Flavorwire Staffers on What Was Criminally Underrated in 2015

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Every year, we round up the world’s best pop culture and rank it objectively so that it can be quickly consumed for years to come. Some things, while great, were for whatever reason left out of those lists, and so here we are, listing all of those “other” things that we thoroughly enjoyed in 2015 — though one of these things actually did appear on our list of best TV shows. Some of these things are abstract and some of them are concrete, but all of them are worthy. Have a look.

Getting On

I happened to choose Getting On as my criminally underrated pick last year, and decided to do it again, because this year it was so criminally underrated that it got canceled. In its final season, through the partial closure and then partial burning (with odd parallels to the season finale of another favorite hospital show, The Knick) of the Billy Barnes Extended Care Unit, the show rose to the sad occasion of its own demise and fulfilled the full potential of what it always did best: documenting how we deal with life on the precipice of death. And Niecy Nash, Laurie Metcalf, and Alex Borstein followed suit, soaring to emotionally unpredictable heights and further complicating their tense, professionally hierarchical relationships. — Moze Halperin, Associate Editor

Rick and Morty

Dan Harmon’s involvement with any project virtually guarantees that a) it’ll be a cult hit, and b) it’ll never lose the “cult” qualifier. Hence Rick and Morty, one of the best shows on television I only saw on one best-of-2015 list besides my own. I’ll refrain from hyping it even further and simply note that, unlike at NBC, a cult hit is just fine for Adult Swim; there’ll be a third season of Rick and Morty… eventually. In the meantime, you can get your weekly dose of misanthropy, neurosis, and absurdism at the Harmontown podcast. — Alison Herman, TV Editor

THEESatisfaction — EarthEE

In a vintage year for hip hop, I guess it’s unavoidable that some great albums would get overlooked, but it’s a real shame that one of those albums was this one, the second by Seattle duo THEESatisfaction. And actually, “hip hop” doesn’t really begin to cover the scope of the music here — it’s futuristic, psychedelic funk that’s reminiscent of THEESatisfaction’s Sub Pop labelmates Shabazz Palaces but has a sound and an intrigue all its own. — Tom Hawking, Deputy Editor

Welcome to New York (dir. Abel Ferrara)

Unfortunately, the rating catastrophe and lawsuit surrounding Abel Ferrara’s Welcome to New York , about the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal, shifted the focus away from some very potent performances and a message about the repugnance of patriarchal power and privilege. — Alison Nastasi, Weekend Editor

Ibeyi

I heard very little about Ibeyi until stumbling across their arresting video for “Stranger/Lover” this fall. But I fell hard and fast for the French-Venezuelan Afro-Cuban Diaz sisters, twins in the lineage of the late great percussionist Anga Diaz. Their minimalist vibe belies the complexity of their arrangements, but it’s on full display on “Exhibit Diaz,” their reimagining of Jay Electronica’s somber piano ballad “Better In Tune With The Infinite.” The source material is a four-part suite built from two samples, a verse, and a closing vocal breakdown. The sisters flipped the breakdown into a chorus, threw drums over the piano, and added their own intonation and rhythm to Electronica’s reserved but powerful verse. I can’t wait to hear more. — Matthew Ismael Ruiz, Music Editor

Campus activism

College students and campus activists were criminally underrated. They were disparaged for being “PC run amok” without being given credit for reviving important conversations about sexual assault and pervasive racism on campuses, and in the country at large. — Sarah Seltzer, Editor-at-Large

Show Me a Hero

Due to either its format – the “miniseries” is a bit of an anomaly these days, thanks to the lengthier and more highly regarded “limited series” – or the general consensus that we can never properly appreciate anything David Simon makes until it’s long over, it feels like this wonderful drama from Simon and director Paul Haggis (Crash is forgiven, Paul) didn’t get nearly the chatter or eyeballs it should’ve. And that’s a shame; this was a whip-smart, thoughtful, moving, and beautifully acted piece of television, not only a window into an oft-ignored world, but a truly democratic work of storytelling. I dunno, maybe all the Star Wars people will decide to be Oscar Isaac completists and seek it out. Stranger things have happened. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

The Forbidden Room (dir. Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson)

Critics liked fellow cinephile and Old Hollywood fetishist Guy Maddin’s latest film, but I wish they — we — had spent more time evangelizing it. The Forbidden Room is a long, luxurious celebration of silent serials, which in Maddin and collaborator Evan Johnson’s hands results in something akin to what might happen if you put a master of that genre on the psychoanalyst’s couch and instructed him to free associate. If the idea of digging in to cinema’s unconscious appeals to you, you’re going to love this movie. — Judy Berman, Editor-in-Chief

Brandon Bird, “The First Shia LaBoeuf,” 2013. Oil on hardboard, 6″ x 8″. Might as well be titled “Shia as Poet”

Poems!

I’m tempted to select Shia LaBeouf again, simply because he’s indulged his emergent “arty” side in a way that has completely superseded his mainstream ambitions, and that says something good about his intentions. But, because that was my choice last year, I’ll go ahead and say that poetry, in general, has been criminally underrated by the public-at-large for years and years. Now more than ever, poetry deserves your attention. It’s easy, too, with the onset of Twitter and its poetry-friendly format and the deluge of quality chapbooks being produced by small presses. Hopefully we’ll up our poetry game in the next year, but until then, do some googling and find some of 2015’s most brilliant scribes. — Shane Barnes, Associate Editor

Nothing.

I’m going to take this time to express my frustration with the phrase “criminally underrated.” Are we taking someone to jail? Are we prosecuting culture for negligence? I’d rather prosecute it for grossly overrating certain works. — Jonathon Sturgeon, Literary Editor

[Ed. note: so, go on, name names.]