The Edge’s Top 10 TV Shows of 2015

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With 2015 finally coming to an end, you’ve no doubt seen numerous lists counting down the year’s best, films, games, shows, albums, moments, people etc. No doubt at least a couple of them have pissed you off as well. There’s something about the arbitrary ranking of one thing over another that just sends people insane. So, if you have the time to vehemently disagree with people over the internet and spew baffling vitriol over another person’s list, then take a look at our’s for the best TV shows of the year.

10) Hannibal

The beginning of our countdown starts with the third and final season of Bryan Fuller’s psychological drama, Hannibal. Based on Thomas Harris’ prolific novels, the series followed the oddly homo-erotic and very close-to-deadly relationship between the cannibalistic Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikklesen) and troubled FBI Profiler, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy).

It really is a tragedy that this beautifully crafted series was cancelled just as the momentum was really beginning to peak. Not only was Hannibal a superbly written television show – full of deeply intricate character studies and intriguing plot twists – but it also showcased a powerhouse of acting talent. The charismatic central casting of Mikklesen and Dancy was deliciously compelling throughout the show’s run, while this season’s introduction to Richard Armitage’s complexly twisted portrayal of Francis Dolarhyde was truly inspired. And as if that wasn’t enough, the cinematography was at such a spectacularly cinematic level, that it made other US crime dramas look tawdry in comparison.

It’s a god-damn shame that this series was cut short so soon, but at least we can take some solace in the fact that it ended with such finesse.

To read more on what we’ll miss about Hannibal, check out our commemorative feature, published in June.

Words by Anneka Honeyball. 

9) It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 

Centering around the shocking exploits of five narcissistic, homophobic, racist, manipulative, intolerant, depraved, obnoxious and downright awful-in-every-way Philadelphians, this FX sitcom started out as a fairly standard show, before finding its own unique voice after a few seasons. A half way point between a live action South Park and Seinfeld, the show moves between clever satire and juvenile poo jokes, and sometimes clever satire through the allegory of juvenile poo jokes. By no means for everyone (like, anyone who is remotely a good person will probably wanna give it a miss), the cult sitcom has maintained it’s loyal fanbase by never once relenting or playing it safe. Its tenth season saw the team get even more confident, with more sophisticated humour and high concept episodes, including the renowned ‘Charlie Work’, which chronicles the hectic preparation for a bar’s health inspection in a single shot, Birdman style. For those unconvinced, it’s the second highest rated sitcom episode of all time on IMDB, with an outstanding 9.8.

Words by Harrison Abbott. 

8) Master of None 

Aziz Ansari writes and stars in the popular new Netflix original Master of None, which has received critical acclaim from audiences and critics alike. But during 2015 alone, we –the online generation, the binge-watching generation, the ‘Netflix and chill’ generation – had no less than twenty one Netflix original series bestowed upon us, so what made Master of None so popular so quickly?

With a quick-witted script that remained consistent throughout the ten episodes making up the series, Ansari thrived in his creation and performance of Dev, a 32 year old actor in the midst of romance, marriage and one-night stands. With each show covering a different modern problem, it’s hard not to relate to both Dev’s charm and bemusement of the big decisions a thirty-something has to make.

It is difficult to pin-point a moment where the humour of the show isn’t carefully balanced with deeper meaning and a more solid significance than many throw-away comedies of 2015. Unafraid of picking into the darker, and often more sour aspects of modern ventures, Master of None climbs deeper than any average comedy, into real problems with real humour and, most importantly, with real heart.

Words by Sophie Trenear. 

7) Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is Tina Fey’s quirky masterpiece – a collection of the most eccentric, bizarre and downright weird people coming together in equally odd situations. Starring Ellie Kemper as an escaped victim of a doomsday cult coming to terms with the modern world; the show follows her through her unique experience of downtown New York. With a mental age of 14 and a host of outcasts as friends and acquaintances; Kimmy’s adventures are as strange as they are hilarious – from dating somewhat ‘older’ men, to almost getting an entire face transplant. A refreshingly funny series that deserves its spot at number 7.

Words by Ashleigh Millman. 

6) Better Call Saul

Once Breaking Bad ended in September of 2013, the world endured a sizable hole in its collective heart. But alas, this pain soon ended in the form of our favourite criminal lawyer, Saul Goodman.

Better Call Saul premiered on February 8, 2015, consisting of 10 episodes. Created in a collaborative effort between Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and writer Peter Gould, the series serves as a prequel to Breaking Bad. Set six years before the events of the original show, Better Call Saul follows the life of a small-time lawyer James Morgan ‘Jimmy’ McGill (Bob Odenkirk), who will inevitably become the infamous Saul Goodman who we all know and love.

Better Call Saul serves as an outstanding counterpart to the Breaking Bad canon and takes on a life of its own, never relying too much on its predecessors success. It forms its own aesthetic and tone outside of the shadow of its parent show, whilst having just enough similarities to appease fans.

Words by Sophie McEvoy.

5) Peep Show

At the half-way point on our list is the ninth and final season of Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain’s legendary, decade-spanning sitcom Peep Show. Since first starting back in 2003, the Mitchell & Webb starrer has not only become Channel 4’s longest-running comedy ever, but has also swept up bucketloads of praise and rightfully so. The show’s ninth season found middle-aged misfits Mark and Jeremy up to their usual shenanigans, ruining weddings, hosting fake “Moroccan” dinner parties, lager-boarding (like water-boarding but with lager) colleagues, and kidnapping everything from pet snakes to adulterous husbands. After all, in Jeremy’s own immortal words: “somebody’s always going to get a little bit kidnapped”. It was Peep Show’s final bow and, thankfully, it was one of its best.

Words by Ben Robins.

4) Parks and Recreation

Leslie Knope’s cute yet zingy humour, balanced out by the overtly masculine Ron Swanson and his epic moustache, are only a couple of the things that made Parks and Recreation one of the most delightful TV treats in the past decade. Similar to The Office, Parks and Rec follows the lives of government employees living in a fictitious city of Pawnee, a microcosm of the United States. All the characters have very distinct personalities and as a result, everyone can find someone to relate to. It has always had laugh-out-loud lines as well as a few tear-jerking moments. In the end however, even though I felt like I ready for it, it was still extremely hard to say goodbye to Leslie Knope.

Words by Martyna Posluszna. 

3) Jessica Jones

Taking a lesser known property from the early 2000s (the comic book from which the TV show hails is called Alias), with little clout in the Marvel universe, and turning it into one of the very best things that Marvel studios have ever produced, is a huge achievement. The fact that it came from the writer of all five Twilight movies is downright astonishing. Jessica Jones is full of great characters, virtually none of whom are left without significantly more dimensions by the midway mark of the series than they did at the start, never mind at the end. It is 100% a superhero show, with superpowers all over the place, that takes those powers and applies them to the Noir genre in a perfect way. The action lacks the whizz-bang finesse and stunts of Daredevil, but is nearly always loaded with emotion. Each of the 13 episodes clock in at around 50-minutes or more, and yet it’s never dull managing to make the binge-watch work better than ever. Finally, it’s full of perfectly executed themes and fully realised arcs that make the show satisfying like almost nothing else. Kilgrave didn’t make us love this; Melissa Rosenberg (and Krysten Ritter) made you love this.

Words by George Seabrook.

2) Daredevil

Daredevil definitely caught a lot of people off guard. The MCU is widely beloved and its previous televisual contributions, Agents of Shield and Agent Carter have been solidly enjoyable but hardly the pinnacle of the art-form. Daredevil however, took the superhero show to new heights. It had fight scenes that made you wince and were among the most visceral ever to make it on television. It had crisp and clear cinematography to carry them, too – that shot where Matt lifts his head from the puddle and his blood mixes with the rain took my breath away. It pulled them off with a smashing cast headed by Charlie Cox, whose Matt Murdock was at once accessible and deeply complex. A disabled superhero, whose disability is at once his power. A good Catholic boy, ready to let the devil out.

But perhaps the greatest strength of Daredevil was the time it paid to Matt’s foil, Wilson Fisk. I don’t feel I’ve seen many shows before, that force the viewer to question the morality of an antagonist so strongly, or develop their ‘evil’ enough that you really believe every villain is a hero in their own mind. I watched all 13 episodes back to back without pause for food and like… two loo breaks. I can’t wait to do it again.

Words by Camilla Cassidy.

1) Game of Thrones

Coming in at a resounding (or so I’m told) first, Game of Thrones’ fifth season is The Edge’s favourite for 2015. And there’s really little surprise; this season has produced arguably the best GoT episode to date, and certainly the best single episode of the year in the form of its now (in)famous ninth episode: Hardhome. That episode, along with a very…um…stabby finale, has seen the show catch up with and even begin to overtake its source material. With less of the books to fall back on than ever before, showrunners Dan Benioff & D.B. Weiss have marched on with aplomb, a few weaker storylines (ahem, Dorne) more than made up for by the breathtaking crescendo and gloriously infuriating set of cliffhangers that has made up the season’s latter third. Roll on next year, and season six.

Words by Matt Clarson. 

 

Our Writers’ Individual Lists:

Harrison

  1. Game of Thrones
  2. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 
  3. Daredevil
  4. Jessica Jones
  5. Mr. Robot
  6. Modern Family
  7. Parks and Recreation 
  8. The Muppets
  9. The Walking Dead
  10. American Horror Story: Hotel

Matt Clarson 

  1. Mr. Robot
  2. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  3. Game of Thrones 
  4. Daredevil 
  5. Silicon Valley
  6. The Man in the High Castle
  7. Orange is the New Black
  8. Jessica Jones
  9. Narcos
  10. Peep Show 

Anneka Honeyball 

  1. Jessica Jones
  2. Daredevil
  3. Hannibal
  4. Parks and Recreation
  5. Game of Thrones 
  6. BoJack Horseman
  7. Peep Show

Georgia Simpson 

  1. How to Get Away with Murder 
  2. Game of Thrones
  3. Scandal
  4. Modern Family
  5. Parks and Recreation
  6. Orange is the New Black
  7. Empire
  8. American Horror Story: Hotel

Sophie McEvoy

  1. Better Call Saul
  2. Aquarius 
  3. Silicon Valley
  4. Hannibal 
  5. Jessica Jones
  6. Louie
  7. Parks and Recreation 
  8. The Leftovers
  9. It’s Always in Philadelphia
  10. Marvel’s Daredevil

George Seabrook

  1. Jessica Jones
  2. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. The Flash
  5. Master of None
  6. Daredevil

Lewis Taplin 

  1. American Horror Story: Hotel 
  2. Parks and Recreations 
  3. How to Get Away with Murder
  4. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 
  5. Master of None
  6. Fargo

James Slaymaker 

  1. Louie 
  2. Mad Men
  3. Hannibal
  4. Peep Show
  5. Bojack Horseman

Ben Robins 

  1. Daredevil 
  2. Peep Show
  3. Catastrophe 
  4. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 
  5. The Walking Dead
  6. Master of None
  7. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 
  8. Parks and Recreation
  9. Game of Thrones
  10. Orange is the New Black 

Ashleigh Millman 

  1. Game of Thrones 
  2. Hannibal 
  3. Modern Family
  4. The Walking Dead
  5. American Horror Story: Hotel 
  6. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 
  7. Orange is the New Black 

Josh Harris 

  1. The Leftovers 
  2. Better Call Saul 
  3. Game of Thrones 
  4. Daredevil
  5. Hannibal 
  6. The Walking Dead
  7. Peep Show
  8. Mad Men
  9. Orange is the New Black 
  10. Narcos

Tobias Preston

  1. Game of Thrones 
  2. Silicon Valley 
  3. Better Call Saul
  4. Doctor Who
  5. Daredevil
  6. The Man in the High Castle 
  7. The Flash 

Xavier Voigt-Hill

  1. Master of None
  2. Peep Show
  3. Bojack Horsemen 
  4. Parks and Recreation 
  5. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  6. Orange is the New Black

Lisa Veiber

  1. The Flash
  2. Mad Men
  3. Daredevil
  4. Better Call Saul
  5. Jessica Jones
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A 3rd year English student who likes staring at all the pretty moving pictures. Also books, I suppose. I do take English after all

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Former Film Editor, Film graduate and general supporter of all things moving-picture related. Accidentally obsessed with Taylor Swift. Long-time Ellen Page fanboy.

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Deputy Editor of the Edge and FilmSoc President 2016-17. BA Film and English graduate, but not ready to accept it yet. Has an affinity for spooky stories, cats, and anything deep fried.

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