In the first section of three parts concerning the best television of 2015, I look at my favourite new television series from this year and pick what I believe to be the top 10 series. The second and third lists will look at the best recurring shows that have been around for more than one year, as well as the best actors and actresses of 2015. All lists will also, it is important to note, will not be in order. So without further ado, here are my picks for the 10 best new television shows of 2015.
MARVEL’S JESSICA JONES (NETFLIX)
This list is dominated by Netflix television series and it’s easy to see why based on the quality of the dramas that they put out. Jessica Jones marked one of their most successful and best series yet as it put Kristen Ritter in the role of the Marvel anti-hero, and took the Marvel Cinematic Universe into darker territory than before. Featuring an excellent cast include David Tennant playing the disturbing and unhinged Kilgrave, and some great noir-filled atmosphere, Jessica Jones just got better and better as it reached towards the end.
BETTER CALL SAUL (AMC)
This Breaking Bad spinoff got off to an excellent start when Bob Odenkirk reprised the role of Saul for the series. It shouldn’t have worked in retrospect, after all, Saul was only ever a comic relief character for the show, but the writers injected him with new life that made Better Call Saul gripping, fun entertainment that was made the Breaking Bad-shaped hole in our lives a little bit smaller.
MASTER OF NONE (NETFLIX)
Aziz Ansari continued to deliver some excellent content after leaving Parks and Recreation. Earlier this year his standup, Live At Madison Square Garden, was an excellent viewing and Master of None, a return to live action entertainment, fulfilled the gap left behind by Parks and Recreation as his character Dev walked his way into trouble throughout the streets of New York. Funny, enthralling and captivating, Master of None is probably the best new comedy of 2015.
The third Netflix offering on this list Bloodline was an enthralling, captivating slow burn that looked at a haunting mystery and the return of a wayward son to the Rayburn family. Featuring a stellar cast, Bloodline may not have been the quickest show of the year, but it was smart, clever and made use of its rich scenery to deliver a fantastic atmosphere that leaves fans eagerly awaiting Season 2.
MR. ROBOT (USA NETWORK)
Rami Malek was easily the breakout star of the summer in one of the breakout series of the Summer, Mr. Robot. Featuring some WTF moments throughout, boasting a David Fincher-esque feel, this is a show that never stopped being entertaining and jaw-dropping in an equal manner, Mr. Robot took us all by surprise to become this Summer’s biggest hit.
THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE (AMAZON)
Amazon’s alternate history drama benefited from a big budget and an involvement from Ridley Scott, to weave a compelling drama that looked at what would happen if America lost World War 2. Now divided between the Japanese and the Nazis, and Hitler never took his own life in the bunker, the series, based on Phillip K. Dick’s titular novel, explores some fascinating themes and intriguing plots that keeps the audience hooked from start to finish. Now that it’s renewed for a second season that hints at some greater science fiction plot twists and turns, things should just get better and better from here on in.
iZOMBIE (THE CW)
Sorry, The Walking Dead and Z Nation, iZombie is probably the best zombie series on television right now thanks to its fun take on the idea and some great chemistry between the cast. Season 1 started off incredibly strongly and Season 2, which began in the same year, weaved a compelling tale that kept things strong and solid throughout. Merlin fans will also spot Bradley James in a guest role through this season, that features a strong, solid direction even if it does use a couple of CW tropes and the standard case of the week format every now and again, this show has enough heart for the audience not to ignore it.
DEUTSCHLAND 83 (SUNDANCE)
Sundance’s answer to The Americans, Deutschland 83 is a German-language series that takes us behind the curtain of the Berlin Wall that follows an East German spy out of his depth in West Berlin. Featuring an excellent period soundtrack and a great, compelling story, this show was one of my favourites of the year and probably one of the few series on this list that you haven’t had the chance to check out yet. I strongly encourage you to do so if you can find it anywhere, because it is seriously gripping stuff, and weaves a compelling story that should not be ignored.
2015 was very much Netflix’s year and another new show that I really liked was the late summer offering of Narcos, which gave us a fantastic look into the Columbian drug war and Pablo Escobar, one of the most infamous criminals in history. Thanks to a stellar performance from Wagner Moura as Escobar and a good budget with some great scenes and a powerful narrative, Narcos gave us a fantastic period drama with several twists and turns that brought to life the true story of the Drug Lord’s shocking rise to power.
Well, this wasn’t the sort of show that I watch but it probably turned out to be this year’s biggest surprise on the small screen for me. Few shows struggle to handle one difficult, flawed female character but UnREAL manages two with ease, weaving a surprisingly addictive series that looks at a show-within a show concept of characters behind the scenes of a fictional reality dating program. It works so much better than it has any right to, and as a result, UnREAL rounds off the top 10 in style.
Now, obviously I haven’t seen every new series of 2015 and not every show can make my list, so I thought I’d list another 10 runners up that came close to nicking UnREAL’s spot but ultimately in the end could not steal it away. We have Marvel’s Daredevil and Marvel’s Agent Carter falling in just behind on an equal footing, followed by one more Netflix offerings in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, as well as AMC’s martial arts drama Into The Badlands. Joining them are SyFy’s The Expanse and Killjoys that mark a return to sci-fi fare for the network, as well as Limitless and Supergirl, the best new network shows of the fall season. And finally, rounding out the runners up list we also have the creepy Fox summer thriller Wayward Pines and Starz’s excellent Ash vs. Evil Dead, only so low down on this list because as of typing it I’ve only seen two episodes.