Sunday, January 03, 2016

Top 10 TV Shows of 2015

Before we start with the list, let me first present, for your reference, all the TV shows I watched and followed in 2015 but didn’t get in the top 10 --
Anime: One-Punch Man season one, Kuroko no Basuke season three (end), Haikyuu! season two, The Seven Deadly Sins season one, Your Lie in April, Assassination Classroom season one, Sound! Euphonium, Parasyte –the maxim–
TV Series: Castle, The Blacklist, Sleepy Hollow (I dropped this during the latest season), Elementary (also dropped this during the latest season), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Defiance (cancelled), True Detective, iZombie, Constantine (cancelled after just one season. Bummer. At least, John Constantine showed up in Arrow), Agent Carter, The Big Bang Theory, 12 Monkeys, Supergirl, The Muppets

Now, unto my choices for the ten best things on TV in 2015…


Excerpt from my review:
“Set in an alternative history around the time of the Napoleonic Wars, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell focuses on the partnership of the title characters, the last two magicians of England, and then their inevitable rivalry. There’s actually something more to its premise than this, but I believe that the less information you know about it – especially if, like me, you haven’t read the book yet – the more enjoyable and fresh you will find the series to be.”


Excerpt from my review:
  “The themes of Mr. Robot heavily remind me of the 1999 film Fight ClubMr. Robot has the same level of engaging narrative and thought-provocation that Fight Club has, if not superior…
  “It has an anti-establishment, anarchic theme but I personally don’t think that the show is purely promoting or glorifying such message.  It simply provokes deeper thought upon the issues it handles through a cathartic, realistic, and relatable tale.  That is simply great storytelling.”


Excerpt from my review:
  “It’s… thought-provoking and riveting.  Not only did this remind me of Isaac Asimov’s Robot stories, but the plot of Humans is like something Asimov himself would write if he’s alive now.  Humans has tackled Asimovian themes on artificial intelligence more intelligently and deeply than… any other on screen stories focusing on artificial intelligence…”


There hasn’t been a new season of The Venture Bros. since 2013 (the new season is scheduled for this year), but it had a 48-minute special in 2015 titled “All This and Gargantua-2.”  The Venture Bros. is one of my most favorite animated series ever, so this special is something I was so happy about.

“All This and Gargantua-2” is probably the show’s “biggest” special at this point.  Not only is it immensely enjoyable per usual, but a lot of important stuff happened as well – almost all major arcs culminated, and a significant amount of new status quos were established.


The third season’s 2015 half was passable – still plenty of awesome moments, especially when working with The Flash, but it was a drop from season two.  Nonetheless, Arrow remains one of the most entertaining shows on TV.  And season four is great so far.  Taking a page from The Flash, it has started embracing more of its comicbook roots, starting with Oliver Queen assuming the full name of “Green Arrow” instead of just “Arrow.”  Also, Neal McDonough’s Damien Darhk is a legitimately charismatic villain – the show’s best since Deathstroke.


Excerpt from my review:
  “Jessica Jones is a slow-paced but riveting ‘character piece’ drama rather than a full-on superhero yarn.  It [tells] a complex, thought-provoking drama that tackles dark, sensitive themes like rape and PTSD without being exploitative.
  “The drama also works so well because the writing of the characters is terrifically done… The characters are well-realized and well-peeled; and the actors that portrayed them did great jobs.”


Orphan Black’s third season remains as endearing as when when I first encountered it.  Throughout all season, the narrative is consistently intriguing and fun, and Tatiana Maslany continues to mesmerize in distinctively portraying the “sestras.”  And with a strong season finale, I was left impatient for season four.


Excerpt from my review:
“The first season of Daredevil served as a slow-paced, 13-episode origin story… It would have been tedious if it had not been so well-written, and so well-directed, and so well-acted – so well-everything...”


When Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor wielded an electric guitar atop a tank during the first episode of series 9, I just knew this season is going to be distinctively innovative.  And indeed it was.  The season featured the Doctor replacing his iconic sonic screwdriver with sonic sunglasses, an amazing arc/last hurrah for Jenna Coleman’s Clara Oswald, and a Christmas special that provided a wonderfully satisfactory closure for the character of River Song.  As Capaldi’s excellent performance and showrunner Stephen Moffat’s superb and fresh stories cement the Twelfth Doctor’s run as one of the best, my love for this wonderful sci-fi property grew significantly deeper in 2015.


Number one when I wrote my evaluation for TV at the year’s half, still number one until the end.  No other TV show in 2015 has pleased me more than The Flash.  It’s far from perfect, but it’s incredibly fun to watch.

It has no qualms of fully adapting its comic book mythology into the small screen as accurately as possible, no matter how outlandish it might be.  With just barely over a season under its belt, the show has already introduced time travel, most of the Flash’s rogue gallery (including a telepathic gorilla!), alternate universes, and the most charming geeky couple in TV.  Moreover, working with Arrow, it has put the groundwork for another must-watch superhero TV series coming this January.

If The Flash continues to be as awesome as it is now, when all is said and done, it could turn being the best superhero TV show ever made.   

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