Top TV of 2012

6:11 PM, Dec 26, 2012   |    comments
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Josh West, a former WBIR photographer and current self-proclaimed movie and TV expert, shares his opinions on what made for the best TV of 2012.

Most Improved:

  • "The Walking Dead" - It took three seasons, but this show finally hit its stride with improved pacing and a go-for-broke attitude.

Sophomore Slump:
  • "American Horror Story: Asylum" - Season two of Ryan Murphy's horror series seems to have forgotten everything that worked about season one (a frequent problem with Murphy).

Mainstream Breakthrough:
  • "Downton Abbey" - It's been around for a while, but 2012 was the year this show became a word-of-mouth success.
  • "Homeland" - 2011's Emmy Award Winner catches fire with mainstream audiences and deals out more tension on a week-to-week basis than most shows can muster in a full season, even if some argue the first season was better.

Fading Away:
  • "Fringe" - Fans got a fifth season (albeit, a shortened one) mostly out of loyalty and the sci-fi series began to reflect the idea that its best days are behind it.
  • "The Office" - A show that's been stale for at least four years picks up the pace and laugh count this year, but it's too bad no one is watching. And where did Ed Helms go?

  • "The Killing" - After a widely-derided first season, this AMC murder mystery came back for season two in 2012 to the delight of no one. After being initially cancelled, it is now on track for a third season, mostly due to a gap in AMC's schedule.

Better Than Ever:
  • "Boardwalk Empire" - Season two literally went out with a bang and left many fans wondering where season three could possibly go. The answer was the show's best season yet.
  • "Louie" - Louis C.K.'s semi-autobiographical sitcom is still one of the best shows on television. Season three simply solidified that notion.

Love to Hate:

  • "The Newsroom" - HBO's Sorkin-run cable news drama has such potential you can almost forgive it for being manipulative, hackneyed and contrived. Almost.

Back for Round Two:
  • "New Girl" - Season two of this FOX sitcom wisely played up Deschanel's supporting cast, creating one of the best ensemble comedies on television.
  • "Game of Thrones" - Adding more kingdoms and characters could've led to this swords-and-politics epic becoming overstuffed, but this remains one of television's most entertaining and engrossing shows.

Still Going Strong:
  • "Mad Men" - Season five was a bit of a step back for this AMC series, but the show remains a wonder of modern television writing.
  • "Breaking Bad" - The first half of the fifth and final season pushed Walter White into full-on gangster territory and relieved him of nearly every remaining ounce of humanity he had left.
  • "Parks and Recreation" - NBC's best comedy continues unabated.
  • "Justified" - Following a tough-to-top second season, this show flooded the landscape with villains and watched them work together to betray one another.

Best of the Freshman Class:
  • "Girls" - Once this show found its footing, it became quirky, interesting and enjoyable.
  • "Veep" - Satirical and silly, this show deserves a bigger following when it returns for season two.

Best Shows You're Probably Not Watching:
  • "Parenthood" - This family dramedy deftly maneuvers between multiple characters and storylines, knowing just when to turn up the emotion and when to let its characters breathe.
  • "Wilfred" - The oddball nature of the premise keeps it off the mainstream radar, but this show is both funny and psychologically fascinating.

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