2015 was a major year in television. We said goodbye to several amazing shows as we fell in love with new characters and new stories. Here’s a list of just a few of favorite shows that defined 2015.
The second half of the final season of Mad Men was marketed as “The End of an Era.” And boy was it. There’s really no other show like Mad Men, and no other character quite like Don Draper. Though much of the final season felt wasted on characters we didn’t much care for, everything was done with intention, and we got to see character growth in Don Draper that we never would have expected.
Listen, I’ve been a fan of Grey’s Anatomy for years now. A lot of people have given up on the show as it’s dragged on and on – it’s now in its twelfth season. There’s no question that the series took an unpleasant turn in later seasons, but this year was significant in that it used a heartbreaking tragedy to bring the show back to its roots. Derek’s death was the kind of character death that still had me feeling sick the next day. I truly felt like I lost someone I knew personally – someone close. A lot of people said they’d stop watching after that, but here’s the thing: Derek’s death was exactly what the show needed to keep moving forward. Now, the tone is lighter and the focus is back on Meredith. It just feels a lot more like earlier seasons, and that’s exciting.
This is perhaps one of the most underrated shows on television, and it really deserves more credit than it gets. It’s an emotional story that makes you question everything you know, and much of the storytelling is done in quiet moments. The writing is smart and thoughtful, and the characters are presented in such a way that you have to keep re-evaluating how you feel about them. If you haven’t had a chance to watch this series yet, you should start soon. It’s easy to catch up on, because the seasons are short.
Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation was one of the smartest, quirkiest comedies on television. It ended this year with a perfect series finale – one that paid tribute to all of the characters and one that ended with true intention. Amy Poehler shined more brilliantly than ever as Leslie Knope when she gave that speech to the town, speaking out about motherhood and feminism in a way that showed Parks and Recreation is more than just another funny show. You can watch that clip here
UnREAL was the most surprising series of the summer. Hands down. It’s a series that follows the producers and contestants of a reality show that looks an awful like The Bachelor. It’s fascinating in that it suggests what goes on behind the scenes of shows like this, but more importantly, the characters are incredibly well-written and complex. They’re also all pretty unlikable, but we somehow root for them anyway. I did not expect UnREAL to be as brilliant as it was, and I’m so excited that it was renewed for a second season.