Christmas is almost here, and as a result, I’m already in a holiday mood. So, I decided to do what good ol’ St. Nick would do this time of the year: “making a list, and checking it twice” – but instead of “checking it twice”, I’m just going to make a series of countdown lists from now to… 12 days from now, a la that really annoying song, The 12 Days of Christmas. My 12 Days of Christmas Countdown will be divided into three parts: TV, Movie and Celebrities. I would do music, but since I don’t exactly have the most mainstream taste, I better not – there’s nothing more annoying that reading a list of music you’ve never heard of, right? 🙂
And now, let us begin Binky’s 12 Days of Christmas Countdown, starting with the first day:
My Top 10 Shows of 2010
Note: Before anyone protests, I am sure Parks & Recreation and Friday Night Lights deserve to be in this list, but since NBC pushed the premiere date for Parks & Rec to next year and I haven’t seen the last and final season of FNL (currently airing on DirecTV), I have no choice but to exclude them from this year’s list. But if I do another round of this next year, I’ll make sure I’ll include them. Now, on to the list:
1/ Community, NBC.
Like I have mentioned in my Golden Globes post, this genius comedy is the most underrated show on television today. But luckily, it does have a loyal fanbase who appreciates its meta humor and zany pop culture references every week. And I am one of them. The reason why I chose this show as my number one of 2010 is simple; this is the only show that can be absurd and realistic at the same time. Just look at season 2: in less than 13 episodes, the show manages to: have Betty White guest stars as a lunatic anthropology professor, cleverly avoid going down the will-they-won’t-they romantic plotlines, pay homage to Apollo 13 while simultaneously pimping KFC, do a virus/zombie Halloween episode, a “conspiracy theory” episode that makes way more sense that AMC’s convoluted (and canceled) Rubicon, and finally: do the entire Christmas episode in stop-motion. Yes, people, the Rankin/Bass kind. The Golden Globes and SAG may not pay too much attention to this show, but in this list, our merry study group from Greendale Community College nabs the top honor. Congrats, guys.
2/ Mad Men, AMC.
Regardless how you feel about the finale of Season 4, you can’t deny that this is probably the only show on TV that is always consistent about its quality. Sterling Cooper had changed to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, Don Draper has divorced his insufferable wife Betty and now about to marry his secretary, and Peggy Olsen had transformed from Don’s mousy secretary to a successful copywriter that men actually take seriously – all of these had happened without sacrificing great writing and solid ideas. No wonder this show keeps winning the Emmys, it’s not so easy finding a great show that can stay great after four seasons. And that’s why Mad Men continues to be on top, whether on this list, or any other.
3/ 30 Rock, NBC.
Most shows on television tend to decline in quality in its fifth season. I mean, look at The Office, its fifth season wasn’t exactly what you would call “solid”. But in 30 Rock’s case, it’s actually quite the opposite. Instead of declining in quality, it actually improves. From the premiere episode, this show just nailed it. The jokes are fresh and relevant, the meta commentary are on point and hilarious, and the celeb cameos are even more awesome: from Matt Damon to Mad Men’s John Slattery have shown up this season, they were all hilarious and we didn’t grow tired of seeing celeb stunt-casting in this show because the writers did a great job of giving them a good reason to be there. Plus, they actually had a live show a few months back and it was epic! It’s official, Tina Fey is the most genius woman in the world. If she runs for president, I’ll definitely vote for her. 🙂
4/ Boardwalk Empire, HBO.
From the get go, this show had all the makings of an HBO hit: period drama from one of the writers of The Soprano, Terence Winter, starring Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, corrupt politician/gangster, set in prohibition era Atlantic City. Oh and the pilot episode is directed by none other than one Martin Scorsese, who also serves as executive producer. And a hit it really did become, and for me, a much welcome change after a frustrating season of True Blood in the summer. Despite being compared heavily to Mad Men by critics, I think this show has its own appeal; from PTSD-ridden Jimmy Darmody to religious nutjob Agent Nelsan Van Alden, every character in this show is complex, fascinating and absolutely entertaining to watch. Not to mention, the mixture of real life characters with the fiction: in season one we got to meet Charlie “Lucky” Luciano, Arnold Rothstein and Al Capone. But I think the best part of this show is the addition of Jack Huston towards the end as Richard Harrow, a war vet with half a face who was both cold-blooded and heartwarming at the same time. Despite a rather weak finale, I still think this show was one of the best new shows of 2010, and one that’s well-deserving to be on this list.
5/ Cougar Town, ABC.
Even though Modern Family is the one getting all the awards, I can’t help but love this quirky Courtney Cox comedy just a little more than its Wednesday night companion. First of all, the show is really funny, and sometimes even much funnier than Modern Family. Second, it has all these crazy cool games; like “Penny Can” and Movie Mash Up. Third, the Cul-de-Sac crew are basically a bunch of high-functioning alcoholics who sit around Jules’ fabulous kitchen all day drinking red wine. How can you not love that? And let’s face it, we all wish our suburban neighbors are as cool as the cul-de-sac crew. Also, we all want to have a huge wine glass that we call ‘Big Joe’. Or maybe it’s just me?
6/ The Vampire Diaries, CW.
When this show first premiered last year, I have to admit I was really skeptical and thought that it was just another Twilight knock-off. But boy was I wrong! At the hands of Scream and Dawson’s Creek’s Kevin Williamson and his partner Julie Plec, this show becomes more than just an adaptation of a popular vampire book series – it’s a fantastic show that keeps us at the edge of our seats week after week. Now in its second season, we’re delving more into the mythology and it’s actually fun and riveting at the same time. Nina Dobrev gets to show off her acting skills by portraying both the heroine Elena and her evil vampire doppelganger Katherine, and she knocks it out of the park every time. And of course, those Salvatore boys are just so hot, it’s really hard not to love this show. I mean, really.
7/ Raising Hope, Fox.
I wasn’t much of a fan of My Name Is Earl, so I didn’t expect to love this new show from Greg Garcia when it first premiered last Fall. But unlike My Name Is Earl, this show won me over in no time. Maybe it’s Martha Plimpton’s superb acting, maybe it’s the adorable baby Hope who I suspect may be a robot since she’s just way, way too cute, maybe it’s Bijou Phillips’ cameo as Hope’s serial killer on death row mom, maybe it’s Garret Dillahunt’s refreshing turn as a (not-so) deadbeat dad, maybe it’s Cloris Leachman’s crazy antics as Mee Maw, or maybe this show is just that good. Whatever it is, I’m a fan, and I’m glad that the network seems to love it as well because it’s the first freshman show that gets a full-season pickup. Yeay!
8/ Fringe, Fox.
There aren’t too many sci-fi shows on TV right now, especially one with consistent quality and not-too-convoluted mythology. Fringe is one of those few. Now in its third season, the show upped its ante in the first half by alternating the episodes between two universes, which gives us an idea of “how the other half lives”. All the main actors, in the exception of Joshua Jackson, have to portray both their characters and the alternate versions of their characters week after week and they all gave such amazing performances, especially in the case of Anna Torv and the always fantastic John Noble. Not to mention, the deeper we get into the mythology of the Fringe universes, the more intriguing and fascinating it becomes. Fox may have lost faith in this show by moving it to TV’s Siberia – or Friday night – come January but I for one still think this is one of the best shows on TV right now and hopefully it’s not going away any time soon.
9/ Glee, Fox.
The second season of this mega hit may not be the best, but I still think this show deserves to be on this top 10 list. Because at the heart of it all, it’s still a lot of fun to watch. Sure, there are inconsistencies, and the writers do have a tendency of creating multiple plotlines only to drop them and not revisit them again a few episodes later, but the core struggles and the reason why I fell in love with the show are still there. And this season they have tackled a few sensitive issues, like faith, homosexuality and bullying, as well as body image issues quite realistically and with a lot of heart. Plus, they still charm us with their covers of everything from Broadway to Bruno Mars, not to mention their awesome Christmas album that is now playing on repeat in my iPod. Oh, and take heart, Finchel fans, the show will survive whether they’re together or apart. 🙂
10/ Parenthood, NBC.
A few years ago, ABC’s Brothers and Sisters charmed me with their big family dynamic and drama, but I grew tired of it after a while due to its inability to steer clear of the soap opera route: they keep adding illegitimate children and implausible plotlines that have nothing to do with what made the show charming in the first place. But NBC’s Parenthood is nothing like Brothers & Sisters. The drama is real and easy to relate to, the conflicts are relatable, and the plotlines are actually plausible. Sadly, it may very well be in danger of cancellation after this season wraps, but I’m hoping it’ll live to see another season because the Bravermans is one family I’d like to see more of.
So there you have it, my list of The Top 10 Shows of 2010. This television season is not exactly the best, but it does have its moments and I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as I have. And now that we’re done with this list, check back in tomorrow, I’ll be counting down The Top 10 TV Screen Scorchers.
Until then, feel free to comment and share your top 10 shows of 2010.