The Top 5 TV Shows of 2015 So Far

Photo Credit:

Now that we’re officially halfway through the year, we like to reflect on the various pieces of media we’ve loved this year. So far, 2015 has continued the golden age of television with some new rising stars and some old favorites saying goodbye. Plus the usual staples. Here are our takes on the best five shows of the year so far.



Matt’s Take:

Photo Credit: Orange Is the New Black

The third season of Netflix’s best series may not have had a centralized villain like Vee, but it still managed to have everything else we love about the show pretty much at capacity. Not only did every character have their moment to shine, but most had their own arc or storyline. All of these came together in the series’ best scene as the inmates relish in some brief freedom and play in a lake, united regardless of their feuds, race, or sexual preferences. It’s the culmination of everything the show has been so far in one truly stunning scene.


Photo Credit: Broad City

Lots of shows struggle in their sophomore season. Broad City isn’t one of them. This 10-episode season of classics proved this Comedy Central series is the most outwardly hilarious show on TV. Seriously, every episode has at least one moment, from subway platforms to St. Marks, that makes it more than worthwhile. Even more impressive is how the comedy is rooted in one very real feeling friendship shared by the show’s two leads.


Photo Credit: Mad Men

As far as final seasons go, the first half of Mad Men‘s, which aired in 2014, was a tad shaky. But the second half only took one episode to really get going. The final six episodes of the series wrapped everything up to make Matthew Weiner’s vision complete. There were a ton of iconic moments (read: Peggy strutting into McCann), but the show’s strengths, including its masterful handle on its characters, played true through the end. But it also left us with a little more to ponder. Did Don write the Coca-Cola ad or not? It’s the new “Did Tony get wacked?” but with more finality. That’s how you end a show.


Photo Credit: Louie

Fewer episodes did no harm to FX’s comedy experiment led by the one and only Louis CK. The season tackled parenting older children, artistic appreciation, and open relationships in its typical surrealist manner. Louis CK also got to stretch his legs as an artist, delving for a full episode into the horror genre. But the season’s best moment was perhaps a formerly cynical Louis CK crying and laughing over a fart joke, blurring the lines of high- and low-brow comedy.


Photo Credit: Looking

In an era where just about every show has its token gay character just for the sake of diversity, Looking dared to examine the issues of gay culture from the inside. Coming off an uneven first season, the show’s doomed sophomore year took off right from the start. The characters got fleshed out and the writing got smarter. But best of all, the series transcended being “that gay show” and became something prolific about love regardless of orientation. This stellar second season was one of the most pure and genuine dissections of how and who we fall in love with on the medium. Its characters just happened to be gay men. Tragically, HBO gave it the axe before it got the chance to truly change television.



Mike’s Take:

Photo Credit: Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce-

Hear me out on this one. Bravo is probably the last place you’d look for quality scripted television, but that’s what makes this adaptation of Vicki Iovine’s best-selling book series such a rare delight. The show’s acerbic wit elevates it beyond a mere guilty pleasure, while still catering to its network’s Real Housewives demographic. Fiercely feminist, sharply self-aware, and with a knockout performance from star Lisa Edelstein, this series is a chaotic, complicated journey in the best way possible.


Photo Credit: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Anyone who’s missed Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s ace comedic writing since 30 Rock went off the air, needn’t look further than this winning Netflix series about a girl who begins life anew after escaping a doomsday cult. The show tackles Park Avenue princesses, Times Square dinner theater, and perhaps the most incredible homemade music video you’ve ever seen through the lens of some truly indelible characters trying to find themselves. It’s rare that lightning strikes in the same place twice, but Fey and Carlock have yet another hit on their hands.


Photo Credit: Broad City

How do you top the instant classic that was season 1 of Broad City? By going bigger and, well, broader, of course! Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer’s deliciously irreverent take on the 20-something city scene continues to be a source of accessibility, even as things get more and more outrageous. Perhaps this is because the show mines its New York City setting for all the comedic gold it can find and, more importantly, never forgets to emphasize the friendship between its two leads. This is the heart of the show, and reason its endlessly watchable.


Photo Credit: Looking

Growing up is hard to do, but that’s exactly what Looking did in its vastly improved sophomore season. The series might be known as “that gay HBO show,” but its ultimately refreshing in creating a world where LGBT culture is the norm. Still, calling it a “gay show” is far too simplistic, as the season’s meditations on love, loss, and loneliness are wholly universal. Looking‘s startling sense of humanity is powerful, which is what made its eventual cancellation all the more tragic.


Photo Credit: Bloodline

A wealthy, resort-owning family. Siblings divided. The return of a black sheep. This could easily be the tagline to a flashy daytime soap opera, but it’s actually a description of Netflix’s excellently subtle and supremely underrated domestic drama. From the creators of DamagesBloodline is a slow-burn, but completely rewarding for the patient viewer. The show’s nonlinear narrative turns the tortured family drama format on its head, resulting in a poignant, mesmerizing thriller, filled with nuanced performances from its ensemble cast. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start binge-watching.


What have been your favorite TV shows of the year so far? Let us now in the comments!


By Matt Dougherty and Mike Papirmeister

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