According to a study put together by FX, there were 409 scripted series on TV in 2015, or nearly double what it was only six years ago. That includes broadcast networks, basic and pay cable networks, and over-the-top content. We’re no longer in the golden age of TV; it’s the Too Much TV era. It’s hard for a show to break through when there’s so much to be watched. These 10 shows not only managed to do that; they’re also our favorites for the year.
10. Master of None
Aziz Ansari’s Netflix comedy Master of None seems like it came out of nowhere. Sure, Aziz Ansari played fan-favorite Tom Haverford in Parks and Recreation and wrote a well-researched book about modern love and dating, but making a 10-episode series that looks and acts like a cousin to Louis C.K.’s Louie? What? “What” indeed, but that’s not the case at all. Master of None is a smart, funny, and relatable show featuring some of the year’s best comedy acting, writing, and directing. Ansari and co-creator Alan Young are already hard at work on the second season. — Andrew Husband
You’re the Worst‘s first season established it as a sitcom like no other, a sort of demonic rom-com in which two awful-yet-endearing characters — music publicist Gretchen Cutler and egotistical author Jimmy Shive-Overly — do and say awful things while falling in love. But if it was shock value and clever lines that initially set the show apart, it was the tiny-but-powerful beating heart at its center that made it such compelling viewing. Season two could have settled into a groove. Instead, showrunner Stephen Falk zigged when many would have zagged, dedicating much of it to Gretchen’s struggles with depression, which played out believably, threatening her relationship with Jimmy, spilling over to affect her career, altering her friendship with BFF Lindsay (Kether Donohue), and coloring pal Edgar’s (Desmin Borges) romantic life. Rarely has the butterfly effect of one person’s struggles with mental illness been captured so believably — and so well at times that it threatened to squelch the comedy. But the series never lost its way thanks to the depths everyone involved brought to characters and creative high-points like the inventive, perspective shifting episode “LCD Soundsystem.” — Keith Phipps