Monday, December 21, 2015

TQ's Year of TV (2015)

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

(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. 

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