The second half of 2015 didn’t provide the same kind of mind-blowing experiences that were provided by the first half of the year. At one time the Fall TV season was the most important season of the year for television, but that is no longer the case. Now we get new content year round, and the strongest content seems to come in winter and spring. That being said, 2015’s second half was still home to some impressive new series. As such, this week’s edition of TVEnthusiast’s Top 10 Tuesday finds me ranking the new shows of the second half of 2015. For my picks regarding the first half of the year, click here.
The man of steel’s cousin came to TV with a huge amount of fanfare and marketing. In the end, I found the series to be an odd mix of forced progressive politics, and overly shy steps towards agency. The relationship between Kara (Supergirl) and Cat, however, continues to provide brilliant female empowerment concepts.
Limitless, the movie, was surprisingly good. I didn’t expect much from the film, but came away pleasantly surprised. The TV series surprised me in a different way. When the seriousness of the situation began to fade to the background, the real strength of the show emerged, humor. Most notably, the series had an amazing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off homage episode.
08. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
I still have a lot more of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to watch, but even with the little I have seen I felt it deserved a spot. The original trailer for this series left me cold, I questioned the handling of the concepts on display, and how a gender swap would have made the entire thing terrifying. Thankfully, the show itself addresses all of this and more, head on. In the actual show, mental illness is covered in a very meaningful and significant way. This gives the series a depth that the original previews completely ignored.
07. Master of None
Aziz Ansari’s Netflix series borrows from the works of Woody Allen, Ansari’s own personal experiences, and an admirable commitment to positivity, in order to make something unique and meaningful. I have heard others refer to the series as an optimistic Louie, and I have to agree.
06. Fear the Walking Dead
This spin-off to cable’s biggest show of all time, managed to entertain me by showing various different angles on a concept that could have been, and often is, beaten into the ground. The zombie apocalypse in Fear the Walking Dead is different from the one in The Walking Dead, despite being the same actual event in the canon of both series. By starting on the early days of the disaster, focusing on less capable heroes, and exploring the differences between dry desert California and humid swamp Georgia, Fear the Walking Dead managed to stay fresh.
05. The Expanse
I might have ranked this one higher if I included the episodes that aired in 2016, but that would be cheating. The Expanse is, simply put, the hardest science fiction we have had on television since the Star Trek franchise abandoned the small screen. Unlike Trek‘s clean utopian atmosphere, however, The Expanse borrows its tone from grittier works, like Battlestar Galactica. The future is dirty, lived in, and full of conflict, but the science all seems terrifyingly real.
04. Scream Queens
Easily the best of the Fall network television premieres, Scream Queens got off to a rough start, only nailing it’s absurdest tone by the series 3rd episode. Originally I felt that the series tone was all over the map, but early into the season they managed to find the real tone (comedy) of the series. I went in expecting Scream, but what I got was Scary Movie.
Netflix’s Pablo Escobar series managed to grab my interest with its casting of Pedro Pascal, who had just come off of a phenomenal run on Game of Thrones. My expectation of the series was grit, violence, and sad social commentary. Instead, Narcos surprised me by being surprising fun. Don’t get me wrong, the content is still very dark, but the way the series is paced and presented feels like a grand adventure with high stakes. I feel that much of the credit has to go to the use of narration, which allows the series to quickly divulge information, so that we can focus on the character performances, which are largely phenomenal.
02. Jessica Jones
Marvel’s second Netflix series is more divisive than the first. Personally, I preferred Jessica Jones to Daredevil. The larger and more emotional concepts at play in Jones, trumped the better execution of Daredevil, in my opinion. That being said, I cannot imagine Jessica Jones having as much of a personal story in its second season, while Daredevil’s second season looks, perhaps, stronger than its first.
01. Ash vs Evil Dead
I am a huge fan of The Evil Dead trilogy. I am an even bigger fan of the people who made it, Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Rob Tapert. So when I heard we were getting a TV series continuation of the movies that not only starred Campbell, but whose pilot would be written and directed by Raimi, I was squealing like a pre-teen at a Bieber concert. While the series suffered a few inconsistencies, it was never boring. I do not think there was a single minute of the series run in which i was not smiling, and that says a lot. By the end of the season, any tonal imbalances seem to have been sorted, so my hopes for season 2 are even greater.
What new shows did you like in the second half of 2015? Do you agree with our list? Do you disagree? Tell us in our comments, and stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for more coverage of all of your favorite shows.