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Sunday discussion: Who won the summer?

Summer television was once a wasteland, and not that long ago. I was just perusing our keyword label 'Summer Television Wasteland' (which was a fun blast from the past, by the way, with 16 posts going back to 2006), and I was reminded that we used to spend the summer here on Doux Reviews interviewing each other and doing retro reviews of our favorite old shows. Now there's so much new stuff on TV that it's a challenge to keep up.

So here is this week's discussion question: what shows won the summer of 2015? What shows fizzled out into a sea of bad ratings? And if you're inclined to discuss it, what went right? Or wrong?

Here's a menu of most of this summer's fare to remind you. I didn't include shows that are still airing. Please feel free to add anything I missed.
Dark Matter * Defiance * Extant * Falling Skies * Food Network Star * Hannibal * HUMANS * Killjoys * The Last Ship * Mr. Robot * Orange is the New Black * Pretty Little Liars * Rectify * Sense8 * Stitchers * Teen Wolf * True Detective * Under the Dome * UnREAL * Wayward Pines * The Whispers
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. And I'll go first!

    For me, Rectify won the summer. I only discovered Rectify this summer, zipped through the first two seasons on Netflix (taking notes as I went because I knew I was going to review it) and then watched the third season as it aired; it's one of the best shows I've seen in years. I still love Orange is the New Black, but I didn't think season three was as strong as one and two. The chef I wanted to win throughout the entire competition actually won Food Network Star (Eddie Jackson!), so that was fun for a change after last season's weirdness. (Did you notice that no one even said last year's winner's name and of course, he never got a show?)

    The second season of The Last Ship started with a plot I found difficult to swallow (immunes), but it kept getting better and it ended with a bang. And I enjoyed Dark Matter's first season, although it's got some way to go and I didn't care for that last reveal.

    What about you guys?

  2. Summer tends to be binge season for me when I catches up on Bones and Castle as well as discovering new shows; I watched Supernatural and Vampire Diary this way. This year I enjoyed Sense8 then started watching many anime as a change of pace.

  3. The shows that held up best for me over the summer were Defiance, Killjoys, Mr. Robot, and Rectify.

    Defiance went pretty dark this season and quickly cleaned out some of the dead weight characters in ways that mattered for the whole season. This was the first season they really managed to sustain the tone and the storytelling for the full season, consistently building on character and spooling out consequences. They also managed to bring things to a satisfying conclusion, which serves as a good resting point for the series if we never get any more.

    Killjoys and Mr. Robot both clicked for me right out of the gate, and kept building the world and the characters in engaging ways. Killjoys was the more humorous of the two, but it still took its characters, their relationships, and their histories seriously. (And it had a strong core male-female partnership with no romantic overtones! Woot!) I’m intrigued to learn more about this ‘verse and these characters, and am really glad it got a second season. I’m also eager to see where Mr. Robot takes its off-kilter, eerily prescient world and unreliable narrator in S2.

    And Rectify continued to build beautifully on its very solid foundations. I’m super thrilled you decided to give it a try, Billie, and that your decision to review it has led other readers to give it a chance!

  4. TJ, your comment was just fine except that it contained a massive spoiler for the end of Breaking Bad, so I had to delete it. Here's TJ's comment with the last few words redacted -- TJ, feel free to repost if you like.

    The winner this summer for me was HUMANS, and I stuck with Mr Robot, Killjoys, and Dark Matter, all good.

    I wish I had never watched Wayward Pines. The only good thing about it was that it made me angry, and because of that I made some other harsh cuts this summer: The Last Ship (lost interest), Hannibal (too violent), Falling Skies (too many guns).

    Teen Wolf was messy and weird this summer, though I like Wolfy Jr.

    Guilty pleasures: Stitchers and The Whispers. I won't mind if they both come back with a second season.

    I've binged watched Forever this summer, which was a bit of a challenge. But I guess the series ended satisfyingly.

    The greatest experience though this summer was watching the whole Breaking Bad series, which I strangely totally missed when it aired. Absolutely fantastic, though I was a tiny tiny bit disappointed in the end [redacted].

  5. I'm terribly sorry Billie, I should have known better.

    What I wanted to say was just that I've been binge watching Breaking Bad - and it was a fantastic experience. So that's the real summer winner for me.

  6. Rectify was a hit for me. Such a rich, complex show.
    The final season of Hannibal won my heart again-such rich imagery and fine acting, scariness and doomed romance. Just lovely that they got Siouxsie to pen a grand tune for the finale too. Best finale all summer-and possibly all year.
    True detective crashed and burned for me. Soo pretentious and boring. I'd rather watch someone paint a pool. And on Rectify they did and it was not at all dull.
    Last ship started slowly and killed off a fave-but the finale rocked.
    Dark matter got better and was quite fun at last. Kudos to Zoie Palmer for her work.
    Defiance was great, the season of Datak being a badass and Stahma his queen.
    Killjoys rocked. Dutch is the coolest lady on my tv.

  7. No worries, TJ, really. I always enjoy your comments. :)

    mazephoenix, you made me laugh with this: I'd rather watch someone paint a pool. And on Rectify they did and it was not at all dull. I *loved* the pool scenes. Especially the last one.

  8. Best show: Rectify, it is just something else and has no real competition. I plan on waiting till you review every single episode and then rewatch it entirely because it's just so so good. Seriously can't wait to discuss the season 3 finale with you guys!! :)
    Worst show: Wayward Pines. Man... it started off nicely, then got really really good with the "big reveal" in the middle and finally tanked in a way that makes you regret every minute wasted on it. So disappointing. Runner up was this season of True Detective, which lost all charm.
    Undecided: Pretty littel liars. *blush* it's junk, but it's soo entertaining junk. The big A reveal was disappointing since I hoped it would be someone else (hopefully that's not too spoilery? If yes, please delete it) but the reveal finally ended an era and made room for a bitterly needed timejump and new storylines.

    Apart form that, Dark Matter wasn't too bad, especially since it's not a genre I usually watch. Less monster of the week and more of the overarching storyline and it's a keeper!

  9. Of all the new shows, Killjoys turned out to be my rather unexpected favourite. It started out as a fun, lighthearted space opera, but after introducing the characters in the first few standalone eps, it quickly got down to a much darker and intriguing plot.

    I really like the dynamic between the crew and the worldbuilding is interesting and quirky. Also, Dutch is awesome! I love that they allow her to be kickass and strong, yet somehow still vulnerable at the same time. It deinitely made my day when the show was renewed for a second season.

    Dark Matter was fun too, even though the character archetypes kept reminding me of Firefly a bit too often and I wasn't that fond of the final twist.

    I do love the fact that we're getting a lot more old school SciFi shows these days and that they are actually being given time to develop.

    The Whispers started off well, creepy kids and all, but fizzled a bit towards the end. I wouldn't mind a second season, but I don't know if they're going to get the chance.

    This was also the season I finally discovered (and became slightly obsessed with) Teen Wolf. I started watching while booked off with bronchitis and then ended up bingeing everything in less than 2 weeks.

    What started off as a guilty pleasure (Season 1 and Derek's broody exercise montages), quickly became a real pleasure (Season 2's much improved writing and art direction. Also, Isaac) and then by the second half of Season 3 it became so much better than a show called 'Teen Wolf' really had any right to be. It's creepy and moody, the cinematography is fantastic and they really bring out the best in their actors - Dylan O'Brien in particular.

  10. I didn't see many of these, but of those I did see I'd have to say Wayward Pines. It was far from perfect, but I expected very little and surprised myself by enjoying most of it a lot. true Detective was the big disappointment.

    And thanks so much for the redaction, Billie! I haven't seen Breaking Bad yet and I know if I don't get onto it soon I'm going to be spoiled eventually, but at least today is not that day:).

  11. I haven't watched many new shows this summer. I've mostly been watching old favourites. I did enjoy Mr. Robot, though, which is one of the best shot shows currently airing and has one killer retro soundtrack.

  12. a bit late to the party here, BUT! Sense8 has the potential to be the new sci-fi show if they let JMS do his thing. It's really promising. Mr. Robot is Breaking Bad-level material imho. I have yet to watch Rectify and Dark Matter so I can't comment on those. at least it's safe to say that Wayward Pines and True Detective lost the summer :)


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