10. Parks and Recreation
Season 1 of Parks and Rec wasn't that great and left us wondering if this show was worth the time. Season 2 brought its A-game, fast becoming my 1st-pick of Thursday shows to watch. I always find myself defending P&R from being called an Office-clone. First, Lesley isn't a complete moron, just an optimist frustrated by the man. Second, the show is actually funny (hey-o!). Seriously though, the show is on a roll with the hilarity of Ron Swanson, hatred of office scapegoat Jerry, and bringing Adam Scott and Rob Lowe into the fold as government officials tasked with overseeing the Pawnee government. Watch, laugh, get a DJ Roomba.
9. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Atlanta
You are seeing this and probably thinking I am high, but there is no enjoyment I have like the hot mess housewives of Beverly Hills and Atlanta. Atlanta dumped perennial bore Lisa Wu-Hartwell and brought on a mostly-dull-until-she-made-a-friendship-contract Cynthia and crazy-ass lawyer Phaedra Parks. People hate Phaedra but her insanity and weird words of wisdom have brought a new energy to the show. Plus her baby shit in her hand during a classy photoshoot! Then there is the magic that is Beverly Hills. When I heard about Beverly Hills, I feared another Orange County, which is a franchise I have skipped. Wrong! The delusions of Camille Grammer, Adrienne's glitter weave, the Richards sisters, and the oh so fabulous Lisa Vanderpump and pup Giggy have made it my favorite Thursday night tradition. And not to brag, but my live tweeting is hilarious.
8. Friday Night Lights
It's hard to dump almost your entire regular cast and start from scratch, but FNL did so and created their best season since the first. Coach Taylor begins season 4 fired from Dillon High and having to start the new East Dillon Lions, bringing in a whole new batch of talented actors and storyline potential. While the character of Becky drove me nuts, her abortion storyline was powerful and gave Connie Britton Emmy reel material. Kudos to Michael B. Jordan, whose Vince became so heartbreaking it gave me flashes of his beloved Wallace from The Wire. I don't have the Dish Network, so I'm really looking forward to FNL's final season airing this summer on NBC.
7. Top Chef All-Stars
Now THIS is an All-Star cast. Just a few weeks into the season, I feel like the Top Chef I love is back. Top Chef was never gone, but in languished in a few unmemorable winners. The challenges are fresh and fun and the All-Stars are actually all talented and deserve to be there. Unlike other shows who seem to pluck the same losers over and over, Top Chef brought back the real stars for an ultimate clash of the culinary titans.
6. RuPaul's Drag Race
Covering reality shows week after week, I have to admit you lose some of the joy after awhile (see: The Biggest Loser). When I discovered season 2 of RuPaul's Drag Race it was like the reality TV stork was thinking of me and brought me something new and wonderful. The show is fabulous! The contestants are fashionable, hilarious, gorgeous, and entertaining. RuPaul was born to be a host and I love seeing both RuPaul the man and fabulous drag queen. Plus she introduced "Hey squirrel friends!" into my vocab. The final elimination decision of lip-synching is sheer brilliance and I don't think any kick-off catchphrase is better than, "Shante you stay, Sashasy away." Still trying to decide if season 3, starting in January, deserves the Rundown treatment.
5. Party Down
When Jane Lynch left Party Down for her role on Glee, the skeptics expected Party Down to suffer in her absence. Even I wavered a little, but I was wrong. Megan Mullaly, of Will & Grace fame, joined the cast as naive and overbearing stagemom Lydia and brought the show to new levels of awesome. You tell me another show where Steve Guttenberg's birthday party turns into an impromptu table-read for a hard sci-fi move, ending in awkward hot tub nudity. That's right, you can't! It's a shame this show was cancelled because it was brilliance. It will sit right next to Arrested Development in the gone too soon category.
4. Modern Family
Best comedy on network TV. The show has easily transitioned into one of the best shows on TV, even. Season 2 hasn't missed a beat (so far). Phil Dunphy is my reigning awesome TV dad and Gloria's comedic timing is impeccable. It is truly an ensemble show, with talented adults, kids, and writing. Who said a family comedy has to be hokey?
3. Mad Men
This show just won't quit being awesome! People were furious when Don proposed to sweet secretary Megan, but that's part of the Don Draper allure and mystery. Probably one of the finest hours of TV this year was the "The Suitcase," showcasing the dynamic of Don and Peggy's sometimes tense work relationship, yet unspoken deep friendship. Powerful stuff! Of course, we do have the funny moments, thanks to Roger Sterling's memoirs.
2. The Good Wife
I should begin this by stating that prior to this showed I loathed Julianna Marguiles. I don't know why, but she rubbed me the wrong way. However that attitude of hers completely works in playing the role of attorney/politician's wife on the CBS hit. Her will they/won't they dynamic with boss Will Gardner while juggling life with her reformed cheater husband Peter, keeps you intrigued week after week. But much of this show's love goes to my current favorite character on TV: Kalinda Sharma. The air of mystery surrounding Kalinda has come full force with her new foe, leading to some super sexual tension with evil P.I. Blake. Kudos to the rest of the cast including the dreamy Matt Czurchy, awesome Christine Baranski, and scene-stealer Alan Cumming. While this show may not be for everyone, I wish it was cause it is awesome.
In 2010 we said goodbye forever to our dear Lost. After 6 seasons of questions, answers, non-answers, and amazing nicknames for people, Lost went out in a blaze of kinda-purgatory glory. I was in the loved-the-finale camp, sobbing for a solid 20 minutes afterwards. I can't think of a more powerful moment in TV than watching Jack lay on the ground with Vincent the dog nuzzling up to him. Oh god, I'm getting verklempt now. Lost is the first non-reality show I watched every single episode of without missing a week. I would wait to go out to the bars in college until after Lost aired. I'd stay up until the wee hours to make sure I wasn't spoiled the next day. It was a phenomenon and a show I'll love forever.
Luther - More like a mini-series, but holy awesome. Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson are phenomenal as an unlikely friendship in the cop series.
90210 - I love to rip on it.
Eastbound & Down
The Walking Dead - Just work on the dialogue and some of the blank stares and this show will break the Top 10.
Boardwalk Empire - People won't give up on Steve Buscemi being mis-cast, but I totally disagree. BE had a great first season and if they can take out a few duds (I mean you Jimmy's kinda lesbian girlfriend, Angela), this could be top 10 potential
Treme - A little slow at times, but that's the brilliance of David Simon's work. It feels real and emotional. Underrated.
Flipping Out - Jeff, Zoila, Jenny and the gang are always top notch entertainment
Cougar Town - Now that the show found its footing, this hilarious group of friends bring the laughter (and a craving for red wine)
Grey's Anatomy - I can't believe I almost forgot this much improved show (thanks @MamaXanaz). After the insane hospital-shooter season finale and the aftershocks carrying over this season, Grey's is back to the show I used to love. A big reason for my love: the news doctors, Avery and Kepner, who have brought a youthful energy that isn't the annoying Lexie Grey to the show
Raising Hope - Another can't believe I almost forgot it (thanks @buzzmusic). This show has improved weekly and become a great comedy for the Fox line-up. Not to mention the show actually cast a cute baby.
Skins - After watching all 4 seasons of Netflix, this should be in top 10 but it didn't all air this year, so it's an honorable mention.
Photo Credits: A.V. Club, BuddyTV, Carla Face, MTV Clutch Blog, Film School Rejects, Pleated-Jeans, Rhymes with Snitch, Sergiogs, Telephonoscope, TV Guide, VH1