Memorable TV of 2011
Once Upon a Time - Arguably the best new network show of the fall season. It brought our beloved LOST writers back to TV and, once again, gave them two worlds to juggle. While we were stunned by the midseason finale, we have to admit it was ballsy and a good episode. Just about everyone loves a good fairy tale, and while critics thought this one was going to be too weird for audiences, the show proved them wrong. This year, this show taught us that viewers want something different and something that the whole family can watch. But not something that infantilizes the audience, like Terra Nova (which one of us likes).
Homeland - Arguably the best new cable show of the fall season. The tension, the characters, the acting, and the writing were all top notch. This show proved that people will be engrossed by complicated characters over flash.
New Girl - This show put quirky, “adorkable,” and weird front-and-center and thus garnered lots of young fans. While this show is groan-inducing because Jess SINGS HER OWN THEME SONG and the character is basically an exaggerated version of the already-existing Zooey Deschanel, we don’t care. We love it. She’s bringing femininity back with her clothes and innocence back with her optimistic attitude. Best of all, the show is funny and the supporting cast is good too. Leeard loves this show so much, that she let's Ern know "I love this show" every time she watches it. Ern knows, dammit.
Happy Endings - This was the only Friends copycat in the recent year that survived, and thank God, because the others were terrible. This one has funny writing with lines that are sometimes said too fast. However, you know a comedy is bringing funny back when it redeems Elisha Cuthbert for a 24 fan.
American Horror Story - We didn’t think a TV show that relied on a shock a minute would work. We thought this would be too much. And yeah, we were right. But we were also entertained for weeks. There’s never been a TV show like this, for better or worse. We don’t want to give anything away for people who haven’t seen it, but this show is not afraid to kill. And it’s not afraid to go to the most messed-up place possible in order to make us s*** our pants in fear.
Revenge - We’ve talked to multiple guys who say that this show hooked them. Stephen King even likes it. It’s rare that a soap aimed at girls can grab just about everyone, but this one did it. It has few (if any) haters, redeemed a so-so actress, and brought us Nolan. The lead is likeable, even though she is bent on revenge. We understand her, but we can’t predict her. It’s one of the better primetime soaps in a while. At first, we thought it was going to be a predictable revenge procedural, but then they brought out the real Emily and things started getting crazy good.
The Playboy Club - This show sucked, and the American audience let everyone know that Hugh Hefner and Playboy are gross, not things that we can emotionally invest in. Thank you, American public, for once. Besides, the show was too tame for the people who would be edgy and liberal enough to embrace it. We will remember this show for being lame and being over very quickly. It wasn’t smart enough to be Mad Men.
Charlie’s Angels - This was one of the worst shows we have ever seen, and that’s saying something. It wasn’t even bad in a fun way. It was just unwatchable. We will remember this for ruining Charlie’s Angels for us forever.
Enlightened - Apparently, this show got good after we dropped out and has been renewed. It made an impression as an off-the-wall, female-driven comedy, and we can respect that. The pilot almost worked, so we can see that it might be worthwhile if it got better, which apparently it has. We’ll be checking it out.
The Killing - We were never under the impression that the mystery would be solved at the end of the first season anyway, so we don’t share everyone else’s rage that we didn’t find out who murdered Rosie. And we don’t care what anyone else says: We think that acting was good. But this show provided a warning to showrunners everywhere: Give us answers, or you will become a joke.
The Chicago Code - A good show that got axed too soon. Good acting, good villain (especially in the first few episodes, when you weren't 100% sure he was bad), and a satisfying finale, for a show that really could have (and should have) gone on longer.
Game of Thrones - Arguably the best new show of the year, Ern even thought it surpassed the book in enjoyability. Shut up, that’s a word. It stayed true to the book, down to lots of the dialogue, and didn’t hesitate to pull off the book’s infuriating, shocking twists. Nerds have been suffering without intelligent science fiction and fantasy on TV these days, and HBO jumped to fill the void. The details and visuals of the world HBO created was admirable. They didn’t half-ass this. And no one will forget the episode “Baelor” that shocked all the show’s fans who hadn’t read the book.
Off the Map - We will remember this show for being decent and for delivering one of the most unsatisfying conclusions to a series of all time. We still miss this show. It had a pretty and talented cast that needs to get hired again by other shows, ASAP. They deserved better. It was just as good as some seasons of Grey’s and Private Practice! Why didn’t those fans jump on this show? Maybe too much of a popular thing is just too much.
Shameless - This show redeemed Emmy Rossum for us after she came out with that hideous music that didn’t show off her classical voice. Seeing her slumming it in this show and taking care of her siblings was a good trainwreck. We loved everyone in this twisted family, and we will be returning for another visit when the show starts up again. This show was very easy to watch and proved once again that remaking British shows works a lot of the time. Unless it’s Skins. That was a bad idea. People don’t like shows that only exist to shock and stir up controversy. There has to be more to it than that. With Shameless, there was.
The Returning Shows
Breaking Bad - This season perfected the slow burn. Just when we thought this show couldn’t get any better, it masterfully crafted a fustercluck for the ages with Tarantino-like crazy moments. The acting, of course, remained incredible. It was probably the most quality TV this year. Sons of Anarchy lost that award with its snooze-inducing finale. Breaking Bad’s finale left us gasping.
The Office - This was the year that we said goodbye to Michael Scott, which is memorable in itself. His exit was perfect. We also think that the show found a way to be decent again, even without him. It certainly isn’t as bad as The Office’s horrific season six, which had no funny episodes even with Michael. We thought this show was dead, but it may still have life.
Two and a Half Men - This show was already bad and creepy. How many jokes about whores and poop can they do? Those seem to be limitless. Now, the show has betrayed even its most ardent fans by ruining John Cryer’s character. We were told that Alan contemplated STEALING from Ashton Kutcher’s character. Now, fans of this show are stupid. But they don’t deserve to have the character they loved for being a stand up guy turn into Charlie Sheen. The show could have thought of a better way to introduce Ashton’s character. The ratings are still good, but we know the fans are disappointed.
Glee - Made an impression by taking a sweet, believable show and turning it into what we saw this year. A hot and cold, uneven pile of crazy with exactly no likeable characters and mostly bad music.
Parks and Recreation - This year in Parks and Recreation was perfect, especially Lil Sebastian’s funeral. This comedy proves that you don’t have to be mean or sarcastic to be funny. In fact, the characters can be sweet and all love each other. It’s a breath of fresh air.
Friday Night Lights - A solid season ended with a perfect, bittersweet finale. We miss that show.
Big Love - A weird season that ended with a finale we really didn’t like. We know the show ended up being about the family, and that whoever didn’t get that just missed the point. But somewhere around season three, it looked like the show was going to be about Nicki’s awakening to love and real independence. Then she backslid and became first wife. Then Bill died and it just felt like they killed him just so that they would have something to do for an ending. We guess the finale scene with the women was sweet though. And we miss this show too. Also, what happened to Joey? Why did this show waste our lives with him and then just have him just disappear?
Community - The Dungeons and Dragons episode and the one with the multiple timelines were two of the most perfect comedy episodes we’ve encountered. Ever. This show stumbled a little in the beginning of its third season, but for the year overall, it produced creative, funny episodes. Oh oh! Also there was the one where Pierce was “dying” and bequeathed gifts to his study group. Classic. Then the Christmas episode happened, and we just had no words. This show is the best, and if it leaves us forever, at least it went out like that. But it better not leave us forever.
The Good Wife - This is the year that it finally grabbed us. It was always good and watchable, but in 2011, we saw Will and Alicia finally hook up, the cases seemed to get better, we got more Eli Gold, and everything just seemed to get more fast-paced and entertaining. Bravo, show.
Are there any shows that you think made a splash this year? Probably Boardwalk Empire. Yep. We spoiled ourselves there, so we know what happened. Wowser. Should the Grey's Anatomy musical episode have made this list?