The Music Writers Poll 2015: TV Show Of The Year

23 December 2015 | 11:58 am | Andrew Mast

"Did people just prefer this season because there was no Bran Stark (surely not because there was no Hodor)?"

Game Of Thrones

As wedding analogies seem apt for Game Of Thrones, then it's safe to say that the epic HBO dungeons and dragons fantasy has long been the bridesmaid and never the bride in our annual writers' polls.

But that all changes this year, as the show triumphantly slays its opposition in its fifth season. For its first three years it ran second to Breaking Bad and last year was pipped by True Detective. But with no breakout machismo cable dramas to distract us, we were able to get in touch with our sensitive side, shed a tear for Jon Snow and elect Game Of Thrones to the throne. Or did people just prefer this season because there was no Bran Stark (surely not because there was no Hodor)?

But that wasn't the biggest shift in tastes this year. 2015 was the year of Netflix (with or without the chill). Three of this year's ten were binge-watched by eager writers finally released from their torrent of guilt, legally streaming the exotic delights of Master Of None (one of two Aziz Ansari shows in the ten alongside the returning Parks & Recreation - it was #6 in 2013 but fell out of favour last year), Marvel's Daredevil and Narcos (while House Of Cards and Marvel's Jessica Jones hover just outside the ten). Even US cable hit, and Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul was mainly seen here via Netflix's poor SVOD cousin Stan.

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Also climbing in popularity were US cable fable Fargo (up from five last year) — thank you, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons — and comedy Broad City (up from seven — when it replaced Girls as our go-to hipst-com).

Not so successful in its second season was True Detective which lost its way without director Cary Joji Fukunaga (he's remaking It now and should return to TV with The Alienist next year). Also falling out of favour were Orange Is The New Black, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and Mad As Hell (no local shows in the ten this year without it — Utopia was our fave local fare this year, it sits just outside the ten at #11 tied with Inside Amy Schumer). The ageing The Walking Dead also slipped down the ladder (a protest vote against the controversial Glenn fake-out?).

The Top Ten

  1. Game Of Thrones
  2. Fargo
  3. Broad City
  4. Mad Men
  5. Master Of None
  6. Parks & Recreation
  7. The Walking Dead
  8. Narcos
  9. Marvel's Daredevil
  10. Better Call Saul

Previous winners:

True Detective (2014)

Breaking Bad (2013)

Breaking Bad (2012)

Breaking Bad (2011)