Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011: The Year in Television

It feels strange to write a year in review piece about television. Not only does "2011" encompass parts of two seasons of many network shows (which seems awkward to me anyway), but much of my viewing in a given year focuses on seasons (or shows) from before 2011. With that in mind, I have not crafted a top 10, per se, but I have opted to create a number of smaller lists that I think will give a fairly clear picture of what my viewing year was like.

Shows I've added this year: Breaking Bad, Justified, The Shield, Sherlock (dramas); Better Off Ted, The Big C, Modern Family, New Girl, Parks and Recreation (comedies)

Other shows I'm still watching: Chuck (which I'm glad finishes within a month), Dexter (despite the fact that Season 6 was the worst of the series) (dramas); Survivor (reality); Community, Futurama, 30 Rock (comedies)

Shows I've given up on:
Glee - I stopped watching regularly halfway through the second season, then I blitzed through it and appreciated it. This year, I'm not missing it at all. Call it "Glee fatigue", call it "Glee is SO 2010"...I'm just not missing it.
Big Bang Theory - Season 4 was weak, but this season has been terribly unfunny (the bird was the only funny part). Unless something happens that really grabs my attention back, I'm done with BBT.
The Office - Okay, so I gave it up right after Jim and Pam's wedding early in Season 6, but I'll still count it here.

"Buzz" shows I probably won't ever end up watching (ie. shows that are appearing on many top 10 lists, so I feel the need to include here so as not to ignore them, despite a lack of affinity for their style/genre/content): American Horror Story, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, The Killing, Raising Hope, Shameless

Five "new" dramas (either that started in or came to prominence in 2011) that I will check out soon (in order of priority): Homeland (I just haven't had time yet), Boss, Luck (premieres in a month), Treme (maybe I should just forget about it), and Falling Skies (maybe if S2 has more buzz...)

Five "new" comedies to check out (in order of priority): House of Lies (a comedy that stars Don Cheadle and this guy), Episodes, Portlandia, Enlightened, Up All Night (I enjoyed the first couple of episodes, but it didn't really grab me yet), Bob's Burgers

Favourite comedies on TV right now (in order):
1. Community - Despite the awkwardness of Season 3, it's still the funniest show on TV.
2. Parks and Recreation - Entertainment 720 was a comedy goldmine.
3. Modern Family - The show has a great groove going, and it should be good for a while.

Favourite dramatic seasons I watched this year (in order):
1. Justified Season 2 (2011) - Raylan's feud with Mags and the Bennetts was captivating until the last scene, and it might be one of the
2. The Shield Season 5 (2006) - The series was brilliant all the way through, but it was this season that pitted Vic against IA's relentless Kavanaugh (Forest Whitaker) in one of the greatest battles of wills ever. The season set up the conclusion of the series and provided one of the all-time heartbreaking moments for any drama ever (seriously), and was the best of the series.
3. Breaking Bad Season 3 (2010) - The year Walter White really broke bad working for Fring. I'll probably have Season 4 done within a few weeks, judging by how I've watched the rest of the show, but Season 3 kept on accelerating the tension, even when it seemed impossible.

Next drama projects (ie. shows to watch through) after I finish Breaking Bad Season 4 and maybe rewatching Justified Season 2, in order of priority: The Wire, Friday Night Lights, Battlestar Galactica, Mad Men, Burn Notice, Eureka (I expect I might get through the first two, maybe three).

Next comedy projects, in order of priority: Louie, Bored To Death, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Dead Set, The Big C (last half of Season 1 and S2), Archer, Hiccups (I feel like I still need to give it a shot, being a sitcom by Brent Butt)

Next Netflix projects, in order of priority (unless one of the aforementioned shows pops up there, in which case it may bump some of these down): Kings (finish), The Big C (finish), Mad Men, Luther, Jekyll, Life

And finally, five TV events for which I'm excited in 2012: the Season 3 premiere of Justified (Jan. 17), the finale of Chuck (Jan. 27), the return of Community (eventually), the last season of Breaking Bad (summer), and the premiere of Survivor: One World (Feb. 15).

There you have it: my year in television!

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