Arguably since Tony Soprano first walked onto our screens in HBO’s The Sopranos in 1999 (wow, that’s so long ago) the oft-maligned medium of television drama has been experiencing a golden age. Shows like The Wire, The Shield, Breaking Bad and Mad Men have all followed The Sopranos in reaching the pinnacle of drama and establishing TV and not film as the place to work for in-depth, engrossing drama. The last 12 months were another year where what you could watch from the comfort of your own home left cinema fare in the shade. Here’s all the times TV kicked film’s ass in 2015…
The first season of FX’s mini-series adaptation of Coen Brothers’ Fargo was one of the best new TV shows when it came on the air in 2013 so there was a fair amount of pressure on the follow-up to recreate that success but they’ve easily done it with an amazing cast, great plot and black humour all the while keeping that quirky Coen Bros tone at the forefront.
Netflix’s original drama, Narcos, was probably my favourite show of 2015 and definitely a yardstick on which future Netflix originals will be judged. Taking on the almost mythic story of Colombia’s most infamous coke baron, Pablo Escobar, the drama is a brutal and addictive show with lush period production, impeccable acting and tense scenes.
Game Of Thrones
HBO can’t really put a foot wrong with the ever popular Game of Thrones franchise. As the show catches up with George R. R. Martin’s novels many questioned whether the show would have to be put on hiatus to allow time for the writer to complete the next novel but instead they’ve rather daringly taken projected plot points provided to them by Martin and gone in their own direction, winning over hardcore fans at the same time. No mean feat when it comes to fantasy nerds who love nothing more than using the sentence “the book is better”.
New York based stoner, pop culture comedy Broad City is definitely one of the top shows of 2015 and pisses all over any movie comedies released this year. Based around the lives of two millenials trying to survive in New York it’s funnier and more realistic than Girls.
Beavis & Butthead and King of the Hill creator Mike Judge ended a seeming hiatus last year to come back with a new show, Silicon Valley, which takes a stab at the high pressure world of tech startups in California’s silicon valley. Expect dorks being dorks, dork who don’t realise they’re dorks being dorks against the backdrop of
Slowly gaining the plaudits it deserves having been received three nominations including Best Drama Series at the Golden Globes, Mr. Robot, follows socially awkward Eliot, computer engineer at a cyber security firm by day, vigilante by night as he joins a subversive revolutionary movement aiming to take down a massive conglomerate. Featuring a compelling central performance from Rami Malek as Eliot the show is also helping to resuscitate the career of former Hollywood badboy, Christian Slater.
From the creator of unsettling child abuse documentary, Capturing The Friedmans, HBO’s The Jinx takes a look at the crazy life of Robert Durst, the estranged member of the magnate New York retail Durst family as he is facing trial for murder. Honestly one of the most gripping and rewarding documentaries I’ve ever watched you’ll be simultaneously compelled and repelled by Durst’s odd oily charisma.
Big Time In Hollywood Fl.
Produced by Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films, Big Time In Hollywood Fl, echoes screwball comedies like Dumb & Dumber, Stepbrothers & Kingpin it follows the lives of two goofballs brothers with dreams of movie stardom as they go to crazy lengths to make those dreams a reality. With hilarious guest slots from Ben Stiller and Cuba Gooding Jr, it’s one of the best new comedies of the year.
Arguably the most popular living comedian, Louie CK, came back this year with the fourth season of his amazing sitcom for FX, Louie. Like a lot of shows this last year, Louie skirts that thin line between comedy and drama, offering small interconnected vignettes that expertly show the difficulties and foibles of life including fatherhood, middle age, love and death. It’s an at times painfully beautiful show that’s really pushing the boundaries of what TV comedy can do that’s always truthful and always funny.
Has Armando Iannuci ever had a flop? Literally everything the man has ever been involved in has been top class and Veep is no different. Featuring the always amazing and ridiculously sexy Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as the vice president of the United States it gives a spot-on and hilarious look behind the scenes of Washington’s political elite.
Honorable mentions: Last Man on Earth, Man Seeking Woman, Better Call Saul, Orange Is The New Black.