Diversity of many varieties was on the brain for many spheres of television this year. Network executives, showrunners, critics and audiences alike engaged in thoughtful discourse about what it means to make diverse television in 2015. There are more places than ever to watch TV, and more places than ever to distribute it. It makes logical sense that TV offerings this year would touch on a wider range of issues, feature a wider range of character types and demographics and explore a wider range of stories and universes than ever before.
But with great power comes great responsibility. My favorite shows in 2015 were the ones that used the expanding boundaries of what’s possible on television to their fullest advantage, crafting rich and surprising worlds, telling stories that dovetail with the themes, ideas and controversies guiding our daily lives. In relatively arbitrary order of preference (who’s to say whether a dark comedy about an animated horse is superior to one of the most beloved drama series of all time?), here are my ten favorite shows of 2015.
Here’s an admittedly incomplete, scattered list of shows and performances I’d love to hear on Emmy nomination morning, tomorrow at 11:30am Eastern. If it’s not on here, I either haven’t seen it, don’t like it, or like it but think it’s so likely to get a nomination that writing about it now is just superfluous.
The Lego Movie practices what it preaches: creativity, imagination, originality, distinctiveness and daring. That it accomplishes such feats while reinvigorating the endlessly profitable Lego brand and providing a showcase for famous actors in uncharacteristically self-deprecating guises and reaffirming that Phil Lord and Chris Miller are two of the most valuable assets to mainstream Hollywood filmmaking is nothing short of a miracle. The Lego Movie appeals directly to our most basic desires for boisterous spectacle without sacrificing intelligence, wit or pure sensational pleasure.
Listen to Episode 18 here.
As of this week, The M&M Report has migrated to The Eagle, American University’s student newspaper. Devin Mitchell and I are very excited to bring the podcast to a larger audience, but our regular followers needn’t fear that we’ll be selling out as a result. The M&M Report will still be your source for pop culture analysis that strives to be both fun and substantive.
This week, Devin and I talked about The West Wing. Devin loves this show with an emotionally invested passion with which I wouldn’t dare compete, but we had a lively chat about the show’s merits, a few of its flaws and our favorite episodes.
After that, we ushered in the triumphant return of Devin Doesn’t Like Things. This week, Devin is fed up with the incessant parade of awards shows and their surprisingly troubling implications.
Next week, we’ll be back with special guests and much more. Until then…thanks for listening!
Click through for the time breakdown.
It’s time for another episode of The M&M Report, and this is a very special edition for several reasons.
First, we’re a little later than usual. Better late than never, as they say!
Second, we welcomed our first guest this week! My friend Matt Waskiewicz joined me to talk Breaking Bad while Devin plugged his ears and avoided spoilers like the plague. (Just kidding. He left the room.)
Third, we branched out from TV this week with a discussion of some great pop music. Next week: the movies! The week after that: the world!
Before Matt joined me, Devin and I talked about the new season of Parks and Recreation and debated the merits of this year’s barrage of Justin Timberlake action.
Thanks for listening! For further reading, check out my blog post on Justin Timberlake and this New York Times profile.
0:00 – 8:25 / Parks and Recreation
8:25 – 28:55 / Justin Timberlake
28:55 – 48:40 / Breaking Bad