December is probably my favorite month of be year. This is not just because Christmas has always been my favorite holiday; it is also because it is time the perfect time for reflection. It’s the right time to look back on the year that was and celebrate what made that year so great. And while 2015 has actually been a catastrophic year in the world of politics and social justice and things are only getting uglier in those fields, it’s been a whirlwind year in entertainment And that’s what I’m here to look back on. I will take up three weeks this month to look back on my favorites in entertainment this year; and since I am FearlessRiOT, it will all obviously be in countdown form. Last week, I tackled my favorites in pro wrestling, this week I’ll tackle music, and next week will see me take on acting, along with the bonus field of celebrities on social media. Hope you enjoy this week’s installment!
Before I get started, let me just say that most of the TV shows you would expect to see on a Best of Television list for 2015 might not be on this list. Game of Thrones is not on this list because I haven’t had access to HBO for months and I didn’t watch it when I had it. The Walking Dead is not on this list because I do not watch it. Orange is the New Black is not on this list because even though I have access to NetFlix (in fact, one NetFlix original is on the list), just got around to watching OITNB; I’ve only watched two episodes so far and I feel like I need more time to really get into it. So yeah, this is not your professional TV critic’s list; this is just me being straight-up honest about the TV shows I’ve been watching for the most part this year. You might roll your eyes at some of these picks, but it is what it is and I stand by my list. So without further ado, the top ten TV shows I’ve been watching in 2015.
2015 is the year Denis Leary and Elizabeth Gillies made their grand return to television with this hilarious take on the music industry, especially in a genre that the mainstream has passed by in recent years. When an aging rocker meets his young adult daughter for the first time, he finds that she’s an aspiring singer and decides that it’d be a good idea to make her the lead singer of his old band. The show basically lampoons life in a band and what it takes to make it in music, contrasting the old school with the new school to hilarious results. Worth a watch; Liz hasn’t lost her mojo since her Jade West days.
I usually don’t care about zombies; as I’ve mentioned, I haven’t watched a single episode of the Walking Dead after all. However, since I started giving shows on the CW a chance, I decided not to rule out this show. Instead of being a show where zombies get a bullet through their skull all the time, it features half-zombie Liv Moore (Rose McIver), who temporarily gains the memory and personality quirks of people whose brains she eat. She uses those skills to help solve murders in her hometown of Seattle. A humorous mystery show with an entertaining cast; good thing the show got renewed for a second season.
#8. 2 Broke Girls
Yup; still one of my guilty pleasure shows. Season 4 wasn’t so much about Max (Kat Dennings) & Caroline (Beth Behrs) as it was about Oleg (Jonathan Kite) & Sophie (Jennifer Coolidge); the foreign lovers finally tied the knot after a long time of Sophie trying to be hesitant about it. As for Max & Caroline, they completely forgot about the cupcake business throughout S4 before suddenly deciding to focus on it again in the season finale. That along with the disappointing storyline with Max’s Irish love interest knocks this show down a few slots from last year, but it remains on the list after it returned early in fall with some funny S5 episodes. Plus, we finally got that Max & Caroline kiss that was a longtime coming, so there’s that.
#7. Jessica Jones
Good thing I got access to NetFlix just in time to watch this superhero noir program. Honestly, while I love Marvel’s movies, I usually tune out of their shows immediately because they’re too dramatic and it causes the hour-long episodes to be a chore to sit through. Not this, though; maybe it’s the close relationship between super-strong Jessica (Krysten Ritter) and her brave sister Trish (Rachael Taylor), the sinister villain Kilgrave (David Tennant), or the fact that there are actually thrills at every turn, I gave the show a chance and actually ended up enjoying it more than I expected to at the jump.
I think Empire broke the record for most celebrity cameos in a single season of a TV show within the first few episodes of this season alone; appearances from Ludacris, Becky G, Chris Rock, and numerous others were as distracting as they were fun to watch. As for the plot, tensions continue to arise as the family just can’t seem to get along. Between Andre’s new-found Christianity, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Luscious (Terrance Howard) always at each other’s throats over something, and an on-going sibling rivalry, there’s always some kind of drama in the universe of the Empire to look forward to biting your nails over.
#5. Girl Meets World
As far as life lessons on the Disney Channel go, Girl Meets World is the modern-day flag-bearer as every episode of this Boy Meets World spinoff about Cory (Ben Savage), Topanga (Danielle Fishel), their daughter Riley, and her friends teaches some kind of lesson to the youth, and lead star/role model-in-every-sense-of-the-word Rowan Blanchard probably wouldn’t have it any other way. This show has morals, humor, occasional celebrity cameos, and callbacks to the original series. If any current Disney show shuts down at least some of the preconceived assumptions most people have about modern-day Disney Channel, it’s this one.
#4. Scream Queens
The guy behind American Horror Story and Glee kept his television notoriety going with this FOX horror-comedy about a chain of murders happening on a college campus, mainly to the members of a sorority house with a haunted past. The show is very campy and weird, but it does have a pretty good cast: Emma Roberts is the evil Chanel with Abigail Breslin, Billie Lourd, Lea Michele, and (for two episodes at least) Ariana Grande as followers. Meanwhile, Skyler Samuels and KeKe Palmer are the coolest of BFF’s as Grace and Zayday. The reveal of the Red Devil came as a total surprise to me, but it was someone that I should’ve suspected looking back. This show was more entertaining than I expected.
#3. Liv & Maddie
Two modern Disney Channel shows made the list; roll their eyes all you want, but I think I’ve already explained thoroughly why I’d vouch for them. A large part of why this show works for me is the fact that Dove Cameron is one of the funniest young actresses on television as a set of polar-opposite twins and their hilarious family and friends. Really, the side characters are entertaining in their own right. While this show is totally funny and also does the dramatic love/break-up thing with Maddie and her crush Diggie, they also dabbled in teaching life lessons. They’ve tackled sexism not once but twice in 2015, so this show has heart, humor, morality, and even respect to history. Don’t judge me; it’s my guilty pleasure and I regret nothing!
#2. WWE NXT
The NXT brand – which used to be a mostly un-watchable game show in its first initial incarnation – has quickly become the most entertaining hour of pro wrestling on television today. RAW and Smackdown are now littered with lazy rematches, overdone six-man tags, and tons of filler. Meanwhile, TNA ‘s iMPACT continues to get more tragic with each episode (and network change) and Ring of Honor, which is in the honorable mentions, is probably not everyone’s cup of tea. NXT, however, gives you interesting characters, simple-but-effective stories, and great matches from both the men and the women. The revolution will be streamed and you only need $9.99 (a month) to see it for yourself!
#1. The 100
This show only aired a few months in 2015, airing the second half of their season early in the year. But that was enough for me to give it #1. When I started watching Season 2, I bought Season 1 on DVD to see what I missed. I was hooked and finished all 13 episodes immediately. So once all 16 episodes in Season 2 were over (I would later re-watch them over the course of a week on DVD), I was hungry for more of Clarke (Eliza Taylor), Bellamy (Bob Morley), Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos), Raven (Lindsey Morgan), and the rest of the Sky People’s struggles with co-operating with the Grounders after their war with Mount Weather. Sadly, they won’t be back on The CW until early-2016. And I will be here waiting for them; until then, there’s the trailer to hold us over.
The un-official #11; I wonder if Stephen Amell‘s WWE fandom had a hand in the writing that’s frustrated fans lately; there could be a parallel. Anyway, Oliver is running for Mayor and fulfilling the fantasies of Olicity shippers while Sara got resurrected for Legends of Tomorrow.
I wish this show didn’t have to end, but like all good things, it eventually had to. Parks & Recreation went out on a triumphant note by giving us a look at the characters’ futures, and it’s a bright future for all indeed. On a minor note, John Cena furthered his acting career with a cameo.
Aziz Ansari was hilarious on Parks & Recreation, so I was happy to find out that he was getting his own show, this time on streaming giant NetFlix. I’ll discuss Ansari further in the Year-End Actors list, but just as key to the praise this show gets is the performances of his own parents.
I heard that parents were sketical about this more adult version of The Muppets since the Muppets are a product primarily visible to children. Don’t panic, though, Muppet enthusiasts; no Adult Party Cartoon here; just the Muppets working on their show and dealing with real life problems.
Boy, did RAW fall off this year, both in quality and in ratings. I’m still giving it an Honorable Mention because there were still a few good things to look forward to (John Cena’s open challenge, The New Day), but in 2016, WWE have got to get their head in the game when writing for RAW.
This show had a short stint on Destination America, and I was happy; it was the first time I was able to watch ROH on TV rather than the Internet. Sadly, DA gave up on wrestling WAY too soon in favor of ghosts and exorcisms, so ROH is back on the Internet. Shame, Destination America!
I can’t be the only person getting Hangover vibes this season right? Watch the first episode of this season and tell me you don’t see it. Anyway, my favorite episode of this season saw Merida (Amy Manson), Ruby (Meghan Ory), and Mulan (Jamie Chung) team up. More of this, please!
OK, I’m a few episodes behind on this show since it’s on at the same time as my wrestling, but I’m all for TV shows that feature kick-ass females as the protagonist. Even better when the women wearing the cape is portrayed and played as likeable as Kara (Melissa Benoist) in this show.
Which TV shows were you obsessed with in 2015? Hit me up on Twitter @FearlessRiOT or leave a comment below. Stick around for more Year-End Top 10s!