Tuesday, 29 December 2015

End-Of Year Favourites (Television - Drama) (2015)

Television in 2015 was pretty great for drama. We've had some successful sophomore seasons, said some fond farewells and seen an influx of new shows trying to hook us in and keep us coming back for more. Here, I'll round up my favourites - the shows that managed to engage me enough until I was putty in their hands. Check out my picks...

Notable Mentions:
Hunted - gripping, intense and suspenseful
Doctor Foster - slow burning and richly addictive
Homeland - a true return to form
Agent Carter - Marvel in a new, wonderful light


5. How To Get Away With Murder (Season 2)


The first season of the Viola Davis led 'How To Get Away With Murder' was continuously tense and taut, gripping viewers with the 'Who Killed Lila?' storyline that kept giving and giving until all culminated in the season finale that gave answers, but even more questions. It's sophomore season sees a slight slump in episode quality but all can be forgiven with the outstanding mid-season finale, 'What Did We Do?'. Featuring even stronger performances than before - and the shooting storyline that wonderfully intercuts throughout the more arduous parts of first half - you can't help but invest in these character's lives, and as multiple hang in the balance as we enter the second half next year, of course I'll be back for more from Annalise Keating and gang.


4. Parks and Recreation (Season 7)


Season 7 of Parks and Recreation wasn't perfect, but a wonderful way to say farewell to a well-loved and treasured series. Jumping into the future - 2017, to be exact - was an excellent way to offer a new, final perspective as we headed towards the goodbyes. The cast stepped it up for their last season, obviously determined to close the show out with the hurrah it deserves; Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman gave outstanding performances as Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson in particular, whose overarching feud reached its climax in the one of the most beautiful, bonkers and delightful episode the series has produced - 'Leslie and Ron'. However, its in the final ever episode - One Last Ride - where the show's true emotion hits home and we say goodbye to one of the most consistent and impressive sitcoms, who have created, genuinely, some of the most beloved and special characters in television history.


3. Broadchurch (Season 2)


After critical acclaim with its first outing, the second season of Broadchurch was unfair criticised in its sophomore run, in my honest opinion. Heading in a completely different direction, we find ourselves in the middle of a court trial after the first season's 'Who Killed Danny Latimer?' was answered and now re-questioned, as the plea of 'not guilty' echoes round the room. Beautifully shot, wonderfully acted and tightly crafted, I found the second season equally as thrilling and engaging as the first, especially enjoying the Sandbrook storyline that others condemned. Although sometimes muddled between the courtcase and the trial, both proved compelling and enjoyable co-currently for the majority, being one of the strongest examples of British television done right.


2. Orphan Black (Season 3)


Tatiana Maslany is outstanding - truly, truly outstanding. Playing more than a dozen different clones on the show seamlessly, she elevates the entire series like no one else can or could. As the stakes intensify and the game broadens for the third season, it can occasionally feel muddled; but when they get it right, it really stand head and shoulders above similar shows. 'Certain Agony of the Battlefield' is television at its finest - engrossing, thrilling and moving - displaying a wealth of emotion all highlighted further by the excellence of the cast and writers, playing out a story of goodbyes, lies, deceit and loyalty seamlessly - and that's just in the last ten minutes. Season finale, 'History Yet To Be Written', ends the season on another high, only increasing my excitement for the fourth run next April when Sarah, Helena, Alison, Cosima and Rachel return (and hopefully Krystal too).


1. Scream Queens (Season 1)


It's tacky, tasteless and ostentatious but so, so enjoyable. Scream Queens is a hilarious hybrid of traditional horror and laugh-out-loud comedy that manages to strike just the right balance. Featuring a dazzling lead performance from Emma Roberts as Chanel Oberlin, alongside a solid supporting and regular cast, it is the definition of a guilty pleasure - you absolutely shouldn't enjoy it, but you can't help but find yourself obsessing over just who the Red Devil killer is. And what's more, it's smarter than it might appear on the surface, with its strong feminist influences disguised initially by the archetypical American behaviour and stereotypes of the sorority system that eventually begin to collpase around smart writing and delivery. It's not the best show on television - not by a long stretch - but an absolute favourite, a true guilty pleasure and and one I find immensely enjoyable. In a television era where everything is so analytical, fast and action-paced, can't we just enjoy this silly, over the top and fabulous adventure which is most importantly fun?

I won't rest until the show is renewed for a second season and Emma Roberts signs on to bring me more of the Chanel I love and admire. Are we going to Summer Camp next? I really hope so...




P.S. Great British Bake-Off would be near the top, but I don't consider it a drama, even with the intensity of the Showstopper...

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