I could have done a top 20 TV shows of 2015 because this year was so damn impressive for television…. I haven’t seen this many great television series in one year – ever.
Almost made the cut and maybe should have because all of these shows were so awesome in 2015: The Flash, The Leftovers, Silicon Valley, Into The Badlands, The Walking Dead, Ash Vs. Evil Dead, Jessica Jones, iZombie, Master of None, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Narcos.
#10. The Knick
Clive Owen is so much fun to watch. Whether he’s spiralling out of control during a cocaine fuelled all-night research binge or he’s in front of an audience about to perform surgery – ON HIMSELF. He’s a fucking lunatic. This series is very much an ensemble piece but Owen is such a great performer that whenever he enters the scene, he owns it so hard. I can’t think of too many better leading men in television this year. The Knick season two was better than the first and the first was brilliant television. I have no idea how the show will go on after it concluded so wonderfully but I’m happy at the prospect of more episodes. Read my full review HERE.
#9. The Strain
Most of season two has him on the hunt for a mysterious old nook called the Occido Lumen, which holds the key to defeating the master and his vampiric army. I loved the rivalry between Abraham and Thomas Eichorst this season – so much hate between these two. Richard Sammel has nearly an entire episode in which we dive into Eichorst’s past to find out how he became a Nazi general and it was one of the strongest of the season. I appreciate tremendously how they’re letting Sammel shine as this wonderful villain by bringing him right into the forefront. Is the master around? Sure he is – looks different, but it doesn’t matter – Eichorst is the true big bad. Read my full review HERE.
This was the first time I actually binged a Netflix television series. Spartacus showrunner Steven DeKnight did such a tremendous job helming Marvel’s best television outing to date and “dare” I say it’s most mature and finest offering to date since Iron Man. The performances, the action and everything inbetween were all pitch perfect in the most gritty offering yet for Marvel. I can’t wait for season two (THE PUNISHER DUDE! THE PUNISHER (read about The Punisher here).
#7. Game of Thrones
I was feeling really down on the fifth season until episode seven when it started to pick up, but it wasn’t until eight ‘Hardhome’ that I officially got back on board. A fleeting reference in the novel was ultimately adapted into what I think is the series’ greatest episode as Jon Snow and the wildlings fight for their lives against an army of the undead and a war party of white walkers. It was astounding television, rivaling most if not all feature films in 2015. Read my full review HERE.
#6. Ray Donovan
After last season saw Terry Donovan arrested during Mickey’s botched robbery, we catch up with the former boxing gym manager turned inmate as he tries to stay alive in prison. Eddie Marsan’s supporting performance this season as Terry was magnificent and likely the actor’s strongest work to date. He runs the gamut from broken man, violent aggressor, all the way to someone struggling with a disease that he knows is rapidly deteriorating him. We all love Terry and this was the best season for Terry by leaps and bounds. Read my full review HERE.
Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan have created a show that, although lives firmly in the BREAKING BAD universe, is able to stand entirely on its own merits as a great drama. There was talk that the series was constantly being re-written so that it wouldn’t wind up having a more comedic tone and because of the more serious edge, BETTER CALL SAUL has transformed into a work of genius. Not to say there aren’t their fair share of funny moments because there certainly is, but the show carries a much more dramatic flair than we were all led to believe it would have when first announced years ago. Read my full review HERE.
#4. Rick and Morty
It’s time to get schwifty… Take off your pants and your panties… Take a shit on the floor.. Time to get schwifty in heeeeere. Rick and Morty season 2 has come to a close after dominating televisions everywhere with a stellar 10 episodes unlike anything else currently on the air. Funny, moving and downright absurd, Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland have put everything they have into this series and have done such a tremendous job that simply calling Rick and Morty an animated comedy isn’t good enough — you should all be referring to it as the best animated comedy series OF ALL TIME. Read my full review HERE.
#3. Black Sails
Perhaps the world building and slow burn nature of the debut season was all for a good cause because now we can play around in this pirate world and really shake it up after establishing the rules. Major character death, gorgeous set pieces, incredibly satisfying drama and brutal action has entrenched itself upon this series and transformed it into one of the best shows on television. Read my full review HERE.
I didn’t expect Fargo to be as powerful as The Sopranos, as action packed as Banshee and as cleverly written as Breaking Bad. But it was. The music selections too – my god – the use of War Pigs by Black Sabbath in the finale? That might be the best use of music in a television series all year. Showrunner Noah Hawley is a madman and the work his team did this season was magical. Read my full review HERE.
Upon hearing that tribal chief Alex Longshadow (Anthony Ruivivar) was murdered in the second season finale, Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers) returns to the small town of Banshee to wreak havoc and start a violent race war against rival gangsters and the local authorities. Segers’ portrayal of Chayton was one of the most memorable chunks of season two so his promotion from that of recurring to a starring role was a most welcome change. Segers has delivered one of the finest villains to ever grace our televisions as Chayton went from being scary last year, to downright terrifying in 2015. His grudge match with Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) was the driving force of the season, with a conclusion so shockingly violent that my jaw literally hit the floor. Read my full review HERE.
Top 5 Performances By Leading Actor
#5. Patrick Wilson – Fargo
#4. Toby Stephens – Black Sails
#3. Liev Schreiber – Ray Donovan
#2. Clive Owen – The Knick
#1. Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul
I was under the impression that Better Call Saul was going to be more of a comedic outing than Breaking Bad, but that was certainly not the case. Bob Odenkirk delivered such a powerful performance as Saul Goodman that I’m officially convinced that people who start their careers in funny-guy roles eventually wind up becoming the most brilliant dramatic actors (remember Malcolm in the Middle?)
Top 5 Performances By Leading Actress
#5. Eva Green – Penny Dreadful
#4. Carrie Coon – The Leftovers
#3. Jessica Lange – American Horror Story: Freak Show
#2. Caitriona Balfe – Outlander
#1. Lena Headey – Game of Thrones
Forget the fact that some weirdos were a little disappointed that Lena Headey used a nude body double for her agonizing walk of shame sequence this past season of Game of Thrones… Her performance this year was spot-on. She was conniving, evil and eventually sympathetic which blows my mind considering every fan would love to see her get dead sooner than later but we still didn’t think she deserved “that”. Brutal. SHAME! (rings a bell)
Top 5 Performances By Supporting Actor
#5. Kevin Carroll – The Leftovers
#4. Chris Sullivan – The Knick
#3. Eddie Marsan – Ray Donovan
#2. Zahn McClarnon – Fargo
#1. Jonathan Banks – Better Call Saul
The episode where we learn what happened in Mike’s past (the crooked cops and his son) was one of the year’s most impressive hours of television and just may be one of the greatest episodes in all of the Breaking Bad universe. When Jonathan Banks is speaking with his daughter-in-law and he breaks down….. Just unbelievable…
Top 5 Performances By Supporting Actress
#5. Maisie Williams – Game of Thrones
#4. Billie Piper – Penny Dreadful
#3. Clara Paget – Black Sails
#2. Kirsten Dunst – Fargo
#1. Melissa McBride – The Walking Dead
Even though The Walking Dead can be hit or miss at times in the most extreme of ways, Melissa McBride’s performance as Carol is one of the most fascinating character arcs in all of television. She’s went from meek abuse survivor to a chick who can kick Rambo’s ass. McBride is one of the most powerful women on television and I love what she’s done with this role year after year.
Top 5 Scores
#5. Black Sails – Bear McCreary
#4. The Knick – Cliff Martinez
#3. Outlander – Bear McCreary
#2. Game of Thrones – Ramin Djawadi
#1. The Leftovers – Max Richter
Max Richter delivered my favorite score of 2014 with The Leftovers season one and he’s done the same in 2015. I love the music choices and score that this bizarre television drama has and as weird as the show can get, the music always reassures me to hang in there and it’s easily one of it’s most captivating features. The use of ‘Where is My Mind’ in season two was genius.
Top 5 Opening Title Sequences
#2. American Horror Story: Freakshow
#1. The Leftovers
The drastic change in The Leftover’s opening credit roll was one of the best decisions that the show could have made this season. Using Iris DeMent’s “Let the Mystery Be,” set to various still images of loved one’s disappearing was both jarring and beautiful in it’s own nightmarish kind of way. I didn’t skip the intro song once this season – I loved it.