The Best in Television in 2011!
With 2011 coming to a close it is time for reflection on the best things in entertainment over the past twelve months. In this post I will be talking about television, listing my favorite shows of the year and my favorite episodes of each of them. Most shows were pretty up and down that I watched this year but there are definitely a few standouts. Here is a ranking of all the shows I watched this year and my favorite episodes.
Falling Skies– Over the summer, this Spielberg produced sci-fi show began airing on TNT. While it is my least favorite show that I watched this year, it had some standout episodes and great moments. After a slow start, the second half of the first season was pretty solid. Except the finale, that was pretty week
Best Episode: Mutiny (Season 1 Episode 9)- The second to last episode, also the first half of the two-part finale, stood out as the best we would see from Falling Skies in 2011. The episode was exciting as we finally dealt with Weaver’s past and prepared for the final battle. The final moments were reminiscent of watching the troops march off in Lord of the Rings. It was truly epic.
South Park– Season 15 of Comedy Central’s biggest show ended up being a fascinating examination of how the creators are dealing with their success on Broadway and perhaps boredom with the show. Too bad most of that fascination was behind the scenes. But there were still some stand out episodes and at least one classic.
Best Episode: Broadway Bro Down (Season 15 Episode 11)- After coming back from the summer break, South Park quickly resolved the cliffhangers it left before in a disappointing episode. But a few weeks later, we got a wonderful satire of Broadway that ended up being far more satisfyingly self-referential than anything else we saw in Season 15. The ideas here were fantastic and often hilarious.
Game of Thrones– This past summer HBO delivered one of the most critically acclaimed shows of the year. My opinion? Thrones is not all it is cracked up to be but something has to be said for the show’s success. But it took too long to really get going and the finale was a bit of a letdown even if it teased a bright future for the show.
Best Episode: Baelor (Season 1 Episode 9)- For those who didn’t read the books this one must have been a shocker. How many shows are actually capable of killing off their main character? Ned Stark’s death was so shocking and so sudden that it left viewers heartbroken. This episode also further developed the most ruthless villain on the show, Joffrey Baratheon.
30 Rock– NBC’s Thursday night line up is pretty fantastic and Tina Fey’s comedy about the behind the scenes production of a SNL type show continued to flourish in 2011. Sure, Season 5 was far from the best, but there was a lot to like with the further adventures of Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy.
Best Episode: Queen of Jordan (Season 5 Episode 17)- The best episode 30 Rock had to offer in 2011 was quite different from what we were usually treated to. This episode saw Tracy’s wife Jordan visiting NBC studios to film her reality show. Liz and Jack try to get her to bring Tracy back from Africa and come back to TGS to avoid cancellation. As a subplot, Frank’s former lover, his third grade teacher played by the always lovely Susan Sarandon, was a brilliant addition to the season.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars– After the first half of season three disappointed in the last few months of 2010, the writers kicked it into high gear with a number of storylines that would make any Star Wars fan excited. So far, the first half of season four has continued that trend and I am glad to say that the show is better than ever.
Best Episode: Overlords (Season 3 Episode 15)- The first part of the three part Mortis plotline was the best. Forget midichlorians, the Force became exciting and mysterious again with this episode. It also gave us a peek at Ahsoka’s possible future, something many fans have wondered about. It also featured Liam Neeson reprising his role as Qui Gon Jinn. This is when Clone Wars proved it could be just as good as the original trilogy.
The Office– Of all the shows that I watched this year this was the most boggling. The second half of season seven was brilliant. Michael Scott’s send off was terrific even if Will Ferrell intruded a little too much. However, thus far season eight has been a disappointment. The first few episode that set up Andy as the new regional manager were good but since then the show has been boring. Hopefully it can pick back up in 2012.
Best Episode: Garage Sale (Season 7 Episode 19)- I had trouble picking my favorite of the year for this show. Threat Level Midnight and Goodbye Michael were great episodes but in the end I had to go with Michael’s proposal to Holly. The moment was perfect for the two of them and a great way to begin Michael’s sendoff.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia– Season seven of FX’s comedy was brilliant and quite possibly their best yet. There were plenty of classic episodes and great moments. Even the poorer episodes had some redeemable qualities and were very entertaining television.
Best Episode: Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games (Season 7 Episode 7)- Do you want to watch the five main characters play a ridiculous made-up drinking game? Yeah, so did I. In my review I gave it a perfect 10 and it deserved every point. This episode was perfect, it was everything that Sunny wants to be and a whole lot of fun.
Louie– Comedian Louis C.K. came back last summer with another season of his new show. The show’s artistic style is one of kind in its genre. But Louie‘s success comes from the perfect blend of side-splitting humor and unbearable honesty in each and every episode.
Best Episode: Eddie (Season 2 Episode 9)- Ironically, the best episode of this comedy was hardly funny at all. It followed Louie spending time with an old friend who would eventually tell him that he plans to commit suicide. The episode smartly never told us whether Eddie did it or not leaving the unknown to haunt us. This single episode was probably the best thing I watched all year on TV.
Modern Family– That’s right, ABC’s hit comedy is the best show of 2011. The humor is absolutely brilliant and the characters are some of the strongest to ever be seen on a sitcom. Even though season three feels as if the writers are barely trying, the show is still incredibly funny and heartfelt.
Best Episode: The Musical Man (Season 2 Episode 19)- To refresh your memory, this is the episode that had advertisements on the Dunphy’s van saying “I can’t be satisfied” next to Claire’s picture AND Cameron directing the disastrous elementary school play that ended with the phrase “We Love the F-Word” being shows to all parents. However, it also featured the very touching but not overly sappy relationship between Jay and his brother. This is Modern Family and television at its best.
Any episodes of these great shows you would place higher than the ones I picked? Any other shows I should have watched this year? Sound off in the comments section!