If you’re reading this post and watching this video, chances are that you love television. Or, at the very least, I’d say that chances are that you *like* television.
And if that’s the case, if you’re the kind of person who likes television enough to take it seriously and to enjoy discussing it, you’ve probably gotten into one of those conversations where somebody tries telling you that they hate TV or where they try telling you that there’s nothing to watch on TV, or where they try proving they’re “aware” of the TV landscape by suggesting that their dislike for TV stems not from the medium itself, but from the proliferation of reality TV which has, if you trust certain people, led directly to the demise of all things quality and scripted on the small screen.
While you might be prone to obscenities when speaking with such people, you could also just walk away with a simple, “You’re a ridiculous fool” (or “troll,” if the conversation is taking place online).
I’m not going to try convincing you that we’re in the middle of the same so-called TV Golden Age that we were in in the mid-00s when “The Sopranos” and “The Wire” and “Deadwood” and “Arrested Development” and “Lost” and “The Shield” were delivering dozens of hours of new TV every year.
But I’ll say, without hesitation, that all 10 of the shows in my Top 10 are shows that I love, shows that I feel a passionate need to support and defend. My loosely sketched Top 10 Movies of 2010 list doesn’t include more than four or five films I feel that level of devotion to.
I didn’t cheat on my Top 10. There are exactly 10 shows for 10 positions. But I cheated a little on the Second 10, a list that’ll post tomorrow or the next day. That list will contain a couple more than 10 slots because it turns out that there are more than 20 shows on TV that I adore. And even after cheating a tiny bit, my list excluded recent Emmy favorites, TCA Award winners and shows with rabid fanbases that are sure to be unhappy with me (especially when a couple of those shows pop up in my 10 Worst gallery later this week).
Including this video and my Second 10, my Best of 2010 package (slightly less inclusive than Sepinwall’s) includes exactly one season of one reality show, plus one nonfiction program. That means at least 20-ish scripted programs made my list. Again, don’t let anybody tell you that reality has made it impossible to find quality scripted programming on TV. I don’t care if you don’t love all 20 of the scripted shows on my list. To each their own. But if you *hate* all 20, that’s a problem and it isn’t my problem.
Don’t let anybody tell you there are no good comedies on TV. I’ve got two in my Top 10 and four or five more that’ll make my next grouping.
In fact, don’t let anybody tell you that TV is lacking in good examples of almost *any* genre. In my Top 20-ish, I’ve got thrillers, period pieces, action shows, a sports drama, a sports documentary series, a couple stellar entries from the miniseries/made-for-TV field, a PI mystery, a teenage soap about vampires and werewolves, plus a complicated social drama that brings together music, food and a portrait of one of America’s great cities. You want it? You can find it on the small screen.
Everything good is on cable and there’s nothing good on network TV? Well, I’ll grant that only four of my Top 10 will have aired on a broadcast network this year, but that number expands significantly when I stretch into my Top 20-ish.
Anyway, enough of me being defensive. It’s just that I’m generally a rather huge snob. You know this about me, dear readers. And if I can find more than 20 shows I love on TV, there probably ought to be one or two shows out there for everybody.
I feel pretty solid about this list. The gap between the bottom five shows on this Top 10 and some of the shows in my Second 10 is fairly small. The gap between the top two shows and everything else on the list is fairly wide.
Enjoy my Top 10 (Much credit to HitFix’s Alex Dorn for the editing!)… Stay tuned for the Second 10 in the days to come.