Bleary Eyes, Full DVRs, Can't Lose: The 10 Best TV Shows of 2010

besttv2010_500.jpgPeople love lists. Never mind that most of them are subjective to current moods and agendas -- it's fun reading what one person considered their ten favorites of the year, and then seeing if they match up with your own. With that in mind: Who's ready for another top ten?

Kidding! Before we get to the top-ten, here are some almost-favorites that just missed. Let's call them the Honorable Misfires of 2010.

Considering how much Community and Glee have in common (I will make that an Internet meme if it is the last thing I do), it isn't surprising to find them falling just short of my top-ten. Both shows reached great highs during 2010, but those highs were more consistent during the first part of the year. The second seasons of Community and Glee are trying too hard, resulting in diminishing returns. It feels like both are aping what made them each so original and wonderful in the first place.

Similarly, Gossip Girl has seen its identity stagger in the last calendar year. The third season finale was a wonderful bit of colliding cliffhangers -- and there have been some great episodes sprinkled throughout the fourth season this fall -- but too often the show is just...well, lame. Being trashy and incoherent fun is one thing; being bad is something else entirely.

Finally, Lone Star. The pariah of the fall television season only lasted for two episodes, but those two episodes were absolute home runs. If Kyle Killen's too-beautiful-for-network series had been allowed to exist for even a few more episodes, it would have found a spot on the top-ten. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and con men. At least we'll always have James Wolk, Mumford & Sons and wind farms.

Please note: I haven't finished with Breaking Bad yet, so it wasn't eligible. (Hey, that excuse worked for Emily Nussbaum, so why not me?) Also: There are some spoilers sprinkled throughout, so be careful. Click here to launch the full slideshow.


  • zooeyglass1999 says:

    I love your list and your taste except I would substitute Grey's Anatomy (really? Christopher Rosen, really?) for Sons of Anarchy and How I met your mother (I grew tired of this show) for Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

  • Ebbhead says:

    No The Walking Dead? Incomplete.

  • Jim says:

    Pretty solid list. I'm not a fan of Grey's and have found 30 Rock and HIMYM to be having pretty weak seasons. Breaking Bad, Terriers, Community, Justified, Fringe are shows I would try to fit in (but maybe I'd need to make a Top 15).

  • zooeyglass1999 says:

    Haha thats how I feel. Also its hard to compare/rank drama shows and comedies on the same list. My mind completely spaced on Breaking Bad and Fringe. Those would definitely be in my top 10.

  • Christopher Rosen says:

    I hate to say that we're in a Golden Age of television, but: We're in a Golden Age of television. You could really do a Top-20 and still miss things. Party Down, for instance.

  • tim says:

    1.Mad Men
    2. Spartacus
    3. Breaking Bad
    4. Rubicon
    5. Boardwalk Empire
    6. Big C
    7. Nurse Jackie
    8. Hung
    9. Damages
    10. Walking Dead

  • stolidog says:

    Raising Hope and Modern Family need their own list.

  • Pig Bodine says:

    Jeez, you haven't finished "Breaking Bad," a great show that arguably had its best season yet? Its finale aired months ago ... yet you have time to watch and single out for praise the silly, frustrating "Bored to Death" ?
    You haven't finished "Terriers" either? Given the reviews and the unusual circumstances surrounding its cancellation, a TV critic is slacking if they had it but couldn't make time for it. I guess "Grey's Anatomy" got in the way.
    Well, at least you didn't fall for "The Walking Dead."

  • zooeyglass1999 says:

    Wow another one I missed! You are so correct that we are in a golden age of television. But at the same time we also have a record number of crap shows.

  • Sarah says:

    I wish I had anything to add about how wonderful Friday Night Lights is, but you nailed it. It is hands down the best show on television. I feel thankful that it airs while I'm at an age where I can truly appreciate it: old enough to truly understand its lessons and heartbreak and triumphs and young enough where it's not super creepy how attractive I find the young cast.

  • JIM DOGGIE says:

    Grey's Anatomy?? No Community??

  • AM says:

    More and more schlock and less substance. Glee, REALLY? More testosterone 15 to 35 year olds junk. Fringe is great, Rubicon and a few others. Seems to me people don't realize how stupid these network s think we are, while most of them seem to be educated beyond their own inteligence.