Monday, 21 December 2015

The Top Ten Shows of 2015

TV is really awesome right now. Seriously, you guys, it’s so good right now. Have you seen it? The shows? From the TV? It’s really good! There are more good shows now than I can remember all existing at once in my entire lifetime (and I am one hundred and eighty-two years old). There is almost an oversaturation of quality shows being produced, most likely due to the new streaming platforms of Netflix, Hulu, and the likes. But while still having to bow to advertisers like the nasty little subservient whores they are, they are not so obfuscated by hack television network executives and Neilsen’s ratings bullshit, and therefore are drawing unique talents to make original programs that wouldn’t survive on NBC or CBS. And Cable programming (HBO, Showtime, even FXX) are still bringing it with super great shows.
TV is awesome right now, you guys, that’s all I’m saying. (Also, binge watching is awesome. Let’s just all accept it, and accept that as a culture, we would all rather lie in bed watching nine hours of one TV show than actually having to go interact with other humans. Ugh, just the thought…I have a bad taste in my mouth.)
I quickly became overwhelmed when going through the TV shows and seasons released in 2015, realizing that parsing this massive list of wonderful programming would be a daunting (albeit completely self-serving and in that regard SUPER fun) task. Lucky for you however, I have done the Lord’s work, watching and re-watching endless hours of television, painstaking research and analytical inspection, to make you this definitive list of TV shows from 2015 (Ya know, except for all the shows I don’t watch, the ones I forgot, and also assuming that you don’t read anything on the Internet, ever.)
            Here are the shows I have not seen but are probably really good therefore cannot be included:
  • Game of Thrones (Suck it, everyone in the world!)
  • Transparent (Just started Season 1 and I like it. But I have not gotten to Season 2 yet, which was released this year. Whoops. Jeffery Tambor’s mouth is SO sad.)
  • The Americans (It’s about spies or something!)
  • Rectify (One of my favorite shows of the year MENTIONS this show as being great, so I must adhere.)
  • Key and Peele (I love these guys and have seen a handful of skits, just have never sat down and watched entire episodes).

      Here is the exhaustively long list of shows that aired or released this year that, while not in the coveted Top Ten Spot, are still good to great and therefore get an honourable mention. These shows are honourable indeed, you can tell because I spelled with a “u” to make it look more proper and English.
  • Man Seeking Woman
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Jessica Jones
  • Louie
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • Drunk History
  • Mr. Robot (One of the best First Seasons of the whole year)
  • Veep
  • Silicon Valley
  • Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
  • Broad City
  • South Park (Who woulda thought that after nineteen fucking seasons this show would still be doing its best work, it’s bonkers, right?)
  • The Last Man on Earth (I struggled with this one a lot, wanting to include it in my top ten, but it just got edged out. I do really, really like this show, as infuriating as it was at times during its first season. It has proven itself to be a great, oddball comedy sitcom, and its second season shaped up wonderfully, and Will Forte and Kristen Schall should do everything together for all times, but it juuuuust missed out. TRY HARDER NEXT YEAR, FORTE. Kidding, I loved Macgruber.)    

    Number 10 - The Meat and Potatoes Variety Hour (Lifetime, Werner Herzog, Season 6)

   This, unfortunately, is not a real show, But yes, I would watch it. Now on to the real list of top ten shows of 2015!

   Number 10 (For real) - Master of None (Netflix, Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, Season 1)
    Of all Netflix's original programming to come out this year, this one hit me the hardest. Obviously influenced by "Louie," Ansari and his Parks and Rec co-worker Alan Yang have created a Tom Haverford alter-ego, one that is still obsessed with Instagramming his food, but now also takes on the traits of an actual human beings. What makes the show so great is its relatability on relationships, friendship, family, and growing up, but Ansari and Yang are also able to do that through the specific lenses of being a first-generation immigrant, and the show's best moments come from exploring that. The show balances honest with funny very well, and makes plenty of smart casting choices (Noel Wells as the romantic interest and Ansari's own father as his TV father). 
     Notable Episodes: "Parents," "Mornings"

     Number 9 - Show Me a Hero (HBO, David Simon & William F. Zorzi, Mini-Series)
      This one was a six-part HBO miniseries starring Inside Llewyn Davis as the real-life youngest mayor ever of Yonkers, New York. The Wire's creator David Simon is back for another absolutely infuriating look at how inefficient government laws and employees can harm the lower socio-economic citizens they are supposed to be governing, as well as the minute percentage of lawmakers actually trying to do the right thing. Sounds SUPER FUN, RIGHT? Well, it's not, but the show still somehow makes local town hall meetings (snore) ridiculously compelling (weird, right?) It's incredibly well-made, well-written, and well-acted television, with just that right dash of inner-city humanity that made The Wire the best television program ever.
     Notable Episodes: I watched all six one-hour installments in exactly six hours, so I can't really remember what happened in which episode. (I liked the part where minorities are disenfranchised!)

     Number 8 - Review (Comedy Central, Andy Daly, Season 2)
      This is one of the most bizarre, darkest comedy programs I have ever beared witness to (Beared? Bred? Borded?) Andy Daly plays Forest MacNeil, a man with such, blind, overzealous commitment to his job as a reviewer of all things life has to offer, saw himself in the first season of the show get divorced, addicted to cocaine, and killing his father-in-law on a spaceship with Lance Bass. And that was the FIRST season. They somehow came back to make the second season even darker, even more twisted, and with even more horrific reviews. In case you were wondering, yes, that is a picture of Forest getting a blowjob through a glory hole. This show is insane, and Andy Daly commits so perfectly to the misguided enthusiasm of its host, the more and more it tops itself, the more horrible his acts, the more sense it makes.
     Notable Episodes: "Brawl, Blackmail, Glory Hole," "Cult, Perfect Body," "William Tell, Make a Wish, Rowboat"

     Number 7 - BoJack Horseman (Netflix,  Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Season 2)
     BoJack Horseman is an animated show about an anopomorphic horse who used to be a TV dad on a popular 90's sitcom a la Full House. It is also about love, friendship, loneliness, self-hatred, alcoholism, Stardom Hollywood culture, and figuring out who the fuck you are. It can have episode-long arcs that end in our main character almost taking advantage of a barely legal teen, and then throw some of the best visual gags and animal puns imaginable (Marlin Brando works at a restaurant called Stella's, I mean, come on). The first season finally started getting into the nitty-gritty about BoJack's self-loathing, but this season really delves into the loneliness that makes him him, all the while keeping it's absurd visual humor rip roaring.
      Notable Episodes: "Hank After Dark," "Let's Find Out," "Escape from L.A."

     Number 6 - Nathan For You (Comedy Central, Nathan Fielder, Season 3)
      Nathan graduated from one of Canada's top business schools, with really good grades. In this mock-reality show where Nathan plays a smore awkward version of himself out to help small-business owners with, in truth, TERRIBLE ideas (poo-flavored frozen yogurt?), and it might seem like he is shitting on everyone he comes in contact with, no one else in on his grand joke, but it is actually quite a sweet show about odd human nature and people not wanting to be rude. Nathan puts real life people in absolutely bizarre and morally questionable situations, but he doesn't do it to make fun of them, if anything he does it to make fun of himself. It's hilarious, outrageous, at times unbelievable, but mostly, a sweet show about average people's inability to be impolite. 
     Notable Episodes: "Electronics Store," "Smokers Allowed," "The Hero"

     Number 5 - You're the Worst (FXX, Stephen Faulk, Season 2)
      You're the Worst came out of nowhere for me, binge-watching the first season and-a-half in a day or two after coming across it in the inner-bowels of the internet, and it immediately caught me. A thin premise, two people start dating each other who are both "the worst," but as the first season went on, the sharp writing, quick jokes, and great performances held me in. Then the second season started and holy shit. Without getting too deep into it, the show realistically portrays depression and how it affects the people around them, specifically the people dating them, in a way no one thought a raunchy rom-com sitcom could be capable of. The most amazing part about that? It still manages to be funny. Like, really funny. "Last time he got this upset he cried for a month and burned down my mom's tool shed, and now she's gotta keep all her rakes in the kitchen, like a chump." Oh my god, it's so funny. Watch it. Watch alllll of it. 
     Notable Episodes: "The Sweater People," "There is Currently Not a Problem," "LCD Sound System"

     Number 4 - Better Call Saul (AMC, Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan, Season 1)
     I really feel like there's not much to say about this one that people who love Breaking Bad don't already know. It is a prequel, spin-off of the much beloved Meth show, but it's one that quickly separates itself from his parent show, giving us a new tone, new characters, and an all new Saul (really named Jimmy McGill, and played to absolute perfection by the already perfect Bob Odenkirk, who is doing the best work of his whole career). It reminds you just enough of its parent show while still creating all new stakes, and in my opinion, had a way more successful first season than Breaking Bad did, and I can't wait for more.
     Notable Episodes: "Mijo," "Five-O," "Marco"

     Number 3 - Rick and Morty (Adult Swim, Justin Roiland & Dan Harmon, Season 2)
      To say that Rick and Morty blew me away this year, when I finally started watching it, the second season having just started, would be an understatement. This show kicked my ass all around town. It is animated and set in alternate realities, lending itself to out of this world animation and amazing visual jokes in every episode, but more than that, and more than how funny it is, it is SO dark, and so pessimistically scorned about everything in the world today. It is the darkest, most complex animated series ever created, and the fact that it is FUCKING HILARIOUS really helps the rough pill to be so easily swallowed. This show drags you down further and further until you find yourself wishing you hated everything as much as Rick, but still hopefully a sliver as hopeful as Morty can be. It's great, really.
     Notable Episodes: "Total Rickall," "Look Who's Purging Now," "The Wedding Squelchers"

     Number 2 - Mad Men (AMC, Matthew Wiener, Season 7 Part 2 (Gross))
     Mad Men is one of my all-time favorite programs (pronounced progrim if you know me), so it i might be a bit surprising that it didn't top the list with its final, and very good, season. And hey, it was very good! It was seriously a good season with a strong finale which actually somehow found a way to be not so polarizing to audiences and critics alike. It was a welcome and just finale to a show that I have loved for years and years. It also was not a complete season, and instead just a seven-episode little sprawl towards the finish that I feel like could have been better explored with a regular thirteen-episode order, and not this stupid half-season bullshit AMC is trying to tell us is a fair way to air television. After all, Mad Men is a show known for taking its sweet-ass time with every single character and emotional beat. And for eight years they did it great. God bless ya for it, Matthew Weiner. Also, your last name, while more Jewish in pronunciation, is slang for a penis, and I like that. Hooray for TV!
     Notable Episodes: "Time & Life," "Person to Person"

     Number 1 - Fargo (FX, Noah Hawley, Season 2)
        The idea that there is a Fargo show shouldn't work. It was a movie that came out 19 years ago and was singularly perfect: Minnesota nice characters with streaks of brutal violence, all set aback a white, snowy, tundra. The fact that the first season was SO good, a perfect continuation of the universe the Coen brothers created, shouldn't make sense. The fact that the second season was EVEN BETTER makes less sense. The second season so perfectly captures the strange American collective consciousness of the late 70s. No gas, Vietnam just ending, no REAGAN yet. The second season has the grooviest songs, the coolest criminals, and the nicest cops, all vying for power and safety in a massive turf war between the Gearhardt family in Fargo versus the huge conglomerate mafia in Kansas City. This show succeeds so hard in everything it tries to do, that even when it gets OUT THERE they still find a way to ground it in the reality of the show, and I loved it.
      Notable Episodes: Every single one. Watch every, single, episode.

     Thanks for reading! There might be a top ten movies of the year list coming soon, IF YOU'VE BEEN GOOD THIS YEAR.

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