As the semester draws to a close, you might happen to find yourself with some extra free time, especially once finals are over.
And what better way to spend your newfound freedom than binge-watching a few TV shows? Many viewers will turn to mainstream atrocities like The Big Bang Theory or The Voice. Others will turn to popular epic series like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, which certainly have their value.
But when it comes down to it, the best TV shows of 2015 are actually quite underrated. You may have heard of them, but it’s likely that you haven’t seen them. So without further ado, here are three great shows on TV this year that you could watch over Winter Break.
Fargo is the best kind of spin-off. The premise for the show is loosely based on the 1996 Coen Brothers movie of the same name. The plot of the movie, and each season of the TV show, centers around the people living in the region surrounding Fargo, North Dakota. The show serves as both a dark comedy and a crime drama, rendering it both hilarious and gripping. It’s an anthology series, so each of the two seasons tells a different “true story” from a different year. Despite the fact that each episode begins with the disclaimer “this is a true story,” the series is completely fictional, setting up the comical tone from the get-go.
Both seasons of the show, which are equally excellent, focus on a murder and the chaos and violence that occur as a result of them. I’ve never seen drama and humor combined in such a well-done way that Fargo does. While character development is an intriguing element of the show, the plot, in my opinion, is what makes this show so thrilling to watch. Yet the show is also very deep, and has complex and reoccurring themes that are enjoyable to analyze. If you’re a fan of Coen Brothers films, dark humor, crime shows, or just good television, you’ll enjoy Fargo. I can’t recommend it more.
You can watch Fargo on FX, or for free on FX’s website by logging in with a cable provider.
Mr. Robot is truly unlike anything else on television. Its first season premiered this year and is, in my opinion, a work of genius. It follows the life of a cyber-security engineer and hacker named Elliot who is, frankly, pretty messed up. As you discover watching the show, Elliot has a form of mental illness that changes his perception of reality. What makes this show so unique is that, just as Elliot’s own mind deceives himself, the show essentially deceives the viewer. We see Elliot’s dark, cruel world from his own depressed and anxious mind.
The plot of the first season focuses on Elliot joining the hacker group fsociety (similar to Anonymous) to try to take down one of the largest corporations in the world, E Corp. The show examines the relationships between Elliot and the people in his life: his coworker and childhood friend Angela, a man from fsociety named Mr. Robot, another hacker named Darlene, and a struggling executive at E Corp. There are many excellent twists in the show’s story, which I can’t get into without spoiling. It’s also worth noting that the show’s visuals are stunning and extremely unique. The cinematography is great, but what sets Mr. Robot apart is that almost all of its shots are slightly off center, reflecting Elliot’s mind.
The show’s first season is not only one of the best works of television this year, but I would say of the decade. I’m very much looking forward to its next season in 2016. You can watch every episode of Mr. Robot for free on the USA Network’s website with a cable login, or just on TV.
MASTER OF NONE
Master of None takes Aziz Ansari’s life and comedy and turns it into a compelling piece of art. The freedom of streaming services like Netflix have made unique and compelling shows as Master of None possible. The show, created by and starring comedian Aziz Ansari, is about the life of 30-something actor Dev Shah, who is intended to be a reflection of Aziz in his early career. Each episode has a different theme with aptly-named titles, such as “Parents,” which focuses on the relationship between Ansari and his parents, and “Indians on TV,” which looks at the stereotypes and discrimination Indian-American actors face in the television industry. As a whole, however, the story depicts the relationship between Dev and his eventual girlfriend Rachel.
It’s also downright hilarious. I’m a big fan of Aziz’s comedy, so I knew I was going to love this show going into it. His observations about the absurdities of modern life resonates with many, which adds to the show’s appeal. Aziz’s entourage of friends are equally hilarious, which is what you would expect for a good comedy. But what I really love about this show is how it combines it comedy with a such poignant, artistic form of storytelling that can’t be found anywhere else.
You can watch the first season of Master of None on Netflix.