It’s the fifth annual Bitch Awards! Over the next five days, we’re counting down the best (and worst) that TV had to offer in 2015. Let’s bitch it out…
Here’s what you need to know about this year’s awards:
- cinephilactic is counting down the top 10 best shows of the year (2 per day), and the 5 worst shows (1 per day)
- Rather than pick the easy, low-hanging fruit for the worst list, we’re tackling the series that had promise and then failed (horribly, repeatedly, painfully) to deliver.
- In these days of #PeakTV, not every show was screened (a declaration of omissions will accompany the #1 post on Thursday). In order to make either list, a minimum of three episodes were screened.
- We’re deep into spoiler territory, but any big twists will be announced with all cap SPOILER warning.
- Moreso than any other year, this was a great year for TV, which made the best list incredibly, incredibly difficult to select. Look for an extended list of the year’s other great shows on the final post, as well.
- If you’re curious, here are the lists for 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011
#5 – Broadchurch S2
- Why is it so bad? Back in 2013, the first series of Broadchurch was the best TV show of the year. When it was announced that a second series was being produced, anticipation – and concern – was high. Would series creator Chris Chibnall be able to replicate the success of series one? Unfortunately the answer is an unequivocal no. Series two embodied some of the best characteristics of the first – the astounding performances by David Tennant and Olivia Coleman remained compulsive viewing – but it also introduced an unfortunate court case that watered down all of the dramatic weight from the resolution of the Latimer murder in S1. The addition of Eve Myles as Tennant’s ex and James D’Arcy as her abusive lover should have been strengths, but they were saddled with melodramatic writing and their Sandbrook case never took off because our attention was constantly divided between it and the Latimer court case. Ultimately S2 committed the worst sin of all: it damaged the memory of Broadchurch‘s impeccable first series and bored us.
- Worst episode? 2×04 confirmed that the series wasn’t going to course correct and dedicated substantial time to the boring Knight vs Bishop subplot that never paid off.
- Number of episodes watched: 8
- Change in rank: -4 (when it was the best show of 2013)
- Returns: Surprisingly enough, a third season will debut in the UK in 2016
#10 – iZombie S1/2
- Why is it so good? It’s a testament to creator Rob Thomas (of Veronica Mars fame) that iZombie works as well as it does. The premise – Liv (Rose McIver) abandons her promising life and career after she contracts zombism in order to work at the morgue and solve murders – sounds like a bad joke. It would be a lie to suggest that this CW series isn’t funny (quite often it’s downright hilarious), but there’s a great deal more going on in the series than meets the eye. Lead McIver is a true chameleon: each week she’s tasked with embodying a different personality based on the brain Liv consumes and McIver tackles her role with warmth and pathos. The procedural cases of the week can be a bit slight, but they frequently comment on Liv’s emotional journey or slyly contribute to the series’ larger arcs, which include organized crime syndicates, an evil soft drink company, and a plan to secretly murder Seattle’s growing zombie population. It all sounds like a hodgepodge, but Thomas and his writing team have no problem balancing the tone and staying the course. iZombie is the kind of show that viewers may reject because they have the wrong perception of it and that would be a mistake because it’s one of the best shows of the year.
- Best episode? Major’s attack on Meat Cute and Liv’s terrible moral dilemma that closes out S1 in 1×13 ‘Blaine’s World’ represents a high water mark on the series
- Number of episodes watched in 2015: 21
- Change in rank: New!
- Returns: Tuesday, Jan 12 2016 at 9pm EST on The CW
#9 – Transparent S2
- Why is it so good? After more than a year off, Transparent dropped its second season a week ago to rapturous reviews. While the first season focused primarily on Maura’s (Jeffrey Tambor) transition, the second season expanded its focus to include emotional subplots for the rest of the Pfeffermans, including Judith Light’s Shelly (outstanding) and meaty arcs on parenting for Josh (Jay Duplass), Sarah’s (Amy Landecker) mid-life crisis and Ali (Gaby Hoffman) exploring her sexuality. Although the series does feel slightly less cohesive because the characters are spending less time together, the broader storytelling approach hasn’t diluted Transparent‘s emotional hooks, its uncomfortable humour and truths or its nuanced acting. In the current television landscape, Transparent remains a powerful series with an unique, but universal approach to storytelling. The entertainment landscape is better for the existence of the Pfeffermans; even when they’re at their worst, we get the benefit of the best TV.
- Best episode? 2×07 ‘The Book Of Life’ finds the Pfeffermans at their lowest in an episode that explores the impact and fallout of their poor decision-making on the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur
- Number of episodes watched in 2015: 10
- Change in rank: -9 (though this is a testament to the strength of other shows, not a dip in quality for Transparent)
- Returns: Amazon has greenlit a third season
Check back tomorrow for the fourth worst show and the seventh and eighth best shows of 2015. In the interim, what do you think of the first day of the Bitch Awards? Sound off below.