Best shows of 2011

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Walter C, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. Walter C

    Walter C Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    Messages:
    2,299
    Likes Received:
    60
    Real Name:
    Walter
    My top 10 shows for 2011...


    1. The Amazing Race

    2. Breaking Bad

    3. Sons of Anarchy

    4. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

    5. Suits

    6. Justified

    7. Men of a Certain Age

    8. Castle

    9. Community

    10. Lights Out


    Honorable mentions - The League, The Big C, Blue Bloods



    What were your top shows for 2011?
     
  2. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    14,546
    Likes Received:
    2,945
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    My Top 10 plus Two:


    The Good Wife
    The Closer
    Modern Family
    Fringe
    Castle
    True Blood
    Once Upon a Time
    Southland
    Homeland
    Sons of Anarchy




    Runners-up: Lights Out, Person of Interest
     
  3. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Messages:
    26,455
    Likes Received:
    3,666
    Location:
    The basement of the FBI building
    Since I probably only watch 15 shows, I'll list my top 5 shows (in alphabetical order): Boardwalk Empire Breaking Bad Community Parks And Recreation Treme I'd probably flip a coin to decide between Breaking Bad and Parks And Recreation for the #1 and 2 spots. Honorary mention because it was entertaining pulp fiction at its finest: Sons Of Anarchy
     
  4. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2001
    Messages:
    16,968
    Likes Received:
    1,727
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    Great thread idea! It's a little tricky to think of, because I've got to factor in the spring half of last season. 10. Doctor Who It's hard to beat the destruction and recreation of the universe, and Series 6/Season 32 didn't quite match up to the Eleventh Doctor's stellar initial run with Amelia Pond. But I was captivated from beginning to end, with a darker purview to things and a season long arc driven by what kind of man the Doctor is and what role he has to play in the universe. The opening two parter was one of the most epic stories the show has told, and "A Good Man Goes To War" -- for all of its controversy -- was poignant and heartbreaking in all the right ways. If I didn't like the rather perfunctory way the story was wrapped up in "Let's Kill Hitler", I absolutely adored the finale. And count me in as one who loved this year's Christmas special, warts and all. If Series 8 is this good, I will be a very happy camper. 9. Homeland The tautest most literate espionage thriller perhaps in American TV history, Homeland succeeded by driving everything through the lives of its protagonists. Carrie, the bipolar analyst who doesn't trust but just might love Brody, the damaged POW with more than a few secrets up his sleeve, while supported by Saul, her superior at the CIA and confidant. Who could have foreseen things playing out the way they did? If you watch the pilot and think you know what's going to happen, you'll be wrong. In addition to the brilliant performances by Claire Dane, Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin, the supporting cast is stellar as well. Particularly Morena Baccarin as Brody's guilt-ridden wife and Morgan Saylor as his troubled but incredibly perceptive and loyal daughter. It's so low on my list only because I thought the ending was just too dark. 8. American Horror Story The craziest show on TV this year, bar none. Sex, violence, mayhem, perversion, you name it: this show had it. The season arc told a wonderful self-contained story with every character ending up more or less where they deserved to be. Brilliant character acting from Denis O'Hare, Frances Conroy, Evan Peters and the incomparable Jessica Lange. It was so far over the top at times, damn near reached the moon. Lots of scenery was chewed, with relish, and the knowing messiness was part of the fun. I'm sad that we won't be continuing with these characters next season, but I can't wait to see what this production comes up with next. 7. Raising Hope My favorite new sitcom of last season, this one mixed blue collar "My Name is Earl"/"Married with Children" laughs with genuine heart. Lucas Neff is terrific in his first major role as Jimmy, a directionless twentysomething who suddenly finds himself a single father after the serial killer he knocked up is executed. But top kudos go to Garret Dillahunt and Martha Plimpton, two of the top character actors working today, as Jimmy's parents. Burt and Virgina are one of my all-time favorite on screen married couples, and proof that a warm, stable monogamous relationship CAN be hilarious. Shannon Woodward is sharp as the overeducated, underemployed grocery store cashier that Jimmy befriends. And Cloris Leachman is absolutely fearless as Maw Maw, the frequently senile matriarch of the family. Wonderful show. 6. Parenthood The second strongest drama on network television, Parenthood effortlessly weaves in and out of the massive, top notch cast that play the extended Braverman clan. The first season took the general premise of the 1989 Ron Howard film and fleshed it out into a fully realized world. The second and third seasons have deepened it and crafted characters that feel nearly as real to me as the living breathing people in my life. A few missteps toward the beginning of this season and the end of the last barely detract from one of my absolute favorites. 5. Parks & Recreation When this show premiered, I only stuck with it because it was sandwiched between shows I enjoyed and didn't actively dislike it enough to go do something else. By the time the third season premiered in late January after an extended hiatus, it had become the best half-hour comedy on network television. The production didn't waste the extended time off the air, and the abbreviated 16 episode run is one of the most perfect seasons of comedy I have ever seen. The current fourth season, isn't quite as good -- how could it be? -- but it's still the show that keeps me glued to NBC every Thursday night. No other comedy on the Big Four is firing on all cylinders like this one. 4. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia There is a strong case to be made that the recently completed seventh season was the strongest yet. Any other season would have been no match for the stellar "Parks & Rec", but this one came firing out of the gate and didn't let up. It was sharper, darker, more twisted and more carefully constructed than ever before. Fat Mac (he's cultivating mass) was an enjoyable twist, and "The Gang Gets Trapped" and "Thunder Gun Express" are two of my favorite episodes in the entire series. The season finale was a bit of a let down, but it capped off an absolutely brilliant season of television. 3. Shameless This John Wells adaptation of the UK series transports the setting from a council estate in Manchester England to the rundown Irish American enclave Canaryville in Chicago's South Side. The series revels in the outrageous and often illegal antics this household of six children and an alcoholic patriarch, but soon zeroes in on the emotional frailty just under the surface. While the family scrapes by below the poverty line, the show largely avoids the television tropes associated with the poor. The Gallaghers are broke and operate with a, er, unique moral code, but they are smart and educated and sharply perceptive. All of which makes what they suffer through heartbreaking as often as it is hilarious. It's absolutely criminal Emmy Rossum wasn't nominated for an Emmy for her performance as Fiona, the oldest child and de facto head of household since their mother took off with a lesbian trucker and left their father Frank to spiral to even deeper levels of narcissistic alcoholism than usual. At some point William H. Macy went from playing a drunk to embodying a drunk; by the season finale, he never strikes a false note. Joan Cusack is stellar as Frank's agoraphobic neighbor and all of the other actors playing the Gallagher children are spot on as well. A great cast in a great show that could have easily gone off the rails, but never did. Can't wait for the 8th of January for Season 2. 2. Switched at Birth Easily the biggest surprise of the year for me, I tried this ABC Family drama with fairly low expectations because the subject matter intrigued me and there wasn't a lot of competition over the summer. Playing with similar themes as Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper, the show takes two teens of grossly different economic, ethnic and social backgrounds and explores what happens when they are thrust into each other's worlds. Pale redhaired Daphne, played by Katie Leclerc, grew up in a low income Hispanic single parent household. She went deaf at a young age as a result of treatment for a meningitis infection. Dark-haired, olive-skinned Bay grew up in an affluent gated community as the daughter of a retired Kansas City Royals player, who now runs a successful chain of car washes. The discovery that they were accidentally switched at birth causes the two girls to venture into each other's lives in fascinating ways. The full weight of the socioeconomic differences between the girls is never neglected, but nor does the political element ever overwhelm the personal element. The show's first ten episodes took us on quite a journey, and the integration of American Sign Language into the show was one of the highlights. As Bay fell in love with one of Daphne's Deaf friends, the show became can't miss television for me. Head and shoulders above anything else that ABC Family has produced, with an amazing cast and even better writing. 1. The Good Wife The best drama on television, period. It started out great, and it's never faltered since. The best cast, the best writing, the perfect balance between episodic procedural and serialized drama. Honorable mentions: Chuck, The Middle, The Walking Dead, Person of Interest, Alphas, Breaking In
     
  5. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2001
    Messages:
    1,581
    Likes Received:
    1
    Breaking Bad Fringe White Collar Spartacus:Gods Of The Arena - few episodes but I gotta get it in here. Game Of Thrones American Horror Story Justified Sons Of Anarchy Boardwalk Empire Modern Family
     
  6. WaveCrest

    WaveCrest Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2008
    Messages:
    4,221
    Likes Received:
    12
    Real Name:
    Richard
    Hawaii Five-0 (started not long into the start of this year) - was willing to give this revival of the classic, original series a go, and in hindisght I'm glad I did, as after the run of several so-so episodes following the impressive first two episodes (the pilot and "Ohana"), the writing improved. With the exception of a couple of average episodes, the second half of the opening season was much improved, with the season ending on a high note.


    Rizzoli & Isles - always liked Angie Harmon on Law & Order, but as I haven't seen NCIS yet, went into this series not having seen Sasha Alexander in any other show (or film). Started off strongly with an inventive pilot and didn't really falter until the last couple of episodes (which weren't bad themselves, just weren't as impressive as what had gone before them). The cast gel together very well. Not entirely sure whether the show is filmed on location in Boston though.


    Republic of Doyle - a modern day version of The Rockford Files and thoroughly enjoyable it is too. A different setting for a private detective show. The episodes on the whole were well written (the second season premiere was one of the best episodes I'd seen this year of any drama series). And it has an annoyingly, catchy theme tune ("Oh Yeah!!).


    American Horror Story - not seen the rest of the first season yet, but this has been one of the most wild and inventive series on TV this year. It may feel like at times they're aiming to shock, but there is a story driving the show along.


    Blue Bloods - thought the sophomore season wouldn't be as good as the very good first season (the standalone stories were well written on the whole. Faltered slightly towards the end), but so far I've enjoyed the standalone stories. The new mytharc story could be like the Blue Templar mytharc story of the first season, and appear now and then and not make much of an impact. Mystified as to why Jennifer Esposito hasn't been added to the main cast title sequence (unless they're just putting the main family members with the most screentime in the title sequence).


    Forbrydelsen II (aka The Killing II) - even though the political storyline seemed to take precedence over the detective side of this series' murder case, this was still solid stuff and impressive. The cast were believable in their roles, and the makers of the show (a cliche I know) kept you guessing up to the final scenes. The final episode was more satisfying than the 20th episode of the first series (which was a letdown after episodes 1-19). Interested to see what they do with the third part of the trilogy.


    DCI Banks - couldn't make my mind up whether the three stories in the first series (following the pilot shown last year) were written well. But I wasn't disappointed by this series. Very different series to Wild at Heart, which Stephen Tompkinson also stars in.


    Treme - this New Orleans-set series rewards your patience. Shall be intriguing to see where they go with the last two series, even though you have an idea of the ending. Well written series, very good cast and involving music.




    The one new US series which I was disappointed with (it was a show I half-watched) was Body of Proof. It was fairly good, but when the second season starts next month, I will not be watching it. Some of the cast are annoying, and it doesn't feel as fresh as other similar procedural shows.
     
  7. Ray Gutnick

    Ray Gutnick Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 27, 1999
    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    Real Name:
    Ray
    Not in any particular order, but these are my favourites: Breaking Bad Dexter Supernatural Modern Family Honorable mention: Mad Men Chuck
     
  8. xfile94

    xfile94 Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't really see very much of current shows, but one show I really love is The Walking Dead. It rises above gore to reveal an involving story that I can't wait to see every week.:cool:
     
  9. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    Messages:
    15,388
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    North Texas
    Real Name:
    Greg
    Don't feel like trying to come up with ten: 1. Men of a Certain Age 2. " 3. " 4. " 5. Lights Out 6. Chuck 7. Walking Dead Can't really even think of everything I watch or watched right now.
     
  10. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Messages:
    10,513
    Likes Received:
    385
    Location:
    Lee Summit, Missouri
    Real Name:
    Matt
    All but the top 3 are not in any order.



    Starz Boss - Who would have thought Kelsey Grammer had this kind of performance in him? Outside of things like Fraiser, then the HBO "Pentagon Wars" and a few other light hearted films, it was hard to imagine him in the role of a arm twisting politician who'd use people ruthlessly to control city government. But Grammer owned the screen here, turning in one of those performances that drove the program forward. The supporting cast fit their parts well, but this was one of the best performances by a lead actor this year, period.


    Breaking Bad - In the past, I've listed this as one of the best shows on TV. It's still very good, but I didn't enjoy this season as much as previously; too much stretching of the narrative when I felt it didn't work. But Cranston's performance was still top notch, and we managed to get deeper into how dark the enterprise can go.


    Game of Thrones - HBO's presentation of the GRR Martin book was about as faithful as you could hope for; and the performances and acting turned out. Peter Dinklage is almost a shoo-in for best supporting role this year, and he deserves it.


    Supernatural - After so many seasons, could the Winchester's capture magic again? Their prior season (not current, which I'm hoping rallies and ties together in the second half) finished with one of the best runs in over it's term - including some of the most brilliant comic meta I've ever seen in a show (Actors playing characters who jump back into themselves as actors who are playing the characters they actually are.. now wrap you're head around that one). Made for Friday Night appointment viewing.


    Modern Family - if there is a better family comedy on TV, I don't know of it. Suprisingly wholesome and cute, the show displays some sharp writing and fantastic comic timing that can change from a series of puns to slapstick to situation. This show keeps raising the bar on what to expect.


    Shameless - Is it possible you can take a UK series, place it in the US, and actually do something unique and different - and be good at it? For as many shows that have tried, and failed, Showtime's Shameless dead on works. Rossum and Macy delivered performances that went from having dramatic punch to laugh out loud comedy moments. Great performances, great cast - and one of the best pleasant surprises of the season.


    Parenthood - I've participated in the threads and spoke my peace, but Season 2 of Parenthood, along with so far in Season 3 has been appointment viewing for me. It's tight cast, attention to details makes you want to stay involved. Characters who do things you completely dislike or disagree with you at least say to yourself: "for what I know of this character, that's the way they would/should behave". Smart writing, good stuff.


    My Top 3, In order:


    3. Switched at Birth - I can't think of any show that surprised me as much as Switched at Birth. I had really low expectations for an ABC Family show that seemed to be geared at a teen audience. I was completely prepared from episode one for this to be an over the top fest to try and bring in young girls. I could not have been more wrong. The series over the summer was a pleasant surprise, and characters really settled in quickly. Some of the thoughts above, and I know I post frequently in the show thread for this one, but it's handling of a disability has been frank and honest but never condescending. Characters deal with real issues in a way that feels real - no matter whether you find the plot contrived or not. This is a show that set a very high bar for itself in the first half of a season, and I have high hopes it can continue.


    2. Homeland - Showtime's terrorism drama delivered two of the most stunning performances of the year for me. Claire Danes and Damian Lewis fill their roles and convey such complex characters, there really isn't much on TV to compare them to. Damian as Brody plays a conflicted POW, witness to the horrors of war, tortured, who now believes maybe he was on the wrong side, or at least the fighting must stop. Claire as Carrie plays a brilliant CIA analyst with a hidden secret of suffering through a bipolar disorder. The performances here by everyone in the cast was sensational; even side plots had real serious weight. In a few minutes, Homeland could convey the Saul's loneliness with a life that afforded him no time with his wife; Carries obsession with not being wrong, and how a family would adapt to a father who came home from war broken. The last episode of the season was very dark, as pointed out, but it was edge of the seat riveting and it kept you watching the whole way through. One of the best rides on TV.


    1. The Good Wife - Is there a show on TV better written, week to week, then the Good Wife? If there is, I haven't seen it. The Good Wife maintains an incredibly high quality per episode and uses guest actors better then any show on TV. One of the largest ensemble casts on TV gives all of the characters a real three dimensional feel; none of them just advance the plot, they all have motives, concerns - a reason to buy into what's happening. How good is it? Even the defendants and plaintiffs manage to get time to make their cases feel real enough, to challenge your view on the outcome and to ask the audience to think about the argument. That's amazing for television that is so used to spoon feeding us the story. The Good Wife, instead, takes on complex issues and let's their characters deal with it. Lockhart & Gardner isn't all good guys. But they aren't bad guys. It's a grey area. Lots of The Good Wife is "a grey area". When a new episode of "The Good Wife" airs, I have almost complete confidence that within that hour characters will grow/change, and we're going to get a story I want to talk about the next day. This is water cooler TV at it's best; a show that makes you think about what's happening. If you're missing "The Good Wife" you're missing some of the best stuff on TV.


    Honorable Mentions:


    Not Eligible in this list, but if it were I'd put it there: Downton Abbey. ITV's period drama delivers week after week, and the sets, acting and structure are some great TV. While it wouldn't be in my top 3, it'd be on the list.


    Bones - It's a procedural. It's episodes in a bottle. But it's a great ensemble with great chemistry and they took a huge risk this year. Surprisingly, rather then fall into a rut, the writers have really used the storyline in a way that rings true with the characters and has made for some fun TV.


    American Horror Story - Dark. Violent. Gory. Over the top. And a fully cohesive story. Which is saying something, since we're talking about the executive staff from "Glee".. this is as far away from that as you can get, but it pays off.
     
  11. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
    Messages:
    2,154
    Likes Received:
    91
    Hallelujah there! I saw the original Brit series first and this one has forged its own path. And many times this one is better. "Game of Thrones" was totally kick-ass! I don't really do "lists".
     
  12. Walter C

    Walter C Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    Messages:
    2,299
    Likes Received:
    60
    Real Name:
    Walter

    I'll definitely have to check this show out, after hearing great things about it. And it should be interesting to see Grammer in a more serious, darker role, after seeing him as Frasier Crane and Sideshow Bob for many years.
     
  13. WaveCrest

    WaveCrest Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2008
    Messages:
    4,221
    Likes Received:
    12
    Real Name:
    Richard
    There was another show I very much liked in 2011, as it has a Twin Peaks mystery vibe to it, Pretty Little Liars. Won't discuss this series in detail here, as even though it's a different person in the Sara Shephard books, it was the mid-season premiere (episode 14 "Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares") earlier this week on ABC Family, and MTV in the UK are currently as far as episode 7 "Surface Tension".
     
  14. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 1998
    Messages:
    5,648
    Likes Received:
    532
    From 1 to 10: Shameless - Easily my favorite show of 2011. Incredible performances from everyone and just one messed up situation after another. Less than a week away from spending summer with the Gallaghers. Game of Thrones - Incredibly faithful adaptation that actually improves upon the dialog (from time to time of the book.) Peter Dinklage and Maisie Williams owned every one of their scenes. Any series that has the nerve to remain faithful to its source and the fate of its characters is worth applauding. The Walking Dead - I really love the examination of the ethos of the situation the survivors find themselves in, as personified by Shane and Rick. Homeland - The final episode kind of knocked this down for me just a bit; as I wonder where the series will go in season 2. Great cast and wonderful performances, esp. Lewis, Danes, and (the always great) Patinkin. Californication - You could argue that the show is covering the same ground; but it remains a favorite. Much like Shameless half of the fun is seeing the characters get into and out of one bizarre situation after another. Hell on Wheels - A Western that has expanded upon its initial premise and is so much more than a revenge oriented melodrama. Modern Family - Almost every episode delivers big laughs. In some ways I've found this season to be slightly weaker in terms of continuity from episode to episode but when the show is on its game it is as funny as anything on television. Supernatural - Big fan of the Winchester Brothers and I love the show's willingness to step outside of itself from time to time. Excellent, underrated show and casting IMHO with Jim Beaver turning in solid work at every turn. I particularly enjoyed the persona of Death and the casting of that role on this series. I've watched the show faithfully from season 1 and never miss an episode. Castle - Really like the chemistry of the cast and prefer the lighter episodes. Like Modern Family a little inconsistent but a favorite when it works. Person of Interest - Favorite new show of the season on broadcast television. The concept of the show as 'Batman' as discussed in the show's thread makes for an interesting analysis of why the show works (at least) for me. Honorable mentions to: Raising Hope 2 Broke Girls How I Met Your Mother Nikita - Walter.
     
  15. ScottH

    ScottH Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2001
    Messages:
    3,089
    Likes Received:
    80
    Real Name:
    Scott Hanson
    Hmm...I'm not sure there are 10 shows worthy of being in a top 10.


    Breaking Bad is certainly #1 (not sure how this isn't #1 on everyone's list). After that, Boardwalk Empire, Boss, The League, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Shameless, Homeland (although I'm still watching this one), Justified (did you all forget about this one?), I guess I'll throw in 'American Horror Story' to make it 10, even though I thought the show ran out of gas toward the end. Or perhaps Mad Men.


    Sorry Dexter & Damages, but you don't make the cut. Previously two of my favorite shows that both seemed to unravel this season.


    Still have the entire season of 'Game of Thrones' on the DVR to watch, as well as 'Hell on Wheels'.


    One I just thought of, 'Episodes' might be worthy. Is that show coming back?
     
  16. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 1999
    Messages:
    7,150
    Likes Received:
    71
    Person of Interest (Much better as the season moved along) Hell on Wheels (same as above) Supernatural Franklin & Bash (light humored law show that still is a drama)
     
  17. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    14,546
    Likes Received:
    2,945
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    Yes, Episodes will be back with new, um, episodes.
     
  18. Steve Armbrust

    Steve Armbrust Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 1999
    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    11
    It helps me to clarify which shows I really like (instead of those I just sort of watch) when I have a relatively full DVR and a lot to choose from. Which shows do I play first. It's usually these: Fringe Good Wife Game of Thrones Breaking Bad Hell on Wheels Harry's Law Blue Bloods Boss Secret Life of the American Teenager (sorry, can't help myself) Sons of Anarchy
     

Share This Page