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Banshee is one of the better action shows out there. A pulpy show that knows it is nothing more than that which helps it a great deal. Season 3 ended with being its best season with Hood and the looming threat of Chayton Littlestone, the show's best villain. The rest of the cast as well was at the top of their game. With great action scenes and a story filled with tension this ended up being a great season.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015)
30 Rock is one of the funniest shows of all time in my opinion. So when I heard Tina Fey was going to do a new show I was very excited. This did not disappoint and it could go on to be better than 30 Rock. Ellie Kemper found great humor in a woman who is trying to take back her life that she lost. Tituss Burgess though ended up being my favorite as a broadway hopeful. He brought out a lot of the seasons' laugh out loud moments. Burgess is a definite star in the making. But this show is still hilarious and I loved every minute of it.
Orange Is the New Black (2013)
Each season of this series gets better than the last as it gets more confident with itself and the characters. This season focused on a corporate takeover of the prison along with a growing cult within the prison. It did all of this while still being hilarious, touching, and emotional for all the characters. The MVPs this season for me were Jackie Cruz, Kimiko Glenn, Lori Tan Chinn, and Adrienne C. Moore. All of them got more of the spotlight and Glenn especially touched me with her performance as an activist with her growing loneliness. All the characters are given flaws and dreams and there isn't a single weak link. With themes of racism, sexism, religion, politics, etc. it is an important show too.
Master of None (2015)
One of the most inventive shows of the year. Aziz Ansari gave a great comedic performance on a show that touched on racism, sexism, monogamy, and just whatever life throws at you. Giving Ansari full creative control was one of the best things for Netflix as he clearly was speaking truth about things people need to hear. So it was both hilarious and important lessons in life that help this show be memorable. The episodes about immigrant parents and racism in casting for tv/movies were some of the best episodes of the year. I highly recommend everyone check it out as this is a show that needs to be seen.
The Americans (2013)
This show has never really been the talk of the internet but it deserves to be. A slow burn narrative that is very deliberate and filled with tension. The acting on this show is one too that often gets overlooked and that is very unfortunate as Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell give some of the best performances on tv. This season revealed a lot of secrets and one in particular came as a shock that will have lasting ramifications for the whole series.
Hannibal has been a show that never quite gets the love it deserves. It gets critical praise and has a dedicated fan base but not on the level of say a Breaking Bad. Everything from the acting and the directing is top notch. In what feels like a final season everything that has been built up from previous seasons came to a head with Hannibal being revealed as the killer he was. Will and Hannibal's relationship is one of the more interesting ones on tv and it was further explored to a disturbing degree this season. The Red Dragon story as well was one of the best interpretations of that story (personally my favorite). Richard Armitage's performance was both terrifying, menacing, and even sympathetic all at once. If this was the final season, then I am very pleased.
Better Call Saul (2015)
Breaking Bad is one the best shows of all time. Saul Goodman was one of the best side characters on the show. So when it was announced that a show was being developed based around him I was excited but scared because often spin-offs don't work. But this not only ended up being one of the best of the year but also one of the best first seasons of a series ever. Bob Odenkirk found that right balance between comedy and drama whereas Jonathan Banks gave a heartbreaking and great performances as Mike. A show with great directing, acting, and a story where you never knew what was going to happen. If season 2 is as good as this season or better then this show can stand in the shadow of Breaking Bad.
The Leftovers (2014)
The first season of this show was very polarizing. Many hated the unexplained nature of the mystery, the cynical/depressing tone, and the slow burn nature of the story. But for those that stuck with it, it rewarded you greatly. And now for the second season it improved on it greatly by changing its setting and giving it a slightly more optimistic tone. The newest addition to the series with the family The Murphy's was a welcome addition. Kevin Carroll and Regina King gave some of the best performances this year but Justin Theroux may have stolen the show. His pain and confusion as to what was going on brought a vulnerability and sadness to a character that I felt was missing from season 1. The episode "International Assassin" may be one of the best episodes from a series of all time. Next season will be its last and with the story they are setting up now it appears that it will end on a high note.
Justified has always been one of my favorite shows of all time. Its dialogue, characters, story, and directing were some of the best and most underrated on tv. I never was disappointed with any of the seasons and the final season this year ended up being my favorite season of the series. All of the main cast brought their A game with Olyphant, Goggins, and Carter bringing in Emmy worthy performances. The new guest stars Sam Elliott, Garret Dillahunt, Mary Steenburgen, and Jonathan Tucker ended up being some of the best villains this series ever had. Especially Elliott's performance as Avery Markham who may have been the most terrifying villain that has been on this show. But more than that, this final season had no bad episodes as all of them were perfect and left me very emotionally satisfied. This is one of the best final seasons of a series ever, even more so than Mad Men.
The first season of Fargo ended up surprising me and being my favorite show of 2014. There were so many things about it that were perfect and I can't think of any problems I had with it. My expectations for season 2 were that I hope at least it is good. But it ended up somehow surpassing season 1 in every aspect. The acting, the directing, the music, and the story were all perfect. This probably had the best cast of any show this year as it is hard to pick a favorite. Everyone from Nick Offerman to Angus Sampson to Jeffrey Donovan were astounding. But I think that Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, Bokeem Woodbine, and Zahn McClarnon stole the show for me. Dunst gave her best performance in years, Wilson was the good hearted anchor for the show, Woodbine practically stole the spotlight as a smart sliver tongued enforcer, and McClarnon ended up being the most surprising character of the season. Season 3 will be hard to live up to season 2 but I have a feeling it will with the people behind this.
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