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The 2012 411 TV Awards 1.4.13: Best Of TV

January 4, 2013 | Posted by Ben Piper

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Hello and welcome to the first of two installments listing what the 411 staff thought was the very best entertainment that came our way in the year 2012. That’s right, it’s The 2012 411 Movie/TV Awards! I am your host for these festivities, Ben Piper.

In this first installment, we’ll be looking at the TV side of things, and what shows and which actors & actresses working within captivated our attention and held it steadfast over the course of this past year. Both critical successes and fan favorites dominate the proceedings and run the gamut of fare; serious dramas tacking the issues of the day to gritty escapist thrill inducing genre fare to comedies both over the top and understated.

For the record, everyone on the 411 staff was allowed to vote and take part, and everybody that did was allowed up to three choices each in each category in the nominating process, then once it came to final voting it was narrowed down to one vote each for what would become the eventual winners.

I’d like to thank everyone on the staff that voted and took part in shaping this up to what it eventually became. I shall now list them, in no discernable order;

Shawn S. Lealos; Jeremy Thomas; Mike Gorman; Porfirio Diaz; Trevor Snyder; Joseph Lee; Andy Critchell; Michael Weyer; Steve Gustafson; Arnold Furious; Al Norton; Rick Tym; George H. Sirois; T.J. Hawke; Dimitri Dorlis; Chad Webb; Jeremy Wilson; Nolan Woodford; Larry Csonka; Bryan Kristopowitz; Todd Vote; Tony Acero; Michael Ornalas; Tony Farinella; John Dotson & Ernest Lin.

And yes, I voted as well, but it would be kind of weird to thank myself for doing so.

Now with all of that out of the way, let’s get to the kudos, with the first category presented by Porfirio Diaz!

Forbes listed Sofia Vergara as the highest-paid actress on television. That (alone) doesn’t make her the best TV actress of 2012, although the low-cut tops do help. Kim Kardashian probably had more pub on television than anyone could ever want. That doesn’t make her the best TV actress of 2012 an actress period. There seem to be a lot of pretenders on television who like to think being a capable TV actress involves being mean and mugging in front of the camera, and a lot of those types usually have “housewife,” “bachelorette,” “bridezilla,” or “mom with many kids who might push one of them into becoming a beauty pageant bad girl” in their IMDB resume. “Come on, Victoria Mary Lee Princess Franklin the 2nd! I didn’t turn my uterus into a clown car just for the attraction. TART UP THAT SMILE FOR THE STRANGERS SWEETIE. Please don’t make mama be oh for 20.”

As was the case last year, you are going to see a lot of familiar (pretty) faces on this year’s list. Why not? They all have been consistency great and have plenty of memorable moments to show for it, no matter how zany they go about their TV lives – whether it’s being a bipolar CIA agent, fighting zombies 24/7 while having every viewer hate your guts, or simply for being Amy Poehler. (Alternative choice: Tina Fey. They’re all so damn charming.) For this next award: Women be actin’ for real y’all. -Porfirio Diaz

And The Nominees Are;

Alison Brie- Community
Claire Danes- Homeland
Danai Guirra- The Walking Dead
Anna Gunn- Breaking Bad
Stana Katic- Castle
Amy Poehler- Parks & Recreation
Katey Segal- Sons Of Anarchy

Runner Up- Danai Guirra, The Walking Dead: Danai Guirra had a lot to live up to this season on The Walking Dead as her character, Michonne, is perhaps the most highly anticipated since the production of the series was announced. Couple that with the kick ass teaser we got her arrival at the end of the last season, and well, let’s just say that her debut would need to be more than just a simple zombie walk in the park. And as we sit at the mid-season break, I think it can easily be said that she is living up to and exceeding the expectations laid out for her.

Michonne as a character is a true riddle to figure out. She releases information about herself only when it is truly necessary and her ultimate motivation is clearly survival. Her life is not about connecting with others or rebuilding a lost society. Guirra has given us all of this and more in her stellar work. She can say more with a glance than another actor would with a lengthy monologue. She has brought to life a beloved character energizing the entire series with her presence. As we move into the second half of the season we see that Michonne will interacting with the entire cast and I think we have a lot of great moments to look forward to as that occurs. -Mike Gorman

Winner:- Claire Danes, Homeland : Claire Danes has always had a talent beyond her years, shown from her breakout role as the worldly teen in My So-Called Life. It took a decade and a half to finally find a role worthy of her talents but Homeland is more than worth that wait. Her Carrie Mathison is one of the most fascinating female leads in television history, an intelligence agent who believes her mental weakness is her strength. Danes is just fantastic showing the layers of Carrie, how she goes from the cool analyst to a frenzied bi-polar mess in an eyeblink, that tension underlying every scene and Danes able to show a dozen emotions at once in her looks and stance. You see her wondering about Brody being a terrorist yet drawn to him as well, recognizing he’s as messed up as she is and hoping somehow, together, they can be more whole. When she does break down, it’s stunning to watch as Danes sucks you totally into Carrie’s mindset, making you feel her collapse and how her quirky mind works. She shows the pride of Carrie, how she’s convinced she’s brilliant and thus setting herself up for a fall yet you can’t help but watch, enthralled, as she teeters close to the edge…then you realize she went over it a while ago. Her Golden Globe and Emmy prove her amazing talent but what is far more important is that Danes has put her mark on television forever with a female lead that’s as conflicted, flawed and hard to root for as any male out there and why the entire series is such a major hit. -Michael Weyer

Last year in terms of this particular category, we had a virtual logjam when it came to the nomination process. While there were a few clear-cut frontrunners, a six way tie for the final two spots beset nine different nominees for this individual category. This year? Thankfully not so much.

Of those nine 2011 nominees, only two return to compete for the prize this year; a critical darling whose name is always on the top of year-end awards lists, and a fan favorite that doesn’t get the credit and respect he truly deserves. (Can you guess who they are?)

All of the following leading men are master thespians in their own right, showing their worth and talents each and every week while entertaining us greatly with their outstanding performances. Each one is someone that you can’t take your eyes off when they’re onscreen, their individual presences usually the centerpiece of any scene they are in. They are all great in their own right, but in the end? There can only be one winner. -Ben Piper

And The Nominees Are;

Bryan Cranston- Breaking Bad
Nathan Fillion- Castle
Jon Hamm- Mad Men
Damien Lewis- Homeland
Andrew Lincoln- The Walking Dead

Runner Up- Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead : Andrew Lincoln’s Rick has been through hell this season on The Walking Dead. Wait. More accurately, Rick is currently in hell as he faces some amazing challenges not only in his leadership role at the prison but in his personal life. When the last season ended we saw him cementing his stance as the one voice at the lead of our group of survivors, the “Ricktatorship” is you will. For many fans this was the moment we were waiting for, Rick’s chance to truly solidify his position. As the new season opened he seemed to have a strong grasp on the needs of his people and the best path to keep them safe. That all came crashing to a halt when Rick’s wife was killed during childbirth, by his son no less.

Rick’s world came crashing down around him and Andrew Lincoln has proven his acting chops by taking us along on this literal descent into madness. Lincoln has taken one of the most straight-laced characters on television and made him a wild card, walking a fine line between sanity and madness. If not for Lincoln’s ability to play these moments with a finesse and subtlety Rick’s journey this season might have come off as phony or over the top. Lincoln is able to make you believe this is how a good man pushed to his limits would react in the post-apocalyptic world. Just as the show itself seems to have found its rhythm this season, so too has its lead. -Mike Gorman

Winner- Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad: When Damien Lewis was named Best Actor at the Emmys, there were various reactions. Fans of his were thrilled as he deserved it for Homeland. Fans of Jon Hamm were annoyed at him passed over again. And both sides joined others in sighing, “well, at least it wasn’t Bryan Cranston again.” But the fact is that Cranston more than deserved a fourth award as this year saw him take Walter White into a bold and dark new direction. It is nothing short of astounding to see White’s journey to a full-fledged criminal mastermind, no traces of the nerdy schoolteacher of the first season, now a man capable of cold-blooded murder. Cranston gets great speeches (“I’m not the one in danger, I am the danger.”) but it’s the silent moments that grab you the most, the steely gaze, the way he shows Walter’s mind ticking and the moment he makes a fateful decision to eliminate someone or cover up the killing of a child to keep himself safe. He’s in so over his head but refuses to acknowledge it, leading to the fantastic scene where his wife tries to get through to him by showing him the massive stack of millions of dollars he’s made. Cranston’s single expression speaks volumes: Shock at how much he’s done, lust over the cash, pride at having made so much and the realization that this stopped being about money a while ago. Walter now realizes the whole “providing for my family” is just the excuse, he enjoys the power long denied him and that is a greater thrill than the drugs he provides. As Breaking Bad enters its final episodes, you need to watch, you need to see if Walter pays for his sins or if somehow, he manages to get his way out of it yet again. Either way, Cranston will always be remembered for one of the most remarkable character journeys in television history, a once-decent man now a monster, reminding us, with a chill, how easy such a step can be on the road to hell. But damned if it isn’t one to watch. -Michael Weyer

2012 was huge. Like all-time huge. We got The Avengers – the kind of film many people thought couldn’t be successfully brought to the big screen. Christopher Nolan completed his trilogy of Batman fans with The Dark Knight Rises. Ridley Scott returned to science fiction and the world of Alien and delivered perhaps the year’s most divisive film in Prometheus. We returned to Middle Earth with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and were introduced to a new technological advancement that may – or may not be – the future of cinema. The Hollywood prestige picture reemerged as a legitimate box office draw with films such as Argo, Lincoln and Les Misérables. We got new films from some of the best filmmakers working today like Paul Thomas Anderson, Ang Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, Wes Anderson and more. We saw three new major stop motion animated features arrive in multiplexes, all of which were great. Young girls everywhere started taking up archery to emulate new female heroes such as Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) and Merida (Brave). Liam Neeson had not one, but two big action hits. We finally (some would say mercifully) got the end of the Twilight saga. Disney bought LucasFilm and announced more Star Wars films coming sooner than anyone thought. And oh yeah, to top it all off, we got a new Quentin Tarantino movie.

It’s going to be hard for 2013 to top what we got this year. However, two landmark shows will most definitely leave their mark on 2012 as Breaking Bad goes out on top and Arrested Development returns from the dead thanks to Netflix. Breaking Bad has had a remarkable run of unsurpassed consistency, the kind of run we’ve only seen from a handful of non-network shows – The Wire, The Sopranos, The Shield to name a few. Bryan Cranston’s career has become defined by Walter White and it is nice to see the show find its audience and earn unprecedented praise in the process. As for Arrested Development, the last cult show to get such a prominent second chance at life was Family Guy. and there was only a three year break in that instance. Arrested Development will have been off the air for seven years by the time its entire fourth season arrives on the streaming service. Regarded by many as one of the greatest comedies ever, it will be fascinating to see if the show’s quality can hold up after so many years and if its Netflix partnership could lead to further resurrections in the future.

2012 has been widely regarded as a pretty strong year for movies, but next year has plenty to look forward to in both movies and television. At theaters, Marvel will commence Phase Two of their Cinematic Universe with Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World. Everything we’ve seen of Iron Man 3 has hinted that this could be the biggest (and perhaps darkest) film of the series and the introduction of Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin should finally give Iron Man a proper villain. We will be heading back into space with the crew of The Enterprise, as J.J. Abrams delivers his follow-up to 2009’s hit reboot of Star Trek. The new film, Star Trek Into Darkness has been harder to pin down than perhaps any other 2013 property and Abrams seemingly relishes not just keeping details close to the chest, but in teasing and provoking fans by seemingly talking out of both sides of his mouth. Is it Khan or isn’t it? We’ll find out in May.

And then there’s our choice for the year’s most anticipated film, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Snyder’s acuity for the aesthetic aspects of the medium have never been questioned. However, Snyder is going to have to rise above his previous work if he is going to successfully reboot Superman and get DC’s superhero properties in a better position to compete directly with Marvel. Help from Christopher Nolan and David Goyer will certainly help. There are a lot of questions and rumors surrounding WB’s planned Justice League movie and the road to it starts with the Man of Steel himself. -Jeremy Wilson

And The Nominees Are;

The Return of Arrested Development
Breaking Bad‘s Final Season
Iron Man 3
Man Of Steel
Star Trek Into Darkness

Runner-Up- The Return of Arrested Development: Unlike many, I don’t blame Fox for canceling Arrested Development. They gave it three seasons, which is two and a half more than any other network would have with its ratings. It’s not their fault that despite being named Best Comedy (one of the few times the Emmys have gotten it perfectly right), the general public didn’t have the same adulation of it as critics. The fact is that the show was just too much ahead of its time: A single-camera comedy sans laugh track about a group of selfish jerks with no idea how regular people act, packed with one-liners and background gags that made you rewind over and over. Today, that style is all over the place with Modern Family, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Community and many more. Yet, none touch the sheer genius of Development which still makes you howl with laughter on DVD today. That’s why the news of Netflix bringing it back as a full-fledged series has been met with such joy. The idea of the most self-absorbed family in TV history in the age of Twitter and Facebook is just priceless, you can easily see the Bluths still living the high life with no idea there’s a recession as poor Michael tries to keep things balanced. With the original creators and cast (several of whom, like Will Arnett and Michael Cera, have become stars) and that same hilarious style and writing, this could be the best comedy of the year in the making and a reminder to all its copycats just who the original trailblazer was and why, after a decade, it still remains one of the finest comedies ever produced. Welcome back, Bluths, you beautiful entitled douchebags. God, we missed you.-Michael Weyer

Winner- Man Of Steel: It was no surprise to me when I saw that Man of Steel had taken the stop spot as 411Mania’s Most Wanted for 2013. Superman is one of science fiction’s most well-known and iconic characters, yet for some reason he has not been able to be handled well on film in decades. It would seem that every time a Superman project was discussed, it would just as quickly disappear. Then a few years ago we were “treated” to Superman Returns which I think we can all agree was just a gross mishandling of the property of more levels than you can count. This has truly left a bad taste in the mouth of most fans and generated a lot of mistrust.

In the meantime Christopher Nolan came along and brought back Batman to the prominence he deserved washing away the images of nippled rubber bat suits that had become synonymous with that property. Then, Man of Steel was announced and DC promised to treat the Man of Steel himself with the care and attention given to the Dark Knight, even bringing Nolan along as a producer. Our hopes began to rise. Can it be possible? Will this be the film that restores Superman the prominence he deserves? The recent trailers seem to suggest that this is a definite possibility as the scenes we have been privy to suggest that the film will focus on the essence and spirit of what it means to be Superman, not just on how his blue tights and red cape will look.

I will say that there are other reasons this film is the Most Wanted, not just because of the hopes and dreams of the fan boys, but because it will truly be the make it or break it moment for Superman as a movie character. We’re all waiting to see just what will happen! If this film does not live up to its expectations I believe it will be a long time before we see the last son of Krypton on the big screen again. A failure here would most likely also lead to the death of the long awaited Justice League film and many other DC properties still to come. It may not seem fair to rest the weight of the world on one man’s shoulders but let’s remember that this is a man who routinely lifts the literal weight of the world. I for one think that he can handle it and that the Man of Steel will transition from Most Wanted to most watched with the ease of a leap over the tallest building. Mike Gorman

Every new TV season has its winners and losers, usually more losers than winners. 2012 was no different. The break out hit of the year has to be NBC’s Revolution, with CBS’s Elementary a sort of close second. ABC’s two big shows, 666 Park Avenue and The Last Resort both failed and have already been cancelled. CBS bombed out with Made in Jersey but generated a kind of hit with Vegas (although I do wonder if that show’s ratings are due in large part to its lead in, the popular NCIS: Los Angeles). Mob Doctor tanked on Fox but was allowed to finish out its season order. Nashville has been a biggish hit for ABC, and Chicago Fire has managed to hold on since it debuted in October. Totally Biased and Brand-X have both been boons for FX, and Arrow has been a big deal for the CW. New sitcoms like The New Normal, The Mindy Project and Ben and Kate have managed to stay on the air. And in syndication, Ricki Lake has come back to the daytime TV talk show world, and Katie Couric has tried to pick up the pieces left from the end of Oprah Winfrey’s show. Over on cable, Major Crimes picked up where The Closer left off, The Newsroom brought the Aaron Sorkin to HBO, and Black Dynamite became one of the best shows on Adult Swim. And those are just some of the shows that debuted this past year. There are plenty I failed to mention.

It’ll be interesting to see what shows are left standing come fall 2013, and what new show trends appear over the spring and summer. Will we get more sitcoms? More dramas? More talk shows? Will Jeff Probst get another show of some sort? See you in a few months when we’ll all know more. -Bryan Kristopowitz

And The Nominees Are:

The Newsroom

Runner Up- Arrow: While I grew up a comic book fan, outside of Batman, I wasn’t ever very big on DC Comics. So while I was aware of Green Arrow I wasn’t overtly familiar either with the character in particular or his supporting cast, his villains gallery or his backstory.

But when The CW decided to green light an action driven show based on Green Arrow, I decided to tune in, as there isn’t much on the airwaves currently in regards to a pure action approach. And besides, The CW just had ended Smallville‘s long successful run not too long before, and that show had a whole lot of fans going for it.

And I was quite pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Arrow borrows prominently much more from the Batman comic mythos than Smallville‘s small town humble beginnings approach. The spoiled, privileged son of a millionaire industrialist returns to his troubled and corrupt Starling City after spending five years stranded on a desolate island where he learned not only to survive but was somehow also trained to physically combat the inequities of justice he faces upon his return. (This looks to be continually explained in flashbacks.)

Stephen Amell does a great job as Oliver Queen, the returning prodigal son that is having trouble fitting back in to not only his family (Some of whom may or may not be bad guys), his friends and former girlfriends (Ditto, don’t ask me to elaborate) but society in general now that he has a mission to avenge the wrongs being done by those who hold all the power.

While coming off cheesy at times (but not overtly so, hey, it is the CW we’re talking about), Arrow manages to be a fun action-packed show that is slowly building the supporting comic book mythology to back it up, tweaking the comic foundations in service of its own storytelling devices.

This is my personal favorite new show of 2012, and several of my fellow staffers agreed with me enough that although it didn’t win out, it merits at least an honorable mention. -Ben Piper

Winner- The Newsroom: Aaron Sorkin is someone who causes a major rift in TV watchers and filmgoers. There are those who believe that with shows like The West Wing and Sports Night and films like The Social Network and Moneyball, he has created some of the best entertainment of the past ten to fifteen years. And then there are others who disdain how transparent he is in projecting his personal politics into his creations or how much he relies on his “Sorkinisms,” as they’ve come to be known. Certainly the video that circulated around the net earlier this year showing off the oft-repeated lines that Sorkin likes to use even had fans of his (myself included) chuckling. With that rift firmly in place and the country particularly politicized this year due to the presidential election, The Newsroom was a show that was practically guaranteed to draw divisive reactions.

And make no mistake…divisive reactions it did indeed draw. Many critics picked at it for being too ham-fisted or treating the female characters poorly; others claimed that Sorkin was using Jeff Daniels’ lead character Will McAvoy as a fictional mouthpiece for his socio-political vendettas and used the passage of time between episodes in order to cherry-pick situations that would make him have the liberal agenda look strong compared to the conservative one. Some were offended that McAvoy identified himself as a Republican but espoused particularly centrist (and even on occasion left-wing) beliefs. And you know what, I can’t even disagree with a lot of this. But I also can’t deny that, no matter what the political leaning, everyone I knew that watched the show was religious about keeping up with it. From the very first scene, in which McAvoy breaks out of the non-opinionated shell that he has apparently been in and goes on an extended rant about how America isn’t the greatest nation but could be, you can’t help but be hooked and dying to know where it goes from there. Despite the tendency for the characters to talk fast, the show took a deliberate pacing with characterization and initially-unlikable characters become intriguing and sympathetic by the end of the first season. Sam Waterston gets a role that he nails with a gusto that even eclipses his work as Jack McCoy on Law & Order and Olivia Munn, surprisingly, knocks her role as a financial genius with few social skills out of the park. It will be interesting to see where The Newsroom goes from here now that it will be harder to pick and choose from real-life events, but no other new show of the past year had me even remotely as enthralled as this one. -Jeremy Thomas

When it comes to TV comedy, the broadcast networks still matter. Yes, I know, the winner of this particular category is a show on cable, but when you look at the comedies that are generally considered “the best” most of them are on the broadcast networks. The Big Bang Theory is one of the top shows on TV period. Two and a Half Men is still a big show. 2 Broke Girls, a show this writer can’t stand, is an audience favorite. How I Met Your Mother is still going strong, as is Mike & Molly). And then there’s Modern Family, a show that is probably going to pick up where NBC’s 30 Rock left off in terms of being the acclaimed TV comedy (in case you didn’t know 30 Rock is in the midst of its last season). The Office and Community are also set to end. Will Parks & Recreation become the NBC comedy? Over on Fox, New Girl, Raising Hope, and the Sunday cartoons (The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, and Bob’s Burgers) are still drawing an audience. ABC is still in the sitcom business outside of Modern Family, with Tim Allen’s show Last Man Standing in its second season and Reba McEntire’s new show is still on the air. Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 and Happy Endings are set to air twice a week, on Sunday and Tuesday nights.

Now, over on cable, there’s Louie, Charlie’s Sheen’s new show Anger Management, Tyler Perry’s sitcoms on TBS, and TV Land’s original comedies Hot in Cleveland, Happily Divorced, The Exes, and The Soul Man. And FX, the home of Louie, has Wilfred and It’s Always Sunny on Philadelphia, Archer, and comedy chat shows Brand X with Russell Brand and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. And those are just the shows I’m aware of (Girls on HBO is a comedy, as are Veep and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Showtime has David Duchovny’s Californication and that Don Cheadle show. I know I’ve missed stuff, like the stuff on IFC).

So what’s the moral of the story here? People still like to laugh, and while they tend to stick to the broadcast networks, there are plenty of shows on cable that people like to watch. And it’ll probably stay that way for some time, at least until someone creates a comedy that is so groundbreaking that it’s copied by damn near everyone. 2013 will probably not be that year.-Bryan Kristopowitz

And The Nominees Are;
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
Parks & Recreation

Runner Up- Parks & Recreation: I come here not to question the logic in naming another show the Best Comedy On TV – I really do like Louie – but rather to praise the show that took second place. I suppose there is a certain irony to Parks and Recreation finishing second in the voting considering the major storyline for the first half of the year involved our beloved Leslie Knope running for, and actually winning, an election, but one of the things I love about P & R (that’s what we cool kids call it) is that there is no irony to the show, no attempts to reinvent the genre or come at the audience with nihilistic detachment; P & R is a straight ahead, traditional sitcom, albeit one that magnificently juggles small town satire, workplace humor, romantic comedy, and, as we enjoy our fifth season of knowing these folks, character driven laughs as well.

Let me state for the record that no comedy on TV does as good a job at making sure everyone in the ensemble gets the chance to shine like P & R. What the writers have going for them is they know exactly how much the audience wants from each character – they know a little Jerry goes a long way, and that April’s biting cynicism works because it’s balanced with Andy’s wide-eyed naiveté – so even if your favorite character isn’t the focus of that particular episode, you know they will get their lines that you can post on Facebook later that night.

The romance between Leslie and Ben is as smart, funny, and yes, romantic, as any that comedy has offered since Jim and Pam tied the knot on a boat in Niagara Falls, thanks in no small part to the wonderful work of Amy Poehler and Adam Scott. Rob Lowe has literally been a revelation in his work since joining the show, and the cast of recurring characters (Jean-Ralphio, the Tammys, Perd Hapley) is rich with gold. Wow, did I just go three paragraphs into the greatness of the show without even mentioning the genius that is Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson?

I am not sure why P & R hasn’t crossed over to mainstream, break-out hit status – perhaps it was the awkward, cold first season before the writers and actors were able to help the characters find their voices – but it’s a shame because it’s not only one of the best comedies on TV right now, it ranks among the best of the last 10 years. -Al Norton

Winner- Louie: Louie, the FX comedy created by, written by, directed by, and starring stand-up comedian Louis C.K., really isn’t a sitcom in the traditional sense, nor is it necessarily a straight up single camera comedy. It’s a weird mixture of random stand up bits featuring C.K. doing his act in a New York City comedy club and scenes/sketches (sketches is probably the wrong word but it’s the only one that comes to mind at the moment) that relate to the stand up stuff. Sometimes the stand-up bits and the scenes are directly connected, sometimes they’re not (there are connections but not big ones). Describing the show, it sounds like it shouldn’t work. It sounds too experimental, too loose for regular audiences to catch on. But it does work and people still tune in, even this past season, the “loosest” of the three (the three part “Replacing Letterman” series was the highlight of the season with a fine performances by Jay Leno as himself and David Lynch as an old TV pro). In the end, it all comes down to C.K. People like him, they can relate to him (he’s divorced on the show and has joint custody of his kids), and they really like his stand-up bits (that’s what people seem to talk about the most, at least the people I talk to about the show). If C.K. simply did thirteen half-hour episodes of his stand-up people would probably still watch.

FX has renewed Louie for a fourth season, but we’re not going to get that fourth season until 2014. C.K. reportedly needs more time to figure out where he wants to take the show. It stinks for audiences that they have to wait roughly two years for more, but then, with that extra time, C.K. will be able to create something better. It seems odd to say that, but there’s a chance.

It makes you wonder, though: in 2014 will Louie have new daughters and a new ex-wife? Will his brother come back? Will he have a new mother? 2014 can’t get hear soon enough. -Bryan Kristopowitz

Television is a medium that has showed great growth and even greater potential. Drama on television is one such genre that has helped catapult television shows into the mainstream conscience. Sure, there have always been those one or two shows that everyone “MUST SEE,” but in the last ten years, shows have become more and more important, creating a necessity to catch the last episode and sit in anticipation for the next episode. We still have sitcoms to ease the pain of everyday life, but there is something very visceral about a television drama that pulls on the heartstrings AND fears of the viewers. Television is a world in which writers have roughly 30 to 45 minutes to keep us entertained and emotionally invested. These characters become real, they become friends and enemies, and they become people you care about. Whether it’s cringing in evil delight at Walter White’s rise to prominence in a little New Mexico town, or your complete disdain for the son of a sheriff in a zombie-filled world, whether you enjoy the intensity of a biker gang, or that we WANT these people in our lives. We WANT this Drama. -Tony Acero

And The Nominees Are;
Breaking Bad
Game Of Thrones
Mad Men
Sons Of Anarchy
The Walking Dead

Runner-up- The Walking Dead: What a start for the first half of Season 3, right? The Walking Dead came out swinging when it premiered a few months back, and has not let up in tension ever since. The first two seasons set the stage and now the creators have let the suspense run wild among the characters. Also, there has been an assortment of new intriguing members added to the zombie survival roster, including a slick supporting character named Michonne who does insane badassery with a samurai sword, and a questionable man in charge of his town known as “The Governor.” The writing has also improved tremendously this season with a perfect dual story plot balancing between a prison setting and a town on lockdown run by one man. In fact, this was arguably some of the best writing from AMC this year behind our staff pick Breaking Bad. With amazing performances from its lead cast and strong suspenseful plot, Season 3 of The Walking Dead is beginning to shape into one of the best yet. A few weeks ago it was announced that the new show runner Glen Mazzara would be exiting from the job after the season ended. This is quite disheartening, because of how much life has been kicked into the show since he came on board. If the show continues the same momentum in 2013 without Mazzara, we are in for something truly special. Here’s to hoping! -John Dotson

Winner- Breaking Bad: Oh, Walter White, you beast of a man. I had not watched one episode of Breaking Bad before 2012. I had rarely heard of its greatness, and only knew that it was about drugs. What a surprise it was to be talked into watching “Just Season 1” and seeing where it led. It led to an amazingly well-written piece of entertainment that could best some movies, books, and other shows out there. The rise (and perhaps fall?) of Walter White has been a sheer joy to watch. Season 4 had the greatness that is Gus Fring, and once his bad ass death was depicted, I thought we were in for a slight fall from grace. Instead, the beautiful cinematography, the intense writing, the dedication to character development, the maturation of one Jesse Pinkman, and the continual coolness of Mike just added to a final season that I will hate to end.

Breaking Bad has done something that very few television series, Drama or otherwise, can do. They have a story arc that continues, adding in minute pieces without ever seeming forced. EVERYTHING matters. They trust their audience to notice nuances within characters. Marie has made me hate the color purple, I know just what Jesse is thinking by looking at his eyes, I NEVER know what Hank is considering (as any great detective should portray), and Skyler is probably one of the more realistic approaches to a woman who finds out her husband is a possible kingpin of a drug trade that kills people and puts his family in danger. The cinematography can not be talked about enough, as they find new (and old) ways to utilize the camera lens to the best of their abilities and take you on a trip. They use music effectively all while never breaking the point of what they are there for; to tell a story. Find me five plot holes, and I’ll ask Michael Ornelas how to explain them, because this is one of the most tightly woven shows, not just of the millenium, but ever. Breaking Bad will be a show that will be talked about for years after it’s gone, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it continued to sell well in terms of DVD purchases. It will always have its audience. ‘Kay. -Tony Acero

And with that, this first installment is complete. I hope you enjoyed it. Do you agree with our choices, or no? Let us know in the comments. We’ll tackle the Movie side of things tomorrow. See you then.


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Ben Piper

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