My personal TV Highlights of 2012, which isn’t really a best/worst list (or maybe it should be) and it doesn’t help that I’ve really cut back on tv viewing and don’t have Showtime and HBO (so, no Damian Lewis and Homeland or Boardwalk Empire). And I’m not on the Breaking Bad bandwagon. In no particular order:
1. Sherlock/Elementary – I decided to combine the Holmesian stuff in one category. I got a kick out of seeing Irene Adler on Sherlock and credit Elementary for bringing Jonny Lee Miller back on American tv. Benedict Cumberbatch and Miller bring out different aspects of Sherlock, and while I like how Cumberbatch plays up the clever and anti-social Sherlock, Miller does a nice job on a tragic Sherlock, who won’t admit that he’s tragic. Elementary‘s not perfect and not as crisp as Sherlock (having a longer season on American broadcast network does drag things out), but a good watch.
2. Community – the season finale was just terrific (note that this is a show that I have raved on the blog previously). If that had been a series finale, I could accept it and move on, but NBC’s giving me a sense of empty hope of when Community would be back. Hopefully, we’ll get a triumphant final season soon (I say “final” since I don’t expect a renewal; NBC could surprise me, but who knows?).
3. The summer Olympics 2012. As I posted here about the Olympics, NBC continues to be an irritation about its coverage, since it has to make a great highlights show already, rather than a bloated half-ass one, but good stuff is still good.
4. Presidential Debates 2012 – the crazy reality show that really affected reality.
5. Fringe – what a weird year of the series, especially as we’re in the last season. We’ll see how this ends.
6. Suits – Is it a perfect show? No, but I get a kick out of the characters and the dialogue, as improbable as the plots are. This priceless line of dialogue this summer really had me guffawing, something along the lines where Harvey Specter (the basically nutty senior partner of the law firm) says: “There can only be one” at the funeral of the founding partner’s wife, and Jessica Pearson (managing partner) replies to him: “You’re quoting ‘The Highlander’ [at a funeral]?!” That Jessica of all people even knew what Harvey was quoting was ridiculous to grasp.
7. PBS’ Masterpiece – I’m still not on the Downton Abbey bandwagon (gasp!). But, I’m still on board with Lewis (whatever the outcome of the show with its odd plots, Inspector Lewis, Sergeant Hathaway, and Dr. Hobson are such great characters), and was kind of happy with the return of Morse (even if it was a young Morse).
8. Justified – US Marshall Raylan Givens might shoot an awful lot, but he still gets around to asking lots of questions.
9. Young Justice – yes, it’s a cartoon, but it’s an animated DC Comics that moved a lot more than I expected. Red Arrow’s sad trajectory (doing the drug storyline without the drugs!) and even Dick Grayson as Nightwing and a return of Tim Drake as Robin – seriously, not what I’d think DC Comics would finally pull off on the (small) screen. So cool that Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker touched on Young Justice on his blog (at least somewhere on the mainstream covered it). Definitely a different way to look at whole Young Justice/Teen Titans as one combination (without using the name “Teen Titans” or even “Titans”).
10. Hurricane Sandy tv coverage – well, I didn’t lose electricity, so I probably overdosed on the coverage, especially to figure out whether I could travel or go to work or what. NY1 did a great job.
The Walking Dead (I finally got around to watching it this 3rd season, and seeing how nutty it is, at least insofar as how they notched the violence and decreased the melodrama of the relationship of Deputy Rick Grimes and his family);
Archer (ridiculous as ever);
Nova Science Now (David Pogue as host isn’t quite Neil deGrasse Tyson, but still science on PBS continues well and alive);
America Revealed (as noted previously on the blog, it was great for having Yul Kwon and, besides, it covered comprehensively and in a fascinating way a topic that Americans don’t think about: infrastructure of systems);
The Legend of Korra (the continuing saga of the Avatar series – just amazing for a cartoon!);
Doctor Who (linking to the BBC America site; I’m so behind, it’s not funny, but I caught some episodes and clips).
I have also gotten behind on Parks and Recreation, but what a show.
Oh, and Comedy Central’s just killing it with Key and Peele, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and The Colbert Report (that Maurice Sendak interview that Stephen Colbert had was just priceless, and so poignant after Sendak passed away this year).
I’m probably forgetting other notable stuff of 2012, but I never promise to be comprehensive!
The professional tv critics have their lists out there:
David Bianculli has the rundown reflecting on the state of tv in 2012 on NPR’s Fresh Air and his list up on his website, TV Worth Watching.
Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker in a video on his Top 10 (check your dead tree issue, too) and the rest of the 10 making his Top 20.
Time’s James Poniewozik with his Best TV, and Best Episodes lists and other lists, along with his Worst of 2012.
There are probably many other persons’ lists I’m missing; feel free to look for your own favorites and share accordingly.