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Rusty’s Top 10 TV Shows of 2015 December 18, 2015

Posted by Rusty in Uncategorized.
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Welcome to my third annual post where I list my ten favorite television programs of the year. Usually I do this on Facebook, but I had opinions.

Disclaimer: I don’t watch everything. And there are some things I watch, but I’m a year behind (Jane the Virgin and Rectify come to mind). The list goes for all television during the calendar year, not just the strength of a show’s individual season.

Defending Champions: Breaking Bad (2013) and Fargo (2014).

Drops: True Detective (#8 last year), Mad Men (#4 last year), The Good Wife (#2 last year)

Honorable Mentions (no order): Fresh Off the Boat, Orange is the New Black (#6 last year), You’re the Worst (#10 last year), Inside Amy Schumer, Last Week with John Oliver, Bob’s Burgers (#9 last year), Brooklyn 99 (#7 last year).

10. Better Call Saul – The whole season worked. Episode-by-episode it could get uneven but the penultimate episode, “Pimento,” stands up with almost anything in the Breaking Bad universe.

9. Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt – I was not a big Titus fan! And the Krakowski character felt like good microwaved leftovers. But Ellie Kemper gave the best comedic performance of the year. Think about how  crazy this plot is and how dependent it is on one actor to make it work (same compliment goes to #3 on list). Also, Jon Hamm. This was the best Jon Hamm performance of the year.

8. Master of None – As good as advertised, but maybe a little too proud of itself? As great as the deep dives into aging, the immigrant experience, and show biz racism were, I lost it any time Aziz Ansari yelled, “The Sickeninnnng!”

7. Catastrophe – I hate that there had to be an inevitable fight around the finale, because just watching two flawed, funny people go through a tough experience together was worth the price of admission. (Since it was Amazon Prime, the price of admission was basically free.) Mark Bonnar’s Scottish chain vaper was one of my favorite characters of the year.

6. Show Me a Hero – Best praise I can give is that this is very David Simony. I appreciated how this miniseries made it clear that white people who want to protect their neighborhoods and communities are dooming poor minorities to a terrible life. I also appreciated that they had a poor character breaking the rules to receive public assistance and that choice was seen as reasonable and sympathetic, and right. Really hit me in my bleeding heart.

5. Veep (#3 last year) – There was something off-putting about Selina Meyer actually being in charge. I don’t mind the incompetence and the backstabbing, but the administration’s powerlessness was such a big draw in previous seasons. They were all fighting over scraps. Now they’re fighting over the country. But, man, how good was Anna Chlumsky’s breakdown?

4. Silicon Valley – Hard to beat a billion dollar deal going down in a Mexican restaurant being interrupted by a mariachi band while your nemesis eats sushi he brought from home. I would also totally drink Three Comma Tequila.

3. iZombie – Yes. Seriously. It’s so good. It’s better than Veronica Mars and is almost as good as Peak Buffy. More shows should be about zombieism caused by energy drinks where the protagonist is a zombie working at a morgue who eats brains for sustenance but also to help solve their murders. It is consistently funny, sad, and super gross. Best zombie show on tv.

2. Fargo (#1 last year) – As much as I love iZombie, there is a huge jump in quality to the top-2 spots. Fargo is so beautiful and audacious, and unlike last year (in which I deemed them the best show on TV), they stuck the landing. I wish the literal deus ex machina was a little more subtle, but the visuals and the characters (especially Peggy and Hanzee) were fantastic. Halfway through I thought Peggy was annoying and nonsensical. By the end I wanted Kirsten Dunst to win every award out there.

1. The Americans (#3 last year) – This year The Americans skipped the overarching season-long story format that Buffy and Veronica Mars had perfected. I love Buffy and Veronica Mars, but it was a bad fit for The Americans. Two straight season finales that made the season-long plot seem ridiculous. And when your show’s hook is so outlandish, ridiculous is a bad look.

So they dumped that and became the best thing on TV. I can think of multiple moments that were better than anything else on the boob tube. The disgusting body contortionist scene, the intimate tooth removal, the long conversation about evil with an old woman who knows she is about to be killed, any scene with Philip needing to seduce a girl his daughter’s age, and, of course, the daughter reveal. That reveal was primed to be as good as Hank figuring out Heisenberg or what was in the hatch in Lost. Instead of bombast or shock, the moment was underplayed as a long but tough conversation. It was respectful to the characters and therefore respectful to the audience. This show really is the best.

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