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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SEASON IN REVIEW: 2015-16 New Dramas

Here is my recap of the new dramas of the 2015-16 season! Tomorrow, check back for my final season in review post with some miscellaneous awards!

Past Years: 2014-15   2013-14   2012-13   2011-12   2010-11

American Crime Story (FX) - I don't usually include cable shows on here because I don't usually watch cable shows. But I watched this one and it's more than deserving of the "Best New Drama" title. It'll be hard to top the gripping first season of this show, focused on OJ Simpson and the "Trial of the Century." Painstakingly detailed and evocative of its mid 1990s setting, this show had brilliant performances from top to bottom. Even though everyone knew how this story ended, it didn't make it any less gripping or fascinating with its very balanced yet very pointed look at the biggest news story in a generation.

RUNNER-UP: Chicago Med (NBC) - I am not even going to apologize for liking the Chicago shows. I know they are not critical darlings but all three are well acted and have good stories. Chicago Med was a great addition to that list, it's probably better than PD but not as good as Fire.

Worth Mentioning: The Catch (ABC)/Code Black (CBS)

Courtney B. Vance, American Crime Story (FX) - As Johnnie Cochran, Courtney B. Vance gave a very layered performance. At one moment, he was the villain using every trick in the book to turn the OJ trial in a circus. At the next moment, he was a sympathetic character because of the larger race issues he was so passionate about and trying to address. Vance was so dynamic and so perfectly cast in the larger than life role.

RUNNER-UP: Ray Liotta, Shades of Blue (NBC) - Liotta is no stranger to playing corrupt characters and he did so with bravado in Shades of Blue. I didn't watch this show through the whole first season but he was the most interesting part of what I did watch.

Worth Mentioning: Nick Gehlfuss, Chicago Med (CBS)/Cuba Gooding Jr., American Crime Story (FX)

Sarah Paulson, American Crime Story (FX) - As Marcia Clark, Sarah Paulson gave what should be an Emmy award winning performance. Among the many great actors in this show, Paulson stood above the rest. She played Clark sympathetically but never as a victim. She gave her hard edges but ultimately enough warmth to make Clark a very complicated person. At various points, it was easy to feel sorry for her. At other points, you wanted to scream "what are you doing?!"

RUNNER-UP: Marcia Gay Harden, Code Black (CBS) - Marcia Gay Harden brought class and strength to what otherwise could have been a routine medical drama. She had authority and an emotional depth.

Worth Mentioning: Melissa Benoist, Supergirl (CBS)/Torrey DeVitto, Chicago Med (NBC)

Oliver Platt, Chicago Med (NBC) - As chief of the psychiatry department, Dr. Charles, Oliver Platt has turned in a great performance this year in Chicago Med. He has such a relaxed approach to his role where you feel at ease watching him deal with the patients because he exudes a authoritative yet calm demeanor. With a developing backstory & personal life too, he's becoming one of the most interesting characters in the show.

RUNNER-UP: Sterling K. Brown, American Crime Story (FX) - As Christopher Darden, Sterling K. Brown plays perhaps the most sympathetic character in the entire OJ saga. He seems like the good guy getting a raw deal and plays it in heartbreaking fashion.

Worth Mentioning: Kenneth Choi, American Crime Story (FX)/David Schwimmer, American Crime Story (FX)

S. Epatha Merkerson, Chicago Med (NBC) - As Dr. Goodwin, the chief administrator at Chicago Med, S. Epatha Merkerson brought authority and humor to the important boss role. She was someone you wish was in charge of your local hospital: always looking out for the best for everyone and not afraid to call people out when they make mistakes. Like Oliver Platt, she has an interesting developing personal story too.

RUNNER-UP: Rachel DiPillo, Chicago Med (NBC) - As the young medical student, Rachel DiPillo is one of the most underrated (and so far underused) characters on the show. I hope her character goes somewhere because she seems to have the acting chops for it.

Worth Mentioning: Calista Flockhart, Supergirl (CBS)/Charity Wakefield, The Player (NBC)

Blood & Oil (ABC) - I'm not sure if this was actually the worst new drama but it was easily the most disappointing. What could have been a soapy new Dallas like show was an absolute snooze with cookie cutter characters, no real drama, and actors like Don Johnson sleepwalking through the part. ABC wanted this to be a steamy new drama and instead they got a whole lot of nothing. I'm glad they didn't pick up the pilot this year that sounded exactly like Blood & Oil.

RUNNER-UP: Of Kings and Prophets (ABC) - This was an odd show that I didn't even finish the pilot of. Seemingly trying to mix the Bible with Game of Thrones, it seemed like a retread of what many other shows, even NBC's A.D. did better.

Worth Mentioning: Second Chance (FOX)/The Family (ABC)

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