I watched a whole lot of TV in 2012 – and there was lots of great stuff out there. A few new shows (House of Lies and Magic City), some awesome sophomore efforts (Sherlock, Episodes, Game of Thrones, and Homeland), some veteran performances (Sons of Anarchy S06, Dexter S07), a few swan songs (Bored to Death S03 and Weeds S08), and, of course, my favorite: Breaking Bad So5. Here’s my quick review in order of my preferences as hard as it was to choose:
- Breaking Bad S05 – bar none, best series. ever. I loved season 5 – the train robbery and then everything – really every single scene – from E08 including the two montages…legendary television…now have to wait until July to know who wins the battle between Walt and Heisenberg…Anyone remember the screenshot that I shared on this post? It is from S02 during the Pollos Hermanos TV clip at the beginning of E09 and as you see in my highlight, it actually mentions Madrigal which plays such a huge role in S05. I’ll say it again: Best. Show. Ever.
- Boardwalk Empire S03 – best bad guy of the year was Gyp (and there were some REALLY good bad guys this year: the Governor (Walking Dead), Wynn Duffy (Justified), Ben “The Butcher Diamond (Magic City), and Moriarty (Sherlock)) due to his complete insanity, the amazing imagery that he was always filmed with (references to horses, etc). Also, the depths of Nucky’s fall in E11 and his rise back to power in E12 were unforgettable!
- Game of Thrones S02 – Many of us thought that after Ned was dead, that there was no way that this show would find another lead character. Tyrion proved us wrong again and again all season. And if that wasn’t enough, along with zombies and dragons, we also got an epic naval battle / castle siege in E12. Awesome season!
- Sherlock S02 – I discovered this series this year and found that the only disappointing thing about it was that there were only 6 episodes – and only 3 per season! The principle actors are obviously reaping benefits (Watson is now the Hobbit and Sherlock is Star Trek’s Bad Guy next spring). I still can’t figure out how “wedding, rat, and bow” help Sherlock escape death in the penultimate scene. Have you?
- House of Lies S01 – I loved this show. Laughed my ass off during every episode. I think every character on here is twisted and fascinating. Can’t wait to see how Marty Khan gets through S02.
- Mad Men S05 – I know that I may get flack for dropping Mad Men all the way down to 6 on this list. Its just that I didn’t enjoy S05 as much as, say, S01 or S02. I mean it was good TV and all, but I never developed enough sympathy for Megan and found that Lane deserved a better end (although I loved his cameo as Moriarty in the second Downey, Jr Sherlock film). Riveting TV, yes. But best of the year? Not in my opinion.
- Homeland S02 – I really enjoyed Homeland this year and found that both Damien and Carrie continued to carry the show this season. I was more and more annoyed by the sexy but completely clueless Jessica character and couldn’t really follow some of the logic (especially during the scene where they are hunting Abu Nazir in the underground complex). Despite those reservations, it was definitely a great show and I can’t wait to see how they deal with the ashes of Langely in S03.
- Justified S03 – I did really love Justified this year and found that Wynn was a really scary bad guy. I miss the dialogs between Raylan and his (super sexy) ex-wife (and now psycho ex-girlfriend on Californication – more later) and thought that Walter Goggins should have had more airtime as he is my favorite bad guy over the three seasons of the show. I can’t wait to see some more ass-whuppin as S04 fires up here in two weeks.
- The Walking Dead S03 – Also split in two like Breaking Bad, S03 is only a half season here but still was quite well done with good special effects and a nasty bad guy in the Governor. I wonder if we’ll see Negan in S03-Part 2…
- Bored to Death S03 – I am really going to miss this show. It was hilarious and fun and low-key. Ted Danson was over the top. I can’t really fathom why they cancelled this but, hey, its TV so anything can happen right? If you missed this one, please go pick it up and watch it. Definitely one of the more intelligent and underrated shows of the last few years.
- Episodes S02 – Joey, Joey, Joey, will you ever learn? No, he can’t learn, he just doesn’t have it in him. The Hollywood misadventures of Sean and Bev (both so recently single) were fun to watch – if uncomfortable at times. Matt LeBlanc is hilarious as himself once again but doesn’t overwhelm the other actors. This is a well-balanced show full of humor that should last at least one or two more seasons. I just realized that the link I gave you up there is for S01, I don’t seem to have reviewed S02. Oops.
- Magic City S01 – This new series covers the Miami of my parent’s childhoods. It is a great show with loads of potential. The women in the show are all natural and all gorgeous as are the super sets and decors for this show. Definitely looking forward to the imminent start of S02.
- Californication S05 – I have grown to like Dave Duchovny’s portrayal of Hank although Californication the show has had its ups and downs. S05 was not the strongest season but still had its funny moments. I liked seeing Natalie Zia (from the aforementioned Justified) and her role here was pretty interesting. I just hope that they’ll throw in some new dynamics in the show as it is starting to fall into a rut after five similar seasons.
- Sons of Anarchy S06 – The Sons have nearly broken away from the mafia and such but at what cost? Some viewership certainly as this season was not as strong as S05 in my opinion. While entertaining, there was a bit too much chaos and not enough brotherly bonding to hold my attention this year. I’ll be back to see what Kurt Sutter does with S07 – hoping that it will be an improvement over S06.
- Treme S03 – I know that this show has suffered a small, dwindling audience and yet I still love all the music and food in it. But, I’ll have to admit that I was more keen on catching up on Homeland or Sons of Anarchy most of the time than in catching up on Treme. It is engaging and I love all the characters, but it is true that it demands a higher degree of concentration than many other shows. Well, there are only 5 more episodes next year. Carpe Diem.
- Weeds S08 – The other show that died this year was Weeds. It did go eight seasons without really losing its energy or humor and for that it is commendable. Its demise however is more justified than that of Bored to Death because we had pretty much gone as far as we could with Nancy and the crazy Botwins. The final episode was pretty good but still pales in comparison to the final episode of Six Feet Under which I believe is the best “last” episode ever. I would still like to see more of the actors that made this show fun to watch, but with 18 (!!) shows on my list, it will be a relief to eliminate a few to make room for new ones.
- Dexter S07 – Perhaps I am being unfair in dropping Dex to the bottom of this list, but I think that despite the extraordinary great final episode, that S07 in general was not very fun or interesting to watch. I think that it is probably a good thing that it will – like Weeds – end after an 8-season run. Hopefully, it will end on a good note because if S07E13 is any indicator, like Breaking Bad, they have removed all the stoppers and will hit us full-on next fall.
- Hell on Wheels S02 – I never finished this one but as I really enjoyed S01, I will be catching up on S02 before the Winter season of Mad Men, Justified, Magic City, Game of Thrones, and House of Lies fires up!
So, did you watch some awesome show that I missed? Do you disagree with my order here? Please let me know in the comments! And may the new 2013 TV seasons commence!