17. 'The Leftovers' (HBO)
The first season was a somber portrait of a grieving town after two per cent of the world's population mysteriously disappears. I admired it, felt vague relief when it ended, found the memory so depressing I had zero interest in the second chapter — and, in fact, completely ignored it for weeks. So it's a welcome surprise that Season Two turned out to be a riskier, nuttier, less reverent and infinitely livelier story. Justin Theroux's Sensitive Sweaty Cop moves to a small town in Texas to start a new life, but finds that grief follows him around like a bloodhound. The stranger it got (that afterlife-as-1970s-spy-thriller episode!), the more emotionally accurate it felt.