2015 was a big year for TV. From the return of Kevin Spacey as everyone’s favorite cunning and crooked politician, President Frank Underwood, in House of Cards, to the debut of what appears to be everyone’s new favorite tattooed darling, Jane Doe (played by the beautiful and infinitely talented Jaimie Alexander) from NBC’s new #1 hit show Blindspot. There was the widely discussed (and argued about) new season of Game of Thrones, as well as the end of brilliant dramas Mad Men and Parenthood. Read on to see what shows were at the top of our “Must Watch” lists this year!
Game of Thrones
It was an Emmy award winning year for my favorite show, and with good reason. Not everyone agrees with my belief that Season 5 was better than the previous season, but I much preferred each story arc moving at a consistent pace instead of the Season 4 structure that relied on big moments to keep us interested while characters spent the rest of the time doing nothing.
This season also produced “Hardhomme” (episode 8), one of the best episodes the show has ever done, and another jaw dropping moment at its conclusion, the kind viewers of Game of Thrones have come to expect.
Better Call Saul
If you were a fan of “Breaking Bad,” then you must start following this prequel series (assuming you haven’t already) that aired its first season in 2015 about the lawyer who laundered all that money for Walt and Jessie.
The style that made “Breaking Bad” one of the greatest (if not the greatest) shows of all time is maintained throughout the ten episode season. Of course, Bob Odenkirk owns the role of Saul (or Jimmy McGill as he’s called at this point in his life). But the highlight of the season is Jonathan Bank’s portrayal of Mike Ehrmantraut, the enforcer for Gus Fring and Walter White on “Breaking Bad.” The episode presenting Mike’s backstory during “Better Call Saul’s” first season was one of the best hours of television in 2015.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tina Fey’s Netflix original about a woman adjusting to modern life after spending the last fifteen years living underground was the best comedy of 2015. The comedic commentary on modern trends, a staple of Fey’s productions, raises its game to a higher level than even “30 Rock” was able to do. Ellie Kemper (who’s previously known for playing Erin Hannon on the Office) gives her breakthrough performance as a lead actress with her portrayal of Kimmy. And Kemper’s chemistry with her costars (Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane, Jane Krakowski) paints a surprisingly accurate picture of how a person overcoming her situation would handle it while keeping us laughing all the way through the journey.
I’m a DC guy. The comics AND the shoes. I like to buy mine from Shoe Carnival because they have such good deals! I buy my comics from Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million though. They also have such good deals! Anyway, I was really excited when Supergirl came out cause there’s never been a TV show that focused only on a female super hero and I felt it was about dang time! Melissa Benoist plays Kara/Supergirl and she’s just fantastic! My only complaint, and it’s really a small one, is that she’s almost TOO pretty. I really wish there wasn’t such an emphasis on looks and status cause I feel it takes away from the characters personalities. Like, why can’t Supergirl have like a big birthmark on her face, and a limp or something. Maybe she’s even in a Hoveround and does her superheroing in between renting movies from the library and selling little dolls she makes out of cardboard toilet paper rolls and yarn at the Farmer’s Market. I’m just saying, I’d watch the hell outta that show.
I’m sad because this one recently got canceled and I really loved it. I’m not married so I didn’t really relate to most of it, but it was still really funny. Also, it had Judy Greer and she really grinds my gears. I used that correctly right? I’m trying to say I think she’s really pretty and when I look at her I get a funny feeling in my body. I’m sorry. I’m really getting off-track. I’ll try to get back on. Ok… so it’s about this married couple and Judy Greer is the wife and this one episode she was in some lingerie and I was really happy about that. Darnit! I did it again. I promise I’m not objectifying her or anything. I just really appreciate her and respect her as a sexy… I mean TALENTED actress. Ah! Good grief. Just… If you like funny shows then you should watch this one. I have to go Google some stuff.
I’ve never been to Fargo, North Dakota and after watching this show I’m not sure I want to. People keep getting murdered up there! I certainly don’t want to get murdered so I think I’ll just stick to watching this exciting crime show. It’s a little confusing because none of the actors from the first season (Billy Bob Thornton, Bilbo Baggins, and Tom Hanks’ son) are back this season and I’m a little lost but I sure as heck still love it! This time around it’s got Kristen Dundst, Todd from Breaking Bad, and one of the guys from Cheers. I’ve never seen Cheers but I asked Stephen Andrew about it and he just threw an empty whisky bottle at me and muttered something about the boxer Joe Frasier, so I assume it’s about drinking and boxing. Also, someone told me that this show was based on a movie from a while back but I went to a couple Redbox kiosks and didn’t see it so I think they were messing with me.
I watch all the comic book shows. I mean, this site is called “Four Letter Nerd” so you’d pretty much expect that right? I even pretty much really enjoy all of them. The Flash started very strong and has been extremely consistent throughout. Gotham and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. both had rocky moments but I think they’ve both found their way with very precise direction. Oh, and if you haven’t picked up iZombie, you are sincerely missing out on some fantastic television. Then along comes good ol’ Netflix and their partnership with Marvel. First up: Daredevil. A character that by all logic shouldn’t work in this medium of entertainment. But I’ll be damned if this show didn’t absolutely redeem Matty Murdock and his superpower of being blind some of the time. In fact, that’s one of the things that makes the show such a success. They never tried to pull the whole “he’s got sonar vision” crap. I’m looking at you, Daredevil movie from 2003. Another thing that makes it stand out is how relentlessly brutal it is. Like, in one scene, Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk (Kingpin) liquefies a dude’s head with a car door. A F**KING CAR DOOR. The action and the fight scenes are top notch, with some brilliant martial arts choreography. Plus, it really set the bar for what comic book shows, specifically super hero shows, have the potential to be. Gritty and dark. Daredevil doesn’t pull punches, and that’s exactly what we needed. Speaking of not pulling punches…
It wasn’t really long we had to wait for the second installment of the Netflix/Marvel shows (which will continue with Luke Cage and Iron Fist, before bringing all 4 heroes together in a Defenders mini-series). When I first heard that they were doing a Jessica Jones show, I thought, “Surely there are better known, and more well-deserving female characters that they could include here.” Well I happily ate those words after only about 5 minutes into the show. Because season 1 of Jessica Jones is best season of a comic book/super hero show that I have ever watched. The story is intense, it paces perfectly, and the acting performances are fantastic. For me, there’s no better villain than David Tenant’s Kilgrave, The Purple Man. He was just so despicably and deplorably captivating. There are moments where they give you backstory that almost, not quite but almost, make you feel sorry for him, and then it’s right back into “oh no this guy is a walking bag of rabid ferrets”. The star of the show, Krysten Ritter, is flawless. She perfectly captures the cold, hardened attitude of Jessica while also showing us those vulnerabilities that she doesn’t even want to have, let alone allow people see. If you haven’t watched it yet then you need to go right now and start. Netflix killed it with this one. Speaking of Netflix and killing…
Making a Murderer
That may seem like a cheesy transition to you guys but I’ve had a couple shots of whiskey and so it’s probably the peak of my creativity at this point. (If you skipped my other entries and are just reading this one, then you missed a whole thing and you’re gonna need to go back and get caught up. We’ll wait…) Anyway, back to the business at hand.
THIS SHOW IS THE MOST COMPELLING THING I’VE WATCHED IN I DON’T KNOW HOW LONG. Sorry. The caps lock was stuck. But that doesn’t make the urgency of the above sentence any less crucial. Making a Murder is a 10 part documentary series that I binged watched in an entire day. Dead serious. I was that enthralled. I don’t want to give away too much, so I’ll just post the Wikipedia summary.
Making a Murderer is an American web television series which first streamed on Netflix on December 18, 2015. The first season recounts the story of Steven Avery, a man who was imprisoned for sexual assault and attempted murder, and who was later exonerated, only to be subsequently accused of the murder of Teresa Halbach. The series was filmed over the course of ten years, with the creators moving back and forth from New York to Wisconsin during filming
I’ve never had a TV show, or a documentary for that matter, have me so compelled and infuriated at the same time. It really coveys what type of corruption and injustice can fester when small town law enforcement and judicial systems function without appropriate accountability.
If you don’t have Netfilx but you’re interested, you can watch the first episode on YouTube. I urge you to at least give it a chance to grab your attention. If you get sucked in you’ll be on one crazy, real-life roller coaster.