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The Top Fifteen Episodes of TV in 2015 — Part One!

Last week I listed by Top Twenty Movies of 2015.  (Click here for part one of my list, numbers twenty through sixteen.  Click here for part two of my list, numbers fifteen through elevenClick here for part three of my list, numbers ten through six.  Click here for part four of my list, numbers five through one.)

Now I am excited to look back all of the great TV we were blessed with in 2015.  This was a tremendous year for TV.  I watched a LOT of great TV.  And yet, as always, there was a lot of great TV that I didn’t get to.  More than ever, it felt like!  Our current age of “Peak TV” (click here if you don’t know what I’m talking about) is a blessing and a curse.  2015 TV series that I didn’t have time to watch include: Fargo season two, Better Caul Saul season one, The Americans season three (I’m still catching up with season two, only a few episodes to go), Transparent, Justified, The Man in the High Castle, Review, Documentary Now!, Halt and Catch Fire, The Leftovers, Red Oaks, Silicon Valley, The Knick, The Last Man on Earth, Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, and more.  That’s a lot of amazing TV that I didn’t get to see!  All of those are shows that I hope to catch up with, one of these days.

But enough lamenting the TV I didn’t get to watch.  Let’s bask in the glow of my Fifteen Favorite Episodes of TV in 2015!

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Honorable Mention: Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 3: Magical Friendship (aired on 10/8/15) — I’ve loved Robot Chicken’s two previous DC Comics specials and his third one did not disappoint.  While there are several of the expected random skits, this special has a more distinct than usual for Robot Chicken story that carries through the episode, a focus on the very funny friendship/rivalry between Batman and Superman that was introduced in the previous two specials.  Robot Chicken co-creators and show-runners Breckin Meyer and Seth Green voice Superman and Batman, respectively, and they are magnificent.  In this installment, Superman and Batman’s escalating rivalry builds to a spot-on spoof of DC’s regular “Crisis” events, one that allows the Robot Chicken gang to jam in all sorts of wonderfully obscure jokes and references, including great appearances by the Batman and Robin of the 1960’s TV show, with both Adam West and Burt Ward reprising their roles.  Great fun.

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15. Show Me a Hero: “Parts 1 & 2” (aired on 8/16/15) –The Wire’s David Simon returned to TV with this gripping miniseries, telling the story of the … [continued]

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Josh Reviews The Jinx

March 30th, 2015
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HBO’s riveting six-episode true-crime documentary series, The Jinx, is one of the most compelling pieces of television I have seen in a long time.  This is edge-of-your-seat television, and the twists and turns of the story are so staggeringly jaw-dropping because these things really happened.  The events you see unfold in The Jinx are so extraordinary, so unbelievable, that they feel like this must be fiction.  But all of these events actually happened!!

The Jinx has been in the new quite a lot recently, as it’s main subject was arrested on the eve of the airing of the finale.  But somehow, luckily, though I had seen the headlines, I had avoided reading too much about the show.  When I started watching the first episode, I went in pretty cold.  I didn’t really have any idea what The Jinx was going to be about, or what sort of story it was going to tell over the course of its six episodes.  The show immediately sunk its hooks into me, and I could not stop watching.  I marathoned all six episodes in one afternoon.  I was home sick for the day, and though it wasn’t my intention to spend the entire afternoon on the couch watching TV, once I started watching The Jinx I could not turn it off.

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The Jinx focuses on Robert Durst, now 71 years old.  Mr. Durst is a member of an extremely wealthy family of real estate developers in New York City.  Unbelievably, Mr. Durst has been suspected of involvement in the deaths of three separate people over a span of 33 years.  In 1982, his first wife, Kathleen Durst disappeared.  In 2000, Mr. Durst’s close friend Susan Berman was murdered in her home.  And in 2001, Mr. Durst dismembered his neighbor in Galveston, Texas, and threw the dead man’s body parts into Galveston Bay.  Mr. Durst was tried for that third death, and even though he admitted to killing the man and to cutting up his body and throwing the pieces, wrapped in garbage bags, into the bay, Mr. Durst was acquitted.  (His lawyers argued that the man’s death was self-defense, not murder.)

The story of how The Jinx came to be is almost as fascinating as that of Mr. Durst (though less violent!).  In 2010, Andrew Jarecki directed a feature film called All Good Things that told the story of Robert Durst and the disappearance (and presumed murder) of his first wife Kathleen.  The film starred Ryan Gosling & Kirsten Dunst.  Following the release of that film, Mr. Jarecki got a phone call from his film’s subject: Robert Durst himself.  Surprisingly, it was not an antagonistic conversation.  In fact, Mr. Durst expressed an interest in … [continued]