TV: Top 10 of 2010

Good TV is the best kind of entertainment.
The characters last longer than a few hundred pages or a couple hours, making the commitment level required for TV one of the most interesting aspects of the medium. Why do we do it? Why do we sit on the couch (or at our desks) for houring consuming what has been called a “vast wasteland”? It’s because nothing beats good TV. When television is good, it’s damn good.
After the jump, check out our list of the best 2010 had to offer, from the culturally significant to the plain hilarious and the utterly captivating.

10. Dragons’ Den

At once contemptible and fascinating, Dragons’ Den might be the least MIT show we could possibly feature on this list. Watching the dragons’ gears turn as they criticize wannabe inventors’ attempts to appease capitalism is admittedly pretty enthralling. Hearing Kevin O’Leary say stuff like “I wake up every morning trying to figure out how I can go to bed richer than when I woke up” makes our hearts hurt. Our eyes just can’t be pulled away. –Jonathan Forani

9. Jersey Shore

What can be said about Jersey Shore? Hard to believe the show has come this far in such a short amount of time (it premiered in December ’09). The cast has provided us with countless references this year — “grenades”, fist-pumping and, of course, G.T.L. — that we have seamlessly integrated into our everyday lives. Arguably, no other show had more of an impact popular culture in 2010 than Jersey Shore – you know it’s a sensation when your professors are consistently mentioning it in class. With the third season having premiered last week, viewers will inevitably be subject to more clubbing, creeping and cat-fighting this year. – Jonathan Nguyen

8. Glee

Glee is an indisputable phenomenon. It has become one of the most influential shows not only of 2010, but also in TV history. It has been credited for introducing classic songs to a new generation, but more importantly, Glee raised awareness to many important issues in 2010. Season 2 largely focused on homophobia and the importance of acceptance. Storylines following Kurt paralleled the tragic news stories of the year surrounding bullying. Although some find his character to be too stereotypical, the show must be credited for being more than just gleeful escapism but a program that serves to acknowledge the reality of current events. – Rebecca Levin

7. How I Met Your Mother

The writers brought audiences a newer, fresher take on the direction of the show in 2010. Gone are the days of the “Ted-soul-searching” episode arcs, and in is a new era focusing on the show’s true star, Marshall (Jason Segal). Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) is as great as ever, teaching viewers new laugh-out-loud “ideas” such as The Mermaid Theory, and even displaying masterful (and utterly hysterical) vocal skills in one episode in season 6. All in all, with the series coming to a near end, we may finally discover who the “mother” actually is in 2011. We can’t wait. -JN

6. Party Down

Think of it as a combination of The Office and Arrested Development. Unfortunately, with programs such as the latter often comes the dooming reality of cancellation. Party Down, Super Channel’s hilarious workplace comedy about a group of caterers/wannabe actors was tragically cancelled after its second season and twentieth episode aired in June. If Party Down can earn the kind of cult following post-cancellation that Arrested Development did maybe we’ll see the staff of Party Down Catering (including Jane Lynch’s pleasantly un-Sue-Sylvester-y character) on the screen again soon. -JF

5. True Blood

True Blood offers an alternative to sparkling vampires by creating a world of dark, menacing creatures that mingle with humans. Based on Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries series, creator Alan Ball (Six Feet Under) has made a series juiced with sex and violence that continues to captivate audiences. True Blood offers several subplots that follow unorthodox storylines, and characters that constantly transition from protagonist to villain.  Each season compiles small details throughout the series that create dramatic finales. True Blood has proven as a worthwhile show by maintaining emotionally-charged plots and characters who indulge in dark pleasures whether they are dead or alive. – Colleen Watson

4. Community

The year 2010 truly saw the emergence of what some critics have called “the best new show on TV.” While the central premise of the show (the day-to-days of misfit students at a local community college) may not sound too enticing on paper, where the show really separates itself is in its characters. Abed (Danny Pudi), Troy (Donald Glover) and Senor Chang (Ken Jeong) propel the show into one of the best sitcoms on TV today. Season 2 has already exceeded sky-high expectations, and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. Audiences should expect nothing less in 2011. –JN

3. Lost

“I don’t get it.” That’s probably what a lot of viewers said (through tears) after Lost finally faded to black in May, and in many ways it made for a perfect finish to one hell of a televisual mindfuck. The ending, whether you think you got it or not, was about the characters more than it was the flash-forwards (sideways?), the Jacobs, the smoke monsters, the Dharmas – it was about the characters that, since 2004, the faithful fans had tuned in for. Even if at times Lost seemed more intent on confusing us, no show will ever match its baffling shock and awe. -JF

2. Modern Family

Modern Family is ABC’s mockumentary-style comedy that provides a hilarious take on family life. The Pritchetts and the Dunphys will have you in stitches when the flamboyant Cameron pretends to be Native American in order to give his adopted Vietnamese daughter a better chance of getting into preschool. Or when Phil unknowingly steals another kid’s bike while trying to teach his son Luke a lesson about taking care of his things. Or when Jay and Gloria’s neighbour thinks they have a parrot because he so often hears Gloria’s Colombian-accented voice screeching “JAY! JAY!” Modern Family is a guaranteed LOL. -Sarah Koopmans

1. AMC’s original programming
AMC is the child prodigy of cable television. If you don’t count its short-lived ’90s programs Remember WENN and The Lot, the network has only been airing original programming since 2007 when Mad Men exploded onto television in all its silvery smoky glory. 2008 brought us the secret meth-cooking life of a cancer-ridden high school chemistry teacher in Breaking Bad, easily television’s most thrilling, anxiety-provoking hour. Rubicon came in 2010 and was gone before you could say “black ops”, but managed to turn out thirteen quietly paranoid hours of spy drama before its cancellation in November. The Walking Dead brought zombies to American television in 2010 and quickly became AMC’s most-watched program, despite the fact that it is likely the goriest television show ever. No other network on television can so consistently turn out brilliant programming, and 2010 reconfirmed AMC as television’s surest bet. -JF

Honourable mentions: Boardwalk Empire, DexterThe Good Wife, 30 Rock, Sister Wives, Cash Cab, Parks and Recreation, 24

Worst show of 2010: $h*! My Dad Says

What was your favourite TV of 2010?

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