It’s been a great year for TV, as some say we’ve entered a new golden age with complex, layered characters and stories appearing nightly on our flat screens. Here’s a look at some of the best of 2012. (Full disclaimer: Patch Goes Pop has
only 24 hours in a day so we can’t simply watch everything on TV. If your favorite
show isn’t on here, maybe we just haven’t gotten to it yet.)
10. “The Newsroom” – This is TV’s definition of a hot mess. Yes, it can be pretentious and preachy but it’s also smart, superbly written and dares to take head on the issues of the day.
9. “New Girl” – It started out as a show about its “adorkable” star, Zooey Deschanel, and has turned into a funny, freewheeling ensemble comedy about friendship, a fitting successor to “Friends.” Deschanel’s “Jess” has even taken a back seat to Max Greenfield’s “Schmidt,” one of the most memorable characters in television history.
8. “Hatfields & McCoys” – The A&E network reminded us about the glory days of miniseries with this fascinating look at the legendary feud between two American families.
7. “Veep” – This HBO show about a female Vice President who desperately seeks to make her mark in a town that is always trying to bury her was a revelation last year. Fast, sharp and profanely funny. It’s a triumph for Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
6. “Bones” – Every list like this needs a dark horse and this is our pony. We thought this show had finally “jumped the shark” by coupling its two, long-frustrated romantic leads and giving them a baby. But it has shockingly rebounded with powerful, heartfelt episodes about the victims they seek justice for. The show about a homeless Gulf War vet killed in the 9/11 attacks and the special episode viewed through the eyes of a teenage boy were haunting and poignant.
5. “Justified” – Deputy U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens is simply TV’s coolest lawman, bringing justice to his beloved Kentucky holler as he faces off against assorted drug dealers, hillbillies, outlaws and assorted lowlifes, including his own daddy, with style and charm.
4. “Modern Family” – More outright laughs per episode than most shows. Not since the late “Arrested Development” has a show done a better job of setting up a joke early in its episodes and delivering the punch lines later on.
3. “Mad Men” – Consistently one of the best written, best acted shows on TV. The past year saw major changes for our ad men and women and hinted at the upheavals still to come both in their personal and professional lives as the tumultuous 1960s comes to an end.
2. “Game of Thrones” – HBO’s complex, Machiavellian series gets more fascinating with each episode and each new character that it introduces.
1. “The Walking Dead” – Gripping, gory and packs more shocks and emotional wallops in each episode than most shows pack in a full season. Each death on this show matters, even the zombie deaths. Television at its very best.
Patch Goes Pop can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org