Friday, December 16, 2011

Top TV Picks 2011

So many delicious, complex, well written goodies inhabited this so-called vast wasteland. Now that wasteland has a lot of fecund, jungly pockets.

The weirdest, funniest, truest half hour of art/comedy you'll ever watch.

Game of Thrones
Based on one of my all-time favorite book series, this ambitious show takes its time to set up place, characters, and plot. Then it pulls your guts out. I knew it was coming, and still it wrecked me. Sometimes its even better than the books.

Complex southern characters plus Elmore Leonard's humor and humanity. Some amazing performances last season lifted this series to one of the best out there, ever. Deserving of way more Emmy nominations than it got.

The Borgias
Historical soap opera at its sexiest, bloodiest, and most gorgeous. I'm usually a stickler for history, but this show made me put down the textbook and revel in Jeremy Irons as a conniving sinner Pope.

Friday Night Lights
One of the all time great series ever on television reached its perfect conclusion this year. I have friends who still haven't watched the final episode. They keep it on their dvr like a hidden stash of gold, pretending the show isn't really over.  Only the best of the best could ever inspire devotion like that.

Parks and Recreation
This hilarious series also has one of the sweetest love stories on TV.

The show that made me keep my Showtime subscription, featuring amazing performances by Claire Danes and Damien Lewis in a twisty 'Manchurian Candidate" type plot that features real people instead of thriller stereotypes.

The Good Wife
Even with a few missteps this season (Eli Gold overdose, not nearly enough of Will and Alicia's trysts, annoying teen daughter Grace) The Good Wife has the most compelling ensemble of characters on network television. Kalinda Sharma alone could catapult this show into my top picks.

Hey look, teens who have sex, do drugs, make mistakes, and are hilarious. MTV makes the case for  its continued existence with this series.

Sure the storylines involve multiple worlds, but this show is really all about the relationships. Mix up mind boggling sci fi and thwarted true love and you'll get me every time.

The Vampire Diaries
Insane in the best possible way, the incredible pace of this show's relentless story plus its shamelessly hot batch of actors makes it the juiciest guilty pleasure out there. Doesn't hurt that Ian Somerhalder's the hottest vampire since Spike. Sorry, Sookie.

Coverage of The Breeder's Cup 2011
I was glued first to TVG, then to ESPN and ABC watching this series of races featuring the best horses in the world. Mighty European miler Goldikova made her last, valiant stand to no avail, and favorites Uncle Mo and Havre de Grace fell behind a last minute charge by Drosselmeyer, ridden by Mike Smith, who tried to make that same charge last year on (my favorite and one of the all-time greats) the amazing mare Zenyatta, and failed by a nose.

Also excellent: Doctor Who, Whitechapel, Boardwalk Empire (especially the last few eps of this season), Once Upon a Time, The Daily Show, Masterpiece Mystery.

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