9 Best Television Shows Of 2015
I had a lot of fun putting together my #2015BestNine Instagram pictures (Follow me!). It's a fun way to look back at the year and remind yourself of how much you accomplished and that just because a haircut looks cute on Taraji P. Henson doesn't mean it'll work for you.
While picking 2015’s Best Television Shows, I discovered that this was an exciting, diverse year for shows that obliterated the conventional ideas of drama—“UnReal’s” drama felt like TV-ception as it focused on the making of a reality dating show; BET’s “Being Mary Jane” found its niche just as the do-gooding but volatile Mary Jane tried to find her bliss; and “Jane The Virgin” offered the most unflinchingly realistic look at motherhood in TV history. Let's break it down!
Season 8 of “The Real Housewives Of Atlanta” has been like most franchises these days—a rush for alliances, more shade than a blinds store and a hell of a lot of fun, thanks to the ladies’ dynamic personalities and quick wit. Atlanta in particular, has been bogged down with the fallout of not one, but two physical altercations: Cynthia punted Porsha like a glammed-up football after a drunken misunderstanding and the tragically-haired friend Tammy was knocked unconscious by her own “nephew.”
This week’s episode boasted the usual shenanigans from uber-manager and extra thirsty Don Juan. But more importantly, it also offered a realistic glimpse at the physical and emotional struggles of motherhood. New mom-to-be Kandi Burruss struggled to balance her near pathological ambition with the demands of a high-risk pregnancy. The increasingly irritating and overeager Don Juan obsessed over her every move, citing Kandi's "mature" age (but not that she's his fame and meal ticket and the most tolerant boss ever). Meanwhile, Phaedra celebrated (or endured) a milestone as her beautiful and loquacious son Ayden started kindergarten in a freakin' bowtie!
Much of Kandi’s arc this season has been her celebrated pregnancy—a happier departure from Mama Joyce drama—and her unstoppable need to work. In addition to expanding her empire that includes songwriting, Atlanta-based boutiques, and a national line of sex toys, Kandi is also opening a restaurant with Todd and returning to music by executive producing singer Demetria McKinney’s new album and filming a video for the first single, a duet called “Unnecessary Trouble" (think "The Boy Is Mine" for the soccer mom sect).
The pressure is on, and there are three very big problems to contend with—Kandi’s ample bust and growing belly. Wardrobe disguises both in a glorified purple cotton sheet and bedazzled boots. It’s an uninspired and laughable choice, but Kandi, the consummate professional absolutely werked those sleeves and that weave, and looked amazing. Homegirl even managed to bust out a few bodyrolls whilst pregnant. If that doesn’t deserve an applause, nothing does.
Unlike overpriced Hermes handbags, every season of Bravo's "The Real Housewives" has its own unique in its own over-the-top, captivating flare. The women of New York are neurotic, anxiety-driven whack-a-doodles who talk so fast and so much that they can insult each other without the others realizing it until hours later. The Beverly Hills wives are so deliciously connected that every conversation feels like a behind-the-scenes tell-all come to life. Atlanta offers the best catchphrases ("Fix it, Jesus"; "Gone With The Wind Fabulous"; "Bloop") and supportive friendships.
However, every franchise is built on a catty, insecure, zany foundation that's vintage Housewives, and it must be celebrated! If you are 21 and over, you can play Small Screen Girl's Real Housewives Drinking Game! An since Housewives diets are more regulated than American gun sales, you can trade alcohol for bites of your favorite carby or chocolaty treat, if you're underage, don't like alcohol or just hungry! #DrinkResponsibly
Take a drink or a bite if the following happens:
There is a montage of a Housewife's gigantic and impeccably decorated home.
A Housewife is frazzled during the set-up of a party, even though the caterers and event planners are doing all of the work.
A few Housewives decide that a glamorous party or a charity event is the perfect time to hash out their problems. It does not go well.
A tiny disagreement between two Housewives becomes an episodes-long fiasco with people taking sides and possible hashtags (#whatdidHarrydo #tablegate #scaryisland).
Small Screen Girl Confession: I hate winter finales. Not only do they mark a very long desolate weeks without my beloved shows just when I have plenty of time to watch them, they also require that the storytelling mounts to a massive finale-esque crescendo that is often resolved with a "just kidding" fake-out come the new year. It requires show to manufacture cliffhangers, and it can feel like they are just checking boxes rather than organically crafting action.
"Supernatural's" 'O Brother Where Art Thou?" boasted fantastical special effects, great gore, and an ending that will leave Winchester fans ugly-crying into their Christmas trees, and yet it still felt a little paint-by-numbers: Encounter with the mysterious Big Bad: Check. Appearance of an old foe: Discount Double-Check. Main characters in hellacious danger: ANGRY Check.
As most winter finales do, the episode left us with more questions than answers. Here are the biggest questions I had after watching "Supernatural's" winter finale.
In entertainment, the simple, well-executed ideas are usually the best. For instance: a steamy television drama about two troubled-but-otherwise happily married people engage in a torrid, forbidden affair. If done right, it could be Emmy gold, right?
This is the premise for Showtime’s sexy drama, “The Affair.” Thanks to freedom from restrictive broadcast censors and the need for edgy programming, “The Affair,” now in its second season, takes the delicious concept and brilliantly executes it with provocative, “are-they-really-doing-it?” sex scenes and ingenious dual-perspective writing. Dominic West, Ruth Wilson, Golden Globe-nominated Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson round out an excellent cast.
Sounds like fantastic TV, right? It might be, but there's one tiny problem: I hate this show. In fact, I love hating it. It sounds bizarre, but hate-watching is a real thing, and a step beyond trainwreck television. It's when a show is so horrific that you hate it and the characters, but not enough to actually stop watching. It’s the entertainment equivalent to that co-worker that drives you crazy but you actively seek them out just to be annoyed by them. It’s simultaneously gratifying, because you were right, and aggravating, because they are just so irritating (Another show, I hate-watch: Bravo's "Apres Ski," which is complete with terrible employees, racial tension, and uber-rich snowbunnies set in picturesque Whistler, Canada).
Humans are nothing if not gluttons for punishment, as are the severely flawed nutjobs in Showtime’s infidelity drama. Here are five reasons why I love to hate “The Affair.”
If you watch a show long enough, you begin to follow the rules of that specific universe and learn lessons from the show’s characters. As a longtime “Supernatural” fan and recapper, I reflexively freak out if anyone’s fingertips come anywhere near a garbage disposal. And I don’t automatically attribute flickering lights to electrical issues, I get the damn rock salt.
This week's zany and unexpectedly emotional episode “Just My Imagination" taught me many things while sneaking in a few swift, sparkly kicks to the feels. Here are the biggest lessons from this week’s episode of “Supernatural.”
Imaginary friends are real. They are Zannas are fairy-esque creatures assigned to young children to give them love, guidance and never-ending fun until the children are confident enough to stand on their own. They can take any form the child desires: mystical mermaid, mulleted air-rocker, or a half-man, half-unicorn. Sam’s Zanna is a rainbow-suspendered, fiercely protective goober named Sully.
Dean never had one, which falls in line with the show’s cannon that he never really was a child. He responds like he normally does to things that make him uncomfortable—with abject revulsion and snarky distrust. He comes around, of course, the second he realizes that Sully is almost as protective of Sam as he is. His final verdict: "You're a good weird." We'll take it.
Manicorns bleed sparkly blood. In one of the most creatively hilarious scenes of the episode, Maddie’s unlikable mother unknowingly squishes through the glittery carnage of Sparkle's crime scene (including his cleaved horn) and smears his blood all over face, much to the horror of Sam and Dean and an invisible and near hysterical Sully. “Even when he’s dead, Sparkle can’t stop shining,” Sully sniffles.
Sam was a lonely kid. When Dean scoffs as to why Sam would need a Zanna since he had a big brother, Sam reveals that was lonely. The episode's flashbacks quickly and viscerally convey a nine-year-old Sam’s solitude as he's left alone while Sam and Dean hunt. Sully encourages Sam with heart-bursting love and does his best to fill the tacky motel rooms with dreams of freedom and marshmallow nachos. “You can be whatever you want to be. You're not Dean; you're not your dad. You’re Sam. And Sam is so awesome.” He is, isn't he?
There is good news and bad news ahead in this week’s “The Flash-Arrow” event on The CW. The good news is that Barry (Grant Gustin) seems to have his swagger back after that horrific beating from Zoom earlier this season. The bad news is he will need that and Team Arrow’s to defeat a mysterious villain named Vandal Savage. Savage seems hellbent on killing Kendra Saunders (AKA Cisco’s current meta-human crush AKA Hawkgirl).
In the sneak peek below, a chained Hawkman explains his star-crossed connection to Kendra and their near inescapable fates of being slaughtered by Savage over hundreds of lifetimes. It’s heavy and heady exposition that will most likely be tempered with some badass action scenes that hopefully end with Savage’s head separating from his body.
This week’s episodes should shed also shed more light on who ends up in the grave that was teased in the “Arrow” premiere. I have my guesses—the gorgeous Mama Smoak is currently leading the pack. Share your thoughts and theories below!
The “Heroes Join Forces” Crossover Event kicks off on The CW tonight at 8/7c.
Small Screen Girl
I am an unabashed pop culture and TV-aholic with no plans to ever seek treatment. Explore this blog and see just how deep my obsession goes.