17 TV THINGS WORTH CELEBRATING IN 2015
17. The Left Shark
Katy Perry’s Super Bowl XLIX halftime performance amped up the camp with dancing sharks, but the choreographically challenged Left Shark stole the show. It was probably his idea to pass on second and goal from the 1-yard line.
16. Empress of the Blues
Queen Latifah brilliantly embodied blues music legend Bessie Smith in HBO’s Emmy-winning biopic Bessie, a visually and audibly engrossing examination of Depression-era social issues that linger today.
15. Here for the Fear
AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead helped sate TWD fans’ late-summer cravings for zombie-head-busting fun with the biggest audience ever for a cable series premiere. The companion series — or more like a self-absorbed SoCal long-distance girlfriend series — found us rooting for the zombies.
14. From Durst to Worst
Rich weirdo, murder suspect and all-around nasty person Robert Durst became the instrument of his own comeuppance in HBO’s documentary miniseries The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, which gave the FBI new evidence — and an apparent confession caught on tape — leading to his arrest.
13. Peeno Noir
So much goodness came from Netflix’s comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but the show’s biggest contribution (so far) is Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess) and his viral video hit “Peeno Noir.” Au revoir!
12. The Chicago Sunroof
The long-awaited Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul on AMC gave us the backstory of how Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) morphed into “two-bit, bus-bench attorney” Saul Goodman. The Chicago Sunroof is the story of how Jimmy ended up in prison. But seriously, who leaves two Cub Scouts in a double-parked car with the engine running?
11. Pharoah Crowned Thrice
In just a little over six minutes of actual horse racing on NBC, American Pharoah made history by sweeping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. Less historic: jockey Victor Espinoza on Dancing With the Stars.
10. Elephant in the Room
Turn off your politics for a second. August’s FOX News Republican presidential primary debate was just pure entertainment gold. From the “undercard” debate to the Donald Trump vs. Megyn Kelly ridiculousness, you couldn’t script a reality show that good. OK. Resume your politics.
9. Ladies First
The U.S. Women’s National Team captured the FIFA World Cup championship, and the final match became the most-watched soccer match in U.S. history. President Obama praised the team, saying they “taught all America’s children that ‘playing like a girl’ means you’re a badass.”
8. Wolves Not Far
AMC’s The Walking Dead was alive and kicking in Seasons 5 and 6, with some of the most engrossing and grossest episodes of the series. Morgan (Lennie James) returned, Carol (Melissa McBride) baked cookies, the Wolves sacked Alexandria and some beloved characters shockingly met their fates.
7. Well, Wasn’t That Special?
The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special on NBC in February was a star-studded fete of all that made SNL great. “Celebrity Jeopardy,” “Wayne’s World” and Melissa McCarthy as motivational speaker Matt Foley more than made up for Eddie Murphy’s weak homecoming.
6. Late-Night Shuffle
Late-night’s changing of the guard had David Letterman, Jon Stewart and Craig Ferguson bidding adieu. Their shows appear to be in good hands with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show, Trevor Noah on The Daily Show and James Corden on The Late Late Show.
5. No Mistake
Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder) became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, saying, “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.” After seven previous nominations, Jon Hamm won his first Emmy for Mad Men, joking, “There has been a terrible mistake, clearly.”
4. Clear That Up
Alex Gibney’s Emmy-winning Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, HBO’s second-most-watched documentary of the past decade, presented a fascinating and frightening look not only at Scientology, but also at the dangers of blind faith.
3. In Love With Amy
Comedian Amy Schumer owned 2015, starring in Trainwreck on the big screen, lighting up the Apollo Theater in her first HBO standup special and propelling her Comedy Central sketch series Inside Amy Schumer to two Emmy wins.
2. “Cookie’s Comin’ Home!”
FOX’s soapy music-biz drama Empire rocketed up the charts, due in large part to the devilishly calculating and charismatic Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) pitting her own kids against each other to stage a coup at Empire Entertainment.
1. Perfect Harmony
Justified, Parks and Recreation, Nurse Jackie and Glee signed off with class this year, but the series finale of AMC’s Mad Men reached a higher stage of enlightenment. We’d like to buy Don Draper (Jon Hamm) a Coke and keep him company.
AND 6 THINGS WE CAN’T UNSEE
6. Think Inside the Box
Because it’s, like, science, WE tv aired a short-lived series called Sex Box in which couples, you know, do it in the private, soundproof Sex Box and then tell some therapists and the audience all about it. We abstained.
5. Shonda Smites McDreamy
Shonda Rhimes dropped all 12 stages of grief at once on Grey’s Anatomy fans by sending beloved Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) to a heroic but preventable death.
4. Cred Shot Down
Respected news anchor Brian Williams embellished some reports about a 2003 incident involving a helicopter in Iraq, resulting in his suspension and eventual dismissal from the NBC Nightly News desk.
3. Deflategate Blows Up
For much of the year, the media was relentlessly investigating and reporting on a story stemming from the pressure of air within a football. Consider that and weep.
2. The Real Cosby Mysteries
So while we were growing up on The Electric Company, Fat Albert, PicturePages, The Cosby Show and Ghost Dad (OK, maybe not that one), Bill Cosby was allegedly drugging and assaulting dozens of women. Everything we loved is a lie.
1. 19 Kids and Canceled
TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting came to a sad, ugly and disturbing end after sexual abuse allegations against Josh Duggar — the eldest of the Duggar kids and now-former executive of a conservative Christian lobbying group — came to the surface.