It’s been another year of stunning TV, with enough box-set viewing to gorge on until 2019.
Our countdown couldn’t find room for great shows like House Of Fools, Doctor Foster or Inside No 9, so the shows in our Top 10 really did need to be something special.
Keep reading to find out what our unmissable faves of 2015 were…
The Man In The High Castle – Amazon Prime
The new series from Frank Spotnitz and Ridley Scott broke records for Amazon Prime. Loaded spoke with Spotnitz and English lead Rupert Evans about the show, and the first couple of episodes are free, even if you don’t have Amazon Prime. An alternate reality where the allies lost World War II isn’t new in books: check out Robert Harris’ Fatherland or Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America. But Spotnitz and Scott’s series is the first time the grim notion has come close to working on TV. Allo Allo it is not.
Peter Kay’s Car Share – BBC 1
It’s been so long since Phoenix Nights was Peter Kay’s last proper TV hit that many were nervous about his return to primetime. We needn’t have worried. The hilarious show about supermarket assistant manager John (Kay) and promotions rep Kayleigh ( the wondrous Sian Gibson) forced together by a company car share scheme was a delight. Not since Only Fools at its height has BBC1 managed to screen a sitcom that really is for all the family.
Game Of Thrones – Sky Atlantic
No sign of slowing down, if series five is anything to go by. It won a record 12 Emmys from 24 nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series. As ever, old favourite characters were killed off on a weekly basis, while new heroes slotted in seamlessly among the dragons and tits. Hokum at its finest, and we can’t wait for Borgen spin-doctor Pilou Asbek to join the fun in the next run.
River – BBC 1
Created by The Hour writer Abi Morgan, lead actor Stellan Skasgard brought a touch of Scandi noir to primetime BBC1. It was bleak to the point of parody at times in portraying inevitably troubled cop John River’s battles with mental health. Following the death of his police partner Stevie (the reliably ace Nicola Walker), River began talking to various ghosts including Stevie. Could they help River find Stevie’s killer? Would viewers ever learn the significance of Stevie’s Chinese takeout menu? Could you stop blubbing at Stevie and River dancing to Tina Charles’ I Love To Love? Yes, yes and hell no.
House of Cards – Netflix
To the delight of fans worldwide, season four of House of Cards has just been announced, following on from a not-at-all disappointing season three. This year saw Frank return as the newly-inaugaurated President of the United States, while his equally ambitious wife Claire has set her sights on becoming the US Ambassador to the United Nations. Tensions between the couple are worse than ever, and Frank gets increasingly wicked. A wonderful match made in hell, those two.
This Is England 90 – Channel 4
Undoubtedly one of the most eagerly anticipated series of the year, the return of This Is England ignited nostalgia nationwide as Lol, Woody, Shaun and the gang returned for the final chapter of Shane Meadows’ award-winning series. The episodes were divided into Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and took a look at rave culture and the life of Combo after his release from prison for the manslaughter of Mick. All we have to say is that four episodes simply weren’t enough.
Humans – Channels 4
Channel 4’s most successful drama in 20 years for viewing figures saw audiences become engrossed by its depiction of Artificial Intelligence and how it could threaten the existence and future of mankind. Series one was set in a parallel present and starred Gemma Chan as a disturbingly sexy robot. Trust us, it’s deeper than that description sounds. Series two will see the writers “take the world forward a little bit and explore the next phase of the technology.”
Murder In Successville – BBC 3
Tom Davis was undoubtedly the year’s breakout comedy star for his role as massive idiot (in every sense) DI Sleet in the improvised sitcom. Each week, the Stella Street-style town of Successville saw one of its endless parade of celebs bumped off. Loveable buffoon Sleet enlists the help of a genuine celebrity sidekick including the likes of Dermot O’Leary, Greg James and Jamie Laing. Producers revealed O’Leary was by far the most competitive of the celebrities taking part, but the big surprise was how funny Dragons’ Den’s Deborah Meaden proved as Sleet’s would-be lover. Routinely hilarious, especially the insane laugh of the murderous “Jimmy Carr”. You’ll never be able to watch 8 Out Of 10 Cats again without squirming in terror.
Mad Men – Sky Atlantic
The year it all came to an end for Mad Men. A firm favourite of TV viewers since it began in 2007, and many gathered around teary-eyed for the final episode. Don Draper lived on, with a final note of brilliant comedy in what was the biggest surprise. Still, smoking does kill, eventually…
Narcos – Netflix
The unmissable hit of 2015 came in the form of Doug Miro’s Narcos. The crime-drama tells the story of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and the Medelin Cartel from the side of the US Drug Enforcement Administration agents. Shot on location in Columbia, the series has been nominated for Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series (drama) and Best Actor in TV for Wagner Moura. And there’s more to come – the series has been renewed for a second season.