I’m sure people will disagree with me about the list below, but that’s why God made comment sections.
1. Mad Men. There’s nothing left to say about this show that hasn’t been said already. It’s just brilliant.
2. Sherlock. I’ll admit I cringed just a bit when I heard they were going to update Sherlock Holmes, with blogging and texting and CSI-like science. But these three movies were remarkably well-done. Not just well-written and sharp and well-acted, but with a big element of fun and quirkiness too. Can’t wait for season two.
3. 30 Rock. I have a feeling that a lot of people think this show has lost its way or it isn’t as good as it used to be and doesn’t deserve to be on a list like this. But I judge a comedy by how many times I laugh, and 30 Rock still has a dozen jokes in 22 minutes that make me laugh.
4. Rubicon. This show decided to take its time telling the stories of its characters – analysts trying to figure out the movements of a terrorist and the conspiracy Will Travers found himself in – but it wasn’t boring. It was moody and atmospheric and unlike anything else on TV right now. An office drama that happened to be about spies. Kudos to everyone involved for trying something like this (but read #4 in the Worst list below for the sad ending).
5. Community. Last year I didn’t include Community on my list. I don’t know if I didn’t “get it” at the time or just didn’t watch it for some reason, but I get it now, and it’s one of my favorite comedies. It’s a modern-day Newsradio.
6. White Collar. This show just oozes wit and style. Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay are one of the best teams on TV, and this is just an incredibly entertaining hour of television.
7. No Ordinary Family. I’m probably one of just two critics who will put this show on their top 10 list, but I don’t care. This show is fun, mysterious, and has a great cast. If you miss Heroes, you should check out this show. It’s not as dark as Heroes, but it’s a little more dark than people might think it is from the promos.
8. Breaking Bad. I was late to this show too.
9. The Middle. This is the sitcom no one talks about. While everyone is falling over themselves praising Modern Family, The Middle is the Wednesday night sitcom that makes me smile the most.
10. Terriers. Am I the only person who was surprised when this show was canceled? I really thought FX would give it more time to catch on. I was wrong.
11. Persons Unknown. You never know how these “long miniseries” summer shows are going to be, but Persons Unknown somehow managed to be incredibly intriguing without being frustrating. Sure, the finale didn’t deliver on the promise of the promos, that this would be a self-contained 13 episodes and the show would have an actual ending. But that final scene with half of the hostages on a giant boat in the middle of stormy ocean is one of my favorite TV images of the year. This was a solid, good, sci-fi/mystery pulpy show.
12. The Two Jimmys (Kimmel and Fallon). Letterman’s show is still my favorite late-nighter, but Kimmel and Fallon really came into their own this past year. Kimmel has the best monologue on TV, and Fallon has the best games and regular bits.
Honorable Mention: Chuck, Party Down, The Pacific, Lost, Men of a Certain Age, Justified, the Old Spice commercials, the Betty White Snickers spot, and the ad with Letterman/Leno/Oprah
1. Bridalplasty. Many reality shows can be described as “stupid,” and Bridalplasty is certainly that, but it’s also gross, crass, and it shows the worst aspects of human beings. It’s the type of show where you say to yourself, “wow, they really will do anything on TV now.”
2. Jersey Shore. If Bridalplasty didn’t exist…
3. Lebron James and “The Decision.” Stupid on every single level. If viewers decided not to watch sports anymore after watching this, I wouldn’t have blamed them.
4. The cancellation of Rubicon. Sigh. A second season would have been fantastic, and I think AMC would have given it one if it wasn’t for those damn zombies.
5. The Talk. It’s just like The View…only the women don’t talk about anything interesting.
6. Rick’s List. And no, it’s not because of his comments on the radio. Rick Sanchez has always been a jerk, and it’s almost funny how it actually showed every single day on CNN.
7. The View. The yelling, the Bill O’Reilly walkout, the weirdness of Whoopi Goldberg. It’s all too much to take.
8. The Real Housewives Of… I don’t think I have to explain this.
9. Dr. Phil/Jerry Springer/Steve Wilkos/Maury. These shows are always left off of “worst” lists because everyone just assumes they’re terrible and they don’t bother naming them. But these shows have graduated to an almost superhuman level of awfulness, a hall of fame, and they still deserve to be here.
10. William Russ being fired from The Young and the Restless. Adding William Russ (the dad from Boy Meets World) was one of the great casting decisions in recent soap history. Russ isn’t young (or restless) and he doesn’t have the typical looks you’d usually find when a show brings on a new, mysterious, multi-millionaire character. But boy was he good. Unpredictable in every way, mature, funny but angry when he had to be. Then Y&R did the predictable thing and got rid of him after several weeks, “going another way,” which is TV talk for “thinner and better hair” (Stephen Nichols).
11. The bug for V in corner of screen during Lost. Wasn’t that annoying?
Dishonorable Mention: Kate Plus 8, $#*! My Dad Says, The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad, Nancy Grace (both of her shows), The Cleveland Show, 75% of the stuff on the 24 hour news channels
Show I Really, Really Have To Start Watching: The Good Wife
Most Disappointing Show: Undercovers
Most Overrated: Modern Family
Most Underrated: The Middle
Show I Love Even Though It’s Predictable: Hot in Cleveland
Guilty Pleasure: Wipeout