Put on your jingle bells and pour the eggnog because it’s time for The Televixen’s Second Annual TV Naughty and Nice List!
Instead of giving you another year in review list, our team has once again decided which shows are worthy of a gift under the tree, and which ones deserve a lump of coal in their stockings. Check out our picks below, and don’t forget to share which shows are on your Naughty and Nice lists by commenting below!
Nice: You’re the Worst. (Absolutely no surprise here, as my Remotely Girly co-hosts will attest to my obsession.) Season 2 is perfection from beginning to end, with Aya Cash delivering one of the best performances EVER on the small screen as her character, Gretchen, deals with depression. It got really intense which made the funny moments even sweeter.
Naughty: Castle. I didn’t expect cliché marital hijinks once Castle and Beckett tied the knot, but the direction the show took this season forced me to abandon it a few episodes in. The choice Beckett made to leave was nonsensical and I just didn’t care. Makes me super sad as I’ve loved the show since day one and the characters once felt like friends that I met up with once a week. Now it’s like I don’t even recognize them or the series any longer.
Nice: Okay, nice is easy: Doctor Who! This show has done a full 180 from last season, and I’m so happy to finally be in love with my favourite show again!
Naughty: Hmm … Gotham. I was a Gotham apologist for months. Then the fans finally got exactly what we’d been dying to see in Jerome, and then (HUGE SPOILER) they killed him off!?? They killed off the best thing to happen to the show!?!? Yeah, I stopped watching and took it off my PVR list after that.
Nice: You’re The Worst. The only thing this show does better than making you feel bad about the good things in your life is, more importantly, making you feel twice as good about the bad things.
Naughty: The Vampire Diaries. This season has managed to make me nostalgic for when the Travelers stood around monologuing for hours on end, so here’s hoping the back half isn’t quite the creepy, unwanted mystical pregnancy the first nine were (especially if this season ends up being their last)!
Nice: Netflix for the incredible amount of TV goodies it gifted us in 2015 — from the comedic brilliance of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Master of None and Grace and Frankie, to epic adaptations of Marvel’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones, to the mesmerizing drama of Narcos, to stellar third seasons of House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black.
Naughty: Sense8 for tarnishing Netflix’s excellent record with its melodramatic, epically boring, self-indulgent first season. Such a great cast, so much potential to be awesome and instead we had to sit through 6 minute birth montages. Really? Really?!
Nice: Fargo‘s second season had more in common tonally with the first amazing season of True Detective (with far fewer visits to Dead Girl Town), though it retained enough of the goofy, genuine kindness of Noah Hawley’s first season to remain charming (thank you, Solversons). But immersive period detail and strong acting throughout, capped by Zahn McClarnon and Bokeem Woodbine’s electric performances, elevated the show to something that might even surpass the original movie.
Naughty: Rosewood. I mean — Morris Chestnut, mostly shirtless, playing a brilliant, cocky, but sensitive medical examiner, tooling around Miami in a cool car, trading flirty barbs with a dedicated detective? I was signed all the way up, but in practice the show was clunky and uneven, with about as much attraction between the two leads as between me and Donald Trump.
Nice: Fargo. A brutal crime story wraps up its incredible second season as it weaves the warm and fuzzies of giving a loving family a happy (for now) ending into the bloodbath of Sioux Falls. Bonus: this season gave Kirsten Dunst such a gosh darn showcase that blew me out of the water. Double Bonus: Nick Offerman as Karl Weathers, a.k.a. the Breakfast King. I could continue listing the cast members who shone (Patrick Wilson as the moral centre, Lou Solverson, Bokeem Woodbine as the philosopher-criminal, Mike Milligan, etc, etc, etc) but you might as well just assume that my rave includes “all.”
Naughty: UnREAL. Absolutely unrelenting in its refusal to sugar coat any of its characters. Allergic to likability, UnREAL hits my naughty list as it rocks right on with its bad self.
Nice: You’re the Worst has had one amazing second season, where it built on the humor and emotional complexity of the first while reinventing itself as a show that dealt with the realities of living with a mental illness. Aya Cash as Gretchen, steely and sarcastic as ever, revealed this season that she lives with depression, and the show carefully and compassionately expanded on how that affects her. The rest of the cast shone as the show told stories about divorce, PTSD and career insecurities, but it was Cash as Gretchen that catapulted You’re the Worst from “my favorite show this year” to “my favorite show of all-time.”
Naughty: I loved Jessica Jones and Krysten Ritter’s portrayal of the titular ex-superhero, but could not stand the character I call “Eager White Man Cop,” whose name is apparently Will Simpson. While I appreciated his enthusiastic adoration of Trish Walker, the show spent entirely too much time following his storyline. I would have traded all the scenes of him trying to offer intrusive assistance for five minutes of Luke Cage making Trish and Jessica frittatas on a sunny Saturday morning. I know he existed in Season 1 to set up future stories for a second season of Jessica Jones, but he was a needless addition to the team and the overarching story of Jessica overcoming Killgrave.
Nice: Gotham. The whole “Rise of the Villains” subtitle was a smart move. It’s been so good this season! I love finally seeing The Riddler descend into madness and team up with The Penguin.
Naughty: for the second year in a row it has to be Castle. Beckett separated from Castle to save him?! Lame. The whole season so far has been boring. I think it might be time for me to finally let this show go.
Nice: How do you top a critically acclaimed and nearly perfect first season? With a critically acclaimed and actually perfect second season. That’s exactly what Fargo did, with great writing, direction, cinematography, music, set direction, costume design and career best performances from the likes of Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, Nick Offerman and Jean Smart, as well as breakout work from Bokeem Woodbine and Zahn McClarnon. Now that’s true Peak TV, don’tcha know.
Naughty: Some movies just shouldn’t be adapted to television, and while Fargo does it right, MTV’s Scream adaptation stripped everything we loved about the films, and gave us one big dull dud of a season, and then renewed it for a second one. Oh boy.
Nice: The Romeo Section for bringing back several Chris Haddock Universe alumni. We loved seeing beloved, familiar faces back on our TVs. More of that, please, when it’s renewed (nudge, nudge).
Naughty: Penny Dreadful for spinning everyone off to the far corners of the globe in the finale. I know it will be resolved (and hopefully sooner than later) in Season 3, but it was a huge downer to have a finale devoid of all hope for our core characters, when there had been the teeniest, tiniest ray of it here and there in Season 2.
Nice: A little show that will likely be seen no more — Minority Report. While it took the basic concept from the Tom Cruise movie, this story hangs around the three pre-cogs who’ve been released and have three different approaches to life “after the milk bath.” But it is not only their story, it is the story of the police force, of the sprawl, and of a future that comes in many colours, many social strata, and many with mixed but understandable motivation. Oh show, how I will miss you.
Another nice surprise, also movie inspired, is Limitless, and while Bradley Cooper does a few drop-ins, it is the story of someone using ultimate power in fun and (mostly) unselfish ways, and adding a goofy element into a staid FBI office. While it took a few episodes to find its stride, standouts include the amazing throwback to 80s film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “Brian Finch’s Black Op.”
Naughty: This year I tried to watch the second season of How To Get Away With Murder. While it intrigued me last year, and I remain impressed with the cast’s diversity, the characters’ cruelty has turned me off.
Nice: There are probably more high quality shows I could give this spot to. A Mad Men, a Jessica Jones, a Justified or Orange Is the New Black. All of those shows are ostensibly good. But are they the shows that jazz me up the most during the week? No.
So instead, I am giving this slot to the trash show of my heart, How to Get Away with Murder. It’s a show that makes no narrative sense and gets the legal profession hella wrong, but who cares? It’s engaging, it’s loopy and its the kind of no-holds barred bonkers fun that is a joy to tune into every week. Not to mention that it is one of the most diverse shows on television, in a cast filled of characters of various races, genders and sexual orientations.
Is How to Get Away with Murder going to go down as one of the Great Shows of our time? Absolutely not. Is How to Get Away with Murder my favorite show of the year anyway? Absolutely.
Naughty: It probably says something that every show I cover for The Televixen got consideration for this slot. Blood and Oil, Nashville, and True Detective were all awful and the fact that I wrote about all of them says something about my sanity, which is that I have none.
In the end though I rant about these shows on a weekly basis, and we need to remember that the nightmare that is Melissa and Joey still plagued our screens in 2015. And it was excruciating to the very end. May we never again have to pretend that whatever Joey Lawrence did to his hair was okay.
That hair is the worst thing to happen to TV in 2015. THE WORST THING.
Naughty: Definitely The Vampire Diaries. I’m “ride or die” when it comes to my TV habits; if I watch a show for several seasons, I’ll stick with it to the bitter end. But after seven seasons, I dropped TVD from my “must watch TV” list. As someone who grew up loving the books, followed the TV show from the first casting announcements, and sang its praises during its early seasons when people were quick to write it off as a Twilight ripoff … realizing the show was a shell of its former self was sad to admit.
The “Powers That Be” behind TVD could’ve used Elena taking the magical coma dirt nap at the end of Season 6 as a jumping point for taking the characters into a new exciting direction this season. Instead, we got more of the same: love triangles, Bonnie having nothing to do besides saving everyone with her magic, and Elena mentioned in nearly every. single. episode. But the final straws were Stefan and Damon being sent to hell, and Caroline’s forced mystical pregnancy. I’m not here for plot points that are eerily similar to the Buffy and Angel universe, or the fact that Caroline is pregnant with Alaric’s twins without her consent. NOPE. I’ll come back for the series finale, just to see how it all ends.
Nice: Don’t know if I have a “Nice.” Do I HAVE to be nice? :p
What’s on your TV naughty and nice list for 2015? Be sure to share them with us in the comments below!