Top 10 TV shows of 2012

Posted: December 18, 2012 in Television

2012 is almost over and it’s been a pretty good year for television as a whole.  We got some pretty stellar new shows like Nashville and Arrow and even Elementary ended up being better than expected.  Some new comedies popped up making their mark on network television, including The Mindy Project and Go On.

However, while there has been an influx of good new shows across the board – one of the better years for television in recent memory – it’s the old veteran shows that have brought the best TV this spring and fall season.

Here’s my list of the best TV shows currently airing:

10 – Justified

Raylan Givens just keeps getting better and better while also managing to cause more havoc and mayhem everywhere he goes.  The FX original series wrapped up its 3rd season in 2012 and is gearing up to start its 4th season January 2013.  For three years now the adapted series has been mandatory viewing on Tuesday nights at 10pm.  While Justified’s third season wasn’t as good as the second season, it was still riveting television and I’ll forever be waiting on that Timothy Olyphant Emmy/Golden Globe nomination.

9 – Game of Thrones

It would be higher on this list if the second season wasn’t average compared to the stellar first season.  Don’t get me wrong, Game of Thrones is one of the best on TV but I felt like season two dragged too much at times and the show missed the great performances of Sean Bean and Aidan Gillen (who doesn’t have as prominent of role in season two).  Tyrion Lannister (played by the great Peter Dinklage) is still the show’s best character and Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) gets her moment in the spotlight with Kit Harrington becoming the show’s hero.  Here’s hoping that season three will bring back that dramatic spark that the first season captured so well (hint:  it will!).

8 – New Girl

Currently one of the best comedies on television.  Many wondered if New Girl’s first season did so well because everyone was caught off guard by Zooey Deschanel and Max Greenfield’s comedic timing.  Folks thought that maybe the show was a fluke, a one time deal.  Well, guys, it was no fluke.  Both Deschanel and Greenfield are up for Golden Globes for their roles in the show and you could argue that Greenfield is the funniest character on television.  The ensemble for this show works so well together, frankly I’m surprised Jake Johnson and Lamorne Morris didn’t get Globe nominations as well.

7 – Louie

Louis C.K. is one of the funniest people on the planet and yet everytime I watch his show I find more ways to laugh and just smile.  The show teeters on the dark line far often than most would like but that’s what makes the show so great.  It doesn’t hold back and C.K. is given pretty free reign to do and say what he wants.

6 – Dexter

Many people wrote off Dexter’s 7th season as just one more season until the show finally ends.  Folks thought the show should have ended after the 5th season.  Admittedly the show’s writing had gone down hill and seasons five and six just seemed like filler leading up to the show’s series finale after next year.  Then came the events of season 7 and all bets were off.  I won’t spoil anything for you if you haven’t seen the season that just ended, but let’s just say season eight will be absolute nuts!

5 – Sons of Anarchy

Another show that will be entering its last season next year but it’s another show where anything can happen after the events of its sixth season unfolded.  Jax Teller became the leader of the Sons and chaos ensued but not before revenge was exacted and prominent members were thrown in jail.  We saw brutal deaths, including Opie – who was a severe fan favorite.  What does the last season of Sons of Anarchy hold?  No one knows but I’m sure we’ll be knocked off our feet either way.

4 – Modern Family

Network television’s best comedy, this show just keeps getting better.  From Ed O’Neill to Sophia Vergara to Julie Bowen to Ty Burrell, the cast members of this show should all have their own TV shows.   I wouldn’t mind a spin-off show starring just Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson who star as Cameron Tucker and Mitchell Pritchett respectively.  For four seasons now Modern Family has been mandatory viewing on Wednesday nights.

3 – American Horror Story: Asylum

I didn’t think it was possible to get an crazier than the first season of American Horror Story but the writers at FX have done one better with the show’s second season, Asylum.  Jessica Lange, Zachary Pinto, and James Cromwell all give great performances this season but the real standout has been Sarah Paulson – nominated for a Golden Globe – an aspiring writer who gets falsely committed to the asylum by a deranged Lange.  The season isn’t over yet, but all you need to know is that there are delusions of aliens – oh yea, Ian McShane makes an awesome two episode cameo.

2 – The Walking Dead

After the show’s second season last year many were up in the air about The Walking Dead, it was a season full of dialogue and not much character progression.  It was a season where the end more than made up for the grueling weeks spent leading up to the finale.  Then came the show’s third season that is still on-going and will continue into 2013 but has redeemed the series and is shaping up to the show’s best.

1) Breaking Bad

Walter White is presumably on the run, but not before he ties up some loose ends and makes a couple extra thousand dollars.  His marriage is just a shell of what it once was.  His relationship with his kids is non-existent and he’s just been discovered by his DEA brother-in-law.  What else could you ask for in a show’s last season?  For nearly 7 years Breaking Bad has been a staple of Sunday night viewing on AMC, Bryan Cranston has won numerous Emmy’s, and the show’s writing has been top-notch.  What will we do without Mr. White and his meth cooking?  Tune in summer 2013 to find out.


*I should point out that a lot of readers will notice the absence of Homeland from this list.  I’ve only been able to catch a handful of episodes from the first season, not enough to put it on the list.  However, I’m sure – from everything I’ve read – if I was to sit down and watch the show’s first and second season it would undoubtedly be in the top 5.  Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire get Honorable Mention here.


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