Monday, January 23, 2012

Favorite Television Shows of 2011

Here it goes! My favorite shows of the past year:

10. Parenthood
I'll admit that this show can have it's moments here and there with somewhat silly plotlines, but the payoffs are always perfect. These guys can act,and they're best at it when it counts. Most of the characters are incredibly compelling and very well fleshed out. One question I have -- is there something in the contract about an impromptu family dance scene needing to occur every three or four episodes?
Instant Availability: Netflix and Hulu

9. Raising Hope
Usually I'm turned off to the hick, irreverent approach to life (and in this case, parenting). But there's something about this show -- the quirky, well-defined characters, the common desire to better themselves for this child (but still failing at it), and the occasional guest star Amy Sedaris.
Instant Availability: Netflix and Hulu

8. Modern Family
Although I'm not as swept away by it as I have been in the first and part of the second season, this show continues to keep the sitcom fresh and energetic (although I've been somewhat disappointed by the new season).
Instant Availability: Hulu

7. The Walking Dead
Despite the fact the characters are some of the more frustrating and irritating of the shows on my list (basically, most could die and I wouldn't really care), this still is a very compelling drama. Although only half of season two has aired so far, and major portions of the season were pretty slow, the mid-season finale made amends for everything that had happened before it.
Instant Availability: Netflix (only season 1)

6. 30 Rock
Although still not as funny as it has been in the past, Fey and co. still have what it takes to make a quick and outrageous comedy work well.
Instant Availability: Netflix and Hulu

5. Parks and Recreation
Wow. This show went from something Beth and I never watched earlier in the year to one of our favorites in a span of a few episodes. We were those people that sort of gave up on it after the first season, missing the moment when it really started excelling. Now it's one of my favorite comedies on television.
Instant Availability: Netflilx and Hulu

4. Friday Night Lights
Very few shows feel as real as this one did. Credit is deserved to both the cast and crew, for creating a show that felt at times more like a documentary, like you were actually looking in on these students' lives. It was an impressive feat with such an ensemble cast.
Instant Availability: Netflilx and Hulu

3. Louie
This was, without a doubt, my biggest surprise of the year. Louie is one of the most refreshing shows I've ever seen. Louis C.K. was given the unheard of ability to be in almost complete charge of the television show, and it, well, shows. Although the show typically appears in the "Comedy" genre, Louis takes it in so many directions and a vast range of emotions. You have no idea what's coming with every new sketch. The show is summed up best in an AV Club post:
 "In an age when a lot of television seems stultified and hidebound by convention, Louie is a reminder that innovation is still possible, and it’s always best when tempered by humanity."
Instant Availability: Netflix (only season 1), Hulu (both seasons 1 and 2)

2. Community
I can't think of a show that makes itself more vulnerable -- not only is it refreshingly original and innovative, but I can't think of a sitcom that wears its heart on its sleeve more than this one. It's my favorite comedy on television.
Instant Availability: Hulu

1. Breaking Bad
With season 4, Breaking Bad continues to be on of my favorite shows currently on television. The show is gripping with just the right amounts of humor. The characters are incredibly three-dimensional and intriguing. And as gripping and intense as the show is, nothing about it feels forced. As crazy as things get, it still seems believable. It's because they let the characters dictate the story, not the other way around.

I love this show.

Instant Availability: Netflix (seasons 1-3)

So there it is! What were some of your favorites? Anything I missed?