2011-2012 Rank: New Show
Since I’m including shows from Summer 2012, it feels like ages ago when I actually watched the first season of The Newsroom. The drama stars Jeff Daniels as a TV anchor who features on a political telecast. The show itself is decent and it is challenging to connect with the characters. One thing I find interesting about the show is that it takes place during real events. As a viewer you get to witness how these major events manifested and made their way to the public. The supporting cast is pretty good, including Emily Mortimer (Hugo), Olivia Munn (Attack of the Show!), Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) and Sam Waterston (Law & Order). I’m not sure I’ll be continuing to watch this show. Maybe if I’ve got nothing else to watch at a given time.
2011-2012 Rank: 8 (-1)
The Gallaghers were back and harder to watch than ever. I actually mean that in a good way though, as the show excels on a family mostly making bad decisions. I have Shameless listed as a drama, but it definitely carries a lot of comedic elements as well. In season 3, Frank continued to be an awful and absent father while his oldest daughter Fiona decided to fight for guardianship of her siblings. Everyone had their fair share of problems throughout the season as they tend to do. It’s amazing how addicting it is to watch this show even though every character struggles to find good in their lives.
2011-2012 Rank: 6 (-2)
The police procedural/family drama continued with a solid third season. The fact that Blue Bloods succeeds while on Friday night says a lot about the quality of the show. The Reagan family is a very honest and honorable set of people and they continue to give the law enforcement of New York a good name. The show continued it's format of a weekly procedural for Danny (the Detective of the family) with weekly issues for Police Commissioner Frank Reagan to deal with. Then there are situations for Erin and Jamie sprinkled throughout the season. The final two episodes of the season brought a great multi-episode arc with the NYPD dealing with a gang who had semi-support of their neighborhood (thanks to fear), making it difficult for the police to catch a break. Though the ultimate results were positive, casualties included the Mayor being shot (not fatally) and Jamie's partner losing his life.
2011-2012 Rank: 5 (-2)
Parenthood always finds way to provide realistic family drama to the stories on the show. The major storylines this season included Kristina battling breast cancer, Julia and Joel adjusting to raising a newly adopted son and Sarah messing up her good relationship with her fiancée because of feelings for her new boss. Of course there are many other compelling storylines throughout the season that all of these great characters have to deal with. With such a large cast, they do a good job of sharing screen time to the point where the viewer easily feels like they’re know these people and are a part of their lives.
2011-2012 Rank: 7 (+1)
After the first season of Hell on Wheels ended, I felt it was a pretty good show, but there was a lot of room for improvement. I feel like this past second season did in fact take a step forward in improving on the show. I feel like the ensemble cast as a whole is a weak, but there are some great standout characters that make up for it. The lead character, Cullen Bohannan, is great as the slightly damaged but generally moral former Confederate soldier now working as the Foreman of the first transcontinental railroad construction. The overseer of the railroad, Mr. Durant, is terrifically easy to dislike as he’s only looking to better himself. Cullen’s main adversary, Thor Gundersen (aka The Swede), was the former Head of Security for the railroad until Cullen exposed his questionable ways. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming third season as I think it will be a strong one. There should be some major changes, since one main character was murdered by another main character and Mr. Durant has been arrested. There will probably be a number of new characters with new storylines to provide.
2011-2012 Rank: 4 (-1)
Boardwalk is the type of drama that can sometimes be a bit slow, but the payoffs are always worth it. This past season there was a decent amount of action, maybe even more so than previous seasons. Nucky had a new nemesis in Gyp Rosetti out of New York which resulted in multiple battlegrounds and lots of casualties. Besides Atlantic City and New York, Chicago got more exposure on the show this season. That’s not just because of Capone, but not former FBI agent Nelson Van Alden is in hiding and working under a fake name. The funniest thing about it though, he began with a legitimate job but then got into some trouble and has fallen into business with the mob. So he now works for men who allied with the man he once vowed to take down (Nucky). Interesting turn of events. I have to think this will be realized at some point and Nucky and Van Alden will come face to face.
2011-2012 Rank: 3 (-1)
The usual elements of White Collar existed this season: Neal and Peter taking down bad guys with the help of Neal’s con man knowledge, Neal’s best friend (and con man) Mozzie helping the FBI even though he doesn’t believe in the law, Peter’s wife Elizabeth being a support system for the boys and sometimes lending some assistance when needed, and some long-term story arc involving Neal doing things secretly outside of the law (but for a good reason).
The major story arc found Neal searching for information about his past and whether or not his father was a crooked cop. This led to Neal finding his father (who left Neal when he was a boy). There were some great twists and turns along the way, but the biggest moment is the season ending cliffhanger. Peter has been arrested for murder because of Neal’s father. Usually White Collar’s
cliffhangers take a few episodes in the new season to resolve, so I imagine Peter will be out of jail within a few episodes.
2011-2012 Rank: 2 (-1)
The sophomore season of Person of Interest began to dive deeper into the mysteries of the Machine. That included not only how it came to be, but also the various parties who are aware of it and want to control it. Besides trying to protect the machine, there were many other challenges that Harold, John and their detective allies Fusco and Carter had to face. The FBI came dangerously close to capturing “The Man in the Suit,” but luckily (and sadly) the one guy who figured it out was killed by other adversaries of John. Carter and Fusco had to deal with the dirty cops (aka “HR”) within their department while also trying to help Harold and John on the side. There were also some great reoccurring supporting characters, including Leon Tao (Ken Leung), which reunited two LOST alums in Leung and Michael Emerson (Harold). I always find that exciting.
2011-2012 Rank: Summer Shows Previously Not Ranked
I’ve never talked Breaking Bad on here before because I wasn’t including summer shows on this list. Not until now. With only half a season left of this incredibly addicting drama, there’s only excitement for the conclusion of this story. I find myself wanting to write about the entire series here, but I will focus on the past half season. After organizing the killing of Gus at the end of the previous season, Walt moved into a position to run the meth business himself while utilizing Gus’s resources. Jesse was reluctant and didn’t want to help Walt. By the end of the season, Walt and Jesse were parting ways and Walt deciding to quit the business. It appeared he would have a clean getaway, until the final scene of the half season. That was when Walt’s DEA brother-in-law Hank found a book while sitting on the toilet that was from Gus. It was at that moment Hank realized that Heisenberg, the man he’s been chasing for a while, was actually Walt. The final half season of the series deals with the aftermath of Hank’s find as well as the final chapter in Walt and Jesse’s story.
2011-2012 Rank: 1 (-)
I feel like I have a hard time describing Justifiedto people and selling the idea of it being a great show. Yet for some reason I can’t stop picking it as my favorite drama on television. I find the storylines, especially the season-long arcs, to be interesting in how they unfold. The seasons can really be watched individually with a beginning and an end, as opposed to constant cliffhangers. This makes sense as the show and its characters are based on a series of
books written by Elmore Leonard. Each season could be a book. The modern-day western that takes place in the backwoods of Kentucky features a cowboy hat-wearing, outlaw-like US Marshall is done really well. In fact all the characters on the show are interesting, especially the bad guys. It is a great show, though maybe it has more appeal to guys than to girls. I do believe girls should have even a small amount of interest, at the very least for the dreamy, steely-eyed star Timothy Olyphant.