While they may not have been the year’s most critically acclaimed or the country’s most popular, each the following shows made this TV Addict’s Top 10 of ’11 for the simple reason that each week, they left us jonesing another fix. You know those people who say “less is more?” Yeah, they’re totally wrong. As the following programs prove, too much is never enough.
THE GOOD WIFE (CBS)
Since previous “Best Ofs” have already seen us shine the spotlight on the crackling chemistry that comes hand-in-hand with THE GOOD WIFE’s all-star ensemble and roster of guest stars that reads like a “Who’s Who” of Broadway, we thought we’d take this opportunity to highlight something slightly less sexy about the show that good doesn’t even begin to describe. Once thought of as the show’s achilles heel, this year saw the legal drama raise the bar on the courtroom aspect of the series thanks to sharply written and thought provoking case-of-the-weeks whose interest — unlike many shows of the same ilk — often rival that of the relationship melodrama outside of the courtroom.
GAME OF THRONES (HBO)
Complete with epic battles, copious amounts of sex and violence, and a level of storytelling so ambitious it’s almost more befitting the big screen than that of the small, HBO’s adaptation of George R.R. Martin epic fantasy series GAME OF THRONES didn’t just live up to the hype, it surpassed it. And in doing so reaffirmed HBO’s long-dormant mantra, “It’s not TV, it’s HBO.” Indeed.
PARKS AND RECREATION (NBC)
As if season after season of consistently delivering laughs thanks to an all-star ensemble and all-too-frequent phenomenal guest cast isn’t reason enough to extol the virtues of one of the best comedies you’re not watching, this season of PARKS AND RECREATION solidified its spot amongst our all-time favorites (see: FRIENDS, FRASIER) thanks to three important factors: 1) More romance (Amy Poehler and Adam Scott give adorkable NEW GIRL Zooey Deschanel a run for her money). 2) More Aziz Ansari (RIP Entertainment 7Twenty). And 3) Even more heart, culminating in the recent midseason finale that had Leslie’s entire staff pledging their allegiance to her campaign in an emotionally poignant moment reminiscent of THE WEST WING’s “I serve at the pleasure of the President.”
For every Showrunner and Network Executive that spent the better part of the last year losing sleep over the idea that the coming together of two popular television characters means the death of drama (Yes, we’re talking to you, fine folks involved with BONES and CASTLE), we respectively present our rebuttal in the form of the entire extended Braverman family. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll surely join us in scratching your head over why more people aren’t watching the remarkably acted and beautifully written family drama that is NBC’s PARENTHOOD.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (NBC)
After almost five seasons of near flawlessness, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS ran out the clock with a win so big we’re still reeling from the emotional satisfaction that came from a beautiful football-free final montage befitting a series that was about so much more than what happened on any given Sunday. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
If Showtime’s spy-tastic new thriller HOMELAND proved anything, well aside from the undeniable awesomeness of stars Claire Danes and Damien Lewis, it’s that less is indeed more. Not saddled with the Kiefer Sutherland thriller’s twenty-four episode per season time constraint that generally amounted to an explosive start and finish to every season marred by an extraneous middle padded with silly story lines (Think: Elisha Cuthbert and a cougar trap!), HOMELAND’s 13 episode cable-sized season was just right. And by “just right’ we of course mean jam-packed with a seemingly never-ending number of twists and turns that had us questioning motives of an ever-expanding roster of morally dubious characters up until the very moment the final episode’s credits rolled.
HAPPY ENDINGS (ABC)
Since we’ve already gone on record in heralding HAPPY ENDINGS as quite possibly the funniest series since that show about that coffee addicted gang from Central Perk, we’ll simply say this: The only thing that makes us happier than getting to revel in the misadventures of Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans Jr and Casey Wilson on a week-in-and-week-out-basis is the idea that— thanks to a surprising second season uptick in ratings — we’ll be getting to do so for many seasons to come.
PERSON OF INTEREST (CBS)
What PERSON OF INTEREST may lack in verbiage from its somewhat emotionless leading former military man that is Jim Caviezel’s mysterious John Reese, it more than makes up for thanks to showrunner Jonathan Nolan. The immensely talented storyteller (See writing credits that include: The Dark Knight, The Prestige and Memento), who in teaming up Reese with the equally mysterious multimillionaire Harold Finch (LOST’s Michael Emerson) and Cops Carter (Tarjai P. Henson) and Fusco (Kevin Chapman) has quietly created the superhero television series television genre fans so richly deserve.
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS)
Despite the fact that we continue to be vocal about the decisive lack of movement on the mother of all mysteries, we feel that it’s important to note when it comes to HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER that we chastise because we love. Oh, and did we mention we’re not alone? Almost unheard of in this modern 500 channel universe, our infatuation with this hilarious and heartwarming series continues to grow along with… drumroll please… the show’s audience! In other-words, co–creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas must be doing something right.
DOWNTON ABBEY (PBS)
Move over MELROSE PLACE, television scandal has a new address! The place: Victorian England. The Time: Early 20th Century. The Hook: Having recently devoured the entire first season courtesy of Netflix, we find ourselves completely enthralled in the sordid sex-filled scandal-ridden lives of the Crawley family and the staff that serves them. Seriously. You have not lived until you’ve witnesses a dressing down by family matriarch Violet (Dame Maggie Smith).
REVENGE (ABC): Aaron Spelling would be proud.
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO): Did you see “Palestinian Chicken”?
BONES (FOX): For giving the middle-finger to the MOONLIGHTING Curse!
HART OF DIXIE (CW): Possibly the most delightful small town since Stars Hollow.
RAISING HOPE (FOX): Living under the poverty line hasn’t been this funny since ROSEANNE.
SHAMELESS (Showtime): Thanks to the funniest collection of kids since MODERN FAMILY. Speaking of which…
MODERN FAMILY (ABC): Still undeniably the most consistently funny performer on television.
THE DAILY SHOW/COLBERT REPORT (Comedy): Also known as the silver-lining to the out-and-out insanity that the American political system.
COMMUNITY (NBC): To borrow a line from the dearly departed Steve Jobs, “Here’s to the crazy ones.”
THE MIDDLE (ABC): Now that the entirety of the critic community has jumped on the Heck bandwagon, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you all that we were there first!
Animation Domination (FOX): This season’s trifecta of Seth MacFarlane shows (FAMILY GUY, AMERICAN DAD, CLEVELAND SHOW) and THE SIMPSONS have been so enjoyable we’re willing to forgive Fox for ALLEN GREGORY.