Best Episode: “Parents”
Creators Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang put the perfect spin on life, love and first world problems with the clever comedy, Master of None. The show follows Ansari’s character Dev Shah, a commercial actor who’s trying to make a name for himself in the Big Apple. It also helps that he has a hilarious set of friends played by Lena Waithe and Eric Whareheim.
Aside from the cool trendy places the show tempts you to check out (no worries, the New York Times made a map for you,) the diversity of the cast and relatable plot lines help set a viewer up for a realistic series far from the sitcoms of the past (thank you, Netflix).
In the series first season, Ansari makes sure to hit every topic to perfection. “Indians on TV” calls out stereotypes Indian actors have faced in the entertainment industry while “The Other Man” brings up the navigation of the moral compass. Ansari is up for a Golden Globe an NAACP Image Award for the comedy, notably for the amazing episode, “Parents” with his actual parents Fatima and Dr. Shoukath Ansari, stealing the show.
The second season is looking to catch up where we left Dev: heading to Italy. During the wait, we’ll be peaking at his Instagram for updates. Plus, we need to meet Lil Funyuns, because why not.
Best Episode: “The Palace In Flames”
Netflix was on a role this year when it came to delivering A-1 shows (ie: the return of BoJack Horseman, the debut of Jessica Jones). Narcos looks into the world of Pablo Escobar and the DEA agents who wanted him dead. The story of one of the world biggest drug lords has been told over and over again, but the story of the Medellín cartel places you back in time with Escobar’s crew, the women who stood by his side and, of course, the war on drugs.
Brazilian filmmaker José Padilha keeps the drama as poignant as possible with bilingual actors and backstories of the people under Escobar’s spell. Brazilian-born actor Wagner Moura plays Escobar in a way that is almost empathetic. After he gets booted from his political seat in Columbia, you almost feel bad for the guy (except you remember he kills people for the love of drugs).
As the first season comes to an end, Padilha hints it isn’t over since Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) and Peña (Pedro Pascal) fail to capture the king pin. Gear up for season two next year as the suspense continues.
Best Episode: “Ghost Is Dead”
The critically acclaimed drama brings the heat and the thrills to the second season with better writing and overall improvement in performances from Omari Hardwick (Ghost) and the fan favorite Tommy (Joseph Sikora).
Relationships in and out of love between Ghost and Angela (Lela Loren) are grueling, yet seem to have us wanting more. The breakup of Tommy and Ghost has us forgetting about Ghost’s ditched marriage to Tasha, while recurring characters like Kanan (50 Cent) and LaKeisha (Lala Anthony) demand their respective scenes.
Season three of Power will bring a new layer to the series and more character development, a moment we cannot wait for.
Best Episode: “Sheep’s Clothing”
Tyler Perry’s dip into soap operas with The Haves and the Have Nots has proven to be a hit with fans. The THATHN audience dominated OWN during the season three finale by being not only the highest watched show on Oprah’s network, but a major force to be reckoned with in its demo rating.
The show’s star, Tika Sumpter, was one of the first actresses in the series to advocate for the now popular interactions with fans on social media. We’re happy to see the actress so involved in the fun, random gifs and all.
Best Episode: “Everything is Everything”
One of the best new dramedies of the summer has to be the sensation that is Ballers. Starring Dwayne Johnson and produced by Mark Wahlberg, the series follows Spencer Strasmore, a former NFL player turned financial manager and his wild Entourage-esqe moments with his group of rookie NFL players. Cameos like Victor Cruz and Desean Jackson are great delights, but John David Washington steals the show with his role as Ricky Jerret (and 'cause he's fine).
Ballers has also been praised for its accuracy about the NFL as Washington and writer Rashard Mendenhal are both former football players. The writers are also very comical yet realistic (the stay off Twitter line by Spencer is the truth for all athletes).
Best Episode: “We Done Son”
The comedy now loosely based on the life of popular chief and writer Eddie Huang is filled with witty lines and bombastic hip-hop references that made the series the second highest rated comedy of the season. Standing as one of the trailblazing shows featuring an Asian-American family on television in over two decades, the move to air the comedy was a success for the network in its continued efforts in pushing one of the most overused words of the year—diversity.
After the pilot episode, Huang took to Twitter to denounce his attachment to the show. There was also the New York Magazine op-ed that trashed the show and its attempt to water down his edgy upbringing. Despite Huang’s disgust for the “unrecognizable” show, it has still maintained to pull in millions of viewers every week.
Best Episode: “Facing Fears”
We might have to grab our Change.org links to save the BET’s best-scripted series in years, Being Mary Jane. Since wrapping up the third season earlier this month, the show hasn’t been renewed just yet. The delay can stem from the change up in creator and show runner Mara Brock Akil's new business endeavors or well, there’s not reason not to. In this season, Mary Jane (Gabrielle Union) goes through more changes in her career and personal life. After a life changing car accident, the season follows Mary Jane on new loves meaning more drama and classic WTF moments.
Best Episode: “Bienvenido a Miami”
RHOA is not only the highest rated series of Bravo’s franchise, but it’s also the most entertaining off-camera. Nearly every stunt the ladies pull will have you questioning if any of their tea-filled moments will make the hit show...or if they’re real. With the new additions (and returns) of Kim Fields, Porsha Williams and Sheree Whitfield, roles have been reversed with the presence of a free spirited Porsha and a reclusive Sheree.
The series’ recent episode turned ugly after former NBA star Glen Rice Jr. knocked down his aunt and potential cast member Tammy Browning. While no one was seriously hurt, moments like the incident make up bigger conversations about the way black men treat black women and vice versa.
Not all moments of the festive season have been scandalous. The bubbly personalities of the ladies keep viewers tuning in every week and on social media.
Best Episode: “About A Boy”/”Secrets & Lies”
Mona Scott Young’s drama filled franchise, Love and Hip Hop, continued this year with the Hollywood cast being the most worthy of your Twitter feed. From odd-pairings (Moniece and Rich Dollaz) to messy love triangles (Nas, Soulja Boi, Nia) Hollywood’s cast did not disappoint this season. There were tears (Fizz & Moniece finally having a healthy co-parenting relationship), laughs (Nas puking during her verbal spat with Nikki) and of course the engagement of Ray J and Princess Love.
Not missing a beat, a new vibrant New York cast has since premiered, taking the reality series to more modern-ratchet heights. Fan favorites like Cardi B and Remy Ma will keep everyone talking about the show well into 2016.
Best Episode: “Room 33”
Two words: Lady Gaga. While many were afraid the season would lose its edge without the devoted supreme Jessica Lange, Gaga entered Hotel Cortez has The Countess and later as Elizabeth to dominate the show. Viewers were initially taken aback by the show’s bloody murders and f**k fests, but the singer’s allure brings more than just sex appeal.
Gaga has hinted about returning for another season, which we’re more than happy about.
Best Episode: “Start To Finish”
The Walking Dead, better known as America’s favorite TV show, had fans on the edge of their seats with cliffhangers and questionable deaths. A spinoff, Fear of the Walking Dead, was beloved by its core audience as well, helping the show catapult into more fan conspiracy theories.
Season six was welcomed with open arms but met with criticism on a debatable slow plot. Nevertheless, over 12 million viewers an episode can’t be wrong.
Best Episode: “What Did We Do?”
Season two of HTGAWM focused on one thing: “Who shot Annalise?” We saw our heroes (Wes) turn to potential villains, a hot and tantalizing relationship with Laurel and Frank and the devastating yet comical fall of Asher. Rebecca is still on Wes' heart and mind since her mysterious “disappearance,” which plays into his new found bromance with Nate.
Storylines overlapped but kept us intrigued, especially with Michaela’s growing relationship with Caleb, who is on trial with his sister Catherine for killing their adoptive parents. With so many questions in the beginning of the season, they begin to answer themselves all the way down to shocking winter finale. The show is set to return in February for the season finale. Meanwhile, we’ll be wondering just how much Annalise knows about Wes and the death of his mother.
Best Episode: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
Oliva and Fitz are not just a thing, they were a very public thing. Their relationship is far from the hot and heaviness of previous seasons, making for serious character developments over the years. Huck, Abby and now former first lady Mellie Grant are standing on their own with captivating story lines. What’s even more interesting are the fan theories about the relationship, or former relationship of Olitz and the writers intention on the future of Olivia Pope.
Trust us, they’re worth checking out.
Best Episode: “The Word”
The refreshing comedy took bolder stances on issues such as gun control, religion and the n-word in its second season. Another standout that has slowly built her takeover is the sharp and hilarious Diane Johnson, played by Marsai Martin. The 11-year-old brings the funny within legendary burns to her family and brass observations on the real world.
Rainbow, played by coolest person ever, Tracee Ellis Ross, is the new and improved TV mom with fashionable looks and a calm approach on parenting her lovable and wild kids.
Black-ish is the family you’d love to be around more than just Wednesday nights, but we’ll take what we can get.
Best Episode: Et Tu Brute?
In addition big plugs like Jussie Smollett's (well, really Jamal Lyon’s) huge Pepsi commercial, Empire’s return to the throne seemed effortless. While dips in viewership gave many the opportunity to turn the show into a joke, performances by Trai Byers (Andre Lyon) and Anika Calhoun (Grace Gealey) took their characters in new directions. We also got to learn more about Lucious’ (Terrance Howard) battle with his mother (played by Kelly Rowland in flashbacks), who like Andre was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
In a season where the family tried hard with alliances to stand apart, music and love (aw) is what keeps them together. There were last minute cliffhangers this season, which led more space for tracks from Serayah (“Do Something With It,” “Get No Better 2.0”), Yazz (“Miracles,” “Runnin”) and the socially conscious “Powerful” with Smollett and Alicia Keys.
While many still scoff at Empire's success, the show clearly has a core fan base that isn’t going anywhere. From memes to their abilities to dominate Twitter every week, no one (not even Charlemagne Tha God) can deny the power of the Lyon dynasty.