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Episodes: My top 10 TV shows of 2015


Emily VanDerWerff

Dec 08 2015

3 min read



It's that time of year again! The time of year when I insert some platitudes about how the calendar is reaching its end and time is meaningless. It's also time to talk about how it was a good year for TV! Maybe not as good as this other year. Definitely better than this other year.

Joke about Peak TV. Ha ha ha ha. I get paid to do this and can't keep up!

Veiled description of what's to follow. Discussion of how little I wanted to be doing this in the first place. Final, grudging acceptance of the gods of traffic, readership, and the secret fun of getting to do this and have people care what you think.

So here were the top 10 TV shows of 2015.

1.) Slightly out there but ultimately non-controversial pick. You're hoping not everybody else picks this one. You'd like to have an "edgy" pick. But you also don't want people saying, "Hey, this is a weird show to have at number one." We can't have a repeat of 2011.

2.) Your actual number one. In three years, you will realize this is the case. It will be too late.

3.) The old warhorse that had a good season. Not new enough to put at number one (which should really be for a show in its second season, ideally), but still good. The Mad Men Memorial Third Place Finish.

4.) Something new. Putting a first season show at number one opens you up to ridicule if it falls apart in season two (which happens more often than you'd like). This is a safe space.

5.) Weird, irreverent pick that not every critic will have. There's a lot of TV on. How are they to know if this show is good or bad?

6.) Consider putting Mad Men here.

7.) A show everybody loves (including you), but if you put it here, people might think you're cool. Also, some people will tell you you ranked it too low, which is ideal.

8.) Shit, you forgot this one. Oh, wow, too late to rearrange the list, but this one was a show you really liked. Better just slip it in here.

9.) Whatever you have more of, do the opposite here. More dramas? This is for a comedy. More comedies? This is for a drama. Or put a reality show here. Or a miniseries. Or a talk show. Or, God forbid, "election coverage." (Don't do that.)

10.) A really weird, irreverent pick not every critic will have. FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Steven Universe. Nathan For You. The River. The Great British Baking Show. Getting On. One of those five should get you started.

Alphabetical list of runners up.

If you still have room, here's where you start feeling terrible about all of the shows you missed.

To 2016!


Episodes is published daily, Monday through Friday, unless I don't feel like it. It is mostly about television, except when it's not. Suggest topics for future installments via email or on Twitter. Read more of my work at Vox Dot Com.

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