Joey’s Favorite TV Shows of 2015

My top ten list features a lot of new comedic shows. Perhaps I just wanted to laugh in 2015? I was also attracted to a lot of shows on streaming platforms, and only one major network comedy landed a slot.

10. Catastrophe (Amazon)
Unlike juggernaut Transparent, this small Amazon romance is the little comedy that could. Centering on the unplanned pregnancy between an Irish schoolteacher and an American businessman (played by creators Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney), Catastrophe reminds us that there is such a thing as a good romantic comedy. They are not all stinkers. The chemistry between the two leads is natural and realistic without being hokey and contrived. It’s only 6 episodes, so it’s an easy binge.

9. 7 Days in Hell (HBO)
Almost nothing made me laugh out loud more riotously than this HBO tennis odyssey. It mocks documentary and sports commentary, and nothing is funnier than an unplanned, bisexual orgy on a tennis court during a live tennis match. Kit Harrington should be considered for other comedic material.

8. The Muppets (ABC)
I might be a closeted Muppets apologist (out and proud, perhaps?), but I don’t see anything wrong with this new take on the beloved felt characters. Sure, it is a bit jarring to see our favorite Jim Henson creations sipping a beer after work, but a lot of the episodes have actually developed the characters beyond what the movies have shown us.

7. Master of None (Netflix)
Just when you thought this Aziz Ansari show was a simple romantic comedy, he changes it up on you. The pilot feels more like a standard rom-com, but each episode is its own little movie with Master’s characters opening up their feelings about different topics and themes. The show is strongest when it’s dealing with family, modern sexual conduct, and friendships. It also surprises us by revealing Ansari as a capable actor.

6. Fargo (FX)
Even though I never turned into the first season of this acclaimed FX drama, I was drawn in by the cast that included Patrick Wilson, Kirsten Dunst, Ted Danson and Jean Smart for the second time around. It may not have ended with a totally satisfying finale, but the first three fourths of the season is excellent and meticulously produced.

5. Wayward Pines (FOX)
This FOX mystery was easily the best show of the summer, and it was a pleasant surprise that it didn’t stray into totally unbelievable territory. Starring a top-notch cast that included Matt Dillon, Melissa Leo, Toby Jones and an excellent Hope Davis, Wayward kept audiences engrossed with its strange plot, kooky characters and paranoid tone. This show was 10 episodes of creepy perfection, and it’s a shame that it’s coming back for a second season. It ended so perfectly, and I’m afraid it’s going to turn into the next overcooked summer show after Under the Dome.

4. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
My love for Kimmy has lasted all year, and, by Dong, I will not apologize! NBC must be kicking itself for passing on one of the most joyous, lovable, and bingeable shows of 2015. Hashbrown no filter.

3. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (HBO)
No other season finale blew my mind like HBO’s The Jinx did. Through six tight, stylish episodes, we are presented with the case against real estate icon Robert Durst and the crimes that have surrounded his life. Situations are recreated and dramatized by director Andrew Jarecki, and Durst was involved with the entire interview process. In the finale, Durst’s microphone is left on, and what he utters will chill you to the bone. No dramatic television is as terrifying as the possible truth.

2. Transparent (Amazon)
The second season of Jill Soloway’s trangender family drama couldn’t possibly be better than the groundbreaking first, right? Wrong. Soloway has managed to expand the world of the Pfeffermans to allow Jeffrey Tambor’s Maura to become a piece in a complex tapestry of dysfunction. The children really shine in these episodes, and Amy Landecker especially knocks it out of the park as Sarah, the oldest and most confused child.

1. Difficult People (Hulu)
There isn’t a show this season that I was more delighted to tune into than Hulu’s Difficult People. It’s not a groundbreaking or relevant show, but it made me laugh more than anything else this year. Starring creator Julie Klausner and internet sensation Billy Eichner, Difficult allows its characters to say what you’ve always been thinking to those boneheads in your everyday life. It’s Will & Grace off their meds and with harsher insults. New York City is a place where people go to live out their dreams, but Julie and Billy are two people who haven’t achieved the success they’ve wanted and deserved in the Big Apple. Full of fun side characters (including the delightfully bitchy Cole Escola) and pop culture one liners that puts Scream Queens to shame, Difficult People is my favorite show of the season because it’s that bitter kid that you can gossip about everyone else with.

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