Most Consistent Drama: These are the shows that week after week were proved to be captivating, moving, and had me on the edge of my seat with incredible storytelling.
Once Upon a Time:
By far my favorite show on television, 2015 proved to be one of the best for the series about true love and happy endings, moving in new, daring directions while still remaining true to its roots in hope, forgiveness and redemption. Very few episodes fell short, especially in the first half of Season 5 which dealt with the bold move of turning the show’s heroine into the “villain.” Of course the truth was much more complicated, but getting there had us glued to our screens every week, and in the end, completely devastated, but still full of hope. Now, if only the premiere of 5B would get here sooner. Is it March 6th yet?
Agent Carter succeeds remarkably so in its first season run of 8 episodes with each and every one feeling like an exciting and compelling miniature movie, between the evocative cinematography and stunting trip into nostalgia with the gorgeous production design and wardrobe, and finally to the gripping performances and story all around. Agent Carter was not only the best new show of 2015 and one of the most consistent ones, but a delight for anyone who loves adventure with a slice of 1940s nostalgia and modern, inspiring themes of integrity and equality.
This romantic and poignant drama was consistently profound and gripping in every one of its first season 9episode run. From week to week a great deal of time would pass for our characters and we never once felt unsatisfied or unmoved by the drama. Real and touching, sad and hopeful, Poldark is thoroughly wonderful in all regards.
The most remarkable thing about this drama is not only that the series continues to be consistently compelling while in its 8th season, but also that even when a story I wasn’t particularly fond of on the surface – Beckett distancing herself from Castle – the show finds ways to create new and familiar dynamics that are thoroughly entertaining. Castle continues to balance lighthearted banter with real and moving stories and relationships all while solving interesting crimes every week.
Most Consistent Comedy:
It’s amazing that so far into the series that Modern Family continues to shine; but when you have such a natural set up and colorful characters who continue to grow and evolve yet remain true to who they are, it’s unsurprising. There was not a single episode of 2015 that did not result in laugh out loud moments as well as ones that were genuinely touching. Modern Family succeeds in ways very few comedies do because it’s not only truly both modern and traditional in its family dynamics, but also because it’s beauty lies in its simplicity. It’s not just about family. It’s about life and all the crazy ups and downs and the people who make it all worth it.
This look into the 1980s at a family of misfits is consistently hilarious and sweet. I suppose if you grew up in the time you might find it a bit more enjoyable but truly the humor and storylines are well-balanced between the parents and the kids all with issues and situations inspired by two life events, peppered with delightful references. This year alone we were treated to the sweet pangs of adolescence and first love, to fitting in and dealing with an overbearing but loving mother, with tributes to Ferris Bueller, New Kids on the Block, The Princess Bride, Transformers and more. Every week we are in stitches.
Parks and Recreation:
The final season of the delightful comedy ended on a unique high note, fast forwarding into the future. And it’s final episodes were everything the show embodied – sweet, silly, inspiring, and eccentric. Each relationship and character was given a final bow in relation to series leading lady Leslie Knope as we see how this unlikely group of people became a family, in a very unlikely place of work, all with different ideologies. In the end we saw what really mattered was what Leslie would spend hours creating vision boards and color-coordinated binders on – friends, waffles, and work, where friends are always first.
What was so wonderful about the finale of the serious and heavy crime drama was how light it felt. After wrapping up one last case, Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon were married in a beautiful, small ceremony with family and friends. Knowing how television often is, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. But thankfully and happily it never did. Instead, after so much pain, the series ended in a truly beautiful and peaceful way where love and hope endured. The final image was Jane hugging Lisbon – a joyful look on his face previously unseen. It was a perfect way to end his journey as he learns that she is pregnant and that life and their future will be happy.
The Mysteries of Laura:
This fantastic crime drama has a wonderful ensemble and balances the lives of a harried mother/homicide detective with intriguing mysteries each week – some emotional, some harrowing, and always entertaining. As we said previously, Laura Diamond is one of the best characters of the year, but indeed each character is wonderful as we see the true sense of camaraderie amongst those who protect and bring people to justice every day, demonstrating that these are not only brave individuals but also very human ones. Poignant and funny, refreshing and realistic, this is the one show that if you’re not watching you definitely should.
This family political and crime drama is a relatively new love– I recently caught up on Netflix – and I became comletely engrossed in the lives of the Reagan family. Every character has their own valid point of view, the stories are compelling and the weekly family dinners that are a part of every episode are so wonderful. Steady and true, Blue Bloods deserves more praise.
Show I Miss the Most:
I cannot express how amazing Forever was and how heartbroken that such a gripping, moving show ended in 2015. It had everything that makes a great procedural drama with an extremely unique format. Each episode had an intriguing flashback to a different time period, ruminations on the preciousness of life, captivating, affable performance and relationships, and most importantly a beautiful heartbeat that what was felt undeniably. I shall miss the show forever.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt:
At the risk of getting too personal, there are multiple reasons why Kimmy Schmidt is such a fantastic show and worthy of your latest binge- one that I know from personal experience can’t be completed in one day. This show is sweet and laugh out laugh funny, often times to the point of excess. I binged this show on a weekend after I injured my knee and literally could be barely move. The pain did not disappear but watching the show help to alleviate it and make me forget as I watch Kimmy’s fighting spirit and sunny attitude. She is inspiring in a silly world and proved that laughter can indeed be the best medicine.
Relaxing Reality Show: When it comes to reality shows my taste involves those that offer something both useful, sweet, and relaxing- the type of show that serves a purpose and is still entertaining.
Dinner at Tiffani’s:
As a fan of Tiffani Thiessen’s since childhood I never imagined I’d be watching a cooking show with her, but here we are and it is a delight, full of fun guests and delicious looking recipes. Literally everything she prepares not only look scrumptious but unlike many other cooking shows, completely doable for even the most inexperienced. She is so affable and engaging especially with the witty banter with her friends, and the end result always looks good enough to eat. Pun intended.
The work of Chip and Joanna Gaines is simply remarkable as they turn sometimes dilapidated unlivable properties into gorgeous dream homes. The process is interesting and the interactions delightful especially the charming look at their own sweet family.
Emma Swan, Killian Jones, Henry Mills (Once Upon a Time)
Showing moments of heroics both individually and together, what made Emma and Killian heroes in 2015 was the way they overcame the greatest evil of all time, a darkness neither of them wanted. And while both faltered they were able to overcome it, both for themselves and by themselves, as well as together. The overcame their demons. But their true heroism was in sacrificing their own happiness to save others. Emma becoming the Dark One to save everyone in Storybrooke, Killian telling her to let him go, and Emma finally doing so were heartbreaking but truly heroic. They proved that when you fall you can pull yourself back up and demonstrated the timeless truth the show epitomizes – love is strength. Henry also showed true heroism when he became the next author of the storybook. This honor is only bestowed upon those truly worthy and not only does he know that no one should have power to change things the way the previous author did, he made it his mission to set things right for his family and the ones that they love, thinking only of their happiness and proving that the heart of the truest is believer beats in the person that it is truly meant to.
Learning that another immortal existed besides Henry was an unexpected twist, especially when we learned that he was the therapist Henry had been seeing. But in 2015, what made Adam so terrifying was his ability to not only be one step ahead of Henry, but to be able to exploit all of his deepest fears, because they share such a unique connection. His demeanor was cold and unsettling, and his lack of compassion and regard for human life when he himself can live forever was spine tinglingly scary.
Rumplestiltskin (Once Upon a Time)
What makes Rumple such a compelling villain is that as many horrible actions as he performs, he can still garner sympathy and as selfish as he is, he is still capable of selfless heroism. These contradictions were abundant in 2015, but while you saw that he was capable of goodness he is still the over arching villain of the show and his evil deeds are dazzling to watch. Choosing power over love, lies over the truth, and allowing others to sacrifice their own happiness so he could regain the dark wind power Rumple’s villainy is always frightening.
Emma is reunited with Killian, She tells him she wants a future with him (Once Upon a Time)
Once Upon a Time is always a show that implores us to enjoy the good and quiet moments amongst all the chaos of the world. And indeed there were some truly beautiful moments this year for all the characters particularly the shows most glorious couple. The pure joy and elation that Emma displayed when she found Killian alive after their trip into the alternate storybook was so beautiful in its purity. So happy that the force of her hug causes them to fall down onto her bed, the two of them giggling in the process, was incredibly sweet. And even though she was still afraid to tell him “I love you,” the happiness and love was felt in their exquisite expressions and tender affection. This scene was matched by the one in which Emma tells Killian and she does want a future with him but is afraid at the same time. When he tells her that the future is nothing to fear, she kisses him lighting the flame of Prometheus beside them. Their love literally ignited a spark and signified that she was ready to move on and enjoy their happy future together.
Lisbon tells Jane she is pregnant (The Mentalist)
Lisbon revealing her pregnancy was such a perfect way to end a series that was so often dark in filled with grief. It began with Jane losing his wife and child. It ended with him coming to terms with that loss, moving on and finding love again. After so much loss it was so touching to see them share this private moment of pure joy.
Deacon Proposes to Rayna (Nashville)
This season on Nashville has not been particularly happy one but after surviving so many ups and downs and literally a life-and-death situation with Deacon’s cancer, the couple finally were able to find their way back to happiness. The moment he proposes was not only joyful but so well-earned.
The Ball in Camelot (Once Upon a Time)
Rounding out our OUAT mentions in this category, the ball and Camelot was a lovely, resplendent gift wrapped in golden grandeur. It was brief; but fora few glorious moments all the characters were able to simply be happy and in love. Snow and Charming where are all smiles finally seeing their daughter at a ball and Henry developing his first crush. As for Emma and Killian and Robin and Regina- both couples were able to forget about curses and obstacles and enjoy themselves with dances, smiles, and kisses completely lost in the moment and in each other. Happy moments like this make the show so special.
Howard believes he is going to rescue Steve & Peggy finally says goodbye (Agent Carter)
Agent Carter was always able to pull our heartstrings with inclusion of Captain America and the affection our characters had for Steve Rogers. As a brainwashed Howard Stark flies towards New York City with a look of hope believing that he is finally going to rescue Steve, it was so sad because you could see how much he cared first friend and was about to wake up from this delirium and realize that Steve is gone and they must move on. Equally tear inducing was the moment Peggy finally lets the love of her life go. Standing on the Brooklyn Bridge she lets go of Steve’s blood saying “Goodbye, my darling.” letting his, what she believes would be his final resting place, be the place he called home.
Jake doesn’t remember his conversation with Laura (The Mysteries of Laura)
It was touch and go when Captain Jake Broderick was injured in the line of duty. But when all seems fine, the road to forgiveness also seemed to be lit towards him and his ex-wife Laura when he asked her if she still loves him and she says “maybe a little bit.” But only a few minutes later he has no recollection of the conversation – a side effect from his accident. After coming so far on this path towards love again it was so sad that it suddenly turned dark once more.
Henry learns the truth about Abigail (Forever)
Henry had finally begun to open his heart again when he met Detective Jo Martinez, but the unknown of his beloved wife Abigail was still holding him back. The truth set him free and allowed him to begin to truly mourn her loss. But the truth of her death was sad and profound. She died protecting his secret from the vile man Adam. She could’ve survived but chose to die so Henry would be safe. Her final act of love for her husband was indeed sad, but beautifully moving.
Killian Dies (Once Upon a Time)
Seeing Killian Jones die once was devastating enough but seeing him perish three times in front of his true love Emma, each time her grief growing more and more powerful, was agonizing. Beautiful drama and storytelling, what makes it heartbreaking was that each time was to protect Emma and that as he was taking his last breaths his only thought was to comfort her. Emma and Killian lived very sad, lonely lives so finding love with each other was like a beautiful gift to each other and the viewers. So to see them lose their chance at happiness ws utterly heartbreaking. Luckily for them, and for us, this show is the embodiment of hope and with Emma marching into the Underworld to save him it’s certain this heartbreak will only be temporary.
Ross and Demelza’s baby dies (Poldark)
It was painful to watch to Demelza fight for her life, wondering if her husband’s heart could still be stolen away. But to see her wake up and discover that her daughter had died in Ross’s arms as he made sure she wasn’t afraid, is as heartbreaking as can be. The loss of a child is utterly devastating; I cry as I sit here writing about it. The story maybe fictional but the effect it can have is truly deep.
Chief Dooley sacrifices himself (Agent Carter)
I’m not sure which was the most heartbreaking part of Chief Dooley’s noble sacrifice as he leapt out of the window of the SSR to save everyone’s lives: his final words, the pain on everyone’s faces, or the fact that moments before he was dreaming of being at home with his wife and children happy and at peace. As he asks Peggy to get those responsible telling her “thatta girl” when she promises to, one cannot help but cry for this good man’s final heroic act.
Visually Beautiful Scenes:
Emma and Killian kiss in the field of Middlemist flowers (Once Upon a Time)
Emma and Killian had three stunning scenes that took place in the field of middle mist flowers in Camelot, but there was something so unbelievably gorgeous about the first, happiest moment. After the darkness was quieted from Emma, she feels light and happy again and ready to share a quiet moment with the man she loves. With the sun rising behind them, the two share a passionate kiss and the camera pans over head to the couple amongst hundreds of pink blossoms. With a rich score by Mark Isham and gorgeous cinematography by Stephen Jackson this moment was perfect in its idyllic fairy tale beauty.
Ross and Demelza’s promise of hope (Poldark)
As Ross and Demelza mourn the loss of their daughter, they vowed to move on and mend fences between family. Releasing the ribbon that held their baby’s hair into the wind they cling to each other, the windswept moment on the beautiful cliffs on the edge of the sea. Stunning in meaning, with glorious cinematography Adam Etherington, it’s beauty is matched by the breathtaking visual that was akin to something out a big grand romance.
Killian was a Dark One the entire time, Rumple Becomes The Dark One again (Once Upon a Time)
My favorite show of the year also held the monopoly on plot twists. Both dealt with the ominous aspect of the Dark One, completely unexpected and matched by the fact that Season 5 was all about Emma taking on the darkness and struggling to overcome it. It was definitely a shocking turn of events when Emma turned Killian into a second vessel for this evil curse to save his life revealing that in present-day Storybrooke he had been so all along and had no idea. In the end, when he chose to sacrifice himself I believed he was destroying it forever, so was completely dumbfounded when we discovered that Killian’s sacrifice was manipulated by Rumple to channel the darkness back into himself as he regained the power he cannot seem to let go of. Seems that the darkness will still have to be destroyed after all.
Laugh out Loud Moments:
“Pinot Noir” (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt):
In truth, Kimmy Schmidt’s first season had an abundance of hilarious moments, but one in particular holds the rare exception of making me laugh so uncontrollably I literally had to pause the episode to catch my breath. Tituss made a music video called “Pinot Noir,” which was a nonsensical string of phrases meant to sound elegant. It’s beyond silly and beyond hilarious.
Any Goldbergs 80s reference (The Goldbergs)
It is difficult to pinpoint specific moments from The Goldbergs that resulted in laugh out loud instants because each episode does so. But needless to say every single 80s reference this year did so, from Barry dressing up like Boy George and him and Adam re-creating New Kids on the Block dance moves, to the famous frozen tongue to the flagpole from A Christmas Story, two Pops dressing up as a Transformer for his grandson, and Adam wanting to be the next Inigo Montoya, any reference had us busting a gut laughing.
Once Upon a Time:
Going in new directions in Season 5 allowed brilliant costume designer Eduardo Castro to also give our characters some beautiful wardrobe. As the Dark Swan, Emma had stunning and sleek black outfits that reflected her colder demeanor but still retained a distinct elegance. But it was the trip into Camelot that gave the characters an abundance of gorgeous, colorful frocks. Emma was in intricate white dresses and Killian in a red vest and quilted long coat. Snow, Regina and Zelina in sumptuous gowns and Charming and Robin has costumes masculine and undeniably fairytale like. Even Henry had a wonderful fairy tale outfit as well as the numerous guest stars. Take a look at this brilliant work.
Agent Carter’s trip into 1940s New York City is wonderfully sleek and crisp while still having the comic book style feel especially in Peggy’s iconic constant costume inspired by Captain America But each character looked incredibly stylish fabulous. Take a look for yourself.
Emma fights back against the Darkness (Once Upon a Time)
After seeing Emma struggle for so long with feelings of worthlessness, abandonment and feeling unloved, it was beyond moving and inspiring to not only see her fight back against the darkness trying to overtake her, but declare “I am not nothing! I was never nothing!” It was a monumental moment for her character as well as an example of hope that those who feel such despair can overcome these thoughts and that your life is worthy and important.
Peggy knows her value (Agent Carter)
After a season determined to prove herself to her colleagues and earn the respect she deserves, it was inspiring to hear Peggy state that she knows her own value and that it’s not determined by the opinions of others. This is a very wise lesson we all should endeavor to remember.
Gunnar and Scarlett sing “Longer” and “Wake Me Up When It’s Over” (Nashville)
We spoke of the beautiful chemistry of Scarlett and Gunnar and that despite what their characters are going through the moment they sing together magic happens. Why explain further when you can hear for yourself. These were their best moments.
“Lords of the Sea” (Galavant)
Just about every number and Galavant’s first season was golden but I must mention that the Pirate’s little shanty was so funny and clever that it deserves all the praise in the world.
Emma and Killian (Once Upon a Time)
What makes Emma and Killian so sexy is that the two actors have undeniably palpable chemistry, subtle nuances in their performances, and exude so much passion while doing so little. It is easy to be sexy in certain more obvious ways that the PG show doesn’t afford. But that is what makes them even sexier. Their kisses, intense glances, the way they touch, you always feel the intense magnetism between the characters, and for a couple who has not made love yet, that is remarkably beautiful.
Ross and Demelza (Poldark)
This beautiful couple had one of the sexiest scenes of the year when Demelza wore a fine dress that was not her own and asked Ross to help her unbutton it as he kissed her neck and gently caressed her back. So little was seen an yet it was a very steamy scene. Every amourous moment after exuded the love and passion they feel in ways that were subtly and tastefully done. Sometimes seeing less is far more alluring.