best of 2010: tv shows

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Monday, December 13th, 2010

best of 2010

best of 2010: tv shows

this post begins my look back at 2010. for the last several years, i’ve spent about a week looking back on the various media that were my favorites of that particular year, and 2010 will be no different for me.

so, each day this week, i’ll post a list that presents my 25 favorite of the given category. here’s the lineup for the week (each day i’ll come back and update this list with links):

monday (today): tv shows
tuesday: new music discoveries
wednesday: cover songs
thursday: songs
friday: albums

typically, i primarily focus on movies and music. this year, i, interestingly, found myself shifting from movie-watching to tv-watching. even more interestingly, i’ve found that i watched less than tv than ever. ok, so how is that? well, my overall quantity has been greatly decreased, but the quality has increased substantially. there’s so much genuinely good tv now and i think i’ve tapped into quite a bit of it. instead of mindless hours flipping stations, i usually wind down the night with one really great show. so, my list this year is for the top 25 tv shows of 2010.

(you’ll notice that i’m completely removing the annual staple of the best movies list. with 3 children, our trips to the theater are extremely rare and the ability to carve out a couple hours for a movie is nearly impossible. thus, more short-form tv-watching and the removal of that list.)

alright, with all that said, here’s the list.

25. arrested development.[ok, just give me this one, will you? yes, it aired from 2003 to 2006. yes, that’s a relatively long time ago. but i just discovered this show a few months ago and i was addicted to it. if this show actually came out this year, it would be as high as maybe #4 or 5. so, i’m giving myself this one. 🙂 ]

24. meet the press.

23. parks & recreation.

22. desperate housewives.

21. the apprentice.

20. hung.

19. united states of tara.

18. rob dyrdek’s fantasy factory.

17. treme.

16. american idol.

15. pardon the interruption.

14. top chef.

13. the office.

12. community.

11. real time with bill maher.

10. eastbound & down. this is one of those shows (much like #19’s hung) that i want so badly to talk about with friends and coworkers the next morning, but i almost can’t admit i watch it. this show is so over-the-top, crude and foul…but so hilarious (and maybe even genius).

09. work of art: the next great artist. this show got panned by some people because, as they perceived, it cheapened art into a formulaic reality show and showcased stereotypes. maybe small pieces of that could be true, but ultimately, it was still real artists creating real work and it made for compelling television.

08. project runway. much like the previous entry, the artist in me loves this show. certainly, each season’s cast adds to its compelling nature, but just the process of creating and showcasing one’s art is intriguing and has continued to make for a good show 8 seasons in.

07. the big c. this is a good example of a show that i was still undecided on how i felt about even 3/4 into the season. but…i hung on and in the end, i found myself looking forward to it each week. in the end, the thing that got me the most was, after having lost rob from cancer, i was compelled by cathy’s (the main character, played by laura linney) emotional ups and downs with cancer.

06. survivor. 21 seasons in, i’m still loving survivor. the show’s core elements—outwit, outplay, outlast—still create compelling social dynamics, which is something i particularly love in television (and beyond). the amazing thing is that season 20, heroes vs. villians (from earlier this year), was my favorite of all-time and that says a lot this many years in.

05. dexter. this, even more than #7’s the big c, is a prime example of a show that i still, 5 seasons in, can’t determine how i really feel about it. i think i love it, but i can’t really decide. in spite of the internal conflict, it obviously still finds a place at #5 because of its bizarre premise and stellar acting.

04. the walking dead. 6 episodes is all it took for this mini-series to make its way to #4. what makes it even more impressive is that i don’t like zombie movies/tv at all. zero. i find it all corny and overdone. but then there’s this show. it was beautifully shot and acted and it injected a dose of gritty reality into an otherwise pseudo-reality of the zombie genre.

03. boardwalk empire. ok, i’ll be the first to say that when i heard steve buscemi was cast as the lead in an hbo dramatic series, i had my doubts. keep in mind, we’re talking about the same steve buscemi who played this guy. but wow, congrats to steve buscemi on an excellently played lead, bringing back to hbo the crime series it had been missing since the sorpranos departure. it’s literally like watching a well made movie each week and for that, it was one of the best tv shows of 2010.

02. big love. ah, big love. the show has everything: religion, family dynamics, current news headlines and more. the show is perfectly cast and perfectly written to strike a balance of this other-worldly feeling while still feeling completely genuine and straight from real life. i’ll be the first to admit that this past season waned a little, with a stretch of a story line, but it was still the same incredible actors and characters that have made it great for almost 5 years now.

01. breaking bad. what have i not already said about breaking bad that i can add here? this is the only show that has literally kept me up to 3 in the morning just because that was the first chance i had to watch the newest episode. it’s so expertly executed that it genuinely redefines what tv should be like. this past season was just as intense and compelling as ever and i’m (impatiently) counting down the premiere of the next season (which doesn’t start until july 2011…are you kidding me?).

because i want you to experience a little piece of this show (if you haven’t otherwise), check out this clip that i included in a post that wrapped up the finale of season 3.

so there you have it. there’s the list. what do you think? i’ve certainly missed some good shows. what are they? i’ve also, no doubt, ranked some things too high or too low. what are they? help me to flesh out and “correct” my list.

see you in tomorrow with my next list: top 25 new music discoveries of 2010.