Television is by far my favorite medium and in this era of “peak TV,” — in which you simply “can’t watch everything” — putting together a best of list can be challenging. The glut of quality T.V. leads to triage watching and forcing myself to give up on shows if I’m not hooked by the fourth episode. (Incidentally, it took five episodes to get me over my Wire hump and I’m thankful everyday that I did.) There’s only so much time we get on this planet which makes it our most precious commodity. Live your lives, people!
Anyway, there are far too many buzzed-about shows I just didn’t get around to (Fargo, Better Call Saul, Halt and Catch Fire, The Knick)
Or ones that my friends recommended but I couldn’t fit into my schedule (Bloodlines, The Leftovers).
There are shows that I gave up on that magically improve afterwards (The Walking Dead). And then there are shows I quit and then patted myself on the back as the Internet validated my decision. Looking at you season 2 of True Detective.
I got to the Season 3 finale of a lackluster Orange is the New Black, saw that it was 90 minutes and said Fuck. That. I mean, I do occasionally read and exercise.
I have my biases: half hour sitcoms with 10-13 episodes are my sweetspot.
Also, House of Cards is garbage and I will never get those hours of my life back. Thanks Netflix!
You’re the Worst (FX), Scandal (ABC), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix), Justified (FX), Louie (FX), Brooklyn 99 (Fox), Empire (Fox), Inside Amy Schumer (Comdey Central), Odd Mom Out (Bravo), Girls (HBO), Game of Thrones (HBO), Parks and Recreation (NBC), Ballers (HBO), Scandal (ABC)
10. Show Me a Hero (HBO)
“The job will not save you.” Sometimes doing the right thing is the only reward you get in life. And only Wire-creator David Simon could take something as dry as a public housing policy implementation and make it gripping.
9. BoJack Horseman (Netflix)
An animated series about a depressed anthropomorphic horse shouldn’t be this good.
8. Master of None (Netflix)
Aziz Ansari, former Parks and Recreation star, comedian and author, delivers Louie for the Texting Generation. He lays bare the twin existential crises of being confused about how to create substantive relationships and stumbling while trying to build a meaningful adult life. Some of the stories (and worldview) are ripped directly from his is excellent book, Modern Romance.
7. Silicon Valley (HBO)
Clever tech bro satire packed between even more clever dick jokes.
6. UnREAL (Lifetime)
They say you never wanna see how sausage gets made. This over the top send up of The Bachelor/reality TV is worse than sausage. It’s scrapple.
5. Broad City (Comedy Central)
These two “take it there” and then when you think it’s gone as far is it can they take it another direction you didn’t see coming (see: the “pegging” episode)
4. Mad Men (AMC)
Watching the series finale of this show was like saying good bye to your old friends. Your racist, sexist, alcoholic friends.
3. Veep (HBO)
The dog finally catches the car she’s been chasing. Now what?
2. The Americans (FX)
The central mystery of this show (since we already know how the Cold War ends) is whether this family of deep cover KGB spies will remain intact through the conflict. Work life balance is a problem for more than just office drones.
1. Mr. Robot (USA)
It was hard to watch this show pull off this insane high-wire act without reminding yourself that it was on the same network that brought you Monk and Burn Notice. It’s like show creator Sam Esmail politely accepted any network executive shownotes and then promptly wiped his ass with them.