From biding farewell to familiar faces and welcoming a host of new obsessions, we give thanks to the year in pop culture.

By EW Staff
November 26, 2015 at 06:40 PM EST
Lionsgate; AMC; Pixar

From a perfect Mad Men goodbye to the introduction of Masters of None, Amy Schumer’s big-screen success with Trainwreck to a final send-off for Hunger Games, and new music by everyone from Grimes to Kendrick Lamar, 2015 gave Entertainment Weekly staffers more than enough reasons to be thankful. Ahead, we give thanks to the year in pop culture.

  • “For all seven perfect seasons of Mad Men, and thankful that it came to such an elegant and fitting conclusion; thankful for lovely adaptations of novels that I adore in Far from the Madding Crowd and Brooklyn; thankful in advance for more Star Wars, and for the fact that it’s being made by people who seem to care so much (and with the original cast members!); and thankful that the Hunger Games will finally be over soon, so we can all move on with our lives.” – Mary Sollosi
  • The Gilmore Girls reboot – the No. 1 greatest thing to happen this year! (Really, it’s the greatest thing to happen since 2007, let’s be honest). And in a close second, The Mindy Project being renewed by Hulu after FOX cancelled it.” – Orit Belkin
  • RELATED: The best Thanksgiving episodes streaming on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu

    • “The steps to more diversity in pop culture. This year brought us ABC casting the most people of color as leads of prime time programming (Fresh Off the Boat, Dr. Ken, Quantico, Black-ish). Aziz Ansari’s Master of None was also refreshing on Netflix. All of which are well written, push beyond what we have seen in the past, and make television look more like the real world.” – Jef Castro
    • “All that dancing: Oscar Isaac moving like a boss in Ex Machina (get him the Saturday Night Fever remake as soon as possible!); Amy Schumer high-kicking her way through ‘Uptown Girl’ in Trainwreck; Alison Brie sashaying to ‘Modern Love’ in Sleeping With Other People; the entire third act of Magic Mike XXL; and Lena Dunham dancing like no one’s watching in the Girls trailer. (Not to mention Bindi Irwin doing the Dirty Dancing lift on Dancing With the Stars.) What a time to be alive.” – Christopher Rosen
    • RELATED: The Biggest Box Office Turkeys of 2015

      • “There would have been hell to pay with me and the rest of the CSI fanbase if Billy Petersen didn’t return for the September series finale. Thank goodness CBS is no dummy and knew to bring back our beloved Gil Grissom, if only for an excruciatingly short two-hour goodbye.” – Lynette Rice
      • “For Grimes, who put out Art Angels, her first album since 2012, this month. The collection is massive and made me realize how much I missed having the noise/pop star in my earbuds. This time around, she screams messages about feminism and empowerment, but sometimes — like on ‘California’ — they’re masked in sticky sweet vocals and angelic guitars. When you reach the final track ‘Kill v. Maim,’ she stomps all over any skepticism you had about if the album was worth the wait.” – Jessica Goodman

        • “As a child drama nerd and TV addict turned (sort of) grown-up drama nerd and TV addict, I feel like I owe Rachel Bloom a thank you, and maybe a thousand hugs. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend feels like it could have been developed inside my brain, with its sardonic wit and tongue-in-cheek musical numbers that don’t feel like they were thrown in to fill time or boost iTunes sales. In a world of reboots and remakes and prequels and comic book adaptations, this show feels like a breath of fresh air that I am happy to, pun intended, sing the praises of.” – Jessica Derschowitz
        • “I’m thankful that Fantagraphics released all 18 issues of Daniel Clowes’ long-out-of-print Eightball, one of my favorite underground comic series, as a beautiful hardbound collection this year. If you’re new to Clowes, know that this is where Ghost World came from. Go lock yourself in your geek dungeon and read the whole thing right now.” – Melissa Maerz
        • [pagebreak]

          • “Kendrick Lamar Duckworth. He released one of the most dense and focused popular albums of the year in an era emphasizing singles and accessibility. Lamar’s a different kind of cat. Instead of touring To Pimp a Butterfly ad nauseam in arenas, Lamar is doing a limited theater run and has been saying this might be the final time the record is performed live. He’s only 28 and with two albums notched, K-Dot is a stellar modern artist on an island. Few, if any, contemporaries are in — or even trying — to enter his lane.” – Will Robinson
          • “That George Miller had the balls to turn the latest iteration of his Mad Max series into a feminine action flick. With a powerful Charlize Theron at the center and no shortage of incredible stunts, the 72-year old director proved that women can be enthusiasts of thrilling action movies as long as you give them someone to root for.” – Nicole Sperling
          • RELATED: 19 TV Families That Will Make You Thankful for Yours

            • “For three intriguing new series in Blindspot, Quantico, and Limitless. Each have their own mystery that feels like one giant puzzle I get to solve each week. They’ve become appointment television that doesn’t feel like work.” – Natalie Abrams
            • “Taylor Swift, for bringing Fifth Harmony on stage at the 1989 Tour. Taylor took it one step further from all of her other special guests by learning 5H’s choreography, wearing a special outfit so she could match the group’s Summer Reflection Tour costumes, and asking to join THEIR squad. When this happened I basically ascended into a higher plane of being and the only way it could have been better was if I was there IRL.” – Katie Minard 
            • John Medina/LP5/Getty Images

              • “For The X-Files coming back. If that were the only thing I had to be thankful for this year, it would be more than enough. But then Victor Garber joined Instagram! I’m so spoiled.” – Kelly Connolly
              • “That Robert Redford played Dan Rather in Truth. Now I’d like him to play Ted Koppel.” – Elena Noel Santos
              • “For Orphan Black‘s Leda sisters, iZombie‘s Liv Moore, the Crystal Gems in Steven Universe, Babs Tarr’s Batgirl comic, Supergirl, Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I grew up pretending to be Princess Leia. My daughter will grow up seeing so many more amazing women in pop culture.” – Noelene Clark
              • RELATED: The 21 Most Awkward Dinner Scenes in Film


                • “Finally getting some answers from Pretty Little Liars, Drake’s dance moves in the “Hotline Bling” video, and Joe Jonas’ return to music.” – Dana Falcone
                • “That the filmmakers behind The Hunger Games franchise made a top-notch series of movies that both honor the books and provide a visual feast to moviegoers. It makes me happy that my children can read these politically-resonant novels and then turn to the films to see their imagination come to life. Plus, now they’ll know who Donald Sutherland is and that, in a nutshell, is something to be thankful for.” – Nicole Sperling
                • “For Hollywood finally realizing that putting female characters front and center is good for business. After the success of The Hunger Games and Pitch Perfect in film and shows like Scandal and Orange is the New Black on television, more projects are being launched with women in the lead roles, and that’s just fantastic. Considering women make up over half the population, it’s about time Hollywood realized that catering to female audiences isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s smart business.” – Lauren Morgan

                  • “That we live in a world where Kanye West as president isn’t completely out of the question.” – Emily Blake
                  • “That some of my favorite shows of 2014 (You’re the Worst, Fargo, The Leftovers, Last Week Tonight) remained as great or got even better this year. That Tales from the Borderlands simultaneously became one of the funniest and most heartwarming things to release this year. That I could cry in a theater at everything from Furious 7 to Inside Out. And that I can play Carly Rae Jepsen’s E•MO•TION on repeat for weeks and never grow tired of it.” – Jonathon Dornbush 
                  • Byron Cohen/FX
                    • “For Netflix for maybe, possibly, hopefully giving Stars Hollow the ending it deserves. I am thankful for The CW for being my partner in this life. I am thankful for Kingdom for creating such quality, week after week. And I’m so very thankful that Tom Hardy is starring in a movie with Tom Hardy (Legend). Dreams really do come true.” – Samantha Highfill
                    • “The Hamilton Broadway cast, because how lucky we are to be alive right now, with history being made in Manhattan. Bobbi Morse on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Furious 7, Ilsa Faust’s yellow dress in Rogue Nation (and that opera scene!), Jeremy Renner’s tweets, Scarlett Johansson’s Oscar dress, Vera Farmiga’s always under-appreciated performances in Bates Motel, SO MANY NEW COMICS, Agent Carter, the Great Dubsmash War of 2015, Hayley Atwell’s social media game, the creation of BB-8 (the cutest robot EVER), knowing where the characters of Parks and Rec are in another 20 years, even if they’re dead (R.I.P. Jerry.), and Marvel’s Netflix shows, which raised the bar – and also my emotions.” – Andrea Towers

                      • “The day that Adam Levine grows his hair back.” – Jen Marcus
                      • “I’m in awe of the mesmerizing performances of Aya Cash and Shiri Appleby in my two favorite series this year, You’re the Worst and UnReal, respectively. By bringing flawed female characters to the screen (and, in YTW‘s case, taking on the topic of clinical depression), these shows showed that both comedy and drama can show unglossy leading ladies with whom I can identify. (Also, they both sent me back to therapy.) Finally, as a lazy — and cheap — couch potato, my wallet and I are thankful that the new Apple TV searches iTunes, Hulu, and Netflix when I look up a movie or TV show. And that it has a remote that doesn’t get lost in the couch cushions now.” – Danielle Nussbaum
                      • “For Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake making amazing music together that everyone is now making babies to.” – Chad Meholic
                      • Advertisement


                        EDIT POST