Places” by Jamie xx]
I almost cheated and went with a tie here (as I almost did in 2011 when “Pumped Up Kicks” narrowly bested “Midnight City”). Tame Impala wins simply because I still remember how I felt when I first heard it, because it’s the way I still feel today. But, it was very close. Normally my "song of the summer" finishes just below the top spot, but not this year (although it’s somewhat close “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” is on the same album as “Loud Places”). Maybe the other great songs pulled attention away from “Loud Places.” It’s also the first time in 5 years I haven’t seen the song I chose performed live.


2. The “Share with All Friends” Album of the Year:
In Colour by Jamie xx
[Runner up: What Went Down by Foals]
Jamie xx's debut album  had my second favorite song of the year ("Loud Places" - which could have been number one if he toured with a live backing band), my song of the summer (“I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)”), and my favorite instrumental track of the year ("The Rest Is Noise"). It won dancing away.

3. The “If Every One Could Be Like This” Concert of the Year:
U2 at United Center
[Runner up: Jamie xx at Concord Music Hall]
The setlist, quality of sound, and production value alone would have easily earned its award. However the amount of extra curricular activities that surrounded it launched it into legendary status. Primarily, I went with three other friends who not only liked U2 unironically, but also love "U Talkin U2 To Me" with as much fervor as I. Secondarily, if I were to make a List of the top Podcast episodes of 2015, the #UTU2TM episode when Scott and Scott reviewed the same concert would top it. Tertiary, my friend and I met Adam Scott and were able to talk U2 To Him Too! Finally, you might have heard my blurt laugh when I saw the tweet embedded at the top of this post.

4. The “Phoenix” Becoming Too Big To Not Easily See Again:
Beach House
[Runner up: Foo Fighters/U2]
I don't know about this award this year. Let's give it to Beach House because they completely skipped Chicago in a year when they released two albums. Note that I am seeing them in early 2016. And let's throw Foo' and U' on the second line because you either have to shell out way above ticket price, get incredibly lucky, or both to see'em.

5. The “Franz Ferdinand” Must Now See Every Time They’re In Town:
My Morning Jacket
[Runner up: Varsity]
My Morning Jacket reached a new level of status in my heart in 2015. They are now a band I will see multiple nights on the same tour. 2016 may be even larger, with a plan that may take me to Red Rocks to see the band I've seen live the most in the venue I've always wanted to experience.

6. The “Bon Iver” Regret of the Year:
not seeing Tame Impala
[Runner up: not seeing Foo Fighters at Wrigley Field]
Damnit. Should've ignored my pride and paid whatever a degenerate was charging. Tame Impala was missed in two cities as I gladly would've gone up to Milwaukee to see that Aussie and his pals. It's the first time in many years that I failed in seeing my Song of the Year in person.

7. The “Medulla” Most Disappointing Album:
+ - by Mew
[Runner up: Ghost Modern by Geographer]
I'm considering assigning Mew and Geographer the same status as Diarrhea Planet: Amazing bands I will always catch live but won't spend too much time listening to their recordings.

8. The “Should I Quit You” Most Disappointing Concert:
Anything at Metro
[Runner up: My conversation with a drunken Ben Folds in a hip Nashville bar]
It's getting to the point when I'm disappointed when I see a favorite band announce a Metro show. I don't know if the sound quality of the venue has decreased, or my aural maturity has become spoiled by the newer and sound-superior venues such as Lincoln Hall and Thalia Hall.

9. The “Shadenfradue” Guilty Pleasure Track of the Year:
"I Didn’t Just Come here To Dance" by Carly Rae Jepsen
[Runner up: "Hotline Bling" by Drake]
No maybe about it, CarRaeJep released an amazing album in 2015. Drake's mention is 100% because I sing along to it with the words "Hotmail Bing" because that may have been the best joke of 2015 I wish I had written.

10. The "Buy an iPod stereo for the car" Best Decision I made in 2015:
Going to the Tomorrow Never Knows festival for the first time
[Runner up: Making the push of GA or bust for U2, and not settling for seated ticket]
A funny tweet of mine won me VIP passes to TNK Fest, which I had never previously attended. It got my butt out to concerts during the dead of winter.



This past year I fell in love with The List App and made a few music themed Lists:
TQ Appreciation Music Fest (Chicago, TBD)
Top 20 Favorite Concerts
Chicago Music Venues Ranked
Songs First Heard in a TV/Movie That Became An Instant Favorite

Top '15 Albums of '15
My Year in Music: Via Spotify (Top Artists)



Thank you very much for reading. To close, here is the concert log (through IG posts) from 2015:
Operators
Protomatyr

Alvvays

Sylvan Esso

Diarrhea Planet

Sayers

American Football

Carnival of Fun

Geographer

My Morning Jacket

My Morning Jacket

Future Birds / Best Coast
U2

Moullinex

Wicker Park Fest
Delta Spirit

Varsity

Destroyer

Patrick Watson

Mew

Jamie xx

Skylar Spence

Varsity (as The Strokes)

Car Seat Headrest