A bit of a misnomer because this list is basically Best of Network Television 2011. Due to work, living in Canada, and downgrade in cable, I've fallen behind on many of my cable faves, including Breaking Bad, Bored to Death, Mad Men, United States of Tara, Nurse Jackie, Damages, Burn Notice, etc and I haven't even seen some of the new shows like Homeland, Games of Thrones, Enlightened and such. Although I've also way behind on network shows Fringe and Supernatural.
So, for 2011, I'm sticking to those on Network TV or Basic Cable, which isn't to say it's any less honourable, since many of my faves are actually on basic cable. I know everyone else is showering their love for the pay cable shows, but I'm happy enough with these choices:
Here are my picks for the Best of Television for 2011:
(With the ranking from the three previous lists (Best of 2010, Best of 2009, Best of 2008)
1. Parks & Recreation (NBC) - (7, Not Ranked)
I love these characters of Pawnee! The show has finally perfected that blend of awkward humour, sweet stories, and oddball characters and letting every cast member shine in their own way, without any one element overtaking the whole show.
2. Friday Night Lights (DirecTV/NBC) - (1, 1, 1)
In it's last season, the long time fave ended it's run without fanfare, continuing its stories of the folks of Dillon just as normally as their lives would be. With old characters coming back in low key ways, peppering in with newer characters living their own lives in Dillon, the continued heartache and emotional power the show finds within the small moments in daily life in small town America makes this one of the best dramas to ever have hit television. What a wonderfully powerful five seasons it's been.
3. The Good Wife (CBS) - (4, Not Ranked)
The drama has shifted from Alicia Florick's failing marriage and moved over to various levels within her family life, the wheeling and dealings at Lockhart and Gardner, political aspirations of surrounding characters, all while the cases each week remain as intriguing as the overarching plots. A superb cast is only enhanced by possibly the best guests actors rotating through the episodes.
4. Happy Endings (ABC) - (New)
What started as a lame Friends rip-off has turned into a insane version of Friends that is insanely fun and funny. Elisha Cuthbert is actually funny. On PURPOSE! Casey Wilson finally gets to shine. Damon Wayans Jr. has comedy born into him. Zachary Knighton handsomely imbues low key humour with some nice natural reactions. Adam Pally just spits out zingers, and Eliza Coupe finally has a place for her pointed barbs. Sometimes it's off, but when this show is on, it's one to get off on.
5. Revenge (ABC) - (New)
When I first saw the idea of this show about a nice girl returns to the Hamptons to enact revenge on those in her past, I rolled my eyes in groaned. When I finally saw the show and it's stylish execution, I rolled my eyes in amazement at the crazy twists, and groaned in horror at the plot turns, loving every single juicy soap opera moment. Emily Vancamp nicely flips her sweet girl image from Everwood and Brothers & Sisters to battle Madeleine Stowe, redefining the word "bitch" in her performance. An attractive ensemble cast drives up the plotting plots as secrets and lies are slowly revealed every episode.
6. Community (NBC) - (3, Not Ranked)
It's almost like they don't care anymore and have given up hope in attracting a larger mainstream audience. Of course, by doing so, it's created a series of uberclever episodes which seem to award its small community of fans.
7. Modern Family (ABC) - (5, 3, New)
Still lovable and funny, if not quite as bitingly hilarious as it was when it first started, but at this point, we love the characters so much, I'm happy to just spend time with the family.
8. Cougar Town (ABC) - (6, Not Ranked)
Courtney Cox and the Cul-de-sac crew seem to have found their perfect flow of kooky and quirky humour and dialing it up even further. Like Community, they have definitely left the mainstream and ventured off onto their own street, and by doing so, has made it funnier and more lovable than before.
9. Raising Hope (FOX) - (Not Ranked)
Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt. Just them two alone, as young grandparents living in poverty, would be worth it, but Lucas Neff is superbly charming as father Jimmy, Shannon Woodward is lovely with a hint of crazy, and Cloris Leachman is just plain crazy as Maw Maw. Somehow all these put together makes for a sweet natured comedy about low brow people.
10. Awkward (MTV) - (New)
Suburgatory may be getting good reviews on ABC with it's stellar cast, but it's almost a pale repeat of the summer's surprise showing from MTV that out-satirized the suburbs while blending John Hughes styled romance and comedy. It mocked the suburban teenage life while still lovingly embracing it.
As a special note, especially because Season 4 of So You Think You Can Dance Canada was possibly the best season for dances in any season I've seen of the US or Canadian version, here's the best routines of the year (from both Canada and US seasons this year):
Melissa Mitro and Adam Lopapa - "Set Fire to the Rain" - Adele, Choreographed by Sabrina Matthews:
Jordan Clark and Joey Arrigo - "That's Life" - Frank Sinatra - Choreographed by Sean Cheesman
Jordan Clark and Christian Millette - "Skin" - Rihanna - Choreographed by Sean Cheesman
Melanie Moore and Marko Germar - "I Got You" - Leona Lewis - Choreographed by NappyTabs Napoleon and Tabitha d'umo
Best of 2011 Lists:
Best of Music 2011
Best of Television 2011
Best of Stage 2011
Best of Movies 2011
Previous Best-of Lists:
Best of 2010 Lists:
Best of Music 2010
Best of Television 2010
Best of Stage 2010
Best of Movies 2010
Best of 2009 Lists:
Best of Music 2009
Best of Television 2009
Best of Stage 2009
Best of Movies 2009
Decadeworthy - The Best of 2000-2009 Lists:
SYTYCDworthy (w/ Videos) - List Format
Theatre of the Decade
Best Films of the Decade
Favorite Films of the Decade
Television of the Decade
Television of the Decade - 1 Season Wonders
Best of 2008 Lists:
Best of Music 2008
Best of Television 2008
Best of Stage 2008
Best of Movies 2008
Best of Television Fall '07 - Winter '08 List
Best of 2007 Lists:
Best of Music 2007
Best of Television 2007
Best of Movies 2007
Best of Stage 2007
Best of 2007 (The Final Wrap Up)
Best of Television Fall '06 - Winter '07 List
Best of 2006 Lists:
Best of Music 2006
Best of Television 2006
Best of Movies 2006
Best of 2006
Best of Television Fall '05 - Winter '06 List
Best of 2005 Lists:
Best of Television 2005
Best of Movies 2005
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com
More After the Jump...