My 20 favorite new shows of another banner TV year
As was the case in 2014, when viewers were treated to an astoundingly varied bumper crop of fine new shows, 2015 was a great year for freshman programs. “The Carmichael Show,” NBC: A multicamera sitcom with an excellent cast, smart things to say and tons of potential. Good on NBC for renewing it. “Grantchester,” PBS/ Masterpiece: To those who would say, “But Mo, this is simply a gentle, quiet period mystery about a handsome vicar who has a few tasteful emotional issues and occasionally goes for a pint with Robson Green,” I say, “For the love of tweed, not everything needs to be challenging to watch and emotionally draining.” “Killjoys,” Syfy: A smart, energetic space romp starring a tough, cheeky and smart female lead? Yes, please! “iZombie,” CW: This show has been one of the most consistently enter- taining diversions of the year, with Rose McIver excellent as the lead. “The Jinx,” HBO: I have some reservations about how this documentary series was laid out and edited, but I can’t deny that I was addicted to it when it aired.
An intelligent meditation on the emotional and social costs of fascism, and thus a show that becomes more relevant to the current era with every day that passes. “Marvel’s Agent Carter,” ABC: A brisk and enjoyable romp and a fine showcase for Hayley Atwell, whose energy and undeniable star power helped the show power through a few minor first-season rough spots.
I“Other Space,” Yahoo: like comedy, I like shows set on spaceships, and I like the work of Paul Feig, and all three came together in this sweetly silly and entertaining comedy. How do you get people to pay attention to a serious, deeply researched narrative about housing inequality? Step 1: Turn your story into an Oscar Isaac delivery system. Beyond Isaac, who was typically excellent, a stellar cast brought what could have been a dry story to vivid and memorable life. “Togetherness,” HBO: A closely observed tragicomedy about commitment and the slow death of dreams, this show gained power over the course of its first season and showcased exceptional performances from the core quartet of Mark Duplass, Melanie Lynskey, Amanda Peet and the quietly amazing Steve Zissis. This show could be a lot to handle. But it was impossible to resist Ellie Kemper’s sunny tenacity, Tituss Burgess’ delightful performance and the show’s respect for its characters’ ability to overcome trauma. *These are also among my overall top 20 shows on TV this year.
Tiffany Hagdish, from left, Jerrod Carmichael and Amber Stevens West star in “The Carmichael Show” on NBC.