The 15 Best (and 5 Worst) TV Series of 2012

'Breaking Bad' (Picked by Shaunna Murphy)
‘Breaking Bad’ may have lost a lot of golden statues to ‘Homeland,’ but it still gets my vote for the best show of 2012. Walt's final transformation into Heisenberg, Aaron Paul's ugly cry, a tragic train robbery, and a final, quiet but thrilling "oh, s**t moment" made for a spectacular first half of Season 5. {Image Credit: AMC}
'Community' (Picked By Christian Blauvelt)
Much is made of the elaborate pop culture parodies on ‘Community.’ Believe me, they’re great. It’s hard to imagine smarter, more consistently on-point deconstructions of ‘Glee,’ ‘Law & Order,’ Ken Burns’ ‘The Civil War,’ eight-bit videogames, even the ‘Apocalypse Now’ doc ‘Hearts of Darkness.’ But Community’s high-concept brains are matched by its heart. That’s because no other comedy currently on TV is filled with such complex, precisely-defined characters. Because Troy and Abed’s friendshi
'Game of Thrones' (Picked by Michelle Lee)
Where does a show go after chopping the head off its protagonist in Season 1? It would be easy to think of 'Game of Thrones' second season as the filler between the Ned Stark execution and what promises to be a ridiculously amazing Season 3 (for you 'GoT' book nerds). But there was so much good stuff going on from Tyrion's bravery to the amazing Blackwater fight scenes to Theon's betrayal. And of course, there's Joffrey, the most awesomely detestable villain on TV. Period. {Image Credit: HBO}
'Girls' (Picked by Michael Arbeiter)
The most vivid new world achieved by television in 2012 was not in Westeros or a post-blackout Chicago — in fact, the most imaginative and colorful universe was placed in contemporary Brooklyn, surrounding the tribulations of 24-year-old writer Hannah Horvath. HBO’s new series ‘Girls,’ the masterpiece of young Lena Dunham, borne a uniquely earnest illustration of today’s younger generation and the world in which it finds itself enveloped. Funny, sad, and above all honest, ‘Girls’ achieved in one
'Glee' (Picked by Leanne Aguilera)
Yes, I am fully aware that ‘Glee’ is a show about over-the-top teenage angst, with unrealistic plot-points and random outburts of singing, but that's what makes it so great! There's nothing else like it on TV. Even now as other networks are launching their version of musical dramas, ‘Glee’ is still the quirky and innovative show that sparked the craze. True, the show has had it's up's and down's (Ahem, yes "Night of Neglect" I'm looking at you!) but through it all, ‘Glee’ has stayed unique, and
'Homeland' (Picked by Anna Brand)
There's nothing better than watching a dad-like-mentor, fledgling terrorist and just-plain-crazy (and undoubtedly pretty) woman come together in a thrilling action drama. That — plus bits of illegal activity and standard infidelity — is what makes ‘Homeland’ probably the one series you can't help but watch in real time. It's also one of the only shows where it's acceptable to claim sickness in order to devour the entire first season in peace in just a weekend. {Image Credit: Showtime}
'Louie' (Picked By Kate Ward)
The perfect mix of uproariously funny ("Barney/Never") and heart-breaking (the soul-shattering "New Year's Eve"), Season 3 of 'Louie' proved the FX comedy is television's only true tragicomedy. Testing his audience's limits, Louis C.K. provided viewers with plenty of moments of false hope (see: Louie's relationship with the effervescent Parker Posey) and even flirted with unfamiliar territory with "Late Show," an episode that kicked off a storyline spanning several episodes. Like a bowl of raw m
'Mad Men' (Picked by Aly Semigran)
I know others will staunchly will disagree with me on this, but I think this was the strongest season of ‘Mad Men’ to date. While it didn't have an episode even close to being on par with Season 4's classic "The Suitcase", Lane's devastating suicide, Peggy's departure from the firm, and Joan's heartbreaking promotion, Season 5 packed the biggest overall punch. The show is as sexy, well-written, and brilliantly acted as ever, making those Emmy snubs even more egregious. {Image Credit: AMC}
The Presidential Debates (Picked by Matt Patches)
It takes a lot to get me coming back to a show every week, but one slate of programming that had me rushing home to ensure I'd catch every second of material in real time was the 2012 Presidential Debates. Not a TV show you say? Supported by the best writing staffs money can buy, shot with camera work and live editing that rivaled an episode of "Homeland," and with higher stakes than any work of fiction could possibly muster, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney went head-to-head in the year's ultimate
'Nashville' (Picked by Lindsey DiMattina)
This is definitely the breakout show of the year. The Connie Britton we came to know and love in ‘Friday Night Lights’ is back, but even better. And Hayden Panettiere has left her ditzy ‘Heroes’ cheerleading days behind her and actually found a credible spot in television acting. Besides the talent encompassed in this show, helmer Callie Khouri puts together a storyline that is not only entertaining, but keeps us coming back for more each week. Romance, drama, and even a great sound track… this
'New Girl' (Picked by Kelsea Stahler)
Every sitcom about a group of buddies wants to be “the new ‘Friends,’” but ‘New Girl’ may have accidentally stumbled into that spot. Season 2 has experienced a few sophomore hiccups, but the Season 1 finale in May proved that Jess and Company are the dysfunctional friend family we’ve been missing. When they reunited in their unlikely Los Angeles loft, all doing happy dances to “You Shook Me All Night Long” in their respective bedrooms while sharing the immense happiness at Nick’s fated return,
'Parks and Recreation' (Picked by Alicia Lutes)
'Parks and Recreation' (Picked by Alicia Lutes)
‘Parks and Recreation’ is the show that keeps on giving. Character development, hilarious writing, amazing acting, and killer Donna side-eye. Is there anything that this show can to do be better? No, I think not (but please give us more Jean-Ralphio)! Amy Poehler and Co. consistently bring us funny, touching, weird, quotable television, and this year's season—Ben Wyatt goes to Washington!—has been a lovely change-up for the show. April Ludgate is slowly getting into that Knope-ian spirit (the do
'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' (Picked by Brian Moylan)
Like getting a warm hug from your best bipolar girlfriend, 2012 started and ended with the ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,’ the greatest ladies of the entire franchise. You could say that the Miami girls brought their city back to life, that New Jersey got deep into what it means to be a family, and New York showed what happened when things got classy. But, still, nothing can hold a candle to Beverly Hills, the greatest American tragedy on television. Even when it wasn't on the air we were en
'The Vampire Diaries' (Picked by Sydney Bucksbaum)
We’ve learned throughout the seasons that 'TVD' doesn’t play fair. From killing off beloved central characters (RIP Alaric Saltzman) to turning the main character, Elena, into a vampire (the one thing she never wanted to be) at the end of Season 3, 'TVD' does not hold back. Hell, that is what makes this show so good! More action happens in one episode of 'TVD' than most shows cover in a season. And the central love triangle? The writers always manage to supply a legitimate reason to make what we
'Veep' (Picked by Abbey Stone)
Pair cult sitcom vets Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale with Scottish political satirist extraordinaire Armando Iannucci (who is responsible with such modern comedic masterpieces as ‘The Thick of It’ and ‘In the Loop’), and you know you're in for a wild rumpus of a time. In its debut season, ‘Veep’ managed to find just the right about of raunchy edge, biting political parody, and whip-quick dialogue to keep me laughing out loud week after week. Nothing was off the table for this fearless comedy
Worst of 2012: '2 Broke Girls' (Picked by Michael Arbeiter)
The central theme of '2 Broke Girls' isn't a bad one: as many of its peers (notably, Lena Dunham's 'Girls') proved, the idea of young women on a quest for enlightenment while struggling just to make the month's rent can be a worthwhile television venture. But in lieu of real heart and depth, '2 Broke Girls' gives us a field day of racist stereotypes, with the laughs landing few and far between. {Image Credit: CBS}
Worst of 2012: 'Rob!' (Picked by Aly Semigran)
What do you get when you mix a Mexican family, Rob Schneider, and 'Two and a Half Men' caliber sitcom? Every half-witted, outdated, offensive cliche in the sitcom book! Schneider played a hapless Everyman with an impossibly gorgeous new wife who just so happens to have a big, wacky brood of walking, talking stereotypes. Cheech Marin, you're better than this. {Image Credit: CBS}
Worst of 2012: 'Liz & Dick' (Picked by Brian Moylan)
We were all hoping this made-for-Lifetime monstrosity would be so bad that it was good, but it was something even worse — it was not bad enough. Lindsay Lohan proved in this supposed comeback vehicle that she can't act and, even worse, the boring script and ridiculous situations weren't big or ironic enough to be came. In the end, there's only one word to describe this: "worst." {Image Credit: Lifetime}
Worst of 2012: 'Work It' (Picked by Kate Ward)
The cross-dressing ABC comedy might have borrowed its premise from 'Bosom Buddies,' but aired with none of the '80s sitcom's charm. The midseason series was just about as funny as it was progressive (which is to say, it was neither), and it only took two highly criticized — and low-rated — episodes for ABC to realize that 'Work It' just wouldn't, well, work. {Image Credit: ABC}
Worst of 2012: 'Two and a Half Men' (Picked by Sydney Bucksbaum)
It is so baffling that 'Two and a Half Men' gets the ridiculously high ratings that it does continuously. The show is so vulgar and disgusting, and not in a funny or intelligent way a la 'South Park.' There is literally no substance to the show, and creator Chuck Lorre has the mind of a first grade boy: he still thinks poop and penis jokes are all the rage. Even the Half Man of the equation, Angus T. Jones, thinks the show is 'filth,' and urges everyone to stop watching. {Image Credit: CBS}
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