6. “Mr. Robot”
Computer hacking has become a huge issue for all of us, whether it’s simple identity theft or massive security breaches at big companies, government agencies or dating sites for people cheating on their spouses. With that backdrop, a show about a cybersecurity engineer and hacker with serious social anxiety issues seems rather timely. “Mr. Robot” stars Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson, a young hacker who gets recruited by a mysterious organization of hacktivists led by “Mr. Robot” (Christian Slater.) Malek gives a brilliant performance as Elliot struggles with the implications of what he’s asked to do, making “Mr. Robot” one of the best new shows of 2015.
7. “Jessica Jones”
With the movie industry suffering from superhero overload, it’s hard to get very excited about the superhero genre getting even more exposure on television. But with the sassy and lovely Krysten Ritter starring in the lead role, this series deserved a look. With its film noir tone and willingness to address more adult themes, this isn’t your kid brother’s superhero show. Jessica Jones had a brief career as a superhero that ended tragically, and now she’s trying to rebuild her life as a private investigator. Early in Season One, she comes across Luke Cage, a man with superhuman strength who is unsure about how to handle his abilities. The interaction between them drives this compelling series.
Unlike “True Detective,” which fell victim to the all-too-familiar sophomore slump, “Fargo” positively thrived in Season Two, perfectly towing the line between black comedy and crime thriller. Part of what makes the show so successful is just how well cast it is from the top down, and although Patrick Wilson, Kirsten Dunst and Jeffrey Donovan are among the standouts, there’s not a single weak link in the entire ensemble. The writing also continues to be top-notch, while the show’s absurdist tone works even better in a period setting. Creator Noah Hawley is in high demand these days, and for good reason, because he’s once again crafted an engaging crime saga that works both as a prequel to the previous season as well as its own entity. (Jason Zingale)
One of the most ambitious shows in recent memory has settled into just being an excellent spy drama, which still makes it one of the best shows out there. The gripping yet over-the-top storylines for the first two seasons led to a disappointing Season 3, as the writers had to wrap up the Brody/Carrie relationship, but then the show rebounded with a solid Season 4. This was a pleasant surprise, as it would have been a share to waste such a great lead character in Carrie Mathison. Season 5 was set in Germany and built around Carrie, Saul and Quinn and some interesting new characters as they explored issues around the need for surveillance to combat terrorism in the modern world.
Our second superhero series from Marvel rounds out the top ten. “Daredevil” is also darker than your typical superhero feature, as the story follows Matt Murdock, a blind attorney who fights crime at night. Blinded as a boy, he uses his heightened senses to his advantage. You might remember Charlie Cox as the tough, Irish bodyguard to Nucky Thompson in “Boardwalk Empire,” and he gives an excellent performance in the lead role. Deborah Ann Woll from “True Blood” stars as Karen Page, who is introduced in the first episode. Like “Jessica Jones,” this series will lead to a “Defenders” crossover miniseries, but you don’t have to be a comic book fan to appreciate it.