From 'Outlander' and 'Sharknado 2' to 'The Leftovers' and 'Orange is the New Black'
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Winner: 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver'
The day Stephen Colbert was named as David Letterman's successor, it was popular to suggest that John Oliver regretted taking his deal with HBO, since he would have been a luck to host Comedy Central's new post-"Daily Show" series. Within a month after "Last Week Tonight" debuted, no one was feeling sorry for Oliver, who had figured out a way to take the genius of his previous gig to a new level by focusing more on under-covered stories (usually international news that the American media ignores), and by going on a deep dive once per episode, devoting 13 minutes or more to eviscerating the corrupt organizers of international soccer, or the death penalty, or the blurring of the lines between news and advertising. And HBO, which usually guards its content so closely to encourage subscriptions, has eagerly given away the best of "Last Week Tonight" for free on YouTube, so that even cord-cutters can see how essential the show has become in so short a time.
- Alan Sepinwall