A Year Better for the Small Screen: 7 Best Shows We Watched in 2015

What did 2015 mean to you? To us, it meant a lot of good TV. 

Yes, we binged on Comedy Central's Broad City and South Park. How could we resist? The shows are hilarious, and nearly perfect. Of course we succumbed to the charms of Abbi, Ilana, and PC Principal. 

Aside from uproariously hilarious, 2015 also brought with it plenty of shows that transcended serious social barriers.

This included Viola Davis's role as Annalise Keating in How to Get Away With Murder, for which Davis became the first African-American to win an Emmy for Best Actress in Drama.

It also included Jeffrey Tambor's stunning performance as a transgender woman in Transparent, and Amy Schumer's hilarious, lucid, and brilliant Inside Amy Schumer.

We were also transfixed by the finale of Mad Men, delighted by Trevor Noah's takeover of The Daily Show, and we sat at the edge of our seats as we watched Game of Thrones and Mr. Robot.

Read on to learn our picks for the best TV series of 2015 (honorable mentions include: Broad City, Master of None, Last Week Tonight, and Better Call Saul). 

1. Inside Amy Schumer

We're guessing you already heard 2015 was a big year for Amy Schumer. She hosted SNL, wrote and starred in the blockbuster film Trainwreck, and signed an $8 million book deal with Simon & Schuster. Schumer's book is expected to come out in late 2016.

Among all this, there was always Schumer's sketch comedy show on Comedy Central, Inside Amy Schumer. The show premiered in April of 2013, and it's been stirring up ceaseless splashes ever since.

Some of last season's gems include the "12 Angry Men" which spoofed the film of the same title and our culture's insistence on feminine beauty standards. Actually, most of the sketches parody our culture's insistence on feminine beauty standards.


The show is scathingly aware. This awareness is especially evidenced in "Last F*ckable Day" and "I'm Sorry." Plus, just about every sketch is hilarious.

Inside Amy Schumer won the Creative Arts Emmys for the "Girl, You Don't Need Makeup" video, which was written by Kyle Dunnigan and Jim Roach. It also won the 2015 Emmy for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series.

2. How to Get Away with Murder

howtogetawaywithmurder Courtroom slayer. #AnnaliseKeating#HTGAWM #TGIT

How to Get Away with Murder premiered on ABC in September of 2014. It's created by Peter Nowalk and produced by Shonda Rhimes.

The show centers around Viola Davis as Professor Annalise Keating, a law professor at a Philadelphia university who becomes entrenched in a murder plot with five of her students. 

This year, the show won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Actress in a New TV Series. Viola Davis also became the first African-American to win an Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama.

In her acceptance speech, Viola Davis quoted Harriet Tubman from the 1800s. 

"In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me, over that line. But I can't seem to get there no how. I can't seem to get over that line."

Viola Davis followed Tubman's quote with the statement, "The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there."

Viola Davis then proceeded to thank "people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy to be a leading woman, to be black." How to Get Away with Murder was far and away one of the more compelling shows on network television. 

3. Transparent

transparentamazon Transparent is nominated for 3 @goldenglobes including: Best Television Series - Comedy Or Musical Jeffrey Tambor, Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Comedy Or Musical @judithlight, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Transparent debuted on Amazon Prime in February of 2014. Its first two seasons are brilliant, category breaking, and offer a refreshing lucidity into the oppressiveness of the gender binary.

It's about the Los Angeles family whose father Mort (played by Jeffrey Tambor) comes out as a transgender woman named Maura. She then informs her wife and three adult children that she's already begun the process of transitioning.

The show, created and directed by Jill Soloway, is bursting with talent. 

We'd be lying if we said we didn't spend tons of hours streaming Transparent all over again 2015 in preparation for its second second season that came out at the beginning of the month. It's definitely giving transparency to the grievously underrepresented transgender sect of Hollywood.

It won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series in 2015-- something unheard of for a non-cable/network television series, and Jeffrey Tambor won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series. The show has only improved in its second season. 

When Jill Soloway accepted the Award for Best Television Series, she dedicated the award to Leelah Alcorn, a trans teen who committed suicide in January of 2015.

"This award is dedicated to the memory of Leelah Alcorn," Soloway said, "and too many trans people who died too young ... I want to thank you for coming out because in doing so you make a break for freedom, you told your truth, you taught me how to tell my truth and make this show, and maybe we'll be able to teach the world something about authenticity and truth and love."

4. Mad Men

madmen1960s Favourite picture! #madmen #amc #dondraper #jonhamm #vintage #suit #handsome

Mad Men's season finale in 2015 marked the end of the most literary, and compelling show on television for the past eight years.

Mad Men was contemplative, delightful, and uplifting. During Mad Men's stretch of TV fame, we could always count on it for laughs, for deep, heartfelt feeling, and top-notch storytelling.

It contended with social issues with a subtle gravity few shows have ever replicated. Issues like racism, alcoholism, adultery and sexism. You know, just some of the most impactful social issues we still contend with in contemporary society.


The show was created by Matthew Weiner, produced by Lionsgate Television, and premiered on July 19th in 2007. We followed the tumultuous life of Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) as well as the the advertising industry in NYC in the 1960s and 70s. 

Mad Men won 16 Emmys and four Golden Globes. It wrapped up quite satisfyingly in May, and we are incredibly sad to see it go. 


5. Mr. Robot

mr.robotofficial Not all Heroes wear capes... #mrrobot #RamiMalek #fsociety #usanetwork #mrrobotusa

Mr. Robot, which premiered in June on USA, is the breathtaking thriller about Elliot Anderson, who works at a cybersecurity company Allsafe in NYC.

Anderson then becomes a vigilante hacker at night, and is recruited by the leader of an underground group of hackers to destroy corporate America. Yes, this includes the company he's paid to protect.


Mr. Robot won the SXSW Film Audience Award, the Gotham Independent Award, and the American Film Institute Awards in 2015. Rami Malek was also nominated for a Golden Globe for his role as Elliot Anderson.

It's gripping, narrated by its lead character (a device that rarely actually works but does so in this case), and has some incredibly intense moments. Some of the plot twists are predictable, but if you get mad about it, you're missing the point. Watch closely. We're stoked for season 2. 

6. Game of Thrones

gameofsavages 🛡🦁Tyrion "The Imp" Lannister🦁🛡 #tyrionlannister #gameofthrones

Maybe we love it because it makes us question everything we know about our lives. Maybe we love the element of magic and drama. Maybe we've spent the last several years recovering from the death of Ned Stark, and the knowledge that no character, no matter how high-profile, is safe from demise.

Spoiler alert: The biggest thing that happened in season five of Game of Thrones, was the death of Jon Snow in the last episode, brought about by his brothers at the Wall. Since then, there's been extensive debate about whether he's actually dead. 

We do think there's sufficient evidence to believe that Melisandre will bring Snow back to life in season six, especially in the wake of Stannis Baratheon's death.

What else? Cersei was forced to trek across town without clothes while the gong was beaten and "Shame" was chanted. Arya might be blind, Theon and Sansa might have leapt to their deaths. Oh, and winter is coming. Seriously.

The most intriguing aspect of this season was where it left readers. At this point, the show has exceeded the limitations of the books it is adapted from. As to where this next season will go? Well, everybody's on the same page. Nobody's read ahead. 

Game of Thrones made up for the utter failings of some of HBO's other programs, True Detective and, a godawful experiment gone wrong, The Brink. If the next season can reinvigorate fans the way The Leftovers' second season did, HBO is still the cable master of the universe. 

7. The Daily Show

thedailyshow Tonight! A young man has something to say about congressional inaction on a 9/11 bill. #SeniorJonStewartCorrespondent

You heard about the biggest change on The Daily Show, didn't you?

After eight years and becoming potentially the most trusted man in America (which, for a comedy show-- not a news show --is weird), Jon Stewart resigned from The Daily Show.

One thing Jon Stewart definitely did was cement the show's importance as a show that would take the nation's pulse both culturally and politically. 

If anyone was worried about Trevor Noah's ability to host the show when he started in May, those worries were quickly dashed. He's delightful. Comedy Central's President Michele Ganeless said Noah brings a "more global... millennial perspective" than Stewart.


Noah really won us over in an October episode of The Daily Show when he subverted the rhetoric of pro-life politicians. 

"Imagine if we could bring some of that pro-life passion into being more, well, pro-life," Noah said. "But right now, they're more like comic book collectors. Human life only matters until you take it out of the package, and then it's worth nothing."

Of course, Noah was referencing gun control; if only politicians who claim to be so fervently concerned about protecting life in the context of abortions would do so in the context of gun safety.

Even though we miss Jon Stewart, we've definitely been charmed and enlightened by Noah every evening on The Daily Show since.

Check out 7 Best New NYC Restaurants of 2015

[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram] 

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