Top TV for 2014: 10 more great returning series

I am what James Poniewozik at Time would call an Everybody Gets a Trophy kind of person. With the Baseball Hall of Fame, I’m a big Hall kind of guy. (Vote Tim Raines this year, people!) I like honoring as much excellence as I can, whenever I can, even if it comes at the risk of making everything a bit less special because so many things are being called special.

Even before the Too Much Good TV deluge began in the last couple of years, I was always somebody who tried to squeeze more than 10 shows into his yearly top 10 lists, whether through ties or other bending of the rules. One year, number 2 on my list was “Fact-based movies and miniseries,” a ridiculous cheat that allowed me to squeeze six productions into one slot; another, I didn’t even do a top 10 at all, but an amorphous list of things like “Best bickerers” (“Pardon the Interruption” hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon) or “Best cure for cynicism” (“The Wire”).

Since I came to HitFix, I’ve generally done two best-of posts per year: the video top 10, and then a top 20 (or, last year, 25) that includes written takes on the initial 10, plus 10 (or 15) more I liked but couldn’t squeeze into the main list. This year, though, my top 10 came in both video and written form at once, and because of that – and because there are just so many damn shows I want to acknowledge in some way – I’m doing something a little bit different.

Embedded below is a list of 10 veteran shows (though one of them only barely qualifies) I loved, but that didn’t fit into the overall top 10, plus the names of a handful of others I also wanted to recognize. Next week, I’ll do a similar list of new shows outside my overall top 10 (though several of them were also part of my HitFix critics poll ballot). There are many more shows I could have written praise for, but 30 shows across three lists probably is enough, even for me.

What does everybody else think?