Sunday, January 13, 2013

End-Of-Year: Favorite 2012 TV Shows, Part 1

I watch a lot of TV. A lot. I can't even tell you the number of shows I regularly watch, because you will probably think I need to see a specialist. All of this is just to say that coming up with a top 30 list of my favorite shows is not at all easy. Ranking them is even more impossible to the point that most of the rankings are quite truly arbitrary. This year, I've decided not to include any reality TV shows so I can make room for scripted shows. My top 10 post will come tomorrow, but for now without further a due...

30. Suburgatory - This should've been included in last year's list, but I guess I didn't realize how much I would like the show until the end of its first season making me super anxious for their sophomore season, which thankfully has kept up with the quality of its first.

29. Castle - Clearly I love the show since I'm still watching and it perhaps doesn't deserve a relatively low rank. But it's that kind of show that while I'm watching it I love it, but seem to forget when I'm not watching it. This is not a knock though on the actors as Fillion and Katic are great together, even more so now that they are officially a couple.

28. Political Animals - In some ways this show could've been much higher on my list or not at all. It was that kind of show that really felt like it was going in a bunch of directions. What truly set the show apart though was the glittering cast and while plotlines could get too insane, I just kept wanting to see what happened next.

27. How I Met Your Mother - I began this latest season with much apprehension and unfortunately nothing they've really done have allayed my fears save for Barney's proposal. But I will always be an apologist for this show, because I still truly love these characters and will stick with them through thick and thin.

26. Girls - The voice of a generation? Well, I don't know about that, but Lena Dunham did create a show with a unique voice that slowly, but surely sucked me right in. These girls' lives are a mess and I can't help but watch it all unfold.

25. 30 Rock - For me the show lost some of its freshness a couple of seasons back, but it has truly found itself again the past year especially as the show does its victory lap towards the end of the series. This show, like Jenna's whole life, is thunder.

24. Last Resort - This show had my second favorite pilot this year offering a real adrenaline rush so rare for TV that I immediately knew they would never be able to sustain it and also it would be cancelled after this season. Fortunately, they were able to sustain some of it mostly due to the cast, but unfortunately they still got cancelled.

23. Ben and Kate - I was a little lukewarm to the pilot (though I still liked it), but the more episodes I watched, the more I realized I'm going to really miss the fun sincerity these characters brought. I'm a sucker for sibling relationships also, so this hit all the spots. Plus, best theme song ever or best theme song ever?

22. The Walking Dead - Last season, spent mostly in Hershel's farm, wasn't great, but the latter half of that season ramped up the drama and stakes and kept it going through the first half of the third season that has given us a rawer, visceral experience to this zombie-filled world. Leading man Lincoln has never been better.

21. Dexter - Talk about a much improved show! Who knew all they had to do was pull the wool over Deb's eyes? The way they handled her arc this season was pretty great with Carpenter selling every "fuck" that came out of her mouth. Couple that with Dexter forcing to do some real soul-searching about his dark passenger, LaGuerta's chilling quest, and a three-dimensional villain made for a damn good season.

20. Once Upon a Time - Last year, this show barely made my Top 30, but the end of the first season focused on more interesting characters (Ruby, Mad Hatter) then orchestrated a magnificent reboot of sorts to start the second season giving more meat to previously one-dimensional characters and a much-needed urgency to the plot.

19. Revenge - This show's relative high placement is mostly due to the extreme goodwill the show built up in its freshman season with its addictive soapy drama and excellent use of Stowe and Mann. This second season has been more perplexing and just a bit underwhelming at parts even if I still enjoy the heck of it.

18. Cougar Town - How thankful am I that last season wasn't its last? I wasn't at all prepared to say goodbye to those lovable idiots most especially during the beach wedding finale that make me laugh and cry simultaneously. I just can't help but love these crazy drunks.

17. Happy Endings - I'm just going to repeat what I said last year. This show is "a piñata filled with candy and crack" and while some of the material and relationships seem a little less fresh this time around, it's all still damn addictive. Plus Hip Hop Santa end tag was too awesome for words.

16. Mad Men - Don't ask me why this isn't ranked higher, because unlike what some people seem to think, this wasn't a "weak" season of the show. It wasn't perfect, of course, but off the top of my head I could name so many great moments, episodes, character development that happened. Hendricks and Moss continue to be the series' MVPs.

15. New Girl - Not sure when it happened, but I suddenly fell head over heels in love with this show. It's weird since for most of its freshman season, I felt like I was watching it more from obligation than desire. But then the show became much more of an ensemble and the writers suddenly figured out how to write each characters better. And voila!

14. Awake - Even though this just missed out being my favorite new show of the season, it does get the honor of being my favorite pilot of the year. I was immediately hooked on its brilliant concept of a man experiencing two realities, one in which either his wife or son lived after a car accident, and each subsequent episodes let me fall into the rabbit hole of obsession.

13. Game of Thrones - My favorite new show last year fell a bit in the rankings this year mostly because while I still love the show's world building, you can already feel things spreading too thin. It's still a gorgeous show though with some powerhouse performances from such actors like Dinklage, Headey, and Williams.

12. Veep - *BEST NEW SHOW* As a huge fan of creator Armando Iannucci's film In the Loop, I knew this show, which borrows a lot of its tone and sentiments from the film, would quickly be one of my favorites. A great lead turn from Dreyfus and a hilarious ensemble make it all work and I can't help but laugh uncomfortably at every other scene.

11. Doctor Who - There were only 6 episodes this year, including the super enjoyable Christmas special. The other 5 episodes saw the last adventures of the Doctor with beloved companions Rory and Amy and like many things this show does, they were all sufficiently epic and even heartbreaking especially Rory and Amy's final episode. Smith, Darvill, and Gillan had real chemistry I will sorely miss. But from the looks of things, Coleman will be just fine.

So there they are! As for my top 10, as I said before, they'll be posted tomorrow sometime, but looking at my nominations and using a process of elimination will make it easy to figure it all out. But the key question is... which show will be #1? Any guesses?

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