It's been yet another stellar year in the world of television, with top notch dramas, gripping crime thrillers, laugh out loud comedies and of course, that show with dragons you may have heard about.
Choosing a top ten is no easy feat, and a lot of quality shows got left on the the editing room floor here. However, in no particular order, the best shows of 2015 are:
- Game of Thrones
We had to start here. If only to get it out of the way. If someone had told us a few years ago that the whole world, ourselves included, were about to become obsessed with a TV show with fire-breathing dragons and zombies made of ice, we'd have assumed that person had been at the fairy dust - George RR Martin has a lot to answer for. Each season so far has managed to outdo the last while we have been taken on an emotional rollercoaster that we will probably all end up talking about one day with a therapist. It's not our fault though - Winter is Coming, after all.
Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney's comedy 'Catastrophe' blasted onto our screens in early 2015, and even Channel 4 couldn't wait until next year to give us a second season, which just finished up a few weeks ago. Written by and starring Horgan and Delaney it is filthily funny but at the same time a brutally honest look at relationships, motherhood and all that goes between. The show has won praise from viewers and critics alike, and we live in hope that 2016 will bring us a season three.
- Master of None
For those of you that haven't watched Master of None yet on Netflix, what are you at? Get on it already as it's well worth your time. Written by and starring Parks and Recreation's Aziz Ansari, the comedy is set in New York city with Aziz playing Dev, a thirty-year-old struggling actor making his way through life. He's a far cry from his Tom 'treat yo'self' Haverford character in Parks, but still funny just in a much more toned down and smart way. In fact, while it is a comedy, you won't be pausing for laughter or the like, it's more entertaining is a Woody Allen/Louie kind of way. Each episode pretty much plays out like a short film about everything from parents to relationships all the way up to the everyday racism and sexism we have all sadly become accustomed to.
Last year season one of this Coen brothers TV adaptation featured high on every list of best TV shows of the year, and while season two didn't seem to create quite the same stir, it still proved to be a top class show from the start all the ways up to its satisfying conclusion. They decided to go into prequel territory, with events going all the way back to 1979 following central character Molly's father Lou Solverson when he was just 33 years old. It included an all-star cast too, featuring Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Patrick Wilson, Nick Offerman and Ted Danson. Yes TED DANSON! Surely that's reason alone to watch.
- Mad Men
We sadly said farewell to Don Draper and the gang this year after seven seasons, but the influence of Mad Men will no doubt be felt in the world of television and beyond for many a year to come. Starring Jon Hamm as Don Draper, it put a whole new meaning to the words 'period drama' with an often remarkable attention to detail in capturing life in '60s America. The costumes and the music alone would have been enough to hook us into this show but thankfully that came hand in hand with fantastic performances and television writing at its best.
Since House of Cards first arrived on Netflix three years ago, the streaming service has been persistent in delivering high quality original content, and one of their most recent offerings, Narcos, has undoubtedly proven that. The show is based on the real life story of the rise of notorious Columbian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, and the American DEA agents who took him down. The voice-over narrative will remind you of Goodfellas and Casino, while the story itself is told like a brutal yet hugely engaging history lesson. We guarantee you will be hooked from the moment you press play.
- The Jinx
It's been described as TV's answer to the hugely popular Serial podcast, but The Jinx is much more than that. Following the gruesome and baffling controversy surrounding eccentric billionaire Robert Durst, it's often times funny and bleak in equal measure - but never boring. The Jinx fast became one of the most talked about shows of the year, and with just six episodes in the season, it won't take you long to see why.
- Marvel's Daredevil / Jessica Jones
Okay yes, we are cheating by putting these two TV series in together, but they are both part of a Marvel deal with Netflix which will see the streaming service make four TV shows with the comic book publishers. Daredevil kicked things off at the start of the year with Charlie Cox in the title role as the blind superhero and it proved to be the hard-hitting dark and gritty tale we hoped it would be. While Jessica Jones followed later in the year starring Krysten Ritter as the private eye going up against her mind controlling nemesis Kilgrave (David Tennant). Both shows received rave reviews from comic book fans and non-fans alike, although be warned, these are not your family-friendly PG-13 superhero tales you might be used to.
- Better Call Saul
Breaking Bad finishing two years ago undoubtedly left a gaping hole in our TV watching hearts, so the news of a spin-off with original showrunner Vince Gilligan on board was very much highly anticipated, although many fans worried if Gilligan really could re-create the magic of Walter White's universe on the screen again... without the man himself? Thankfully, the prequel didn't fail to let down, earning seven Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including outstanding drama series, and won two Critics’ Choice TV Awards for both Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks. It returns shortly for season two and we are looking forward to seeing what more antics our favourite TV lawyer gets himself involved in.
- Mr Robot
The show everyone who has seen it is talking about, proclaiming it as the TV show of the year. It stars Rami Malek as a computer programmer working at a cyber security firm but dabbling in a bit of vigilante hacking on the side. He finds himself recruited by a mysterious insurrectionary anarchist known as "Mr. Robot", and joins his team of hacktivists called the "fsociety". What follows is a suspense filled cyber thriller that has even gone and made Christian Slater relevant again.
- Downton Abbey
- The Good Wife
- The Affair
- Broad City
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
- House of Cards
- Orange is the New Black
- The Walking Dead
- Wolf Hall
- True Detective (Come on, it wasn't that bad.)
What was your favourite show of the year? Did you watch the last episode of Downton?