It’s that time of year again. No, not the time for Uncle Murray to crash on your couch, gingerbread crumbs all over his ugly holiday sweater, after a too-late game of Stratego turned into another family feud. (Okay, maybe it is that time of year, too.) It’s the time when most TV shows go on hiatus for the year. No new episodes until January, you say? No problem! That gives us here at GeekDad time to reflect on the highs and lows on the small screen from the past year.
Without further adieu…
Best New Program of 2015
Our pick for the best new show of 2015 wasn’t found on network TV. It couldn’t be found on cable or satellite, either. There was only one place to find Jessica Jones, and that was streaming on Netflix.
Across the board, the team here on the Same Geek Channel have raved about the quality of Jessica Jones. To paraphrase the various conversations behind the scenes here at GeekDad, it’s not a show about bad people doing bad things to one another, it’s a mature look at how to move on when bad things have been done to you. While it’s not a gather-the-kids type of program, it is a worthwhile entry into the Marvel Universe on the small screen.
Agent Carter (ABC): While Hayley Atwell’s Agent Peggy Carter has been around since 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, Carter received her own show in January 2015 and continued to deliver a smart, stylish, and strong woman in a man’s world of the mid-1940s. If you’re looking for a more family-friendly counterpoint to Jessica Jones, look no further than Agent Carter. –Joey
Daredevil (Netflix): Another winner by Marvel and Netflix. The stark simplicity of the early costume contrasts with the candy-colored heroes dotting the TV and movie landscape. If only Matt Murdoch had kept the look. –Joey
Limitless (CBS): A show I expected to have no interest in, it has the perfect blend of clever writing, good acting, and solid pacing. It never feels like the characters are making a decision because that’s what the script needs them to do–it feels organic. Plus, it manages to not be dour and joyless. Frankly, if you’re not watching this, then you hate fun. –Mordechai
My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW): I’ve just started watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Not at all what I expected and it’s killing me, especially since I lived in West Covina as a teen. –Jim
Best Returning Program of 2015
After the series got off to a shaky start, Agents of Shield has righted the ship and has earned our award for the best returning series of 2015. Right now, the Marvel television properties can seemingly do no wrong.
Doctor Who (BBC): One of the strongest seasons of Doctor Who we can remember. Had we not gotten the “eye booger” episode, this could have been the top returning show of 2015. Unfortunately, we did get that episode. –Joey
The Librarians (TNT): TNT actually aired this season in order, and it fixed just about every issue from the first season. The cast has jelled and the over-the-top elements (Flynn’s persona, for example) fit better. The shout-outs to other SF time travel shows in the season finale was wonderful and an example over the overall tone. This is probably the most family friendly show on the list (considering most deal with murder, drugs, or sex in some way). –Mordechai
Haven (Syfy): Good closing season. –Mordechai
iZombie (The CW): Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright show that CW shows don’t have to be idiotic. Minimal plot induced stupidity and Rose McIver’s “personality shifts” make this a joy to watch. My only quibble is that Clive should really suspect something is up by now. –Mordechai
Most Disappointing Program of 2015 (New and Returning)
Barry Allen is “The Fastest Man Alive”. He is The Flash. The one who gives Central City hope. Unfortunately, in season two of the series, he has also become a remorseless killer.
Yes, there is precedence in the comics of The Flash killing. The problem we have with The Flash this season is that the death toll our hero has accumulated so far has had zero impact on Barry and/or any of the rest of the team. Even on Arrow, the grittier and darker of the two shows in this shared television universe, our heroes realize that indiscriminate killing isn’t the answer. Until Barry Allen becomes someone else, becomes something else, like his green-hooded counterpart, The Flash will continue to disappoint.
Castle (ABC): After years of mostly getting the romance plot right, the show trainwrecked on the idiocy of a plot device that had Beckett leaving Castle to “keep him safe” while, at the same time, staying married. This made no sense and given the writers later resolved this in less than 10 minutes, perhaps they realized it. –Corrina
Bones (Fox): I decided to check back in on Bones for the Sleepy Hollow crossover episodes (Note: Watch Sleep Hollow! It’s good again). It showed me that my decision to stop watching last season was the right one. In fact, it was so bad that I’m now wondering why I ever watched it. –Mordechai
Supergirl (CBS): Words fail me. I wanted to like this show so badly. There are elements that work. Overall, though, it has all the failures of the Berlanti super hero shows, writ large. Particularly grating is the infantilization of Supergirl. We’re reminding in the opening narration every week that she’s a second-best hero to her cousin. Then throw in stupid story driven decisions, one-note personalities, and the fact that every threat has to be connected to our cast directly, and the only thing this show has going for it is Melissa Benoist’s clear enthusiasm for the part. –Mordechai
Game of Thrones (HBO): It’s not just that the show deviated from the books. It has before and done it well. It’s not that the show delved into darkness, particularly with Stannis’ plot. It’s done that before and well. It’s that the journey to get to these elements made no sense. Barristan is cut down by lightly armed street thugs with no training? Ramsey is able to deliver a blow with 20 men so fatal to Stannis that he burns his daughter? (We won’t mention the obvious blinking light over Shireen the whole season that said DEAD MEAT.) And, yes, so much about the rape plots was mishandled. That’s even more evident when you watch Jessica Jones go into similar dark places and not make it all about someone else’s pain. In the end, I bailed on the show because I no longer trusted it to tell a good story. –Corrina
Most Anticipated Program of 2016 (New and Returning)
Agent Carter was the front-runner to take the Best New Program of 2015 for the first eleven and a half months of the year, until Jessica Jones launched. With Agent Carter‘s season two premiere date less than a month away, this is the most anticipated program for us here at GeekDad as we head into 2016.
The Librarians (TNT): A strong contender for best returning show of 2015, we’re looking forward to season 3 of this family-friendly program. I’ve heard it called “a cross between National Treasure and Doctor Who-lite,” and that’s not a bad way to introduce the kids to the genre. –Joey
Game of Thrones (HBO): Wait, how can one of 2015’s most disappointing programs also be one of our most anticipated shows for 2016? Now that the TV show caught up to the novels the series is based upon, what happens from here on out will be new to fans of the show and the books alike. Although that might not be a great thing, as evidenced by some of the departures the show has taken from the books (see GoT‘s entry as one of the most disappointing shows of 2015 above). Call it guarded optimism. –Joey
Doctor Who (BBC): Last season, Peter Capaldi really hit his stride as the guitar-playing, soulful, almost Aspy Doctor. Knowing that the upcoming season is the last on Capaldi’s current contract (and probably his last in the title role), I can’t wait to see what the show has for #12’s final trek in the TARDIS. –Joey
Wynonna Earp (Syfy): The times have finally caught up to the federal marshal who fights monsters, first created in 1996. If the show is half as fun as the comic, it’ll be just fine. –Corrina.
In awards handed out earlier this evening at a separate ceremony (thanks, Corrina)…
Worst Character Writing: Iris West, The Flash (The CW)
Worst Plan Ever: Oliver Queen defeating Ra’s al Ghul, then placing mass murderer Malcolm Merlyn in charge of the League of Assassins, Arrow (The CW)
Best Exposition Dude: Professor Martin Stein, The Flash (The CW)
Best Too-Short Cameo: King Shark, The Flash (The CW)
Worst Soulmate Ever: Hawkman/Carter Hall, The Flash/Arrow (The CW)
Cutest Couple: Coulson & Rosalind, Agents of Shield (ABC)
There you have it, folks, another year of television in the books (and streaming to a TV near you, if it isn’t already). Any surprises? Didn’t see your favorite –or least favorite–nominated? Let us know in the comments below!