The 26 Best TV Episodes of 2015


There’s been a lot of talk about how we’ve reached Peak TV in America, and it’s true, judging by what we’ve seen this year. But television is the sum of its parts, or episodes, and some weeks, an episode is so stunning, so captivating, so viscerally good that you’ll forget where you are and what you’re doing for that half-hour or hour.

Great episodes are the ones that become a part of the larger cultural conversation, like Inside Amy Schumer’s “12 Angry Men” and the Jinxfinale. A great episode can hook you into a show at the start by establishing a strong point of view, as the pilots for Empire and UnREALdid. Or it might cap the run of a wonderful series, like the five-tissue finale of Parenthood. Or like Broad City and Veep, make you laugh really hard. Here are our choices for the very best episodes of 2015.

19 / 26 —  ‘Mr. Robot’ — “Pilot” (June 24)

USA Network

USA Network

Some shows take a little while to establish their identity, but Sam Esmail’s acclaimed summer hit Mr. Robot arrived fully formed. Directed by Danish filmmaker Niels Arden Oplev (whose credits include the original version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), the pilot immediately establishes Robot’s striking visual language and vivid atmosphere of paranoia and dread. You really feel as if you’re gazing out at the world through the jittery eyes of Rami Malek’s conspiracy-minded hacker, Elliot, and it’s impossible to look away. — EA