Six years! I’ve been doing this silly article for six years! (I take 11 month breaks in-between articles so it’s not that impressive.) It remains one of my favorite things to do because every time I get a new article in my inbox I am surprised and entertained by all the different things that my friends have picked up on. Also—as seen by the other article this week—I see a ton of TV, but every year people bring up shows that I don’t watch that now I suddenly want to. So enjoy and find something great to watch!
Once again I watched too many shows this year. You don’t need a lengthy paragraph explaining my madness. Basically it comes down to sleep less, watch more. Oh and don’t see Hamilton until the end of the year because basically since then I’ve just been watching Hamilton clips and watching my DVR overflow. But there are plenty of shows that I haven’t caught up with or I’m too behind on that aren’t on my list. They are…Banshee, Bosch, The Fall, The Get Down, Queen Sugar, One Mississippi, Quarry, Scrotal Recall/Lovesick, Steven Universe and Underground. And now let’s begin with something easy.
Every year I love to ask my friends to write about the TV episodes that really stuck with them and every year it’s an absolute delight to read what they have to say. This is the fifth year doing this and I think these just keep getting better. Below are 33 essays about different 2015 episodes. You also can read their Top 10 lists and then at the very bottom of the hysterically long article, you can see what is the collected Top 10 list based on the 31 submitted lists. Please leave a comment so you can say what you liked this year as well! But first let’s start off by getting a little weird…
Ash vs. the Evil Dead – “El Jefe”
(Season One, Episode 1)
By Ray Martindale
This is an absurdly long list so let’s make the intro really short! I saw arguably too much TV this year, but when TV is this good, it’s almost best to always keep the DVR rolling. Just because this list is so big, doesn’t mean that any of the lower entries on this list are bad shows. I ended up picking 50 out of the many more that I watched because these were all shows that made me excited to watch and talk about. I highly recommend all of them.
But of course I didn’t see everything. I’m either behind or haven’t started the following shows: Banshee, The Fall, Flesh and Bone, Getting On, The Knick, Luther, Making a Murderer, Manhattan, Mozart in the Jungle, Penny Dreadful, Red Oaks, Strike Back or Survivor’s Remorse. I hope you forgive me. Let start this!
The Carmichael Show
“So you really think protesting makes people accountable for their actions?”
“Okay, then why did I see George Zimmerman at a Dave and Busters, Maxine?”
This is the fourth year writing these silly TV articles and they are some of my favorite things to work on every year. In the previous one, it’s just me ranting about a ton of great shows. This one is easily more fascinating each and every time. Why? It’s because my friends are fascinating.
Critic polls always are a great way to look at a year of art but they are limited by the fact they all are critics. That is what their perspective is. TV is a medium that everybody watches and has an opinion on. Since there are so many installments of a show and so much time is devoted towards the story and characters, everyone is a little bit of a critic as they decide whether they should keep going or not.
Every year I’ve increased the number of people I have writing in this because I’m greedy. I want to read more and more thoughts about what is exciting my friends. So this year I do have some excellent film critics, but I also have lawyers and news producers and video editors and actors and directors and students and marketing experts. I have people who work at a film festival. I have people who work in Spain. I have people who work in sports, in advertising, in publishing and for colleges and nursing homes. I have writers who write about cowboys and skeletons and fools. What connects them all—besides their regret about having me as a friend—is their love for art.
So without further ado, here are everyone’s Top Episodes of 2014!
The Americans – “Echo”
(Season Two, Episode 13)
By Nick Rogers
Every year I talk about how good TV is on this site. It’s almost like I don’t know how to originally think of a way to start these articles. But the level of quality is getting ridiculous. Instead of a Top 20 this year, I have a Top 35 and there are still a dozen awesome shows that I’m not able to write about. In 2014, I watched over 100 shows while only dropping a handful of them. (Fun unrelated fact, I was unemployed for a few months this year! I’m better now!) Next year marks the end of plenty of beloved shows but as you can see from the influx of new shows on my list, the quality just keeps coming.
Yet remarkably I did sleep a couple of times this year so I wasn’t able to see everything. I’m either very behind on or haven’t seen Babylon, Derek, Father Brown, Getting On, Happy Valley, High Maintenance, The Honorable Woman, The Knick, Line of Duty, Over the Garden Wall, Parenthood, Peaky Blinders, Penny Dreadful, The Real Husbands of Hollywood, Shameless, Silk and A Young Doctor’s Notebook. I really liked the pilot for Mozart in the Jungle but that season isn’t dropping on Amazon until December 23rd so…
This is going to be impossibly long so I should quit stalling and get right to…
Key and Peele Season Four (Comedy Central)
“Do we throw something other than rice?”
“What would you throw?”
“I don’t know. Cous cous. Skittles.”
There were a ton of great films last year. SO MANY GREAT FILMS. I saw 135 films that came out in 2014 and I liked, in one degree or another, 97 of them. There are still a ton of them I would like to see that I’ve missed including The Blue Room, Calvary, Coherence, The French Minister, Get On Up, Happy Valley, The Inbetweeners 2, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, Life of Crime, Love is Strange, A Master Builder, Miss Meadows, The Missing Picture, A Most Violent Year, The Mule, Norte the End of History, Omar, Particle Fever, Showrunners, The Skeleton Twins, Space Station 76, The Strange Little Cat, The Unknown Known, Vic and Flo Saw a Bear, Wetlands, Why Don’t You Play in Hell? and Willow Creek.
Since I’m writing about so many films, I’m going to try to keep it brief until I get later in the list. I say that now…
Destruction seems like something that will be inherently cinematic, but not every film is able to pull off the emotional weight of it. By the end of this film, you’re really able to feel the impact of all the consequences that these characters had control of and the ones they didn’t.
No matter what we watch, my friends always want to discuss TV shows more in depth than movies. That doesn’t mean that they like these shows more than the movies we watch, but there’s something subject to debate when you break up a story into installments. There’s the theorizing about what happened next and arguing what episode was better. To view a show in segments tricks you to analyze parts of the whole and to watch the show over a course of weeks makes you more invested.
So I love talking with my friends about their thoughts on these excellent shows. Every year I like to ask them to write for my blog and show everyone their perspective. Here are 23 of my friends and myself writing about some of their favorite episodes of the year equipped with their Top 10 list. Due to when I’m posting this, there are few episodes in 2013 that sadly won’t be up for consideration like the Treme series finale, Matt Smith’s final episode of Doctor Who and the Downton Abbey Christmas Special.
At the very end you can read about what episodes were the collected Top 10 with other bits of trivia. But first let’s head over to the CW…
“Three Ghosts” (Season Two, Episode 9)
By Aaron Wittwer
TV may be getting too good. I tried to write a Top 10 and found it to be almost impossible. Luckily I’m in control of my own blog so now I have a Top 20. It’s not just that my favorite shows keep getting better, it’s that more channels are making quality entertainment. The Sundance Channel proved to have some of the year’s best programs, Netflix made huge waves with launching entire seasons at once and more and more foreign imports are making its way stateside.
People are trying to say that the Golden Age of Television is fading, but it only seems to be growing stronger. Almost half of my shows on this list are first seasons of new shows. Every week of the year seems to have at least a half dozen great shows on the air. So even with watching so many shows, there are some that I have missed usually because I don’t have the time to catch up with them.
Thus, I apologize (not really) for not being caught up on Call the Midwife, Enlightened, The Good Wife, The Legend of Korra, Parenthood, Scandal, Shameless (both versions), Skins and A Young Doctor’s Notebook. Also I haven’t even started Arrow, Bad Education, Borgen, Dancing on the Edge, Last Tango in Halifax, The Venture Brothers or The White Queen. So many shows and now here are the seasons that were the best of 2013…
20) Treme Season Four (HBO)
“So what is it exactly that you want to do, hmm?”
“I want to get Caldonia’s reopen. Take over Raul’s lease, revitalize Rampart Street, fight the good fight for live music and New Orleans.”
This year I want to go even crazier. I want to talk about my Top 61 films because I see this as one of the best years in cinema I’ve ever experienced. Also I think the film market is changing. Right now you have access to amazing films so you don’t have to go see The Legend of Hercules. There are more options!
Last thing before this gets any longer (Ha!), even though I waited to see more movies, that doesn’t mean I saw everything. I still missed About Time, After Tiller, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Bastards, Best Kept Secret, Beyond the Hills, Caesar Must Die, Clear History, Deceptive Practice, Ernest & Celestine, Escape From Tomorrow, Go For Sisters, The Hunt, Night Across the Street, Paradise: Love, Pieta, Post Tenebras Lux, Sightseers, Smash & Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers, Something in the Air, Starbuck, Tim’s Vermeer, A Touch of Sin and You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet. I’ll get to those…one day.
Last first thing, why 61 films? Because I was going to do 60 and then I realized I forgot to put one on my list halfway through writing this. Why even have this many? Make it to the end of the article, but now let’s get started…
How to Make Money Selling Drugs
This movie is so obviously influenced by The Wire it’s even bold enough to have scenes from the HBO masterpiece and interviews with David Simon. The gimmick of making this movie a “How To” guide is a lot of fun and serves as a nice counterbalance to the depressing financial statistics about how the decades long War on Drugs has severely damaged America.