Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stephanie's best TV of 2011 part 2

As promised here is part two of my best TV of 2011 list. Unlike the bottom half of the list, there aren't a lot of surprises here as many of these choices made the list last year. As a matter of fact No. 1 hasn't changed.

1. "Doctor Who" - After his fantastic debut in season six Matt Smith really hit his stride as The Doctor, in the process redefining a 50 year old character. Executive producer/head writer Steven Moffat started the season off with the most stunning scene ever, The Doctor's death, and used it to build a season long story arc that was a masterclass in story development. The action never let up and built to an amazing cliffhanger and an even better finale. Long story short, it's the best show of the year hands down. Highlight episodes: "The Impossible Astronaut," "The Doctor's Wife," "The Girl Who Waited," "The Wedding of River Song."

2. "Game of Thrones" - The scope and size of George R.R. Martin's novels makes them almost un-adaptable. However, HBO did the impossible and brought Westeros to life in remarkable fashion. Every aspect of the stunning production from cinematography, to set design to costuming was a perfect rendition of what fans had been imagining for years. What really made the show work however was the casting. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion, Sean Bean as Ned Stark, Lena Heady as Cersei Lannister; there were absolutely no bad casting decisions made. Highlight episodes: "Winter is Coming," "A Golden Crown," "Baelor," "Fire and Blood."

3. "Castle" - It's no secret how much we love "Castle." Every year the show just gets better and better, with seasons three and four providing some of the series' best episodes yet. The stunning revelations about the death of Beckett's mother, the jaw-dropping cliffhanger and heart-wrenching premiere provided moments for the entire cast to shine. While it's the relationship between Castle and Beckett that keeps fans tuning in each week, it's the small moments, looks and lines that catapults the show to greatness each season. Highlight episodes: "Setup/Countdown" "Knockout," "Rise," "Cops & Robbers," "Kill Shot."

4. "Smallville" - Though this show had a roller coaster run of up and down seasons, it finished strong with a final season that was a love letter to fans who had stuck with it. Lois and Clark finally got together, the Justice Society was a real team, Lex and Clark had a showdown about their future and Clark finally became Superman. It was everything fans wanted and allowed the long running series to go out on a high. Highlight episodes: "Beacon," "Booster," "Finale."

5. "Community" - There is not a single show on television more creative than "Community." It constantly pull off the unexpected and makes every episode feel like a 30 minute movie. The characters are absurd, the setting is over the top ridiculous and the situations are completely fantastical. However, it all comes together to create this genius little show that keeps gaining momentum despite NBC's many attempts to sink it. Highlight episodes: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons," "A Fist Full of Paintballs/For a Few Paintballs More," "Remedial Chaos Theory," "Regional Holiday Music."

6. "Justified" - The trials of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens just wouldn't work with anyone other than Timothy Olyphant as the lead. While Walton Goggins and Margo Martindale received plenty of well deserved praise for their work in the series' second season, it's Olyphant that carries the show. His simultaneous frustration and deeply hidden comfort at being stationed at home in Kentucky is brilliant. Plus his every scene he and Goggins have together is just perfect. Highlight episodes: "The Moonshine war," "The Life Inside," "Brother's Keeper," "Bloody Harlan."

7. "How I Met Your Mother" - In its seventh season, this show seems to no longer have anything to do with its title, however, it's so consistently funny who cares. This year it has blended humor and poignancy to deliver some of the show's strongest episodes, while the continuing will they/won't they aspect of Barney and Robin's relationship has given Neil Patrick Harris and Cobie Smulders some of their best material. Highlight episodes: "Bad News," "Last Words," "Disaster Averted," "Tick, Tick, Tick..."

8. "Person of Interest" - This high concept drama works almost solely on the basis of its fantastic two leads Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel. Finch gets the social security numbers of a person of interest from the machine, while Reese is the former CIA agent who figures out of they are a victim or perpetrator. Emerson is of course brilliant, but it's Caviezel's tortured yet healing spy that is a constant source of interest. Best new show of the year. Highlight episodes: "Pilot," "Ghosts," "Witness."

9. "The Good Wife" -It is the rare show doesn't deliver a bad episode ever. This year that show has been "The Good Wife." While Julianna Margulies has really carried the first two seasons, this year the rest of the cast has really stepped up its game making every episode can't miss. Season three had Will and Alicia finally giving into their feelings, Eli joining the firm full time and the Will/Peter showdown fans have been waiting three years for. The only drawback is that producers need to get Alicia and Kalinda back together because their friendship was one of the series' best relationships. Highlight episodes: "A New day," "The Death Zone," "Marthas and Caitlins," "Executive Order 13224."

10. "Sons of Anarchy" - When a show has a season as brilliant as "SOA's" third, it's difficult to follow up with that same level of quality (I'm looking at you "Dexter"). However, "Sons" fourth season picked up where the previous one left off, with Jax pulling away from his club and closer to his family, while Clay pulled away from everything and painted himself into an irredeemable corner. Everything culminated with Jax and Tara becoming the new heads of SAMCRO and Gemma wondering how her plan had gone wrong. By the way, where the hell is Katey Sagal's Emmy? Highlight episodes: "Out," "With an X," "Hands," "To Be Act1/2."

So there it is my best TV of 2011. "Doctor Who" pulls off the repeat, while "Person of Interest" and "Game of Thrones make first time appearances.

Hit the comments and let me know what you think of my choices, what shows I left off and what shows you think shouldn't have made it. I look forward to your disdain.

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