Tuesday, 22 December 2015

The Best Television of 2015: 10 Honourable Mentions

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

I've counted down my favourite television shows of 2015, which you can read in full here, but thought I'd use the opportunity to mention the 10 outliers and explain the lack of UK shows.

If I'd decided to do a Top 20 countdown, places 11-20 would look as follows:
11. Cinemax's The Knick – season 2
- quality medical drama, but flaws to the year's approach and a feeling of narrative anorexia nudged it out of the running.

12. BBC1's Doctor Who – series 9
- the most consistent run of episodes since Series 5, with Peter Capaldi now visibly comfortable in the role and making it his own. The penultimate "Heaven Sent" is a modern classic to rank alongside "Blink".

13. Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – season 1
- relentlessly amusing and addictive; a shot of rainbow-coloured joy to the soul, guaranteed to make you grin.

14. AMC's Halt and Catch Fire – season 2
- unexpected but welcome tweaking of the show's focus, choosing to now follow the female characters into the mid-'80s early internet. It paid dividends creatively, even if nobody seems to be watching it.

15. AMC's Mad Men – season 7
- the usual quality writing and performances, but if I'm honest I lost passion for the story and what the characters were up to around Season 5. And the series finale elicited too much of a shrug for me.

16. BBC2's Inside No.9 – series 2
- another inspired run of black comedy scenarios from Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton; some better than others, of course, but always interesting and amusing.

17. USA Network's Mr Robot – season 1
- top marks for the world-building, fresh tone and prescient subject matter, but I wish I cared more about everything going on, and the weird characters involved.

18. Netflix's Bloodline – season 1
- it got under my skin thanks to its humid feel and menagerie of characters and the promise of heart-wrenching family secrets about to be exposed; a slow burn that was almost worth the effort.

19. ITV's Downton Abbey – series 6
- well-made Sunday evening comfort food for your parents; snug and predictable fluff it's hard to resist when you've just made a cuppa.

20. Sky1's You, Me & The Apocalypse – series 1
- not especially funny to me, but extremely well-plotted and very surprising in its global scope and some creative choices towards the end. One of the year's nicest surprises.
But that still only means four British shows get on my Top 20 list, so what's going on? Well, there's no conspiracy behind it. I don't compile lists with the intention to weigh things towards homegrown drama, or otherwise. My taste has always been more on the American spectrum—partly because the U.S simply makes more shows (i.e. there's more chance of producing things I love), they focus more on imaginative/escapist concepts, usually have bigger budgets to tackle more complex things, and they tend to last much longer.

I just tend to get more entertainment-value from a good American show, versus a good British show.