Another year, another batch of great TV shows. While some shows returned with seasons that could rival previous outings – such as Penny Dreadful‘s haunting and terrifying second season -, other series returned only to fizzle out – such as Halt And Catch Fire‘s soapy second season. Other shows debuted with wonderful results, like Marvel shows Daredevil and Jessica Jones, even though both suffered from some of the same flaws. But let’s not delay what you’ve come here for. Here are my top 5 favorite TV shows of the year.
5. FX’s Justified, season 6
Justified‘s fifth season was a mess, which is why it’s such a relief and marvel that the show’s sixth and final installment is such a treat. Everything Justified lovers love is here: the witty banter, the dastardly plots, the playful use of Western tropes, great performances and a lot of genuine emotion. Add surprises and satisfying payoffs to that mix and you have a season that’s not only a return to form, but one of the best seasons in the show’s history. Simply outstanding television and what a way to end the series.
4. AMC’s Mad Men, season 7b
Mad Men season 7b fulfilled the promise of 7a: it closed out the show in fantastic and fascinating fashion. This goodbye to the characters many viewers have grown to love – or at least be incredibly interested in – was done beautifully: the resolutions to the characters’ respective journeys felt entirely organic and earned. What’s more: nothing was telegraphed or ham-fistedly handled, but approached with care and intelligence. Fans really couldn’t have hoped for a better sendoff to one of the greatest TV shows of all time.
3. NBC’s Hannibal, season 3
Another satisfying series finisher, albeit a semi-unintentional one. During the run of Hannibal‘s third season the plug was pulled, but viewers fortunately got to experience this season that can only be described as risky, elegant and often surreal television. Season 3’s two halves – the first focused on the primarily Italy-based hunt for Hannibal Lecter, the second about the rise of gruesome serial killer the Red Dragon – each offered different experiences, while still staying incredibly true to the dark, philosophical and dream-like nature of this terrific show.
2. Netflix’s Better Call Saul, season 1
A Breaking Bad spinoff didn’t seem like such a fine idea to everybody. But once the show aired there was no way around it: Better Call Saul was great, maybe even better than the show it originated from. Carried by Bob Odenkirk’s wonderfully disarming performance, the first season told a truly moving redemption tale. It was a tragicomedy about a man trying to be his best despite himself and his surroundings. While the show started out in a quite lighthearted manner, it quickly became a very layered show that was all about its characters. The result: an incredible season with a harrowing cliffhanger that had TV fans clamoring for more.
1. HBO’s The Leftovers, season 2
The Leftovers‘ second season did something incredible: it gave viewers something new and fresh while still undeniably being The Leftovers. It got rid of the first season’s setting, introduced a whole slew of new faces in a new town, and made things even weirder – which is saying something, considering the show is about the unexplainable disappearance of two percent of the world’s population. The results were nothing short of stellar: each and every character was explored in interesting and intriguing ways, and the show’s themes were explored through both very human experiences and beautifully surreal scenarios. Season 2 truly solidified The Leftovers as one of the most unique, intelligent and moving shows out there, and gave Twin Peaks fans something to help tide over the wait for that show’s 2017 revival. In short: The Leftovers‘ second run is must-see TV.
There you have it; my picks for 2015’s best TV-shows. But what are yours? Comment below to let me know.