The Best TV Episodes of 2015

The Leftovers - Best TV Episodes

2015 ushered in the most television series to ever hit the airwaves, with over 409 scripted programs being produced on the broadcast networks, basic cable, premium cable, and streaming services. However, even among that glut of programming, there were still individual installments of television, whether they be half hour or an hour, that stood out as the best TV episodes of the year.

Below, you’ll find individual lists from each of our three participating writers with their picks for the best TV episodes of 2015. Then at the very bottom of the page is the official list of TVOvermind’s Best TV Episodes of 2015, as all of our writers’ votes were tallied to create a combined and fair selection of ten of this year’s greatest episodes of television.

Check out everyone’s picks below, and if you haven’t already, take a look at our lists for the best TV dramas of 2015, the best TV comedies of 2015, the best new TV shows of 2015, and the best TV shows of the year overall.

Justified - Best TV Episodes

Why “The Promise”: It’s never easy ending a show. More often than not, series finales leave viewers disappointed; they wanted more time with this character, or more closure, or for things to end on a happier note. That’s what makes “The Promise” such a special episode, because it’s not only a terrific hour of Justified, but it also ends this criminally underrated series in such a perfectly satisfying way. From Raylan and Art teaming up one last time to “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” playing again to that absolutely magical final scene between Raylan and Boyd, “The Promise” was a masterpiece from start to finish. It’s one of the greatest series finales of all-time and one of the very best TV episodes of 2015.

Chris King

10. “Mornings” – Master of None

9. “Cut Man” – Daredevil 

8. “The Castle” – Fargo

7. “Time & Life” – Mad Men 

6. “Leslie and Ron” – Parks and Recreation 

5. “Five-O” – Better Call Saul

4. “Stingers” – The Americans 

3. “Hardhome” – Game of Thrones 

2. “The Promise” – Justified 

1. “International Assassin” – The Leftovers 

Better Call Saul - Best TV Episodes

Jasef Wisener

10. “Cut Man” – Daredevil

9. “Hardhome” – Game of Thrones

8. “Person to Person” – Mad Men

7. “May God Bless and Keep You Always” – Parenthood

6. “The Wrath of Lamb” – Hannibal

5. “Mornings” – Master of None

4. “The Castle” – Fargo

3. “Digestivo” – Hannibal

2. “Five-O” – Better Call Saul 

1. “International Assassin” – The Leftovers

Castle - Best TV Episodes

Why “Hollander’s Woods” and “74 Epiphanies”: I have Castle‘s “Hollander’s Woods” and Rookie Blue‘s “74 Epiphanies” as a tie, because the writers of these episodes had the same difficult job: write a season finale that could, if necessary, stand in as a series finale. They both did an excellent job.

Rookie Blue is a show that I didn’t include in my top ten shows because the series wrapped in 2015. However, it’s one of those shows that was always solid in its storytelling, and its last season (split in two as Seasons 5 and 6) really outdid itself. In following the storylines of the rookies, in particular officer Andy McNally (Missy Peregrym), the show continued to follow through on the idea that all actions have consequences. We’ve seen these characters grow up and become wiser, but they don’t suddenly morph into different people. The choices made – right or wrong – have always been in line with the lessons we saw them taking in.

That’s what makes the season finale of Rookie Blue work so well. The TV trope of things going wrong when trying to have a wedding is hardly new. When it works, it’s because there’s some plausibility to those events and the choices the characters make. All of the scenarios that occur in “74 Epiphanies” are ones that viewers could believe of the characters and fit the history of what’s gone on in the series thus far. The lead up to the wedding of Andy and detective Sam Swarek (Ben Bass) was messy and so very Andy. It was all perfectly imperfect!

Had ABC’s Castle ended with, “Hollander’s Woods,” it would have been a fitting ending for the series. Not only did it put the show back on track in terms of the relationship between Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), but it answered a major series long question regarding the title – and in a truly epic fashion! It gave several nods to possible futures that the show had teased about. Was the time traveller right about the future of Beckett and Castle? Was Beckett going to end up becoming a precinct captain? Was Beckett pregnant? If it had been the last season for Castle, it was clear that whatever road chosen or obstacles faced these two would be walking it together as the true partners they had become.

By reminding viewers of how far these two characters had come in their relationship, “Hollander’s Woods” gave hope that if there were a Castle Season 8, the show would be more in line with the one viewers had fallen in love with. Even though that turned out not to be not the case, the episode is still one of my favorites of 2015.

Joy D’Angelo

10. “Black Tag” – Code Black

9. “Authentic Flirt” – Blindspot

8. “Buen Ãrbol” – Code Black

7 & 6. “Hollander’s Woods” – Castle and “74 Epiphanies” – Rookie Blue (tied)

5. “Unto the Breach” – Emprie

4. “Integrity Test” – Rookie Blue

3. “Three’s A Crowd” – Masters of Sex

2. “The Lawn Chair” – Scandal

1. “Man of the Land” – Transparent 

Game of Thrones - Best TV Episodes

Overall Top 10 Best TV Episodes of 2015

10. “Stingers” – The Americans 

9. “Digestivo” – Hannibal

8. “Mornings” – Master of None

7. “The Lawn Chair” – Scandal

6. “The Promise” – Justified 

5. “Hardhome” – Game of Thrones

4. “The Castle” – Fargo

3. “Man of the Land” – Transparent

2. “Five-O” – Better Call Saul

1. “International Assassin” – The Leftovers  

What were you favorite TV episodes of 2015? Comment below and let us know.

[Photos via HBO, FX, AMC & ABC]

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