Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Top 10 Television Shows of 2012

It's that time of the year again, when all people all around the internet release hundreds upon hundreds of top 10 year-end lists. The best movies, news, memes, music, theater... Anything that could be judged and put on a scale will be the subject of such articles. And we here at Coco Hits NYC are no different. So, without further ado, I present to you my top ten favorite television shows of the year 2012!

10. Adventure Time 
Not since the debut of Spongebob Squarepants and Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends had I seen a children's cartoon as magnificent as Adventure Time. The show seems to have learned from the best shows of its medium by crated a big, expanding mythology that not only is extremely original, but also outright bonkers. That a show as weird and hilarious as this has become such a huge hit with kids is one of the things that make me the happiest about television in 2012.

9. Ben and Kate
The low ratings Ben and Kate has been getting on its Tuesday at 8:30pm slot have practically made it a dead show walking. The chances that it will come back for a second season are unlikely at best, but I would like nothing more than for this sweet little show to find an audience. The chemistry between the cast is impecable and the emotional moments always feel earned. Even if the show goes away, I hope the cast goes on to find success, especially leads Nat Faxon and Dakota Johnson who are aces as siblings Ben and Kate Fox. 

8. New Girl
The award for the most improved show in 2012 definitely goes to New Girl. In the early going of its first season, the show had trouble balancing star Zooey Deschanel's "adorkable" Jess and breakthrough character Schmidt (played by Max Greenfield) with writing a show that actually worked as such, but somewhere along the back half of season one the show became much more of an ensamble piece and starting slowly getting better until its culmination in season two, which put Jess in a hard spot when she lost her job and became one of the funniest comedies on television thanks in no small part to delightfully misanthropic Nick (Jake Johnson).  

7. Bob's Burgers
If there is a show that could dispute the title of "weirdest show on the air" with Adventure Time, then it's undoubtedly Bob's Burgers, which brought a huge breath of fresh air when it joined FOX's Sunday animation line-up a couple years ago. On a night devoted to five Seth McFarlane shows (and The Simpsons), Bob shouts with one of the most original and funniest voices on television. As a descendant of The Simpsons, it has done a wonderful world developing its characters and the town they inhabit by putting them in truly bizarre situations. No matter who the Belcher family stomps into; Be it a gang of bikers, a mechanical shark or a man in love with a mannequin, watching Bob's Burgers is always a delight. 

6. Homeland
If we're talking honestly and objectively, then Homeland's first season was probably more consistently plotted and overall better executed than season two, which had a couple of silly storylines and weird twists and didn't always work. But there is no way you can't admire what the showrunners of this show tried to do in its second year. They went all out to create one of the biggest thrillers in television running from one shocking moment to the next and sticking the landing. There were moments that didn't work as great as they could have, but when Homeland season two flew, it soared.

5. Parks and Recreation
If there is a reason to be happy that NBC is largely failing to produce big hits, it's that it has kept Parks and Recreation alive this long. While season four on the whole, with the City Counsel Election, wasn't on the level of the seasons it preceded; it sure had a wonderful last few episodes, especially Emmy-nominated "The Debate" and "Win, Lose or Draw". And what we've gotten from the fifth season so far has been the show at the top of its game. This could be the last season of Parks and Rec and the writers are clearly treating it as such, building happy endings for Leslie, Ben and even Ron Swanson. If this is indeed the last we see of Parks, at least it promises to remain great until the end.

4. Girls
One of the most controversial shows of the season (at least on the internet), Girls divided people into the camp that just couldn't stand Lena Dunham and the selfish characters of the show (to the point of attacking it with misogynistic comments) and the people that thought it was one of the best shows of the year. As you can see from the high ranking of the show in this list, I fall on the latter camp. Dunham has such a clear voice about what she wants to tell and how she wants to tell it, that I can't help but feel immersed in the show every time I watch it. The characters may be unlikable and do selfish things to one another, but that is partly what is so great about them. 

3. Breaking Bad
This year Breaking Bad gave us the first half of its last season, of which we wrote a lot about in this blog, and the show seems to be paying off big time on the terrific work it's done developing the relationships between its characters the past five seasons. I couldn't be more excited for the last few episodes of this show, but don't get me wrong, in the case of Breaking Bad the trip is as good (if not better) than the destination. 

2. Louie
I have written before about what a genius show Louis C.K.'s Louie is. And how, in its third season, by embracing longer arcs and more continuity than ever, he was able to tell stories that had the usual Louie payoff in a bigger, more emotional way. Louie is not only the most singular voice on television, but may also be the future of television programming as we know it. 

1. Mad Men

I could go on trying to find what makes Mad Men such a great show. Is it the plotting, the detailed period work, the wonderful characters and the way they slowly develop to then have huge payoffs years after they are introduced or just the fancy clothing? At the end of the day, in my case, it comes to the fact that I simply can't find a show as captivating, engaging and enjoyable to watch. And in its fifth season, it had some of the greatest moments in the show's history: Pete and Lane's fist fight, Roger Sterling taking meth and the ultimate faith of the characters this season are all among the best moments of tv this year. Mad Men has zou bisou bisoud its way to my heart. It's simply my favorite. 

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