2015 was the year of the television superhero. The year Agents of SHIELD elevated itself from good to awesome, the year The Flash stole my heart, and the year Supergirl beat the odds to become my favorite new fall show (and the only one I’m still watching). Peggy Carter kicked ass in pantyhose, Daredevil took back Hell’s Kitchen, and Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak drove off into the sunset to live happily ever after and nothing bad happened to either of them after that. And, oh yeah...
The hero television deserves. If you thought Marvel television couldn’t get any better after the wonder that was Daredevil, you were wrong. Jessica Jones is hands down the best thing to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the possible exception of Chris Hemsworth’s upper body. A darkly beautiful tale of a woman overcoming past trauma while protecting the people closest to her and regaining her independence and autonomy, it’s even worth giving up the ability to look directly at David Tennant without feeling the need to lock every door and close every window. What’s so wonderful about Jessica Jones is that it stands on the strength of its performances not its special effects and that its characters’ superpowers are really almost beside the point. Without his powers, Kilgrave would be just as scary and without her super strength, Jessica would be just as strong.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Netflix really had an outstanding year. Kimmy Schmidt was the streaming service’s comedy standout. Reuniting 30 Rock masterminds Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the show is about Kimmy Schmidt (The Office’s Ellie Kemper), a young woman recently rescued from the underground bunker of a doomsday cult and its charismatic but exceedingly dim Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm). Having been robbed of a decade and a half of her life, Kimmy starts over in New York teaming up with fellow unbreakables Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess) and Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski) and never losing her sunny optimism. The show is pure joy from beginning to end. Good luck getting the theme song out of your head, though.
It’s a tale as old as time: girl goes to party, girl turns into zombie, girl gets job at a medical examiner’s office eating the brains of murder victims so she can help catch their killers. From Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas, iZombie mixes light hearted crime procedural with supernatural silliness. Adding to the mix the fun fact that main character Liv Moore (yes, seriously) changes personalities with every meal and the fun is pretty much nonstop. As with all good shows, iZombie has an emotional heart based on the very sweet friendship between Liv (Rose McIver) and her boss Ravi (Rahul Kohli). Also starring David Anders (Alias) with guest appearances by Bradley James (Merlin).
It’s time for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert!
I’ve always preferred Jon to Stephen, but Colbert’s appointment to David Letterman’s time slot on CBS was definitely something I was excited for. He may have shed his conservative persona, but he’s just as political and on point as ever. Plus he has a big, furry hat that gives him God-like powers. His opening sequence is just phenomenal (check out an extended version here). I just love the way he bounces onto the set every night, full of laughter and, even now, a bit of surprise at his own success.
A parody of Downton Abbey and its ilk combined with a highly satirical look at modern life and the concept of instafame, Another Period is just…awesome. Comedians Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome helm the Comedy Central series which also features Paget Brewster, David Koechner, Jason Ritter, and Christina Hendricks as well as music by Snoop Dogg. And don’t just take my word for it, The Great Joss Whedon himself is a fan, even making a surprise appearance as moderator at the show’s Comic Con panel.
Orphan Black’s third season wasn’t as good as their first, but it did, to my thinking, surpass its second in quality. Lots more Helena, fewer religious fanatics, and the Donnie/Alison twerking scene all combined to make a show you have to see to believe. No, really. You have to see it. You have seen it, right? Tatiana Maslany played a scorpion, how can you not be watching this show?! Also elevating the season was the addition of Ari Millen as the horribly creepy Rudy, among others, and a deeper look into the character of resident bitch Rachel Duncan. Not to mention more Helena. I have mentioned how much I love Helena, right?
I came for Cillian Murphy’s eyes, I stayed for…well, Cillian Murphy’s eyes. And cheekbones. I mean, the show is really well written and really well acted and just sort of all around amazing, but I mean…those eyes. No, sorry, the show. It’s good, I swear. The saga of a crime family in Birmingham (England, not Alabama), set just after the end of World War I Peaky Blinders incapsulates everything I love about historical dramas. Except pretty dresses. There are no pretty dresses.
I finally gave in to peer pressure and watched The 100 this year. The first half of season one made me roll my eyes so hard they were in danger of popping out of my head due to fatigue, but eventually the characters smartened up…somewhat. While there are still parts that make me groan, like Jaha’s spiritual quest or whatever that was, Murphy’s continued existence, and the fact that there are still people that don’t listen to Clarke for some reason, the show is an enjoyable, if slightly guilty, pleasure.
Clara Oswald, we hardly knew thee. Or, rather, we knew thee very well but that really doesn’t make your departure from Doctor Who any easier. After two and a half seasons, Jenna Coleman is leaving the Doctor Who set behind for greener pastures (or in this case, a palace, as her next project is playing Queen Victoria). Clara wasn’t universally beloved across the DW fandom, although I can’t understand why. Within a single episode she went from “that girl who’s not Amy or Rory” to a kick ass cutie who steadily won more and more of my love until she finally toppled Amy Pond off her pedestal to become My Favorite Companion™. Oh, Impossible Girl, what will we do without you?
Losing Clara was sad, but Jon Stewart leaving The Daily Show was less sad and more like losing an arm. Life feels empty without his not quite daily sarcasm-fest and his role as champion of truth, justice, and shouting at Fox News. True, he’s still around. He swung by The Daily Show as well as The Late Show in the past few weeks in order to shame lawmakers into passing a bill that would ensure healthcare for 9/11 responders (and in order to showcase his hiatus beard). And he has signed with HBO to produce digital content. Still, as a faithful viewer of at least the first two thirds of every Daily Show since 2007, my weeknights have been forever changed.
Wishing all our readers and writers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!