25. How To Make It In America

Network: HBO
Stars: Bryan Greenberg, Victor Rasuk, Lake Bell, Kid Cudi, Luis Guzmán, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Shannyn Sossamon

Earlier this week, Twitter was awash with disappointment, anger, and confusion over the cancellation of HBO’s How To Make It In America; if you think about it, though, it’s not all that surprising that the prestigious cable network severed ties with the Mark Wahlberg-produced, fluffy dramedy. Though we all loved the show for its presentation of cool-chasing twenty-somethings, hip-hop influences, and style industry insight, the show never pulled in heavy ratings. And after the recently concluded, drastically improved second season, that fact is even more of a shame.

Treating its characters like actual people and not one-dimensional ciphers, which it often did in Season One, How To Make It In America formed its own identity this year, leaving skeptics with less ammunition for those pesky Entourage comparisons. The addition of Gina Gershon worked wonders to distinguish Ben (Bryan Greenberg) as a conflicted leading man, and the complicated relationship between Rachel (Lake Bell) and Dom (Kid CuDi, coming into his own as an actor) afforded two previously one-note characters with exciting arcs that could’ve paid off quite well in the now-only-a-façade third season.

Simply for being one of the year’s most improved shows, How To Make It In America merits one more celebratory, though bittersweet, salute.