The best shows of the year

As the television season known as 2011-2012 comes to a close in the next week.  What did we really end up with?  I would say the only true break out hit was New Girl and Zooey Deschanel. But as much as I love Zooey that show does not make my list of the top from the season. For the most part this season was a wash and I don’t really expect much from next season either but sometime an original idea will slip through the network’s grasps and reinvent the medium that we worship here at the Red Room.  I list my top 5 programs that ran on TV over the last 9 months below. 1. Downton Abbey. This show is the best show on TV right now.  I love that it is on PBS.  This show ran its second season in America this year and what a season it was.  Their handling of WWI was a great way to show how war levels a society.  As this show approaches closer and closer to the end of the aristocracy era, it just grows more fascinating.  Maggie Smith and this show better be big winners at the Emmy’s.  And if the networks want to copy this show, don’t copy the content, copy the format. It only has 7 episodes a year and no filler episodes. Listen to our Podcast on Downton Abbey.

2. Community.  The creativity that this show displays week in and week out is unbelievable.  The Glee and Law and Order episodes alone would get it on this list.  But the use of the Dean and Chang mixed with the regular cast makes this the hardest working show on television.  Naturally NBC pulled the show for the air this season for a couple months and only picked it up for a shorten season.  Then fired the main creator.  I am hoping now that they are picked up they spend their last 13 episodes like Arrested Development did, taking it out on their network and doing whatever they want.

 3. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Day in and day out this show is putting out amazing material.  Lucky for them they have the best comedy writers in the world: The United States Congress and our media.   If you really notice the funniest parts of this show are just listening to what “important” people say and believe.  Jon Stewart does an amazing job at balancing contempt, humor, disbelief and aloofness.  Those are not easy things to balance.  But it is that delicate line he walks that makes him stand out from Bill Mahr (who I also love.) Jon knows when to just let it pass, grab the comedy and move on.  He rarely gets bitter and that makes a huge differnce.

 4. Homeland. This show starts with a simple concept, an American war hero returns from Iraq and we don't know if he has been turned against us.  They take this simple idea, is he or isn't he a terrorist, and run with it.  Mandy Patinkin, Claire Danes and Damian Lewis have each created wonderful characters.  This show takes the realism of 24 and subtracts the gimmick of it all happening in one day.  They balance who we should believe in and are happy to take their time to give you back story on the characters. And that is something that most shows do not have the patience to do. Read My Review of the pilot.

5. The Internet.  I think the greatest thing that has happened to TV this year is the internet.  With Hulu, Apple TV and the networks home pages, you can watch just about anything the morning after it plays.  The beauty is that all the crap ads that network shows put on the screen while you are watching are not online.  On some Hulu programs you can chose to watch a longer ad up front and then watch the entire show commercial free.  This should allow shows to compete with HBO in a way of not having to break the story to sell us soap.  Until they start charging us for this service, internet is the best way to watch current TV.

So that was the best of TV this year, according to me.  I also really enjoyed the documentaries on PBS about Johnny Carson and America in Primetime.  I loved Comedy Central's tribute to Don Rickles.  I was happy to see Billy Chrystal back on the Oscar's.  But for the most part TV wasn't all that great this season, here's hoping for next year. Follow us on Facebook or twitter @redroompodcast Subscribe to our Weekly Podcast on Television at iTunes