The 2015-2016 tv season is almost in the books and in this post I want to highlight what I thought was the best of this year's shows whether it was network, cable or streaming system. As always these are my thoughts and if you would like to let me know what you thought deserved mention instead of my picks , let me know on my twitter page here : https://twitter.com/cdulaney85 .
So we'll start out with my pick for Best Comedy of the year below
CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND !!!!
It's rare to say that a new show can be the best of all comedies this year when you have shows like "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" or "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" that had tremendous seasons but right now "Crazy" is on a whole other level. Where do you begin to talk about the genius of Rachel Bloom? Alongside co-creator and Executive Producer Aline Brosh McKenna, they have crafted one of those rare shows wherethe lead character is someone you root for and also wonder what they heck they are doing at the same time in Rebecca Bunch.
The show is basically this : Rebecca is unhappy in her job and life when she runs into a ex she has never quite got out of her head - Josh (Played by the adorable Vince Rodriquez III). Rebecca runs into Josh in NY and finds out he lives in West Covina and decides to move there on a whim where she gets a new job and friends all while trying to get back Josh through multiple schemes concocted with the help of her friend/mother figure Paula (the so gosh-darn talented Donna-Lynne Champlin) all while occasionally bursting into song.
Throughout season 1 we got to know these characters including somber love interest Greg (Santino Fontana who delivers anytime he gets the chance to sing) , and my favorite pairing (though I am Team Josh) in the lovely Darryl and White Josh (Darryl's song : "Getting Bi" is THE BEST SONG OF THE SEASON)
We also got to see Rebecca's deal with things like depression, sexuality, self-esteem issues and heavy boobs all in realistic but funny ways. I think this show has a chance to come back as strong as ever in season 2 and can't wait to see what Rachel, Aline and this cast come up with. I definitely don't think they will settle for just this. (Am I okay with that? Totally.)
Now my pick for Best Drama is
The People vs O.J. Simpson
The O.J. Simpson trial from the mid 90's has been talked about over and over these last 20 years but somehow FX was able to not only bring us back to that time but make it more interesting than most anything going today. In this series we got to see how much (or little) things have changed whether it was the public's fascination with celebrity to racial tension in a powder keg of a city.
One thing that worked for the show was that nothing was rushed. Hell, the show dedicated a entire episode to the infamous Bronco chase scene. We got episodes from the POV of not only Simpson's defense team but also from Marcia Clark and Chris Darden's side showing them not only as what their public personas were but the all too flawed yet always fascinating human beings they are (and in the case of Johnnie Cochran and Robert Kardashian -were)
What gave this series the extra boost was key performances from some of the best actors out there today starting with Sarah Paulson's performance as Marcia Clark. Sarah shows and lets us feel Marcia's continuing unease with the spotlight shined on her as the case wears on. The moment wears she appears in court with a new haircut is one where we all cheer her on until she notices people making fun of it and suddenly we go from rooting for her to feeling her embarrassment even when Darden tries to cheer her up.
Sterling K. Brown is phenomenal as Christopher Darden who we get to see as a man trying to do the right thing but lets pride and ego sometimes overwhelm him. His and Sarah's chemistry are terrific in their scenes together to the point you root for them to hook up in a tension-filled scene. Courtney B. Vance and John Travolta are wonderful as Johnnie Cochran and Robert Shapiro, O.J.'s all-star defense team that can't stand each other. Vance's performance is Emmy-worthy as is Paulson's and Brown's and I hope they do get some of those awards this year.
(If you want to read reviews for each episode , check out Rae Nudson's over at itsjustaboutwrite.com here : http://www.itsjustaboutwrite.com/search/label/American%20Crime%20Story )
My pick for Favorite Episodes of the tv year -
The Leftovers : International Assassin
I like it when a show goes big and says "screw it, lets go for it" The Leftovers did that a few times this tv year and none with more gusto and greatness than "International Assassin" A quick recap of what happened to lead to this episode (deep breath) - Kevin is haunted with his guilt of killing the Guilty Remnant's leader Patti. So much so that he is being haunted by her ''spirit'' every day and night. So finally , with help Kevin decides to take something that will send him on a mission (Possibly to the afterworld) to confront Patti and finally this.
The episode finds Kevin in a hotel , searching for Patti and finding characters that have already passed away in the series. Sprinkled throughout was moments that would alternately surprise you and shock you. Eventually Kevin is able to weave his way to through this alt-world to find Patti , only she is herself as a little girl. As he goes to the well that his father said he must with her, the two climb into it (well Kevin pushes her in a slightly funny moment). In the next scene, Patti is back to how Kevin knew her and the two start talking and it is a wonderful scene. She tells him the story of how she wanted to leave her husband and how scared she is of dying. Kevin is scared of what he has to do. It is a wonderfully human moment for both.
I won't spoil everything but top to bottom, from the performances of Justin Theroux and Ann Dowd to the writing of Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta and direction by Craig Zobel.
Most actors are lucky if they have one great scene in their lives. Peter Capaldi had a great performance in this episode which put him up there not only as one of the best Doctors in Who history but also one of the best actors out there today. Through 40-something minutes, Peter gives a solo performance of a hurt man who feels tired and sad that he could not save his companion and friend Clara. There is a moment when The Doctor is explaining something and calls out for Clara and knows she is not there anymore and you can see the sadness in his eyes at that moment.
But this story also shows what lengths The Doctor will go to try to save Clara as he spends thousands of years in a locked away place, constantly trying to not be killed while trying to figure out what is happening. Great direction by Rachel Talalay as she sets it as not only a Doctor Who tale but also gives it a horror-movie thriller tone to the episode too.
Best Performance in a episode
Sarah Shahi - Person of Interest - "6,741"
This episode is a great example of showing us emotion from even the most unemotional characters can make us feel so many things. Sarah's performance in "6,741" is a tour-de-force in that. We get to see Shaw escape from her captives in Samaritan and reunite with Team Machine. As Shaw slowly starts to think that things are not right with her, we start to worry for her. Her emotional reunion with Root is highlighted by a sense that something is still wrong. Then We see Greer and things unfold to the point that Shaw is pointing a gun at herself to protect not only Root but the team and their secrets.
I can't say enough of how great this episode is and the twist ending at the end just highlights even more how wonderful Sarah was in this episode. A great reminder that Sameen Shaw is better than all of us combined when it comes things like loyalty and fighting and intellegence and...
Now to the lightning round!!!
Best Ship (Tie) - Jane and Michael - FitzSimmons
Most Underrated Performance of the tv year : Rose McIver - iZombie
No one other than Tatiana Maslany does more in a season as Rose does. Not only does she have to play Liv Moore, she also had to do the characteristics of each brain she eats every week , whether it's a stalker or a erotic writer. Much like a another actress who worked with Rob Thomas by the name of Kristen Bell, Rose not only delivers in all aspects whether it be drama, comedy , action. You name it, Rose can do it every single time
Best Season finale - #IZombie - Salvation Army
A fun, wild action-packed episode with a ton of great character moments. Everything you'd want from a season finale.