Best TV Shows of 2012

When John F. Kennedy remarked that “a rising tide lifts all boats” he could have easily been talking about the impact of cable television channels on network television. Since their debut in the 197os, Showtime (1976) and HBO (1978) have raised the bar of television series. Both networks introduced high quality, innovative original programming, attracting some of the industry’s best producers, directors, writers, actors, cinematographers, etc. proving that there was an alternative to the big screen. Over several decades some of the HBO and Showtime alumni and some of the top talents from the major networks migrated to pay television channels like FX, TNT, and AMC creating a sort of renaissance of creative and compelling storytelling on the small screen. Predictably, each year many of these top-rated series win the lion’s share of the highly coveted Emmy Awards. It is surprising to note, however, that many lists for best TV shows of 2012 excluded the highly acclaimed and engrossing series Downton Abbey (ITV).

The editors of Time magazine recently nominated the top 10 series from all the networks for 2012:
1. Parks and Recreation (NBC)
2. Louie (FX)
3. Homeland (Showtime)
4. Breaking Bad (AMC)
5. Mad Men (AMC)
6. Girls (HBO)
7. Games of Thrones (HBO)
8. Parenthood (NBC)
9. American Horror Story: Asylum (FX)
10. The 2012 Election

The Washington Post selected the following top ten shows:
1. Breaking Bad (AMC)
2. Mad Men (AMC)
3. The Walking Dead (AMC)
4. Homeland (Showtime)
5. Veep (HBO)
6. Dallas (TNT)
7. Girls (HBO)
8. Nashville (ABC)
9. American Horror Story (FX)
10. Dish Earth (DISH TV)

The New York Times listed the following top ten shows:
1. Sherlock (PBS)
2. Southland (TNT)
3. Louie (FX)
4. HBO Documentaries
5. The Killing (AMC)
6. Adventure Time (Cartoon Network)
7. Dexter (Showtime)
8. Moyers & Company (PBS)
9. Homeland (Showtime)
10. The Good Wife (CBS)

For further reading: Time Magazine, December 24, 2012.

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