Now that Snooki's ball has dropped and The Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy is coming to a close, let's look back on the year in television that was 2010. This will not be your run of the mill top ten list that usually comes out, but instead a recapping for pros and cons that came through our boob-tubes in the past year.
Yay Spring Television: Man, how good was the spring season this past year? It gave us new shows like Justified, Treme, and my favorite newcomer of the year, How To Make It In America. It also packed a punch with old favorites being at the top of their game, most notably Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, and Parks & Recreations. In my opinion, Fringe had a slow start in its second season, but by the end of its sophomore year, it became the show to pick up the torch that The X-Files dropped almost a decade ago.
Nay Fall Television: Okay, so Boardwalk Empire got better as it went along and The Walking Dead made zombies the new vampires, but where was the new show that was going to capture the hearts and minds of all of us at the water cooler the next morning? For me, it was Terriers and unfortunately FX decided to put the puppy series down at the end of the first season when things were getting good.
Yay For The Short Season: Speaking of zombies, they utilized one of the best dramatic devices in 2010, which is "less is more." The Walking Dead and Dead Set were each six episodes long (the latter being a mini-series) and both were a total kick to watch. The animated comedy, Archer, went for only ten episodes, each one becoming funnier and quicker that the one before it. And thank god for Bored To Death, which came into full swing this year, making its eight episodes a pleasure to watch.
Nay To The Shorter Season: While "less is more" usually equates to being a good thing, sometimes less is just less. The two worst offenders in 2010 were Big Love and Rescue Me, two of my favorites that felt like they came close to hopping the hammerhead in their fourth and sixth seasons, respectively. HBO's poly-drama tried to cram too much into ten episodes (what was that Mexico one all about?) while FX's black comedy gave a half-baked season of worn out story lines (with the exception of Michael Zegen's character Damian finally getting his due on the series). What gives, huh? Just because both shows are closing up shop in 2011 doesn't mean they have to bow out early.
Yay To FX and AMC: Of all the cable networks out there, these two are becoming the two powerhouses to watch and with good reason. Looking over the Terriers and Rescue Me snafus, FX was the place to see some of the best dramas, with Justified and Sons of Anarchy reigning supreme, as well as comedies like Archer, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and Louie being some of the greatest excuses to stay up late (especially when they were combined for the wink-wink Saturday night medley of "Fully Baked On FX"). Then there is AMC, which finally saw Mad Men reach the heights it should be at, Breaking Bad becoming one of the most fascinating series on television ever (try to tell me you saw the last two episodes coming!), and taking a risk with The Walking Dead that paid off big time.
Nay For Showtime: Of all the cable networks out there, Showtime dropped the ball big time this past season. Not only did Weeds make little-to-no-sense in where it was going and The Big C fail to connect audiences with the main character (sorry, she didn't connect with this reporter), but the fifth season of Dexter was completely underwhelming and anti-climactic compared to the fourth. Showtime! Get your act together, my friend. You have the William H. Macy series Shameless coming up and the third season of Nurse Jackie to win us back. Don't let us down.
Now, I know I said I wasn't going to give a standard countdown of shows this past year, but for those of you looking for a top ten list to wrap up the television we saw in 2010, I present to you the following:
1) How To Make It In America
2) Breaking Bad
4) Friday Night Lights
5) NBC Thursday Night Trio: Community, Parks & Recreations, and 30 Rock
7) The Walking Dead and Dead Set
8) Modern Family
9) Mad Men