There’s no question that last year brought us some great television, from acclaimed prestige TV dramas to the first couple of entries in Netflix’s collaboration with Marvel. But with such an overload of scripted series on the small screen these days, networks are being pickier than ever as to what they keep on their respective lineup and even shows with hugely devoted fanbases aren’t safe from the ax (just see NBC’s Hannibal). While everyone has their own favorite shows that they hope get renewed, there are a few titles that premiered this year that we feel especially passionate about. These 6 new series all made a huge impact with their 2015 debuts and we can only hope that their on-air run extends not only to a second season, but for years to come.
1. Better Call Saul
The Breaking Bad spin-off faced near-impossible expectations, considering it had the tricky job of using characters from what is widely considered one of the best TV shows of all time. Still, the series managed to not only meet these expectations, but surpass them. The show proved to be even better than most expected, with a darkly comedic tone that avoids all the tropes of your typical spin-off drama. Combined with a stellar lead performance from Bob Odenkirk (who just earned a Golden Globe nod for the role), Saul’s smart voice differentiated it not only from its critically acclaimed predecessor, but also from everything else on TV. AMC smartly preemptively greenlit this show for a second season, which kicked off on February 15, 2016, but we hope this show will stick around for long after that.
2. Mr. Robot
The USA Network thriller came seemingly out of nowhere this year to have a huge and immediate impact, unlike any other new show in 2015. The show, which follows a young socially anxious computer programmer who is recruited by a mysterious anarchist known as Mr. Robot, is fearless in taking on everything from drugs to cyberespionage to the paranoia of the digital age. That would be revolutionary on any channel, but is especially surprising coming from USA. Stars Rami Malek and Christian Slater both deliver fantastic performances, but it’s the show’s eerily realistic way of channeling the dangers of today’s web-oriented world that keep you hooked. The series was also thankfully renewed for a third season.
3. Jessica Jones
If Daredevil was the first step into distinctively adult territory for Marvel, consider Jessica Jones a full leap and bound ahead. Darker, grittier, and infinitely more disturbing than its predecessor, the Netflix drama tackles psychologically complex issues, like rape, post-traumatic stress disorder, and human sexuality, with deft and complete fearlessness. Krysten Ritter excels at the damaged titular character who refuses to fit herself into a label as conventional as the word, “superhero.” No word on a second season yet. [Update, 3/30/16:The Marvel series has been renewed for Season 2, although it’s unclear when it will premiere.]
4. Master of None
We all knew Aziz Ansari’s semi-autobiographical show for Netflix would be hilarious, but the comedian truly raised the bar with Master of None. The show, which acts as portrait of a 30-something’s personal and professional life in New York City, is thoughtful, innovative, and above all, really, really clever. Whether tackling the dynamic between immigrant parents and their first-generation kids or the tricky navigation of dating in the digital age, the incredibly well-executed show brings much-needed new perspective to television. A second season has yet to be confirmed. [Update, 3/30/16: Season 2 of Aziz Ansari’s hit comedy will air in 2017.]
5. The Man in the High Castle
The Amazon Prime series, based on Phillip K. Dick’s novel of the same name, presents an alternate history of the world in which the Axis powers won World War II. Produced by acclaimed director Ridley Scott, the show is a smart adaptation of a provocative premise, further highlighted by stunning sets and cinematography. For Amazon, The Man in the High Castle marks a splashy move into original content of a bigger scope. The series has earned high critical praise and though its full freshman season was only just released last November, it has already been renewed for another season that will premiere on December 16, 2016.
Marvel’s Man without Fear finally got the screen treatment he deserved in this Netflix adaptation. The show showcases a dark, no-nonsense dramatic flair while still staying faithful to the original comics. More edgy crime drama than traditional superhero story, the show’s street-level approach to the character definitely worked in its favor. Aside from being one of Marvel’s most mature titles to date, the series was boosted by spot-on performances from star Charlie Cox and an awesomely terrifying Vincent D’Onofrio. With such an overwhelmingly positive response from critics and audiences alike, it’s no wonder Netflix has already released Season 2.