By: Bill Cushing – Jan. 2016
Now that 2015 has come and gone, it’s time to look back on a great year of TV. It was very hard narrowing it down, but here are my choices for the best shows of 2015.
10. Bates Motel (A&E)– A&E’s Bates Motel centers on the early years of Psycho’s Norman Bates and his relationship with his mother Norma. Previous seasons, Norma (Vera Farmiga) was the star of this show, but this season became Normans (Freddie Highmore). Top-notch performances by Farmiga and Highmore highlighted a great 3rd season.
9. The Walking Dead (AMC) – AMC’s zombie drama continues to amaze. Never would I have thought a show about the zombie apocalypse could turn into such an incredible drama series. Great writing and acting have made The Walking Dead stand out in its genre. This year was no exception as the series and the cast turned in some of its best work.
8. Homeland (Showtime) – Homeland is a perennial resident on this list. Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin were at their best this season. The Showtime series delivered a great, heart-pounding storyline this year. Homeland has two main strengths: character and suspense. It delivered whole-heartedly on those two strengths this season.
7. Ray Donovan (Showtime)- Showtime’s Ray Donovan, a show about a guy who fixes problems for the rich and powerful, had perhaps its best season this year. The addition of Katie Holmes and Ian McShane to the cast breathed new life into the show. Liev Schreiber did some of his best work and Jon Voight gave his usual great performance.
6. Rectify (Sundance) – Daniel Holden is released from death row based on new DNA evidence. He returns to his hometown, where everyone still believes he is guilty. The series centers on Daniel, his family, and his small hometown as they adjust to his return home. Aden Young’s underrated performance as Daniel is still the show’s rock.
5. Bloodline (Netflix) – Bloodline, the latest binge worthy show from Netflix is a deliberately paced thriller. It unfolds like a long, engrossing novel. The show is about a family living and running a resort in the Florida Keys. Things take an unexpected turn when the black sheep son of the family returns to dredge up the past and expose some deep secrets that the family is hiding. Ben Mendelsohn gives one of the performances of the year as Danny, the aforementioned black sheep. Kyle Chandler is also excellent as his big brother John, and sheriff of the town.
4. Fargo (FX) – Fargo topped many 10 best lists in its first season last year. It was #2 on mine. This season was not quite as good as the first but it was still good enough to make my list. Kirsten Dunst’s outstanding performance carried the season.
3. Better Call Saul (AMC) – A spinoff to the greatest drama series ever? It couldn’t work, could it? Not only did it work, but Better Call Saul stood on its own. The series about how Jimmy McGill transformed into Saul Goodman was a tremendous accomplishment for Vince Gilligan. Jonathan Banks and Bob Odenkirk were outstanding. The show proved to be a worthy successor to Breaking Bad.
2. The Americans (FX) – The third season of FX’s amazing Cold War drama upped the stakes by letting the Jennings’ daughter, Paige, in on their secret, and by letting Phillip’s fake wife, Martha discover that “Clark” wasn’t who she thought he was. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are as good as any actors on TV.
And my pick for the best TV series of 2015 is…..
1. The Leftovers (HBO) – HBO’s haunting and profound post-rapture series second season introduced a new family and a new town while weaving its original characters in and out of the story as well. The cast doesn’t have a weak spot, and the ending was unexpectedly uplifting. Justin Theroux turned in the year’s most impressive, heart-wrenching performance.
Just missing my list: The Knick, Life In Pieces, Mad Men, Bosch.
Do you have any questions about TV? Email me at BillsTVTalk@gmail.com. I will answer all of your questions and will feature some of the questions I receive in a future column.
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