2015 has been quite an exciting year in film. We’ve had the unexpected cancellations of certain shows, unbelievably high ratings of audience expansion for our favorite shows within only one year, the year’s biggest films, and the ups-and-downs in the world of television in film.
Children’s movies have earned through-the-roof ratings this year.
In November, for the first time ever, Charlie Brown and his the Peanuts gang appeared on the big screen in a way they never have before: Based on the Peanuts comic strip series created by Charles Shulz, the G-rated animated adventure comedy THE PEANUTS MOVIE, directed by Steve Martino, was created in 3D.
Based on R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps book series, the PG-rated fantasy action film GOOSEBUMPS, directed by Rob Letterman, rocked the box office and was ranked number one for multiple weeks
The animated comedy adventure movie INSIDE OUT, released in June and directed by Pete Docter (Up) and Ronnie Del Carmen (Up), featured big-name comedians, who provided the starring-characters’ voices, including Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, and Lewis Black.
Films for a more “adult” audience were generally impressive to say the least, graphic, cast, writing, direction and action-scene wise, etc.
Director Adam McKay’s biography comedy-drama THE BIG SHORT is based on the true events of the finance/ credit crisis of 2007-10. The story followed “four outsiders in the world of high-finance who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse in 2007-10 and decided to take on the big banks for their lack of foresight and greed.” The choice of Adam McKay as director was to say the least, brilliant. The cast was an impressive one as well, starring A-list actors including Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt. The R-rated film released in December.
Action-adventure sci-fi film MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (R), directed by George Miller was released in May. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone had one simple sentence to describe the movie; “Mad Max kicked my ass hard. It’ll kick yours.” Mad Max received impressive ratings, receiving a 4/4 from Roger Ebert, an 89 per cent from Metacritic and it was ranked the number one film in 2015 on Rotten Tomatoes.
Within the last five to 10 years, it has become more and more difficult to remember which scary movies we’ve seen, which one’s we haven’t, the films’ titles and even the storylines themselves. The reason: they all just blend together; we’ve been leaving movie theaters disappointed with the fact that we once again, sat through either the gory-overloaded film, the typical “adorable-young kid-becomes-possessed-and-turns-into-a-hideous-demon film, and of course, the over-played first-hand-account-shaky-camera film. But finally…one of those rare modern horror films was released this year that restored our faith in the genre. The supernatural horror film IT FOLLOWS, directed by David Robert Mitchell, follows an original storyline of a girl pursued by a supernatural entity after a sexual encounter. Finally…something different (and good) When’s the last time we saw a horror-thriller on this subject? Can you even think of one film with a storyline similar to that It Follows?
And of course…we can’t have a list of the big films in 2015 without mentioning STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, which was released in December. This “epic space opera”, directed, co-produced and co-written by J.J. Abrams features the talented cast which includes, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley. The film is currently ranked number one at the box office at $142.2M and has also received a 94 per cent on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer and an audience score of 91 per cent and an average rating of 4.4/5. The critic consensus of the film which is featured on Rotten Tomatoes is that The Force Awakens is “packed with action and populated by both familiar faces and fresh blood…The Force Awakens successfully recalls the series’ former glory while injecting it with renewed energy.”
While there were a lot of memorable (and some not so memorable) shows in 2015, (cast-wise, written-wise, storyline-wise, etc.), a select few stand out among others. Here are some of the year’s most notable in TV:
HBO’s fantasy drama television series GAME OF THRONES created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss has once again lived up to the expectations audiences have developed just from watching the previous five seasons. Game of Thrones (2011-present) has unsurprising, been renewed for a sixth season, which is set to premiere in April. The “viewers per episode” numbers continues to rise during each season consecutively. The first season of Game of Thrones had an average of 2.52M viewers per episode for season one, an average of 3.80M for season two, 4.97M for season three, 6.85M for season four and 6.88M for season five.
October 4, 2015 marked the premiere of the fifth season of Showtime’s political thriller series HOMELAND (2011-present), developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa. Season five, which takes place two years after the show’s previous season, offers viewers something we don’t see very often in TV shows. Hank Stuever of The Washington Post describes the show’s success in a simple statement: “What makes Homeland rise above other post-9/11 dramas is Danes’ stellar performance as Carrie—easily this season’s strongest female character.” In addition, Entertainment Weekly‘s Ken Tucker called the show ” the fall season’s most intriguing, tense puzzler” and IGN also gave the Homeland positive reviews, describing the show as “an ‘ace thriller’ that also managed to have something to say about the War on Terror.”
The sixth season of AMC’s horror drama series, THE WALKING DEAD premiered on October 11, 2015. positive reviews. Metacritic gave season six a 79/100 (but the score is only based on 10 reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, Walking Dead has a rating of 89 per cent and an average score of 8/10 (based on 26 reviews). There have been mixed reviews of the show’s six season that collectively, prove that season hit a few “rough patches.” Despite the fact, the critic consensus on Rotten Tomatoes is “Six seasons in, The Walking Dead is still finding ways to top itself, despite slow patches that do little to advance the plot.”
Other shows that were ranked high this year on the “best” list for TV this year include:
- FX’s crime drama series The Americans (2013-present)
- ABC’s comedy series Black-ish (2014-present)
- Fox’s Empire (2015 to present)
- AMC’sdrama series Mad Men (2011 to the show’s seventh and final series in 2015).
Notable series’ that premiered in 2015 included:
- NBC’s live television variety series Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris Unfortunately however, the show’s first season just fell a little short for audiences. Thus, the show has been cancelled.
- Fox’s comedy series Grandfathered stars John Stamos as a confirmed bachelor who discovers that he is a dad—and a grandfather. For the first time, Stamos has had to accept that he is eligible for the roles of older-aged characters. After taking a break for the holiday season, the first season will continue to air again on January 5, 2016. Fox is still waiting to see season one’s rankings and reviews before determining whether or not to renew Grandfathered for a second season.
- ABC’s comedy series The Muppets, based on the lovable puppet characters by Jim Henson, has recently been picked up by the network for three more episodes, bringing the show’s first season to 16 episodes total. The show’s ratings are, according to ABC, began to slip mid-season but the ratings are generally “on par,” bringing the show’s season-2 pickup to a full 22-episode season.
With each New Year, we inevitably have to say goodbye to multiple series. A few shows that were officially cancelled in 2015 include:
- In 2015, CBS’ comedy series Mike and Molly was officially announced that she show will not be renewed for a seventh season. Mike and Molly’s six and final season will premiere Jan. 6.,
- E!’s pop culture comedy series The Soup which has been hosted by Joel McHale has been cancelled after 22 seasons (12 years). The Soup’s final episode aired on December 18.
- TNT’s action crime show Legends has been cancelled the show after two seasons. The three-hour series finale aired on December 28.
- FX’s comedy series Married has been cancelled after two seasons. The show’s audience didn’t grow much since the show’s premiere in 2014.
- And as said stated earlier, Best Time Ever after only one season
What’s sadder than having to say goodbye to cancelled television shows is having to say goodbye to TV/ film icons who have passed away. While this is not the complete list of important people who we lost in 2015, it does include some of the more memorable icons. Unfortunately, this year we have had lost:
- Bob Simon (Age 73)
- Robert Loggia (Age 85)
- Stuart Scott (Age 49)
- Donna Douglas (Age 81)
- Sawyer Sweeten (Age 19)
- Leonard Nimoy (Age 83)
- Samuel Goldwyn Jr. (Age 88)
- Maureen O’Hara (Age 95)
- Frank Gifford (Age 84)
- Dean Jones (Age 84)
- James Best (Age 88)
- Lisa Colagrossi (Age 49)
- David Canary (Age 77)
- Vincent Margera (59)
- Melissa Mathison (65)
Now we say ‘farewell’ to 2015 and prepare for a new year in television and film in 2016. Although 2015 has been a memorable time in the entertainment industry, we can expect even more from the upcoming shows in 2016, as the world of television and film always seems to impress us, inform us, excite us, disappoint us and surprise us with every new year.