Gabrielle Bondi’s Top 10 TV Shows of 2015
If this were a top 20 list, I’d be much happier. Peak television is killing me because there is just so much great stuff out there that I want to share. However, for the annual year-end list, I can only pick ten shows that stood out to me as the best. So here we go…
I can’t say that any show surprised me or pulled me in more than Mr. Robot. Besides the superb performances, the story is full of unexpected twists, while being so mind-beingly good. I’m completely riveted by the story and characters, and a lot of it also has to do with how stylistic and cinematic the filmmaking of the show is. Mr. Robot has the whole package: great substance with incredible style.
2. Jane the Virgin (Season 1 & 2)
The best network show is on The CW of all places. It’s one of the most consistent shows, delivering genre-defying antics weekly with great performances grounding the show’s whimsical nature. Anyone who was worried that Jane wouldn’t be as good in its second season are wrong. The writers have upped their game, and it’s still pure joy tuning into this show on Monday nights.
3. The Flash (Season 1 & 2)
This isn’t just me being a CW mega fan. The Flash is one of the most entertaining and ambitious shows on TV. It wears its heart on its sleeve, and god, do you care about these characters. In turn, the writers know how to spin out a story that can leave you going “Whoa!” like a little kid. Grant Gustin is an excellent Barry Allen/Flash, and the supporting cast share a chemistry that makes all of their interactions so much fun, as well as meaningful. It’s far from being totally perfect, but I can’t help but love watching it each week.
4. Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Season 1)
Jessica Jones is some of Marvel’s best work yet. As great as the show’s villain (played by David Tennant) and very intriguing supporting characters are, Krysten Ritter is the standout here, giving Jessica her trademark unapologetic attitude. She carries Jessica Jones even at the character’s best and worst moments. A victim of abuse, this is her journey into better defining her identity, finding that right balance between superhero and her own person. That’s what makes Jessica Jones so watchable and satisfying.
5. The Leftovers (Season 2)
I liked the first season of The Leftovers. The fascinating premise and ensemble of characters were interesting to say the least. However, season 2 is a totally different animal. Much more introspective, thought-provoking and wild, Season 2 is a hell of a ride, rolling out a narrative so uniquely and effortlessly. In many ways, it’s much easier to swallow, but still as uncomfortable to watch. It explores parts of humanity in a way I haven’t seen before. It’s stunning work from Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta.
6. Outlander (Season 1B)
I’m a huge Outlander fangirl, and the second half of its first season was everything I hoped for: romantic, adventurous, horrifying and hopeful. Season 1B did a great job of steering the narrative into a new direction and allowing us to move past the setup and finally see the characters in action, working toward a great goal in terms of plot. It also showcased the cast at their best.
7. Catastrophe (Season 1)
Funny, real and biting, Catastrophe gets it all right. Co-produced and co-written by comedians Sharon Hogan and Rob Delaney, the two star as strangers, who after a couple trysts, get pregnant. The show explores relationships, pregnancy and all the anxieties that come from that and whatever else life throws at you.
8. Better Call Saul (Season 1)
I never watched Breaking Bad, and I do plan to watch “the greatest series of all time” one day. Yet, give me credit for watching Better Call Saul and loving it. I like not knowing a lot about the characters’ future selves, it makes me all the more curious to see an earnest character like Jimmy evolve into someone as infamous as Saul.
9. Master of None (Season 1)
There is so much truth in Aziz Ansari’s Netflix show about a struggling actor’s encounters with family, love, friends and career. Between “Parents,” “Mornings” and “Old People,” Aziz makes much-needed observations of our generation and privilege. While it’s so entertaining, the show also serves as a bit of a wake-up call.
10. Girl Meets World (Season 2)
It might not have been as obvious in its first season, but Girl Meets World is a great show, a worthy follow-up to Boy Meets World. There’s a confidence to the show’s writing that makes it stand apart from many multi-cam sitcoms even outside of Disney Channel. Female friendships portrayed on television are a rare thing. Girl Meets World isn’t just about Riley navigating through life, it’s also about Maya, how two different people can be so in sync and whether the power of love (not always the romantic kind) can trump whatever life throws at you. That was the moral of Boy Meets World. In the form of friendship, the same message of love thrives in Girl Meets World.
Honorable Mentions: Younger (Season 1), Narcos (Season 1), Daredevil (Season 1), The Affair (Season 2), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 1), Empire (Season 1), Orphan Black (Season 3), Rectify (Season 3)