Rank & File: TV in 2015

Never afraid of providing content in a timely manner, we the bros are proud to present our consensus opinion on what was worth watching on TV in 2015.

It’s a new year here at GameTimeBro, and Rank & File is a new feature that more or less replicates (replaces? supplements?) what we did last year in Hall of Fame Time Bro: sharing and comparing our takes on how things compare to other things. Here’s how it works. For the given topic, all the interested bros submit secret hidden ranked lists, in which they’ve meticulously considered the proper position of any number of applicable items. Then, using a secret and proprietary* algorithm on this collection of ballots, we end up with more than just a compilation of opinions; nay, we arrive at a beautiful tapestry of consensus, woven from many individually held takes, and far greater than the sum – well, the weighted average, at least – of its parts.

Then we post the individual submissions and hang everybody out to dry.

Without further ado, here’s our stance on how television measured up in 2015: trakt.tv – gametimebro-ranks-tv-in-2015

In case trakt.tv isn’t working for you – and really, you should go there to get the full effect and see every TV show presented with its own stunning visual thumbnail – here’s the list.

1 Fargo FX
2 Mad Men AMC
3 Game of Thrones HBO
4 The Leftovers HBO
5 Parks and Recreation NBC
6 Daredevil Netflix
7 Better Call Saul AMC
8 The Americans FX
9 Homeland Showtime
10 South Park Comedy Central
11 Shameless Showtime
12 Jessica Jones Netflix
13 Justified FX
14 The Affair Showtime
15 Rick and Morty Adult Swim
16 Orange is the New Black Netflix
17 The Walking Dead AMC
18 Bojack Horseman Netflix
19 Master of None Netflix
20 Nathan For You Comedy Central
21 Sense8 Netflix
22 True Detective HBO
23 The Jinx HBO
24 Silicon Valley HBO
25 The Blacklist NBC
26 Last Week Tonight HBO
27 Brooklyn Nine-Nine Fox
28 Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Netflix
29 House of Cards Netflix
30 Review Comedy Central
31 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Netflix
32 The Muppets ABC
33 The Last Man on Earth Fox
34 Downton Abbey PBS
35 Veep HBO
36 Girls HBO
37 You’re the Worst FXX
38 Scandal ABC
39 Bob’s Burgers Fox
40 Orphan Black BBC America
41 Jane the Virgin The CW
42 Fear the Walking Dead AMC
43 Archer FX
44 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia FXX
45 Bloodline Netflix
46 W/ Bob and David Netflix
47 The Simpsons Fox
48 New Girl Fox
49 Modern Family ABC
50 The Man in the High Castle Amazon
51 Humans AMC
52 Penn & Teller: Fool Us The CW
53 Community Yahoo!
54 The Voice NBC
55 Louie FX
56 Big Brother CBS
57 Key & Peele Comedy Central
58 The League FXX
59 Broad City Comedy Central
60 American Horror Story FX
61 Togetherness HBO
62 MasterChef Fox
63 Scream Queens Fox
64 Married FX
65 Man Seeking Woman FXX
66 Moonbeam City Comedy Central
67 Workaholics Comedy Central

And here are the seven individual bro ballots in full:

Steve Show
1 Mad Men
2 Fargo
3 Bojack Horseman
4 Parks and Recreation
5 Better Call Saul
6 The Leftovers
7 Game of Thrones
8 Silicon Valley
9 Master of None
10 The Affair
11 Orange is the New Black
12 The Americans
13 Veep
14 Rick and Morty
15 Other Space
16 Nathan For You
17 Transparent
18 Justified
19 You’re the Worst
20 Homeland
21 The Walking Dead
22 Community
23 Broad City
24 Review
25 Louie
26 Archer
27 Jessica Jones
28 The Last Man on Earth
29 Girls
30 Last Week Tonight
31 Orphan Black
32 Humans
33 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
34 Bob’s Burgers
35 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
36 South Park
37 Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
38 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
39 True Detective
40 New Girl
41 Modern Family
42 Man Seeking Woman
43 Married
44 Togetherness
45 Catastrophe
46 Scream Queens
47 Downton Abbey
48 Sense8
49 Workaholics
50 Trailer Park Boys
51 The Man in the High Castle
52 The League
53 Moonbeam City
54 Big Brother
55 Red Oaks
56 Another Period
57 MasterChef
58 The Comedians
59 Fear the Walking Dead
60 The Bastard Executioner
Sweeney Show
1 Fargo
2 The Leftovers
3 Nathan For You
4 The Americans
5 Review
6 Mad Men
7 Game of Thrones
8 Orange is the New Black
9 You’re the Worst
10 Better Call Saul
11 The Knick
12 Veep
13 South Park
14 Rick and Morty
15 W/ Bob and David
16 Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
17 Orphan Black
18 Bob’s Burgers
19 Silicon Valley
20 Bojack Horseman
21 Justified
22 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
23 Parks and Recreation
24 Louie
25 The Mindy Project
26 Togetherness
27 Homeland
28 Documentary Now!
29 Archer
30 Looking
31 Big Brother
32 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
33 The Walking Dead
34 The Last Man on Earth
35 American Ninja Warrior
36 Girls
37 Last Week Tonight
38 Saturday Night Live
39 Moonbeam City
40 Shark Tank
41 Married
42 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
43 Man Seeking Woman
44 Broad City
45 Newsreaders
46 Maron
47 The Simpsons
48 The Brink
49 Little People, Big World
50 Downton Abbey
51 Hell on Wheels
52 Key & Peele
53 Ballers
54 Workaholics
55 True Detective
56 Modern Family
57 Teen Mom 2
58 Fear the Walking Dead
59 Whose Line Is It Anyway?
60 The League
61 Sleepy Hollow
62 American Horror Story
63 19 Kids and Counting
Keith Show
1 Fargo
2 Better Call Saul
3 Shameless
4 Justified
5 South Park
6 Game of Thrones
7 Homeland
8 Mad Men
9 The Leftovers
10 Parks and Recreation
11 The Muppets
12 House of Cards
13 The Jinx
14 The Affair
15 The Walking Dead
16 The Simpsons
17 American Horror Story
18 Bloodline
19 The Last Man on Earth
20 Penn & Teller: Fool Us
22 WWE Raw
23 True Detective
24 Downton Abbey
25 Orange is the New Black
26 WWE Breaking Ground
27 The Voice
Marissa Show
1 Fargo
2 The Leftovers
3 The Americans
4 Sense8
5 Hart of Dixie
6 Game of Thrones
7 Justified
8 Mad Men
9 Jane the Virgin
10 Parks and Recreation
11 Homeland
12 Grey’s Anatomy
13 Revenge
14 Better Call Saul
15 The Walking Dead
16 Humans
17 True Detective
18 The Great British Baking Show
19 Orange is the New Black
20 Master of None
21 Orphan Black
22 MasterChef
23 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
24 Girls
25 New Girl
26 Downton Abbey
27 Fear the Walking Dead
28 Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
29 Scandal
30 Big Brother
31 The Amazing Race
32 Scream Queens
Trevor Show
1 Daredevil
2 Last Week Tonight
3 Rick and Morty
4 Master of None
5 Jessica Jones
6 Ash vs Evil Dead
7 Game of Thrones
8 Sense8
9 South Park
10 The Blacklist
11 Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
12 Bojack Horseman
13 Silicon Valley
14 Key & Peele
15 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
16 Bob’s Burgers
17 Parks and Recreation
18 Archer
19 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
20 W/ Bob and David
21 Drunk History
22 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
23 Family Guy
24 Community
25 Tosh.0
26 The Muppets
27 The Grinder
28 The Simpsons
29 The League
30 Deadbeat
Danielle Show
1 Parenthood
2 Mad Men
3 Fargo
4 The Affair
5 Homeland
6 Game of Thrones
7 Scandal
8 Shameless
9 House of Cards
10 Better Call Saul
11 Parks and Recreation
12 South Park
13 Orange is the New Black
14 Modern Family
15 The Middle
16 Bloodline
17 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
18 Girls
19 Downton Abbey
20 The Last Man on Earth
21 The Muppets
22 The Voice
23 New Girl
24 True Detective
25 Jane the Virgin
26 Penn & Teller: Fool Us
27 WWE Tough Enough
Stevie Show
1 Parks and Recreation
2 Game of Thrones
3 Jessica Jones
4 The Walking Dead
5 The Jinx
6 Daredevil
7 The Blacklist
8 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
9 True Detective
10 The Man in the High Castle
11 Fear the Walking Dead
12 Gotham

So there you have it. Lastly, some parting notes.

  • These ballots were completed at the end of 2015, and are already out of date. For instance, six out of seven of us have seen Netflix’s Making a Murderer already in 2016, though it’s technically part of “television in 2015.” Our reactions varied between “liked it” and “loved it,” and  I can’t imagine it would land outside of our collective top ten had the year lasted another two weeks. Oh well! Blame the calendar.
  • In a similar vein, Trevor has caught up with Fargo and “agrees with the podcast – this show is riveting.” Steve and Marissa are both in the middle of Daredevil and agree that it’s “better than Jessica Jones so far.” Sweeney is about to begin the second season of Transparent, and said of the first one, “it’s good!” The binge never ends, folks.
  • Our ballots were limited to what aired (or streamed) in these United States in 2015. So when we say Downton Abbey, for instance, we mean the fifth season, which aired on PBS a year ago, and not the sixth and final season, which aired in the UK a few months ago. And when we say Brooklyn Nine-Nine, for instance, we mean roughly the latter half of the second season and the first half of the third – whatever stretch of episodes had a 2015 airdate.
  • The bros are, of course, not professional critics. That said, our collective rakings line up fairly well with the critical consensus, best exemplified by HitFix’s annual television critics’ poll, which I will freely admit serves as the inspiration for this whole feature. Comparing the two, our biggest omission was the aforementioned Transparent. Our biggest exhaustive omission – the critics’ highest-ranked show that not one of us even watched this year – was Mr. Robot. Our highest-ranked show omitted by the critics entirely was South Park.
  • Only two shows – Parks and Recreation and Game of Thrones – appeared on all seven ballots. Forty-three shows appeared on just one ballot, and each ballot contained at least one such show.
  • The network represented the most on our collective ranked list wasn’t a network in the traditional sense at all. It was Netflix, with eleven shows. In second place was HBO, with nine. Tied for third were Comedy Central, FX, and Fox, with seven each.
  • The network with the highest average position on our list was Showtime, which boasted our 9th, 11th, and 14th-best shows. Among networks represented by more than one show, the lowest average quality belonged to FXX, owners of our 37th, 44th, 58th, and 65th-ranked shows.
  • There’s no denying that streaming-based “networks” are on the rise, but for now that success seems limited largely to Netflix. Only two other non-televised shows wound up on our shared list: Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle and Yahoo’s resurrection of Community.
  • On the other hand, broadcast networks have been fading for years now, and our list reflects that much; their shows averaged a ranking of 41st on our list, and the only one to crack the top twenty – Parks and Recreation, in the fifth spot overall – is no longer with us.

*The algorithm is neither proprietary nor secret; it just isn’t worth explaining in detail. Suffice it to say, it takes into consideration both the popularity of each item – ie, how many lists included it – and also the geometric mean of the item’s ranking across all lists – ie, a weighted average, with a stronger emphasis on higher rankings than lower ones. Boring, right? Like I said – not worth explaining in detail.


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