Thursday, January 24, 2013

How much TV can one watch in a year?

The lead singer of ExitMusic is also an actress from Boardwalk Empire
This is long overdue, but thank you for reading my 2012 TV review post. Instead of limiting my list to an arbitrary number (like I did last year),  I decided to list every Series Recording set into my DVR (or binge watched via OnDemand or HBO GO) and rank accordingly. Yes folks, I watched every episode of the below shows in 2012. If a show you love is not on the list one of two rules applies (I don't like it / thus don't watch it or I hear great things / can't figure out what to cut to make room for it). Apologies to 30 Rock and New Girl fans: I will get around to watching those shows sometime... promise.

Honorable mention to The Daily Show, a show I don't watch every day but watched enough web clips to know it had a top notch year amidst a Presidential Election and the world crumbling all around. Dishonorable mention to The Last Resort, a show that I was so ready to have in my top ten only to quit watching after two episodes.

32. Big Brother (XXX)
One thing I will not apologize for is the lack of CBS shows on this list. Friends that have heard my TV Snob comment of "I don't watch anything on CBS" don't know my secret shame that I watched this sad mess of a "competition." I maintain that I "don't watch anything on CBS" because I don't so much "watch" this show as "suffer" from it.


31. Veep (HBO)
I'm quitting this show. It's a one and done for me. Sorry Elaine, just not feeling it. Kudos on another success and we're all very happy that Tony Hale has steady work.

30. The Killing (AMC)
I'm - trying very, very hard - to quit this show. The entire first season pissed me off to no end, but I endured through it only to be royally screwed by it's first season finale. To the extend that I recorded the entire second season and let it sit unwatched until I asked someone who had seen it if it would have a resolution at the end.

29. The Newsroom (HBO)
#1 Hate Watch Show of 2012. Every female character is a fancy good looking shell that is unable to hide the incompetence fumbling onto the screen. The 20/20 hindsight creates a condescending and sanctimonious worldview. I will continue to watch...

28. The Office (NBC)
I married this show a long time ago. For better or worse, right? And now she has terminal cancer. I'm not going to divorce her when I know she will die soon, right? Too harsh?

27. Enlightened (HBO)
Not a show I watch regularly, but enjoy it somewhat in the large OnDemand / HBO GO chunks that I consume it. Any show that has many scenes among cubicles is difficult for me to ignore.

26. Dexter (Showtime)
Somewhat like my views on The Office, I'm unable to quit this show that once was great. It's not as low as the others because the season started off surprisingly well, only to disappoint in the end.  So instead of a cancer-riddled-wife like The Office, it's that hot coworker who is really high maintenance but you smile through gritted teeth at it.

25. Sons of Anarchy (FX)
"Sons of Lower Class Sopranos" gets into the Top 25. I have many, many problems with the plot techniques of this show - but I can not deny it's entertainment value. It has been consistently inconsistent enough to not allow any viewer that still watches to be upset at the product.

24. Workaholics (Comedy Central)
A friend had to strongly recommend this show to me, because the commercials for it certainly won't make anybody want to watch. Easily the most BRO-HEAVY show on the list, but once again: it's really tough for me not to like a show that makes cubicles fertile comic ground.


23. The Eric Andre Show (Adult Swim)
I will never recommend this show to anybody, because I don't want to endure the blowback from upset viewers. As with most every show on Adult Swim, it's layers of inside jokes upon non sequitur references. AND ANTI-COMEDY IS NOT FOR EVERYONE!

22. NTSF:SD:SUV:: (Adult Swim)
I love Paul Sheer. That is all.

21. Children's Hospital (Adult Swim)
This is the Adult Swim program that is most viewer friendly. Still oddball enough to leave the majority of America in silence, but has pretty and recognizable faces going through the motions. Ironic motions that are in itself jokes at the tropes that CBS lovers expect and love sincerely.

20. Check It Out with Steve Brule (Adult Swim)
John C. Reilly, ya dingus!

19. Modern Family (ABC)
The show will continue to get hurt by the constant leaning on "Jay is Old and Cam is Gay!" jokes. However, give credit where credit is due: Luke has evolved and become the most interesting character. Let's just hope he doesn't become a cliche like the rest.

18. The League (FX)
I love this show, don't let the somewhat bad ranking on this list make you think different. If anything it was hurt by the incredibly stellar second season.  Just give us all more Rafi, please.

17. The Soup (E!)
A must-watch for a TV junkie. A one stop shopping place for all the filth of TV that you can't waste time with but want to accrue a working pop cultural knowledge.

16. Conan (TBS)
I don't know how to rank Conan. But it's a show I record every day and usually watch 4 at a time when waking up from a weekend night that went too long. I fast forward through every monologue (so it doesn't take as long as you might think).

15. Shameless (Showtime)
Emmy Rossum is fantastic in this show, and it's a shame she will never be able to win an award in the era of Carrie Mattheson. (Shades of Cranston over Hamm)

14. Game of Thrones (HBO)
Reading the books should not be a prerequisite for enjoying a television program. I'm sure all this "set up" will pay off, but it was a step back for me.  The "Blackwater" episode was amazing, and that hour alone earned it's top 15 rank.

13. Mad Men (AMC)
Simply said: I don't enjoy this show as madly as others. Last year it didn't deserve to be on my list, but this year had Pete Campbell at his best/worst.

12. Enjoy It (HBO Digital)
This is a documentary series following stand up comic Brody Stevens. It's only 8 episodes - each lasting about ten minutes. You will be able to watch it in one sleepless night and be thankful you did. Positive energy - YES!


11. Happy Endings (ABC)
Possibly my best TV decision of 2012: picking this show up for this 3rd season cold. Someday I'll go back to watch the first two seasons. No other show has a higher joke per minute ratio.

10. Parks and Recreation (NBC)
No way my favorite comedy of 2011 is my tenth favorite show of 2012? But I just can't place it ahead of shows I enjoyed more... If anything is to blame, it's the worst "Tammy" episode in the series run and an expected let down after the Paul Rudd Political Rival arc.

9. Parenthood (NBC)
Continues to be the best medicine for us in Friday Night Lights withdraw. I respectfully yield the rest of this space to the good folks at Grantland.


8. The Walking Dead (AMC)
The show is bad ass, and it kicks ass. And it's not going anywhere folks (I'm not worried about it's troubles finding a consistent show runner because the source material can keep it on the right tracks). It would be in the top five if not for pacing issues at the Farm.

7. Justified (FX)
Worth repeating: Justified is the best show that people don't realize is a best show. The Timothy Olyphant / Walton Goggins counterpunch are worthy bronze medal winners for Best TV duo. (Carrie/Saul and Walter/Jesse round out the podium)

6. Girls (HBO)
In one sentence: Never before have young women been chronicled for the destructive selfish vessels they may be capable of at the intersection of vantity, desperation and opportunity.

5. Homeland (Showtime)
The first half of the second season is up amongst the all time greats. I was even preparing myself to have it upset the reigning champion for the top spot.  But there were SERIOUS missteps that I can not spoil here, but am more than happy to discuss with any other fan of the show.

4. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FX)
The show went incredibly meta this year by folding its craziness onto itself, repeating arcs from new perspectives creating beautiful rewards for its longtime fans. Everyone outside the gang has lock solid continuity, but the gang's growth is eternally stunted. The juxtaposition of the evolving world around the bar and the vacuum inside created my biggest laughs of the year.

3. Louie (FX)
Louis C.K. is a Television auteur who refuses to be confined by the standards set by all shows before it. The end result is more of a new integrity than a vision: a philosophy over perspective.

2. Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
During the time when Homeland was faltering,  Boardwalk Empire flourished. The first half of the season lulled me into an unhappy malaise only to congeal in ways I never imagined - somehow making all past weaknesses appear as strengths.

1. Breaking Bad (AMC)
First and foremost, LOOK AT THIS INSTAGRAM:
Bryan Cranston likes me everybody! Bryan Cranston likes this thing I did.

50% of a Breaking Bad season is still better than 100% of anything else. Am I biased? Damn right I am. But this is my list, not yours... Speaking of which, please share with me your list.

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