Television shows have a way of wiggling into our lives without us even realizing it. We hum the theme songs, talk about them around the water cooler and even pepper our everyday discussions with catchphrases from them. Television shows affect us like no other entertainment medium.
2010 was a good year in television. Some are even calling it the Golden Age of television. While I would not go that far I do agree it is hard to pick a top 10 list for the year. Here’s my list of the top 10 shows of 2010 in no particular order:
1) Breaking Bad: Secrets revealed. Walt finally admitted to his wife that he cooked meth. A divorce almost ensued but then his coming clean actually brings them back together. Jesse goes into rehab and demands to be made an equal partner in the business. Part thriller and part relationship drama. Somehow we like both Jesse and Walt even after they no longer like each other. Sort of reminds me of something the Coen brothers would have made.
2) Fringe: If you can accept or get past the parallel universe/dual personalities aspect of the show then you’ll find yourself enjoying it immensely. A geeky show that is full of laughs, chills and thrills. A show that deserves more credit than it gets.
3) The Good Wife: A show that has that old school feel to it. Reminds me of television shows that they used to make. The marriage of Alicia and Peter Florrick is played out in public and private. Has the elements of a courtroom drama, a soap opera, family story, and thriller.
4) 30 Rock: Quirky, zany, silly, but always done well. Tina Fey’s show will go where very few others dare. A show about what goes on behind the scenes at a Saturday Night Live like live sketch comedy show. The first half of the season was especially strong.
5) Mad Men: Terrific ensemble show. Don Draper is definitely the center and Jon Hamm is tremendous in the role. It remains flexible in that some weeks it is hilarious while others it is quite serious. And others it is both at the same time. The only request I have is to have more January Jones.
6) Justified: Timothy Olyphant seems like he was born to play this role. He is totally at ease while playing the Elmore Leonard character. U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is stoic and straightforward with a romantic’s heart underneath it all.
7) Friday Night Lights: The fourth and fifth (final) seasons of the drama continued to be great. Despite the fact that some strong actors left the show it was able to go on at the same high level. That was partially due to some strong actors being introduced. Not a sports show but a family show.
8) Modern Family: Freshest sitcom that has come along in quite a while. All the couples on the show seem ill suited for each other but really do love each other. Reminder to everyone watching that each marriage and family is unique.
9) Community: A mix of pop culture, social critique and slapstick comedy. More jokes each episode than you can shake a stick at.
10) In Treatment: This past season was especially good. It was the first season of the show that was not directly adapted from the original Israeli show. A show that makes you think and feel deeply while allowing you to watch a master class in the art of nuanced acting.