Samuel Brace with his six best TV shows of 2015…
2015 has been a pretty fantastic year for TV. Film? Not so much, but TV has been on point with some truly excellent seasons of returning shows, surprise hits, sad farewells and fan pleasing spin-offs. But what are the absolute must sees? What are the 2015 TV shows that stand tall above all others? Well, take a seat and let me tell you how it is.
There was trepidation before Netflix’s first dive into the Marvel universe landed earlier this year, trepidation that was of course founded. Daredevil’s last appearance in the spotlight didn’t exactly go well and Marvel’s previous shows weren’t particularly great. But when all 13 episodes finally landed the world was instantly won over.
What was achieved here was pretty spectacular. Daredevil wasn’t perfect, it’s not one of the great shows, but it’s darn good TV, fantastically acted, admirably written and gorgeous to behold. Daredevil — as a character — instantly became a fan favourite among the lesser versed Marvel fans of the world and rightfully so. Charlie Cox’s natural charisma couldn’t help but win over his audience, an audience that has been repaid for its adoration with a second season order — a season that wasn’t necessarily planned before hand.
The success of this show can be found in many places but above all it’s located in its desire to tell a story with a serialised narrative that takes it’s time. TV is really the perfect place for comic book adaptations but only when it’s done right. Oh was this show done right. No one could have asked for more.
Better Call Saul
Was there ever more pressure on a show to succeed than the one that had to follow its parent — the greatest show of all time — Breaking Bad? No. No there was not. But that didn’t stop Better Call Saul from delivering in all the right places. Creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould delved deep into the mind and character of Breaking Bad side player Saul Goodman and turned him into a fascinating, heartbreaking lead of his very own show.
Everything we loved about BB is present. The Writing, the performances, the cinematography, the music, the mix of dark and light themes — perhaps with percentage skewed a little further to the latter this time — and the undeniable sense that the creative’s behind the show are masters of their craft, that they know what they are doing. Some episodes were better than others, there was an odd dip in form, but on the whole this show just worked and its audience couldn’t be happier.
Better Call Saul isn’t — of course — the show Breaking Bad was, that was never going to be possible, lightning in a bottle is a rare occurrence indeed, but none the less it provided riveting entertainment throughout its first season run on AMC. Yes, it could be a better show (even better) but what Better Call Saul has is promise. An obvious and unequivocal potential that seeps through every frame of the series. This show is going places. I have no doubt about that. If they learn from the growing pains of season 1 and with their hero now fully placed into his world, we could be in for something very special here. The sky is the limit for this series, a series that has already brought joy to so many.
This. Show. Rocks.
I loved Bloodline‘s debut season when I binged it over a four day period back in spring. I took a chance on it because Netflix have got that ‘why not’ reputation going for them now and also because I’m a big Ben Mendelsohn fan. The truth is I had no idea what to suspect when I dipped my toes in but what I got was superb serialised drama of the highest order.
From start to finish Bloodline grabs you by the throat and forces you to respect it. It’s an excellently crafted show, with fantastic performances (Mendlesohn and Chandler are stand outs) and compelling writing. But there is something nebulous about Bloodline, something that isn’t quite so tangible, a certain quality unquantifiable in nature that washes over you. What that thing is I don’t know but it’s pure magic. I couldn’t stop thinking about this show during my binge session and it has stayed with me ever since — the now notorious line “We’re not bad people but we did a bad thing” permeating my thoughts if I allow my mind to wonder.
Good TV should be obvious to everyone. Quality isn’t subjective and the fact of the matter is Bloodline is indeed quality. No doubt about it. Bloodline is a truly wonderful show with a truly immersive narrative. Above all it is a tale of mystery, a mystery with many layers, each more intoxicating the last. Bloodline never reveals all its cards; it makes you work for them, if you want to figure this one out you’ll have to be patient. The good news is Bloodline will be back for a second season, and after the finale’s ending moments such news is more than welcome. This show is not only my favourite of the year, it’s not only the biggest surprise of the year, it’s without doubt one of the very best series 2015 has to offer. Don’t miss out.