- Another Period (Comedy Central)
Another Period (Comedy Central) After a meh first episode, Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome's Downton Abbey/Kardashians parody became bolder and funnier (and dirtier) every week. It's Wet Hot 1902 Summer.
Halt and Catch Fire (AMC) Just ended and most likely canceled, '80s tech drama Halt and Catch Fire really did catch fire in Season 2 by focusing on its women (Kerry Bishé and Mackenzie Davis, killing it). Maybe just skip the first season.
UnReal (Lifetime) And another female-led powerhouse: UnReal's behind-the-sordid-scenes drama about a Bachelor-esque "reality" show was brutal, discomfiting and, for all we know, completely accurate. Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer FTW.
Wayward Pines (Fox) It was obvious that M. Night Shyamalan's Wayward Pines meant "limited series" business when it killed off two big-name cast members (no spoilers!) early on. A taut, weird sci-fi conspiracy yarn.
Maron (IFC) No hype, just Marc Maron being Maron in Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Next Generation.
Dark Matter (Syfy) The setup of really, really, really ridiculously good-looking amnesiac fugitives in space didn't seem sustainable, but Dark Matter rolled out the back-stories (and ass-kicking action) more intelligently than expected.
Killjoys (Syfy) Ditto on the looks and action here, though Killjoys was a bit more complex (read: confusing) and even more low-budget than Dark Matter (which seems impossible). Still, Hannah John-Kamen is the sci-fi heroine to top this summer.
True Detective (HBO) Quit your whining and just watch all eight episodes in a row.
The Brink (HBO) It was sold as a Jack Black comedy, but The Brink (a modern-day Dr. Strangelove via Homeland) belongs to Tim Robbins as the tenacious secretary of state, and Maribeth Monroe as his impossibly loyal assistant.
Mr. Robot (USA) Rami Malek's mumbling, monologuing hoodie-rat hacker isn't a logical TV hero—which makes Mr. Robot's Fight Club-meets-The Matrix-meets-Dilbert existence encouraging (especially on a network like USA). Another binge-watch candidate.
Humans (AMC) The biggest surprise from this British import about synthetic "humans" living/serving amongst us? Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill) waited four whole episodes before bedding his nanny-bot (Gemma Chan). Humans was creepy, but with a heart—rare combo.
Extant (CBS) Halle Berry's alien-takeover thriller is still insane—but at least it's evolved into decent sci-fi, and new Season 2 co-star Jeffrey Dean Morgan handily replaced what's-his-name. Bonus: David Morrissey acting even harder than he did on The Walking Dead!
The Spoils Before Dying (IFC) Eric Jonrosh's (Will Ferrell) lost crime-noir masterpiece somehow made jazz tolerable. That's an accomplishment.
Rectify (Sundance) So rich, so moving, so ... slow. Ray McKinnon's Southern-gothic character study isn't for everyone, but the performances (not limited to main stars Aden Young and Abigail Spencer) are undeniable.
The Strain (FX) Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's vampire-invasion thriller kicked into high gear in Season 2, thanks partially to letting Kevin Durand's badass Fet inject some comic relief into the occasionally too-damned-serious affair. Pretty vamps are so over.
Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll (FX) Denis Leary's comic love letter to rock wasn't groundbreaking by any stretch, but it was loud and fun. That's rock & roll, right?
BoJack Horseman (Netflix) You will feel all the feels of a cartoon horse (Will Arnett).
Ray Donovan (Showtime) As if Jon Voight weren't enough, now Liev Schreiber's titular thug-to-the-stars Ray had to fight for screen-chewing time with new Season 3 guest Ian McShane—and he held his own.
Stitchers (ABC Family) Impossibly pretty 20-something scientists "stitch" into the memories of the recently deceased in CSI: Dead Brains. Sure, it sounds similar to iZombie, but Stitchers was even stoopider—and yet oddly entertaining.
The Meltdown With Jonah & Kumail (Comedy Central) Backstage is sometimes funnier than what's onstage at the comic-book-store stand-up show; comedians, actors and sometimes even porn stars drop in randomly, adding to the anarchic atmosphere of The Meltdown. So all stand-up shows aren't like this?
Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell (Adult Swim) Season 2 of Hell as a workplace comedy ... not a workplace reality show.
Married (FX) The second season of Nat Faxon and Judy Greer's domestic comedy may have found a groove, if not viewers. Married is pretty much canceled; proceed at your leisure.
Rick & Morty (Adult Swim) It's probably best that Community is now dead as a TV show, because Rick & Morty is a far better use of Dan Harmon's time. There's not a more off-the-charts science-geeky show out there—sorry, Cosmos—and the funny is relentless.
Wet Hot American Summer (Netflix) First Day of Camp bested the 2001 movie by streamlining the gags and going for ridiculous broke. So how do I get a gig at Rock & Roll World Magazine?
Listen to Bill on Mondays at 8 a.m. on X96 Radio From Hell; weekly on the TV Tan podcast via iTunes and Stitcher.