The year in television has truly been one of the best in history as the medium continues to increase in quality and critical acclaim.
From great dramas like HBO's Game of Thrones and FX's The Americans to brilliant comedies like Netflix's BoJack Horseman and HBO's Veep, there's never been a better time to be on television. We saw the conclusion of several great TV shows, like AMC's Mad Men and NBC's Parks and Recreation, but we also witnessed the arrival of fantastic new programs like USA's Mr. Robot and Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
While it can be hard to narrow down, we believe these shows stood above the rest as the top 10 shows of 2015:
10. Parks and Recreation (NBC)
In its final season, Parks and Rec went out in the show's classic style: consistent and laugh-out-loud funny. The show's amazing comedic ensemble, including Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman and Aubrey Plaza, proved that a show in its seventh season could still deliver big laughs. But it was the more emotional moments, like Leslie and Ron settling their differences and the tearjerking series finale that we'll remember most.
9. Mom (CBS)
Multi-camera, laugh-track sitcoms are widely considered a dying breed, but one show quietly keeping the genre afloat is Mom. The Chuck Lorre sitcom starring Anna Faris and Allison Janney is never afraid to go there emotionally, with topics like alcoholism, drug abuse, familial disputes and loneliness among its most common storylines. It is able to cover heavy topics with a wickedly dark sense of humor, and the performances by Faris and especially Janney are some of the best on television.
8. Review (Comedy Central)
The wacky conceit of Review really shouldn't work on multi-season level, and yet it consistently does. Andy Daly stars as Forrest MacNeil, a television personality who, instead of reviewing books, movies or food, reviews life experiences. Season 2 brought the show to a whole new level as Forrest dealt with blow after blow in his personal life, joined a dangerous cult and was tasked with murdering someone. As Forrest's commitment to his job reached absurd levels, Daly's vulnerable, game performance became stronger than ever.
7. Mad Men (AMC)
Not everyone thought the massively acclaimed '60s drama went out on top, but we couldn't think of a better ending to Mad Men than what we got. Don Draper's (Jon Hamm) life gradually fell apart until he found his family of broken people, Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) realized her true love, Joan (Christina Hendricks) became a fully independent woman and everyone else got ready to face the '70s in various ways. This final season served as a fitting ending to one of the most influential drama series in history.
6. Fargo (FX)
Building upon the stellar first season, Fargo season 2 introduced a whole new cast of characters and brought us back to the '70s on the brink of the '80s. While season 1 was more intimate in nature, season 2 allowed us to see perspectives from a depressed housewife, a vengeful Native American, a quirky African American, a dangerous crime family, an aging cop and a noble hero who just wished the increasingly chaotic world would go back to a more innocent time. With incredible performances by Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, Jean Smart, Bokeem Woodbine, Jesse Plemons and more, Fargo was truly "aces" this year.
5. Mr. Robot (USA)
No show took us more by surprise this year than Mr. Robot, the dark cyber hacking drama centered on an isolated, troubled young man named Elliot (Rami Malek). We've seen how Hollywood clumsily deals with the Internet (The Net, FearDotCom, Swimfan, etc.), but Mr. Robot has a firm grasp on the impact, both positive and negative, of the World Wide Web, hacking and isolation in our world today. As Elliot becomes a member of the underground hacking organization called fsociety, he begins to question his motivations, the world around him and why he feels so empty inside. You'd be hard pressed to find a more intelligent show out there.
4. BoJack Horseman (Netflix)
Who could have surmised that an animated comedy about a talking horse who was a sitcom star in the '90s could be so grim and poignant? The second season of BoJack Horseman really nailed the melancholic irony of Hollywood stars who may seem to have it all but are just as filled with regret and disappointment as anyone. BoJack (Will Arnett) may have gotten to star in his dream biopic about Secretariat, but his destructive behavior has caused him to become isolated from everyone around him. On top of everything, the series provides a very sharp take on the entertainment industry that gives viewers a detailed glimpse into the dark side of Hollywood.
3. The Americans (FX)
Understated yet powerful, The Americans became even stronger in its third season. Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) realized that their teenage daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) has grown suspicious of what they really do. The KGB pushed their recruitment tactics even further, forcing Philip, Elizabeth and many others to the brink. Tensions boiled between relationships of all kinds. The show does not need pomp and circumstance to prove its power. To understand the power of The Americans is to watch the quiet devastation of a conversation held between two people at the kitchen table, each aware that an entire covert operation can be blown with one errant word.
2. Transparent (Amazon)
Transparent's incredible second season is a sign that Amazon is here to stay in the world of streaming television. The highly dysfunctional Pfefferman family, led by patriarch turned transgender woman Maura (Jeffery Tambor), became even more complicated in season 2. Ali (Gaby Hoffmann), Sarah (Amy Landecker) and Josh (Jay Duplass) all found themselves on the path to happiness, only to trip over roadblocks upon roadblocks. Equal parts delicate and frank, Transparent is not afraid to let its characters appear selfish and self-centered. Yet we still sympathize with their individual journeys, while seeing the full tapestry of life, warts and all, of the average white, Los Angeles liberal.
1. The Leftovers (HBO)
It's hard to put into words just how masterful season 2 of The Leftovers turned out to be, but what really comes to mind is cathartic. Season 2 smartly utilized centric episodes to give each major character their own story as they struggled to move on with their lives in the wake of The Sudden Departure. The move from Mapleton, N.Y. to Jarden, Texas really served the show well as we learned of a miraculous place where zero departures occurred. The series was not afraid to take huge, bold risks in storytelling, including one episode entirely set in some sort of purgatory -- recalling the grand mythology of showrunner Damon Lindelof's previous show, Lost. It is a show where no matter what flaws a person may have, we still feel their pain and sense of loss. No other show on this list, or outside this list, has such controlled unpredictability where you really didn't know what to expect from week to week, and that's hard to do in a saturated television landscape. The Leftovers is the best show on television, and it's one you need to be watching if you haven't already.