Winner
Vikings – History

Surprised by this win? Don’t be. This well-researched drama series about celebrated Viking King Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) fuses fact and legend to create a composite story about the rise of an ambitious warrior whose conquests pale only in comparison to his appetite. Guided by the skilled pen of creator Michael Hirst, we’re inclined to sympathize with these murderous raiders whose actions qualify as reprehensible by today’s standards. Still, they lived in a time of ruthless
conquest in which a Darwinistic system of pillage and plunder was almost part of a larger religion—and a way of pleasing the gods. Standout performances by Fimmel and Gabriel Byrne— as well as Katheryn Winnick—make this historical drama a joy to watch, whether characters are lost in battle or within their
own ambitions and misguided alliances. We never thought we would cheer for the Vikings. We were wrong.

Honorable Mentions

Bates Motel – A&E – Such an incredible origin story raised from the ashes and miles above other attempts to reboot “Psycho” in recent years. This one works. On every level.

Brain Games – National Geographic Channel – This family-friendly, brain teasing adventure—helmed by engaging host Jason Silva—is addictive and fun. It will blow your mind!

Duck Dynasty – A&E – It’s hard not to love these God-fearing, fatigue-wearing, backwoods businessmen whose antics continue to entertain millions.

Golden Sisters – LMNO Cable Group/OWN – These tough and sassy seniors have more energy than people half their age. And we’re pretty sure they’ll outlive all of us.

Orphan Black – BBC America – As if Tatiana Maslany’s chameleon- like performance in this thriller series isn’t incredible enough, the story will keep you glued to your screen as well.

Real Husbands of Hollywood – BET Networks and JSR Productions – Hilarious doesn’t begin to describe Kevin Hart’s absurdist take on the “privileged and bored spouses” genre of reality TV.

Rectify – Sundance Channel – A slow-burning but wholly satisfying journey into redemption, suspicion and regret that has imprisoned us with its engaging storylines.

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