Top 20 Shows of 2015, Vol. 9: #12

So much to celebrate with the number twelve, isn’t there?  It’s the number of seasons NYPD Blue aired, the number of episodes per year we get hypnotized by Mandy Patinkin’s beard in Homeland, the approximate number of drinks required for a contestant to blunder her way through a rose ceremony in The Bachelor.  Television loves the number twelve so much, you guys.  Twelve and TV sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g…

Thanks for letting me get that out of my system.  I’m not much of a romantic, but we need to ‘ship twelve and TV so hard this year.  They deserve each other!


#12: Shameless

While virtually every drama to appear on Showtime has seen a steady decline in its quality the longer it’s on the air, Shameless emerges as the network’s only show to improve with each passing year.  As Masters of SexHomeland, and dear old Dexter tumbled down the rabbit hole of mediocrity, the Gallagher clan continued to enthrall.


There is so much to enjoy in the show’s outstanding fifth season, from Fiona’s desperate attempts to straighten her life out in the face of Jimmy’s return to Frank’s genuine connection with a terminal cancer patient named Bianca.  Lip’s college struggles compounded, ahem, dramatically this year while Deb experienced the pangs of adolescence and Carl the clangs of slamming prison doors.  But amidst it all, Ian’s struggle with bipolar disorder formed the emotional core of the season, and who couldn’t help but feel all the feels upon seeing street-toughened Mickey, powerless to help his boyfriend, realize how Ian’s diagnosis will affect their relationship moving forward?  Gut-wrenching stuff.

Forget about the best show on Showtime (it is, without debate): this emerges as one of my favorite “dramedies” on all of television, defying categorization by refusing to flinch in the face of these character’s tragedies or to push its humor as far as needed.  Is it consistently outlandish and over-the-top?  You bet it is.  Will it offend the more timid television viewer?  Oh, most definitely.  But for me, television needs Shameless to keep pushing the boundaries of storytelling and characterization because, as long as it’s on the air, we know that TV still has a live-wire pulse.


That’s it for now!  Until tomorrow!

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