Top 10 TV Shows of 2011

Surveilling the 2011 TV landscape


While my top albums of the year list diverged from critical consensus due to a mixture of life-related ignorance and trend-related indifference, this list will look like a lot of the others you’ve seen elsewhere. It’d be nice to make a statement and be more original, but best is best. When it comes to TV, consensus tends to emerge because even critics have to limit their viewing, as it requires more of your time to watch a tv series than watching a movie or listening to an album. So the critics do some sampling, champion their favourites, and I listen.

And even though I’m selective when it comes to my TV-watching, it’s still the medium that dominates most of my time. There’s so much good TV out there that even I can’t keep up, so for 2012, I’m trying to reduce my consumption to only greatness. If a TV show can’t meet the standards of the series you see here (or fails to continue to meet previous standards), then it’s gotta go. After all, I gotta make room for other great shows (some of which might even be missing here, although probably not). So if you’d like to be more selective with your viewing, consider this a guide of what should stay in your line-up.
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The Sixth Annual Andy TV Awards – Drama Series

Here it is, the final entry in my 2011 TV Awards series, mere weeks after they were relevant. I must say, that save Dexter, the Academy actually nailed this category. If they simply replaced that with Justified (which was oddly absent despite nominations for Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, and winner Margo Martindale), this might have been the best group of nominees I’d ever seen out of the Emmys. They chose four of my six nominees, with the fifth being the toughest omission I had to make in years.

In case you missed it, here are the other posts for the Sixth Annual Andy TV Awards:

Read on for the final award of the night, the winner of which also gets the title of “Best Show of the TV season”.
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The Fifth Annual Andy TV Awards – Outstanding Drama Series

I was originally going to post both outstanding series awards together, but decided that since it’s taking me so long, I was better off getting something posted just to remind anyone out there that might still be following that I wasn’t done yet. But this is the end, I promise. After all, I have another ongoing project that I need to get back to at some point. Plus, I should really finish this before it’s time to do an end of the year best of TV list (I’m only half kidding there).
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Bonus Lists: Best TV Shows of 2009

I will spend all of 2010 writing about the past year or decade
If my top ten movies of 2009 list was late, then what does that make these lists? I’ll try not to think about it, especially since I still have another year end list to go. But, since I’ve spent the past two months writing about the best TV of the decade, I’m not particularly in the mood to spend the next two writing about the best TV of the year. But since my need to list all things chronological is near pathological, I’m still going to post a list. Two, in fact.

Traditionally, I write a top ten list of the best shows of the year, be they drama, comedy, reality, talk show, whatever. But lately, there’s been so many great shows on TV, that limiting it ten was too difficult. My compromise? Two top 10 lists, one for comedy, one for drama, just with less writing than usual. Another new twist for this year: in the past, I ranked shows based on full seasons – only considering shows that had aired a season finale within the year, even if that means taking episodes from the previous year into consideration. It made sense at the time, but had the unfortunate side effect of making much of my Andy TV Awards redundant. Also, it prevented me from talking about new shows. And in 2009, there was a lot of great new shows. So these lists are more traditional, January through December 2009 viewpoints of television (which, admittedly, is a little more difficult since some of these shows have been running episodes for two and a half months since the qualifications for this list end).

But enough of all that. I’ve already written more than I have time for. On with the lists!
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Best TV of the Decade – Part Two


Time to make with the listing. Go here to read the introduction of this post for the qualifications for this list and my general thoughts on television this decade, along with some honourable mentions for shows that didn’t fit well with the list. Also, I should add that some of my thesis about this being the best decade in television history was influenced by this great piece by Emily Nussbaum of New York Magazine titled “When TV Became Art”. If you haven’t read it yet, you probably should.
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The Fourth Annual Andy TV Awards – Best Shows

It’s been over a month since I started this thing, so I should probably get around to finishing it off with the two biggest awards. Of course, if you’ve been paying attention, you can reasonably predict how these two categories will go. For the preamble, including an explanation on what exactly the Andy TV Awards are, go here. Shows that received Emmy nominations in these two categories that I don’t watch, and thus had no chance of getting nominations here include House and Family Guy.
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The Fourth Annual Andy TV Awards – Best Leading Actor

For the preamble, including an explanation on what exactly the Andy TV Awards are, go here. Shows that received Emmy nominations in these two categories that I don’t watch, and thus had no chance of getting nominations here include House, Two and a Half Men, Monk, The Mentalist, or all of the second season of The Big Bang Theory.
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