The State of Television, according to b-roll

As a film/TV lover, I always enjoy that moment when all of the critics start rolling out their end-of-year “best of” lists, and everyone’s curiosity abruptly turns to outrage at the omission of their favorites. I usually clock in at “benign irritation,” but occasionally people go a little nuts; some comments are flat-out terrifying. It must be a delight for the critics, too, who all preface their write-ups with some variation of: “These are just my opinions. I know you’ll hate them and/or want to scream at me. Commence telling me how much I fail at life in 3…2…1…” You can just hear their fortifying deep breaths turning into sighs of resignation as readers angrily start to chime in.

It really promotes the seasonal feelings of love, joy and fellowship, this “best of the year!” thing.

The perils of doing one of these lists not as a professional critic but as a “for love of the game” blogger (and a sporadic one at that) is that I miss a ton of stuff; I don’t get screener DVDs or private sneak previews. Thus I don’t really want to do a “favorite movies of 2011” list yet; best to do that closer to the Oscars, once I’ve made a mad dash to catch up on the contenders.

But I watch a lot of TV. Sure, I don’t catch everything, but I watch. A lot. So – a list of television shows! Extra credit because I’ve been so movie-centric recently; a TV post is long overdue. So, here we are: the official b-roll Top (choose an arbitrary number) favorite TV Shows of 2011. Yes. This is good. Let’s get started.

Hey – is it me, or does TV kinda suck?

I mean, I watch it obsessively; day and night, my TV is on. And I DVR a good number of shows – I never watch anything but sporting events or Law & Order re-runs in real time – so it’s not like I don’t commit. But very few of them fall into the must-see category anymore.

Anyone else having this problem too?

Part of this is compounded by the DVD/Hulu effect; not only do I not have to watch shows the minute they air, I can catch up to them years later. I’m not going to cry over missing a show I should apparently be watching or fork out a ton of money for premium channels; I’ll just shrug and wait until they’re on Netflix (which, I’ve said before and I’ll say again: Netflix streaming is, without question, a gift from the baby Jesus). This is how I’m getting up to speed on Breaking Bad, though I’m not quite there yet. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think there’s more to this Walter White fella than meets the eye.

So, rather than a top whatever list (because, hand to God, I’m not sure I can come up with 10 or so shows that I watch consistently and think are honestly worth recommending right now), how about a “Shows that were on television that I watched this year and think have some merit, so if you’re watching too, great, and if not, consider catching up on DVD or online” list? Catchy, right? And I’ll add a dash of “Shows that I still watch but have gone downhill and/or off a cliff,” maybe a couple of “Shows I DVR that I’m a little ashamed to admit I do” and just a splash of  “I’ve officially deleted you from my DVR, the hell with you, American Idol” (that may be just a rant about one show in particular). What say you to that?

So I’ll be back this weekend with my unranked thoughts. And in the meantime, a caveat: These are just my opinions. I know you’ll hate them and/or want to scream at me. Commence telling me how much I fail at life shortly.


  1. I echo verdun2’s excitement, and can you also add a list titled “shows to remove from the DVR list and only to be watched in seasons 1-7 reruns” – “The Office.” Watched some old season episodes last night – the best episodes of this season don’t even hold a candle to the mediocre ones from Michael Scott seasons. Steve Carell made that show.

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