The second instalment of our annual countdown.
Yesterday we kicked off our end-of-year countdown.
Today we’re onto the next batch of five, which takes in 15 to 11. So who’s it going to be in it?
As ever, if you agree or disagree drop us a line in the comments!
15 Follow The Money (Bedrag) (Series 3)
So much was switched up for the third and final instalment of Follow The Money that it was almost a spin-off series. Only Alf (Thomas Hwan) and Nicky (Esben Smed) were still in the picture as main adversaries as the focus turned to the streets of Nørrebro for an in-depth look at the flourishing hash trade and its effects.
The trajectory of both Alf and Nicky made for compelling viewing. The former suffering from PTSD and progressing steadily along a self-destructive path, at times displaying outrageous behaviour, while the latter, now a drug lord dealing with day to day business as well as managing violent rivalries with other gangs, ultimately trying to find an exit from a world that offers none.
There was also the fascinating transition of series newcomer Anna (Maria Rich), from an undervalued bank employee passed up for promotion one too many times, into money launderer extraordinaire. Then, with a new-found taste for excitement and financial rewards, suddenly finding herself well out of her depth.
The cleverly written series headed, with increasing speed (aided by a great soundtrack), for a brutal but perfect finish.
14 Bosch (Series 5)
Bosch is a comforting constant in the dizzying yearly rotation of crime shows and their formats, resolutely sticking to a tried and tested formula of police procedural with a healthy dose of dogged determination. We did get an inevitable switch in style slightly after the dramatic closure to the previous season (and a changing of showrunners), with Bosch undercover for the majority of the running time trying to break a drugs ring. There were a few light sub-plots to keep the secondary characters functioning, but the core still focused on our titular hero nabbing bad guys (or shooting them in the face more often than not), and it was all the better for it. Nuts and bolts, but in the best way.
READ MORE: FOR ALL OUR NEWS AND REVIEWS OF BOSCH
13 Elizabeth Is Missing
Based on Emma Healey’s novel of the same name, Elizabeth Is Missing was notable for many things, not least Glenda Jackson’s return to the small screen for the first time in 25 years.
It also told an incredibly emotive and heartbreaking story that never quite pandered to genre conventions and instead presented a poignant study of memory and a woman living with Alzheimer’s.
With two mysteries to solve for octogenarian Maud (Jackson) – one in the present day and one from her past – it was really Maud’s deteriorating condition that took centre stage. This could have been a new Miss Marple-style story, but really this was an emotional and poignant look at how a person struggles to connect the past with the present.
Throughout the story, the simple motif and metaphor of smashed glass and crockery were used to illustrate a mind fragmented. It was just a case whether Maud’s worsening condition would allow her to piece together the puzzles for one last time.
And on her return to television, Jackson was superb as the brilliant but increasingly and heartbreakingly befuddled Maud.
READ MORE: FOR OUR REVIEW OF ELIZABETH IS MISSING
12 True Detective (Series 3)
This was the one show this year that really needed a win – and for the longest time, the actuality of the third season of True Detective felt like it was in the weeds after the critical drubbing its sophomore effort engendered from fans and press alike. Ironic then, that the concept of the anthology became a hugely popular format in other shows over the course of the year when this trailblazer had been flogged for the exact same audacity before. That aside, Mahershala Ali lit up the screen as former detective Wayne Hays, battling dark forces as much as his own mind across 30 years investigating a string of child abductions. It was a performance that perhaps papered over some of the show’s larger cracks in its storytelling, but still held together a season true to showrunner Nic Pizzolatto’s sombre aesthetic – and one that got fans and critics back on board.
11 City On A Hill
City On A Hill definitely delivered on its premise of 1990s period-era Boston cops and robbers, and arguably contained the year’s strongest performance with a career-best showing from Kevin Bacon, sporting an incredible moustache and a very relaxed view on the integrity of the law. While the core of the narrative wasn’t ever going to set the world on fire, Bacon’s turn as FBI agent Jackie Rohr was enough to guide the show through it’s sparser moments. Moreover, the show delivered something quite rare these days in TV – a direct descendant of the heady combination of politics and crime that made The Wire such a revered quantity – and while it never deigned to reach the heights of its beloved forerunner, it’s was no worse off for trying.
READ MORE: FOR OUR REVIEW OF CITY ON A HILL