It’s a little late in the game; however, it still remains significant. Paying a bit of tribute to some of the best television series of 2012 is a must, seeing as how TV in the past year had a great deal of competition, especially on Sunday nights. From the compelling dramas to the laugh-out-loud comedies, 2012 had some of the best television in quite a long while. HBO, AMC, FX, Showtime, ABC, and even a special odd little cartoon from Cartoon Network, this year has been a unique television ride. Here are my Top 10 Best Television Shows of 2012:
10. Nurse Jackie- The fourth season of the dark comedy series following Jackie Peyton’s journey through sobriety truly reinvigorated the series and brought new drama and hilarious humor to a rather tragic situation. Edie Falco and her co-stars meld well together, and the new addition, Bobby Cannavale as the main antagonist, Mike Cruz who continuously foils Jackie on the messy road to a new life. Jackie finds out who the important people are in her life with her quirky co-workers at All Saint’s Hospital by her side. Facing a myriad of new obstacles and in the end overcoming them and still remaining sober? I think Nurse Jackie has done it! And I can’t wait for its return later this year.
9. Adventure Time- The special, odd, little colorful Cartoon Network cartoon series that has both kids and adults alike turning into eccentric fans has had a very special fourth season that turned out to be my favorite. Finn and Jake’s adventures continue to be some of the weirdest, most unique eleven minute episodes on television, cartoon or otherwise. The colorful characters, creative adventures, hilarious concepts and mythologies make the show more than your average everyday cartoon. Pendleton Ward continues to make one special little cartoon, that delivers positive messages and subtlety discovers some controversial aspects like sexism, puberty, gender roles, and highlights the acceptance of individuals of every race, gender, sexual orientation, body image and more. There are sad episodes, depressing ones, funny ones, and action-packed ones. It’s better than most animated series on television these days.
8. Scandal- Shonda Rhimes’ juicy crisis-drama series starring, Kerry Washington only gets better and better with every episode, full of tumultuous twists and turns. Olivia Pope and Associates takes on one insane crisis after another while also attempting to balance out their own messy lives. These professional fixers are all flawed individuals tethered together into a growing and truly devastating single crisis in its deadly good second season. A crisis that is just waiting to explode! All the while the fan-favorite forbidden love affair between Olivia and Fitz grows even more strained and full of longing angst. Discovering the complex past of these scandalous politicians at the West Wing, while also pushing the respective character storylines in some exquisitely entertaining and intense directions, I cannot wait for the remainder of the second season…
7. American Horror Story: Asylum- Even more horrifying than its first season, the FX horror-drama series returns with a new story of terror, sex, and torture in the asylum of Briarcliff Manor. What is so deliciously wicked and fascinating about this new story is how it questions the sanity of not only its characters, but its viewers. The tricky editing, the insane storytelling, scary amazing performances all around from its cast, and shocking developments in every all-new episode contributes to how excitingly dark the series as gotten in its second season. It’s just an intense, fun fever dream full of horrific scenarios set in a criminal 1960s asylum institution that inhabits those who have been deemed unlovable misfits of a repressive American society full of hate and ethical horrors. Thought-provoking and insanely entertaining !
6. Boardwalk Empire- One of the three best series of 2012 that improved greatly this past year! Terence Winter’s gangster drama show literally leaps in quality during the extremely dramatic and intricate third season. After the death of main character, Jimmy Darmody, some might have worried about how it would affect the series; however, the show only improved. The scope, the actors, the action and drama, everything became bigger and better. The addition of Bobby Cannavale as the new villain was one of the best things about the show in 2012, and he did an amazing job as the diabolical and violently insecure, Gyp Rossetti. Both its characters and its compelling stories grew more grander, charismatic, and even kind of operatic, evolving into an American classic! The new voice that the series finally has a strong grip on has done wonders to balance the underrated HBO drama following Nucky Thompson and the violent world he inhabits and maneuvers.
5. Game of Thrones- It’s been quite an ambitious epic series from the start, but the second season of ten excellent episodes were even better and turned out to be exciting masterpieces. The large cast of fantastic actors and actresses portraying the complex myriad of characters in the whole of Westeros perfectly melds together, bringing this violent and sexual fantasy world to life. The relentless scheming and manipulating moves the medieval chess pieces in some surprising ways, developing our favorite and not so favorite characters and the settings around them. George R.R Martin’s darkly extravagant imagination is fully brought to televised reality, with well-written episodes that push the story forward, whether its young princesses proving their power with the help of her three baby dragons, a wannabe king attempting to capture King’s Landing and the Iron Throne, or a young sociopath king unleashing horror on his citizens. Revealing more and more bits of magic, while also keeping its characters the real monsters of this fantasy world. The night is truly dark and full of terrors. GOT’s second season is definitely one of the best ten episodes of 2012!
4. Mad Men- The fifth season of the much-loved and universally acclaimed AMC drama series by Matthew Weiner has both been called the best season and the worst season, by critics and viewers alike. I am one of those who happened to love it a lot! Following Don Draper and the many other mad men and women as they face a strange new time called the late 1960s, as well as the depressing, alienating monotony of a vaguely unfulfilling life. Probably the most depressing season of Mad Men, and the most surprising, with character developments which highlight the best of what the series does. Suicide, death, divorce, prostitution, infidelity. It’s all here! The ladies and gentlemen at SCDP fall into uncharted territory. From Betty’s new body image issues, Don’s new wife, Lane Pryce’s suicide, the office’s moral indiscretion concerning Joan, Peggy leaving SCDP, and even Roger’s revealing LSD trip, this past year of Mad Men is a standalone season that is one of the most unique, the most dark and is my personal favorite.
3. The Walking Dead- There were some complaints about the slow pace of the AMC zombie-drama series’ second season; however, the first half of the third season turned out to be one hell of a comeback! Not only is there plenty of zombie gore and action, but there is some surprisingly exciting and very dark developments for its characters, especially the groups worn leader, Rick Grimes. As Lori carries her baby, the group comes into contact with new dangers; all of which turn out to be humans rather than the undead monsters that plague the land. Andrea and Michonne’s discovery of seemingly homey small town of Woodbury led to some of the most intense and complex new storylines of the show since Season 1. The return of fan favorite, Merle also brings some interesting new story possibilities. The new characters, the Governor (Phil) and Michonne are fascinating to watch even more so than the undead beings roaming the earth. The second half premieres in February and looks to continue this darkly exciting streak!
2. Girls- It’s hard trying to figure out what your going to become during your twenties. Provocative in every single way, this special little series from Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow turned out to be the year’s most talked-about and controversial comedy series that has sparked some much heated debate concerning women and individuals of my own generation. Following four twenty-something year old young women fresh out of college, the series delves into their respective lives as they attempt to approach adulthood with some semblance of grace. However, the reality of reaching adulthood is less glamorous than one would think. No one ever tells you how odd and occasionally distressing the time between college and adulthood is. These four young and privileged young women attempt to find their footing in a world of mixed communication, ugly truths, and painful pathos. The series is incredibly self-aware and unflinching in its sometimes depressing honesty that goes along with growing up in the modern world. There is something so tragic about it, and yet you can’t help but laugh. I’ve found that those who despise the series are missing the imperative and poignant nature of the show and what its creator is trying to say. I dare say it’s the second bravest television series on the small screen this past year, and I can’t wait for more of it later this January!
1. The Newsroom- This is the bravest television series of the year. Idealistic, hard-hitting, informative, and very important. Aaron Sorkin took everyone by storm with its first episode, just in its beginning five minutes as its main protagonist and popular news anchor, Will McAvoy unleashes a very important speech concerning America’s disturbing shortcomings and highlighting why our country isn’t the best anymore. Full of rhythmic passionate monologues and witty dialogue, the HBO newscast drama is another series that has viewers and critics split on its premise. Some believe it to be one big idealistic lecture that is well-written but self-indulgent. However, in reality, the series is a poignant and sometimes controversial wake up call to a country that has gotten too comfortable with itself; Pandering to media polarization, celebrity worship, and arrogant cynisicm that has become a trademark of our society. It speaks to its audience in a way that grabs their attention and doesn’t let them go without giving them a quick lesson, in a very entertaining fashion. Beyond the sometimes wavering relationship storylines, the series is this year’s closest to perfect. The cast is intelligent and full of surprises and as we all know, Aaron Sorkin writes like a majestic wizard on speed! Glorious in all of its idealistic passion and fire, The Newsroom is inspiring, fast, compelling and often breathtaking in its ability to engage and enrage. The mission to civilize has never been better!
- True Blood
- Grey’s Anatomy
- Breaking Bad
- Parks & Recreation
- New Girl
- Children’s Hospital
- Doctor Who
- Downton Abbey
What were your favorite television series of the past year? Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a comment!
© Patrick Broadnax 2013