2015: The best in TV

I was inspired, or perhaps disgusted, by this article in Variety entitled “The Top 20 TV Shows of 2015.” First of all, I disagree with most of this list. I would certainly not include Mad Men because it was so weak at the finish. As for the rest, I’ve sampled most of them but found them just the same old dull stuff. I’ll admit that Inside Amy Schumer and Master of None are innovative but that doesn’t make them excellent. I’m afraid I can’t think of 20 good TV shows this year, but here are five of the ones I’ve enjoyed the most.

Grace and Frankie
Finally, a show that doesn’t turn women over 60 into dry boring grandmother stereotypes. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are vital and funny and thrilling to watch together. Youngsters may not care for it but I sure did.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
NBC must be kicking itself for passing on this show from the incredibly talented Tina Fey. It’s so strong and layered you can watch each episode five times and still not get all the jokes.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
It’s hard to believe that someone can step into Jon Stewart’s shoes and take over so smartly, so well, and so quickly. Say what you will about the politics of the show, which may not be for you, it’s well-written, sharp and extraordinarily well researched.

Downton Abbey
The plots may seem ever more contrived, but this British import is simply as good as it gets. Attention to detail borders on fetishistic, the acting is so transparent that you forget it’s there and the characters, love them or hate them, are as real as can be. Enjoy it, the last season starts this winter.

Jane the Virgin
I have to admit that this show isn’t for me, not by a long stretch. But even I can’t say a bad word about smart writing, likeable characters and enough silliness to keep you chuckling without making you groan. Telenovelas have finally hit the US with this one.

Certainly everyone has their favorites it’s true, but I couldn’t nominate anything by Shonda Rimes for this list, nor could I post Game of Thrones or Veep because honestly, these are shows that just don’t stand as tall as the ones on this list, at least not for me. What about for you? What have been your favorites this year?

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.