10. How To Get Away With Murder (Season 1)
I’m not a fan of Grey’s Anatomy and only gave Scandal one season. Although the brand new show, How To Get Away With Murder, is not created but instead produced by Shonda Rhimes, it still feels very much like a show she’d make for TV — and I love it. I don’t know why but the soap opera drama that made me turn away from Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal just worked with the lawyers/law students and muuuuurder. I don’t know what that says about me and I don’t care! Viola Davis is killing it as the fantastically scary Professor Keating and you can’t watch the show without commenting at least once on Wes’s “What the Hell?” face. There’s an interesting use of time as a storytelling mechanism and it’s definitely worth checking out if not for the fun livetweeting alone: #HTGAWM
This is one of three shows from Starz that’s on this list and the cable network knows how to make quality TV. I love that it gives its main character, Ghost, an inner struggle between wanting to go legit and doing what he does best: hustle. Often when a black man plays a gangster, he’s not given room to be anything beyond defeatist of his station in life or relishing in it to point of becoming demonized. Ghost is complex and is surrounded by an equally compelling cast. A plus? The show is as diverse on screen as it is off. Six of the eight episodes were directed by two men of colour and a woman. In fact, Kari Skogland directed my favourite episode of the series (Episode 7: Loyalty) which had a really emotional ending and a character milestone for Ghost. She’s also Canadian which, come on, is pretty awesome. Check it out for the great soundtrack if nothing else.
I’m extremely picky with my comedy, so imagine my surprise to not have one but two comedies on this list! Brooklyn Nine-Nine combines juvenile humour with wit and balances the comedy with great personal moments. Andy Samberg is at his best, but my heart belongs to Andre Braugher’s Holt. Holt is hilarious, no matter what you say, Peralta! The cast is rock solid and the episodes are consistently funny. Looking good for season 2, Nine-Nine.
7. The Mindy Project (Season 3)
The Mindy Project is essentially a long running romantic comedy that plays up all the things that could go wrong in one. After season 2’s “will they or won’t they” between Danny and Mindy, many of us were afraid this pairing could spell the end of the show. In true Mindy style, season 3 has proven to be not just as funny but we’re given a glimpse at the beginnings of a mature relationship…that still has a few ridiculous kinks to work out. Diamond Dan alone is worth it.
Not sure if this show has been picked up for season 2 but I hope it is. This is what I want in a reality show. The show takes two directors and gives them the same script to make a film. They get final cut and at the end of everything, the viewers get to vote on the one they think should win. What does the winner get? They get $250,000 which is enough to focus on just making a film for a year. It’s a great insight into filmmaking and I love that one director is from the New York indie scene which is seen as the more traditional filmmaking route while the other director is a Youtuber with millions of subscribers. It showcases the unique challenges each director has to deal with and, again, fantastic insight into the film world. If you haven’t seen this show, go and watch it now. I’ll just wait here.
5. The Flash (Season 1)
Surprised that only one superhero show made the list? So am I. I’m a huge fan of superheroes but the quality of superhero shows aren’t quite there yet. I wasn’t a fan of Arrow‘s first two seasons but its current season is really good — although not good enough to earn a place on this list. Gotham was a disappointment and Agents of Shield still has a long way to go. The Flash started off strong and just continued that way week to week. Grant Gustin as Barry won our hearts and Tom Cavanagh is just so good as the duplicitous Dr. Wells. Add the fact that the show race-bent the Wests to include Candice Patton and the talented Jesse L. Martin…man, I love this show. I loved it even more when Barry broke down and cried during the mid-season finale which you don’t often see from your “stoic, tough” leading men (unless someone they loved was brutally murdered but even then…). That’s why this show works despite feeling campy and not as dark and “serious” as Arrow. Barry is human. He’s a guy that can cry when he feels pushed into the corner, like many of us do in our lives. But he also reminds us why being a superhero is fun: powers. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t take your powers on a joyride if you had them. I know you. You would.
*Side Note: Goddammit, Barry! Tell Iris the truth so we can have her BE a fully realized character already. Geez.
I haven’t read the books but I can say with enthusiasm that their television counterpart is fantastic. The storytelling and pacing is on point. Claire is a fantastic lead and the love triangle is so wonderfully set up that it makes sense why our heroine would be caught between two men in two different times. The show is so good at the slow burn that when it finally decided to treat its viewers to the anticipated hook up between Jaime and Claire… *fans self* It led to one of the best episodes of the year, The Wedding, that approached sex from the female point of view. WHICH DOESN’T HAPPEN. Good for you, Outlander crew.
How do you not include Orphan Black on a list like this? Tatiana Maslany’s performance alone is impressive as she plays multiple clones with varying personalities. In fact, you’d think she had multiple identical sisters due to how different each character comes across in her performance. If you’re into sci-fi, great storytelling and/or fantastic acting, then this is the show for you. I also have to give a shout out to the show’s introduction and handling of a transgender clone in season two. Bravo, guys and please check it out. It’s a great show.
If you haven’t seen this miniseries, you’re seriously missing out. It features fantastic performances including that of Maggie Gyllenhaal and Lubna Azabal while tackling the complex politics of Palestine and Israel. The show doesn’t pick sides but opts to tell a intricate story that pays off in the final episode. The way the show is filmed alone is breathtaking. It’s well worth the watch so…watch it. Now now now.
The first show from CW to get a Golden Globe nomination, (not only for Best TV Series in a Musical or Comedy but also for Best Actress in a TV Series in a Musical or Comedy), Jane The Virgin is one of the best shows on TV right now. What’s great about it is its use of the telenovela tropes and how it messes with them at the same time. Gina Rodriguez kills it as Jane who is instantly loveable — you want to root for her the whole way. Her family unit, consisting of her abuela, mother and newly introduced estranged father, is fantastic and the comedy is spot on. I can’t sing this show’s praises loud enough. It’s a fresh voice in the white noise of television.