Buzzine has already shared its favorite new shows of the season, but what about the best this year has offered? With Lost and 24 gone, genre television has had a huge gap to fill. At the same time, some series have demonstrated, time and again, that they will keep hitting the right targets. From a stand-up comedian's venture into scripted television to a Medieval fantasy saga, here are Buzzine's Top 5 US television shows of 2011.
For someone considered so crude, Louis C.K. is surprisingly poignant. The stand-up comedian’s popularity picked up speed at an exponential rate this year after his show’s sensational second season. Louis C.K. is not only the star of the half-hour comedy, but also writer, director, editor, and producer. Louis plays a version of himself as a newly divorced father living in New York. Seemingly connected vignettes peppered with clips of Louie’s stand-up make for an unconventional show. Louie is not merely brazen in its humor: many of the show's scenes portray him as a lonely, confused man. Louie’s unrequited love for fellow parent Pamela (Pamela Adlon, Californication) is both excruciating and delightful. Punctuated with commentary on society, relationships, and parenting, Louie keeps getting better and better.
True, Community is technically on hiatus, but the fan-favorite may be near the chopping block this year. If the show does go up in smoke, will its mid-season Christmas finale be the last we ever see of Greendale’s misfit students? Without breaking a sweat, Community has breezed through its third season with plucky humor, layered writing, and a tremendous ensemble cast, only to be threatened, coyly, with cancellation. NBC promises that the show will return to air its remaining episodes, but why would they put such a brewing cult hit on the back burner to begin with? Community's third season gave us more of Jim Rash’s spastic Dean Pelton, a karaoke duet between him and his ultimate crush, Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), and of course the episode that rivals even the three paintball episodes, "Remedial Chaos Theory." Any show that toys with the space-time continuum, evil alter-egos, and demon trolls must be saved. Catch up on Community’s third season, pick up the DVDs, and continue to show support for this underdog comedy before it’s too late!
It’s no secret that Team Buzzine adores Showtime’s smash hit, Homeland. With a strong female lead, edge-of-your seat plot, and clever intrigue, the freshman series successfully captivated audiences of all demographics. Claire Danes broke out of her good-girl rut as the impulsive, stubborn anti-heroine, Carrie, while Damian Lewis quickly broke onto the U.S. television scene with his artful portrayal of tortured soldier Nick Brody. Homeland's pilot show itself and also the season finale both broke ratings records for Showtime: Clearly this intellectual thriller is not going anywhere, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.
George R. R. Martin’s book series, A Song of Fire and Ice, is a tricky fantasy story that seems an unlikely television series. Multiple storylines are woven together through the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, where seasons last for years and dark creatures lurk in the shadows. Game of Thrones is the title of the first novel in the series and the television adaptation by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. As kings and nobles clash in their struggle for the throne, a magnificent cast of characters undercut each other at every turn. With incredible performances by Sean Bean and Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones has become the breakaway fantasy hit this season.
1. Breaking Bad
“Do you watch Breaking Bad?” Bring AMC's award-winning drama up at a dinner party or the water cooler and people will come out of the woodwork eager to talk about the best show on television. Though that sounds like mighty high praise, the writing, acting, cinematography, and directing of this series are utterly exquisite. Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and Giancarlo Esposito delivered a flawless Season 4 that had viewers outraged and in disbelief. The best part about Breaking Bad is not just that it hits home every episode, but that Vince Gilligan carefully crafts every jaw-dropping decision the characters make. The character development in this show puts every other to shame. With just one more season to go until the explosive end, Breaking Bad shows no signs of slowing down.