2015 in television was clearly unforgettable: a debut of a new series generating numbers not seen in years; a debate over whether we had “Too Much TV”; we said goodbye to David Letterman and Jon Stewart in late-night; and Donald Trump hijacked the news media (and will continue to do so in 2016.)
As for scripted television, we went into 2015 in “The Golden Age Of TV” and exited in “Peak TV” – all thanks to a FX exec who said “there’s too much television”, referring to the overabundance of quality TV.
So as a result, this year’s top ten list is has nearly turned over from last year’s: only one show (Bob’s Burgers) was on 2014’s list.
Also, yours truly decided to eliminate sporting events from this year’s list as I decided to switch back to “TV” from “content” (sorry Blackhawks, but your Stanley Cup victory would top the list if I hadn’t.)
And while yours truly is a fan of Stephen Colbert, his Late Show just misses the cut. His program needs to improve the second half-hour because it’s becoming a snoozefest.
So let’s countdown the top 10 TV shows of 2015:
10. Marvel’s Agents of Shield (ABC). After a slow start (and a Turkey Award demerit last year), Shield has become must-watch for yours truly, thanks to improved storytelling and deeper character development. Clearly one of the most underrated series on television.
9. Bob’s Burgers (Fox.) Still one of the funniest animated adult series on television.
8. Survivor (CBS). After all this time, still one of the most addicting reality-competition shows on TV.
7. UnReal (Lifetime). A more-than-accurate send-up of what really goes on behind the scenes of reality shows such as The Bachelor.
6. Mad Men (AMC). The final season of this critically-acclaimed, Emmy-winning drama was indeed one of the best – especially the final episode. Instead of stopping at December 31, 1969, the series bolted into the early ’70’s – who knew Don Draper came up with the Coke I Want The World To Song hilltop commercial?
5. Fargo (FX). Topping many critics’ year-end lists, this comedy continued to shine in season two – even with a completely different cast and storyline. This time, the series went way back to 1979 as a husband-and-wife team try to cover up a murder.
4. Daredevil (Netflix) Another underrated series from Marvel, the blind super-hero deals with villains in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. The cinematography is excellent.
3. Empire (Fox). Busting on the scene in January, Empire is a different concept – a serial set in the world of hip-hop with interesting characters and interesting storylines. Ratings in the first season rose every week – unprecedented in this day and age.
2. The Wiz (NBC). The live adaptation of live-musical exceeded expectations – what an enjoyable performance – especially from rising star Shanice Williams.
1. The Jinx (HBO). This groundbreaking series featuring accused murderer Robert Durst is perhaps the most interesting documentary yours truly has ever seen – with a twist at the very end of the series finale which led to his arrest. Amazing!
The Worst of 2015: Much of TV’s worst was covered in the T Dog Media Turkey Awards, so no worst list (besides, no one does those anymore.) But if they were ranked, Heroes: Reborn would be hands down the winner, followed by another revival, ABC’s The Muppets, perhaps the most unfunniest comedy I’ve ever seen.
Other series making the cut include the now-canceled Wicked City, CSI: Cyber, Life In Pieces, Truth Be Told, Bastard Executioner, Best Time Ever (also since canceled), Be Cool Scooby-Doo (Cartoon Network), and Jenny Loves Donny (A&E). Among veteran shows, The Real Housewives of Atlanta gets votes as usual, along with Love And Hip-Hop and ESPN’s First Take. Also getting votes are all of those insipid weekend late-night “lifestyle” shows on NBC (LX TV, George to the Rescue, 1st Look, etc.) Here’s some advice: don’t ever fall asleep during Sunday Night Football. You’ll pay the price.