Best TV Shows of 2015, Pairs Edition

USA Network

USA Network


The abundance of quality shows in 2015 can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, but perhaps none better than the fact that for a number of the year’s best programs, there’s a near-twin, spiritual or otherwise, that can go with it.

Given that, rather than just name best shows, consider this the TV Highlights of 2015, Pairs Edition, singling out two or more programs that, in wading through “best” candidates, logically went together. As a bonus, doubling up on shows is one way of escaping the tyranny of limiting annual selections to just 10 or 12.

Before anyone starts lamenting oversights (an inevitability, in these situations), let the record show that nothing naturally paired up with two favorites: “Game of Thrones” – which is unrivaled in terms of its scope – or the final season of “Justified.” It’s worth noting, too, that there were some logical pairs where one warranted inclusion (such as Starz’s “Survivor’s Remorse”) and the other (HBO’s “Ballers”) didn’t. So in no particular order:

“UnReal” (Lifetime), “Mr. Robot” (USA): Although the bond here might look more tenuous than most, these two serialized dramas – which premiered three weeks apart – were the unexpected one-two punch of the summer. Each featured a damaged protagonist and ballsy narrative twists, while at times uncomfortably echoing reality. Moreover, both reflected a welcome step up in class from networks that have been reasonably successful in the drama game but normally aren’t associated with this level of quality.