2015 in Review: My Ten (Okay, Eleven) Favorite TV Shows

Leftovers

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.

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“Edge of Tomorrow”: Seize the Day

Edge of Tomorrow

Tom Cruise is a movie star for a reason. With his square jaw, dazzling smile and effortless physicality, he’s the man we feel comfortable entrusting with sci-fi action because he has a near-perfect combination of humanity and inhumanity. But he can be boring. Last year’s Oblivion tried to compensate for Cruise’s inherent and often beneficial blankness by literally multiplying the number of Cruises onscreen. Edge of Tomorrow takes a different and far more successful approach: Cruise’s blankness becomes the joke, and the narrative “Edge of Tomorrow”: See It Todayengine, and the emotional hook. Hidden beneath his muscular exterior is the man we all fear we’d be.

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The Year in Review Begins

Breaking Bad

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not the holidays, though those are nice too. It’s time to recap, review, analyze, dissect, quantify, qualify, discuss, debate, demystify, debunk and debrief the year in pop culture. I’ve fully immersed myself in the spirit of summing up the past 365 days, and I’ll be unveiling a steady stream of blog posts in that spirit over the next couple weeks.

I started my 2013 Nostalgia Tour over at The Eagle. My final Take 5 column of the year briefly summarizes major trends in movies, music and television. I also left room to shine a spotlight on the year’s best performances and had fun using some of the year’s most memorable quotes to tell a little story about what we’ve learned from our entertainment. You can read my “Take 5: 2013 in Review” here.

Keep an eye out for my thoughts on the year’s best movies, TV shows, albums, songs, awards show moments and much more. Read on for a few of my parameters and guidelines for year-end recaps.

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