Throughout the past few years, some of the most talented writers, directors, cinematographers, and actors have made their mark in television. Not only is TV a place to form long lasting story arcs and fully develop characters, it’s become a pop-culture mecca for blooming creativity. It’s safe to say that TV drama is experiencing a golden age, from meticulously designed period pieces to jaw-dropping thrillers. We whittled down our lengthy list of choices to the essentials in Buzzine’s Top 5 Drama Shows of 2012.
Breaking Bad (AMC)
With each season, Breaking Bad proves again and again that it’s the best show on television. Perhaps ever. Vince Gilligan somehow makes each harrowing twist not just shocking, but also immensely satisfying. Each year, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul solidify them as actors a class above the rest, deserving of every award they’ve received – and even those they haven’t. As the second half of its final season approaches, all we can do is watch, re-watch, and appreciate the sweetly spun gold that is Breaking Bad. More details in our Breaking Bad Review.
Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Last season, Boardwalk Empire's Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) gunned down one of the period drama’s leads, while fans of the prohibition-era thriller questioned this gusty narrative move. Thankfully, the 3rd season of Boardwalk Empire not only heightened the escalating tensions between Nucky and real-life gangsters Al Capone (Stephen Graham) and Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg), it also gave us stellar performances from tragic anti-hero Richard Harrow (Jack Huston) and Nucky’s latest nemesis, Italian lunatic Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale). Get the full details in our Boardwalk Empire TV Column.
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Winter – and war – are coming to George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy drama Game of Thrones. Season 2 of the award-winning series saw more truths revealed, brutal deaths sprung, battles waged and mysterious characters introduced. From the witchy Melisandre’s (Carice van Houten) murderous smoke baby to the staggering assault on King’s Landing in the Battle of Blackwater Bay, Game of Thrones shows no signs of slowing down its epic scale, gorgeous production design, and masterful intrigue. Full details in our Games Of Thrones TV Review.
Mad Men (AMC)
When Mad Men returned after that lengthy hiatus, our dapper Don Draper seemed a little… off. Who was this cheery man, with a young, beautiful wife and a spring in his step? Matthew Weiner brought the 1960s drama back with some of the greatest episodes in its run, with Roger Sterling’s acid trip, Megan Draper's “Bisou Bisou” performance, Pete Cambell finally taking a punch, and the devastating loss of a beloved character top of mind. Still, Don surely can’t stay happy for too long, and the events of Season 5 only ramped up our excitement for what’s next. More details in our Mad Men Season 5 Review.
Showtime’s Homeland stole the show last year, snatching awards away from our aforementioned established favorites like Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, and Breaking Bad at every well-deserved turn. Based around career-changing performances by Claire Danes as volatile CIA agent Carrie Matheson and Damien Lewis as her enigmatic maybe-terrorist maybe-lover Nick Brody, the political thriller took its story even further beyond the pale in the scintillating second season. Alliances were shifted, plots revealed, and that explosive season finale has set the media darling series up for yet another season of blowing our minds on a weekly basis. And sweeping award shows. More details in both our exclusive Buzzine Maury Sterling Interview and Homeland Season 2 Review.
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