Monday, January 2, 2012

The Best TV of 2011

Well, the clear winner in last night's poll was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at 44%. It was actually the outcome I'd both predicted and hoped for. Sadly, I overslept this morning and set my entire schedule off by an hour and a half and... well, let's say that TGWDT is the next movie I'm going to see.

But this post is about last year's Best TV series. Regular readers won't be surprised by my top picks, but I think you'll find more a few surprises on my "Best of" list, as opposed to tomorrow's "Worst of."

So let's get started, shall we?

10: "Grimm" (NBC). The far superior of two Fairy Tales series, "Grimm" stars the impossibly handsome David Giuntoli (sigh...) as Portland PD Detective Nick Burkhardt, who suddenly develops the ability to see monsters among ordinary people. He soon finds out he is a 'Grimm,' a family of protectors from the real-life creatures the fairy-tales were based on. Fun, gory and even a little silly (with tongue often firmly in cheek), "Grimm" is everything the other show (see tomorrow's post) isn't. Silas Weir Mitchell as Nick's half-willing Blutbad (Big, Bad Wolf) side-kick is hilarious as the classic "bad guy trying to go straight but keeps getting tempted" character with a supernatural twist.

9. "Parenthood" (NBC). This family drama, based on the Ron Howard movie, just gets better and better. Good writing combined with an exceptional ensemble makes "Parenthood" one of my 'must-see' shows.

8."Warehouse 13" (SyFy). The highest rated original series on SyFy is a crazy, funny, Steam Punky fantasy adventure with another excellent ensemble, headed up by Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly's exceptional chemistry. A funny, nerdy and occasionally cheesy delight.

Tie: "Community" (NBC) and "Raising Hope" (Fox). It took me a season and a half to love NBC's decidedly odd but hilarious and brilliant "Community." From last year's amazing Halloween and Christmas episodes to every single freaking episode this season, "Community" is truly comedy for the geeks, unlike "Big Bang Theory" which is just about them. As for the always hilarious "Raising Hope," Greg Garcia, who also created "My Name is Earl" has gathered some amazingly talented actors (Martha Plimpton, hottie Garrett Dillahunt and comedy legend Cloris Leachman!); the most adorable and expressive baby actor, ever; an adorkable lead in Lucas Neff; a quirky set of supporting characters and some excellent writing in this sweet love-letter to trashy folk, everywhere.

5. "The Good Wife" (CBS) Juliana Margulies owns this show, despite it having the most subplots of any show on TV. It's always about writing and casting. Never afraid of any topic, "The Good Wife" takes on politics, religion, sex, organized crime, office politics, sex, corruption, terrorism, sex...

4. "The Closer" (TNT). Consistently the smartest and most well-acted police procedural on TV, "The Closer" is not just a showcase for the imcomparable Kyra Sedgewick and yet another amazing supporting cast, but manages to create compelling mysteries which surround the series' arc quite beautifully.

3. "American Horror Story" (FX). Wow! Talk about a tour-de-force! "AHS" was creepy, sexy, nasty, gross and all kinds of crazy but creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk wowed audiences with their story about a broken family moving into a dangerously haunted house. Co-star Jessica Lange already has a Golden Globe nomination (as does the show). Unlike anything that's ever been on TV before, "American Horror Story" may well change the course of TV history, with it's new story each season plan. (SPOILER ALERT - If you haven't seen the full season, do NOT watch the clip below!)

2. "The Walking Dead" (AMC). Lots of folks complained about how slow-moving the second season was going, but given it's mid-season finale, there was no other way to go. A lower budget resulted in an over-all lower zombie count, but allowed for a build to a very intense denouement. And that season opener! Yikes! I can't wait to see what happens when the show returns in February. Here are some Season 1 highlights:

1. "Fringe" (Fox). I don't remember loving a show so much. We spent a season in an alternate universe and now we're spending a season in an alternate timelime. Has a Sci-Fi show ever taken so many risks with it plot and cast? Has a Sci-Fi show ever had such amazing performances? Why are John Noble and Anna Torv being ignored for their truly brilliant performances on this show? "Fringe" makes us care about these characters more and more with every episode. Should it end this spring, it had better do so with Peter and Olivia back together.

Honorable Mentions:: How I Met Your Mother; Family Guy; American Dad (Christmas Episode); In Plain Sight; Psych; Royal Pains; Necessary Roughness; Rizzoli and Isles; The Middle; Suburgatory;* Happy Endings; Louie; Chopped; Ringer; Falling Skies; Harry’s Law.

*Best New Sitcom

So, how many of your favorites made my list? I'll be back tomorrow with the2011's 10 Worst TV Shows, tomorrow.

More, anon

1 comment:

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Quite a few made my list. I haven't checked out Closer or Warehouse 13 so I'll add those to my list of shows I need to research.