Sometimes the loss of a great television show can feel like the loss of a great friend. Seriously. This sentiment felt especially true in 2015, when a slew of memorable shows took their final bows. We were forced to deal with the fact that some of our favorite characters and settings would no longer be part of life week in and week out.
Sounds a bit depressing, right? Fortunately, for some of you there's a silver lining. We've rounded up the 10 best TV shows that concluded in 2015 to make things easy for everyone. If, for some reason, you never got a chance to watch any of these shows, then you've got some serious binge-watching ahead of you. While we tearfully reminisce about these small-screen gems, you'll have the privilege of watching a myriad of fresh episodes from the very beginning. Lucky you!
From comedies to dramas, this list includes a variety of television shows that left their mark on the small screen. Some of them reached a meticulously planned end point, while others were unexpectedly canceled. Check out our full list below, then add some of these television shows to your Netflix "must watch list."
1. Mad Men
Saying goodbye to Mad Men was definitely not easy, considering the incredible legacy the show left behind. "I wanted it to feel that there was a vision and a point to the entire thing . . . I'm so pleased that people enjoyed it and seemed to enjoy it exactly as it was intended. You can't get a 100 percent approval rating, or you've done something dumb,” said Mad Men creator, Matthew Weiner.
After seven seasons of watching Don Draper self-destruct, the ambiguous ending remained true to the show's form, but it was also incredibly satisfying. As expected, Don's character remained a mystery, but at least it felt like Sally Draper would grow up to be better than her parents — or at least she would try to be. Isn't that what we were all hoping for, anyway? Also, watching Peggy and Joan's final scenes was wonderful and empowering. Mad Men always honored its tenacious female characters, who were often the driving force for the show's success.
2. Parks and Recreation
After seven glorious seasons of comedy gold, NBC's wonderful sitcom Parks and Recreation ended earlier this year. The show concluded on its own terms with a lengthy time jump that showed us what our favorite Pawnee residents were up to in the future. Although the finale was incredibly heartwarming, saying goodbye to a show like Parks and Recreation is never easy. We doubt that any other TV character could love breakfast food with such a frightening and comical passion as Leslie Knope. And clearly no one can replace Ron Swanson and his epic mustache, or Tom and Donna's "Treat Yo Self" outings. But thanks to syndication, Parks and Recreation is still a part of our lives. We'll never forget you, Li'l Sebastian!
Just like Friday Night Lights, Jason Katims next small-screen effort, Parenthood, was equally overlooked by the public. Undoubtedly, the Bravermans are one of the most complicated and interesting families ever to have graced the small screen. It was impossible to watch an episode without going through a whole box of Kleenex, because that's just how good Parenthood was. The show was relatable, captivating, heartbreaking, and funny. Basically, it was a culmination of all the highs and lows you feel in life, which is precisely what made it so wonderful. To no one's surprise, the series finale gave the Bravermans the momentous send-off they rightfully deserved.
4. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Even after his 16-year tenure as the host of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart's departure was very difficult to grapple with. It's a good thing he's still around and working on other projects, because we miss him fervently. (No offense to Trevor Noah who is both a funny and worthy successor to Stewart's throne! Still, transitions require time.) After all, Stewart was an intelligent, witty, and fearless host who skewered some of the world's most powerful political leaders and corporations. During his penultimate show, he ruminated about how dramatically the world has worsened since he first started The Daily Show. While that may be an honest and frightening revelation, it reminded us how lucky we were to have Stewart around for those 16 years.
“Nothing ends, it’s just a continuation, it’s a pause in the conversation. Rather than saying goodbye or goodnight, I’m just going to say I’m gonna go get a drink and I’m sure I’ll see you guys before I leave,” Stewart said during his final, tearful moment as the host of The Daily Show.
When Revenge ended, Emily Thorne was a completely unrecognizable character — and thankfully so. When the series first premiered, Emily's thirst for revenge was relentless and often psychopathic, but then again, the show never attempted to be anything but over the top. Although there were many eye roll inducing moments on Revenge, it was a fun show to watch with a devoted fan base. However, ABC's surprising decision to cancel the series left showrunner Sunil Nayar a bit frustrated. Nayar believed a few of the story lines were rushed or simply cut out due to time constraints.
After six long years, Justified concluded with a rather subdued series finale. Many fans were surprised, especially since the show consistently featured many detailed and gruesome death sequences. With a four-year time leap, Justified gave the audience a rather bittersweet glimpse into the future, and it also used callbacks to reference some of the show's pivotal moments.
Justified's showrunner, Graham Yost, also commented on the possibility of a spin-off. “I think we’re just going to kind of take our breath and think about it and just enjoy having done this before we think any further. If there’s a demand or an appetite, I think we would be open pending availability and all. It was a great run and we had a lot of fun doing it with a great group of people.”
When Glee first premiered on FOX, there was nothing like it on TV. The quirky dramedy about plucky high school outcasts ultimately lost its vigor as the seasons continued on. The shocking death of Cory Monteith also didn't help. It became apparent that Glee could never replicate the runaway success and sheer brilliance of its first season. Still, the show produced many feel-good moments full of laughter and harmony, and it's unflinching optimism promoted the radical notion of actually trying to fulfill your wildest dreams. That was the magic of Glee, and its cast sang a teary, cheery swan song to send the beloved series off into the sunset.
8. The League
You most likely can't name any other TV show that was ever as raunchy or acerbic as The League, yet the show always managed to stay just slightly within bounds. FX is known for producing perennially underrated comedies, and The League was no exception with its seven-year stint. Who knew that a show about fantasy football could be this entertaining? Or that doing a draft during a funeral could be so fun? Although the final moment of The League was surprisingly cute and seemingly uncharacteristic for the show, it was also a very fitting ending.
Creating a TV show after an iconic film can be daunting, but NBC's Hannibal pulled off the task beautifully. Witnessing the complicated dynamic between Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) was both terrifying and oddly gratifying. The evolution of Graham's character throughout the series was truly a standout achievement, especially when reflecting back on what transpired in the finale. As the titular character, Mikkelsen should also be commended for taking on a role that is indelibly associated with Anthony Hopkins' Oscar-winning performance in The Silence of the Lambs. Undoubtedly, Hannibal was a well written show that provided its loyal fans with a much needed emotional pay-off in the wild series finale. But its three season run was far too short.
10. Key & Peele
No other show balanced such an over-the-top comedic style with perfectly executed truth bombs like Key & Peele. Despite being a sketch show, this Comedy Central gem was full of energy and originality until the very end. In fact, Saturday Night Live could take a few notes from the show's stars, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key. All five seasons of Key & Peele explored and furthered social discourse on pertinent issues like racism, feminism, and classism. The show's boundary-pushing humor was reminiscent of Dave Chappelle's legendary work and indicative of a more inclusive era of comedy. So goodbye and thank you, Key & Peele. You will be missed dearly.