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Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of four posts from the site’s television writers, detailing their top shows of 2015. In order to qualify for the lists, a show had to air original episodes in the United States during the 2015 calendar year.
Being a pop culture geek at heart, 2015 was a great year for me in terms of quality entertainment. TV has never been better. There are now a plethora of visually stunning, cinematic, and well-written television shows unlike ever before. And the roles for female characters were especially amazing this year. Here are my personal favorite TV shows of 2015, in order from tenth place to first place. I hope that geeks like me will appreciate this list.
The charm of this show is in the brilliant comedic chemistry between its two wacky and wild leads, Abbi and Ilana. It’s impossible to guess what kind of shenanigans they’ll get into every episode, and the humor is usually self-deprecating. Broad City is a ton of fun to watch!
Finally, there’s an anime series based on the real story from the Sailor Moon manga! Moonies like me who read Naoko Takeuchi’s manga series have waited over a decade for the original story to be adapted for the small screen. The long wait has paid off. Almost every scene is frame-by-frame identical to the original panels from the manga! Thankfully, Hulu aired the first season of Sailor Moon Crystal free for viewers with English subtitles (sub is better than dub, after all). The second half of season one features Sailor Pluto, my long-time favorite Sailor Scout. She’s an absolute badass!
This procedural crime drama works well because of the acting chemistry between Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller. This modern take on the Sherlock Holmes mythos allows for a complicated main character set against the backdrop of compelling and relevant modern issues. John Noble is a nice addition this season as Sherlock’s father.
In the final season of the Emmy-nominated Parks and Recreation, fans are given closure for their beloved characters. The flash-forward to 2017 is a great plot device to show the Parks and Rec gang expanding beyond the borders of Pawnee. This is a heartwarming final season with plenty of feels that any sitcom fan should treat themselves to. It’s a shame that Parks and Recreation, and especially Amy Poehler, never won an Emmy for this gem of a series.
Doctor Who alum David Tennant and Torchwood alum Eve Myles give strong performances this season, which turns from British small-town life to the dramas of the courtroom. Tennant and Olivia Colman are a great team as they investigate an unsolved past case. Broadchurch is never predictable, and the characters are given emotional depth and realism.
Tatiana Maslany is nothing short of amazing in the third season of this intense clone thriller. Her Emmy-nominated work on this show is undoubtedly some of the best character acting on television this year. Maslany rises to the challenge of multiple-clone scenes. She perfectly switches between multiple accents, facial expressions, body language, and mannerisms. Each clone is a believable and rounded character. This third season explores compelling questions about gender, women’s autonomy, and motherhood and sisterhood.
Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson give powerful performances that breathe new life into the historical period genre. Ross is a well-written protagonist who’s a moral voice of his era, and he finds his match in the brave and strong-willed Demelza. This pair bravely challenge and dismantle the social norms of their time, together. The show deals with very real and very human concepts. And that opening theme song is a freaking masterpiece!
The final season of this Leonardo da Vinci historical fantasy series is a bit cluttered and messy at times, but when it’s at its best, it’s emotionally deep, visually stunning, and stylistic. The acting, camera work, and sets reach new heights this season. The characters are well-written, and the finale gives some closure to their story arcs. And Leo (Tom Riley) and the gang are a ton of fun to watch! It’s a shame that Starz cancelled this Emmy-winning series after only three seasons.
After two years, Idris Elba returns to his career-defining, Golden Globe-winning role as John Luther. This season, John faces his most disturbing challenge yet, sans Alice Morgan. Elba’s acting is phenomenal. The visuals, camera work, pacing, and suspenseful scenes create an intense viewing experience. Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) and Laura Haddock (Da Vinci’s Demons) are great additions to the cast.
The debut season of Mr. Robot is a surreal, visceral, and gritty experience unlike anything else on television. Rami Malek gives a stunning breakthrough performance as the show’s unreliable, and fascinating, narrator. Malek’s work is the best character acting on TV this year. The poignant theme of Mr. Robot is uniquely modern and therefore very relevant for viewers: thanks to technology, people are more connected than ever before, but people understand each other less and less. My favorite TV show of 2015 is an absolutely emotional roller coaster ride.