While many want to focus on the films of 2015 - and with good reason, as genre had a great time at the movies this year, we can't forget about the small screen. With a resurgence from cable offerings in science fiction, horror, and comic book TV, plus better network shows and the addition of Netflix into the conversation, 2015 has been nothing shy of a banner year for genre entertainment.
Indeed, Bruce Campbell told me this year, "All the good work is going to TV," and these five shows certainly make his argument easy.
What wasn't easy, though, was narrowing things down to just five. Of course, doing a top ten wouldn't be much easier - maybe a top 15 with the last 7 or 8 all tied? Here are five absolute standouts in the field of genre entertainment on television. Let us know your personal top five favorites in the comments below.
Gotham didn't just improve in the first half of season 2, it rewrote what the show was trying to be. Moving away from the "freak of the week" format, and into a solid look at how a city evolves and falls into disarray at the hands of those who claim they want it to be better and stronger than ever.
Yes, part of the confusing and directionless season 1 aired in 2015, too, but that's just how good the second season has gotten, that it's able to largely erase that from our memories, and make its way onto this list.
Marvel TV has been firing on all cylinders in 2015, but this first offering from their team-up with Netflix is tops in our book. There's a uniqueness to this series that isn't found anywhere else on television, a perfect straddling of darkness and hope, of getting knocked down and getting back up. Daredevil is the quintessential flawed hero of the Marvel Universe, and seeing him treated with this much respect and care is exciting and wonderful. We also can't say enough about Vincent D'Onofrio as Kingpin, who carries a significant amount of the emotional load of this show on his back.
Shout-out to Jessica Jones for keeping the streak going, and to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for continuing to deliver a more traditional look at superheroes from the ground up.
A show, based on a movie, typically isn't the best idea. Many have tried, and few have found real success. The problem is, most of them are either too direct a copy or too far from the source material. Somehow, 12 Monkeys found the sweet spot, delivering an expanded and enticing view on the movie's original premise of a time traveler trying to stop a mysterious organization from creating and releasing a virus that destroyed the world.
What Syfy's new series also did, though, was reinvigorate the channel, opening the doors for one show after another that seems to say "Syfy is about science fiction again." The show's hard-sci-fi approach to time travel and its consequences, while also delivering believable, complex, and changing relationships is exciting and simply a blast to watch. Any show that can make you love and hate multiple characters each at their own multiple points in one short Cable season of TV is doing a lot of things right.
This show is so good.
That's the easiest thing to say about The Flash, which consistently leads the pack in superhero TV. A mix of optimism, hope, and a character who actually has fun being a superhero allows this show to simultaneously take chances and liberties with its source material while also being the most faithful and respectful of the bunch.
While Arrow and S.H.I.E.L.D. may make you awed by superheroes at times, The Flash (and now Supergirl a bit, too) makes you want to be a superhero. What's more, it makes viewers love and idolize the Flash, but it makes us love and respect and even want to be Barry Allen, too.
Only one show can give you time travel, parallel Earths, sharkmen, telepathic gorillas, and still have the most heart and humanity on TV, and that's The Flash.
Ash vs. Evil Dead
Hilarious, gory, full of self-loathing and self-aggrandizing, disgusting, disturbing, frightening, action-packed - and did we mention hilarious? Ash vs Evil Dead does it all, and in spectacular fashion that both calls back to the classic films and makes us so happy it's thirty years later.
This show is everything a movie sequel couldn't be, too, with ten hours of expanded plots, Ash having some (gasp!) actual relationships, and an ever-so-slightly deeper look at the titular Evil. But not too deep, because this is Ash, dammit.
Bruce Campbell is incredible, the rest of the cast somehow held their own against him, and Ash is 100%, completely, totally back. And it's the best genre show on TV.