10) Eureka (Season 4)
Eureka was a new show to me in 2011, and I watched all 4 seasons this year, and the portion that aired in 2011 was probably my favourite. The Astraeus mission to Titan brings with it a sense of genuine sci-fi wonder that the show can often miss out on, helping move the show forward following the disappointing departure of Nathan Stark in season. Eureka is still Scooby Doo for those over the age of 10 but this allows the show to be light-hearted without having to force itself into serious territory every episode. This gives the characters genuine heart, with the ridiculousness that ensues every episode never questioned by the viewer.
9) Hawaii Five-0 (Season 1/2)
Hawaii Five 0 is a fun show, much like Eureka and does exactly what you want it to. A stellar cast now with two ex Lost alumni in the mix, this is as high octane as tv can get. Car chases, explosive set pieces, super high tech gadgets and a Hawaii setting with incredible vistas; it’s the best action show on TV. Scott Caan has been even more on point with his quips this season, and while I did prefer the over arching story of season 1, the show creators tell a convincing narrative here and I’m excited to see where things go next year.
8) Law and Order UK (Season 4/5)
One of the few UK shows on my list, the 2011 episodes of Law and Order went to some amazing places. I was genuinely touched by one storyline in particular, with the final scenes being some of the best tv of the year. The new cast members added something different this year too, Dominic Rowan taking the Law side of proceedings to new heights. That said, as a episodic drama, it really does depend on the storyline, and if there had been a bit more consistency, I’d have placed this higher in my list.
7) Doctor Who (Season 6)
I have been down on Doctor Who ever since Matt Smith took the lead role, I personally can never find the likability in his Doctor. That said, the supporting characters, Amy, Rory and most importantly River Song made the 2011 episodes some of the best since Tennant left. Despite some ‘twists’ I saw a mile off, and a few weak episodes needlessly extended to double partners, the Doctor was back on form this past year.
6) Torchwood: Miracle Day
Some may not have enjoyed the American flavour, and it was about 3 episodes too long, but Miracle Day had everything I love about Torchwood. Jack and Gwen make a brilliant team, and the dynamic new characters made it a thrilling journey. I still love Torchwood, whether it’s overseas or not.
5) True Blood (Season 4)
I’m very critical of True Blood, and grew tired of there being far too many unnecessary stories occurring at once near the end of season 3. This year it took a few episodes to settle in, but once it got going there were moments as good as the brilliant season 2. Marni and the witches story brought this amazing cast together like never before. Its easy to dismiss the actors in a genre show like this, but with excellent writers behind them, True Blood still remains one of the most intense shows on TV.
4) Desperate Housewives (Season 7/8)
I will put this out there, the episodes of Desperate Housewives aired in 2011 were probably my favourite ever shown. Without spoiling too much, the twist that ended season 7 along with the much needed kick that Vanessa Williams gave to the show has made me love these characters more and more. The fact I made it through multiple episodes this season without hating Susan shows just how promising this year has been with the show ending in 2012.
3) The Walking Dead (Season 2)
I’m getting harsher and harsher on the shows as the list counts down (which is slightly backwards to be honest!) and while I was disappointed with the first half of The Walking Dead season 2 its only because a show this good should be at the top of my list. The cast is stellar, production values incredible, and yet for 4 episodes we get stuck on some farm with no zombies in sight? The writing is still phenomenal and there are still 7 more episodes to go, it’s just a shame the negatives exist in a show that does so much right.
2) Dexter (Season 6)
Much like last year, a season that topped my list, Dexter was caught in his own shadow in 2011. 2 years on, the effects of season 4 are still looming across the show. The best moments of the season came halfway through, when Dexter literally revisited his alternate life as Kyle Butler. I had my jaw on the floor for an entire hour on that episode, and I just couldn’t handle the power that The Trinity Killer still held even in death. Other than this, and an ending that may have even bettered the aforementioned one, the makers really pushed Dexter to some dark, and religious places. Edward James Olmos made a brilliant turn as a ‘big bad’ this year, with Jennifer Carpenter making Deb even more tragic than ever before (which I didn’t think was possible). Everything was thrown up a notch for Dex in 2011, but it wasn’t quite enough to secure the top spot here.
1) Modern Family (Season 2/3)
Honestly Modern Family wasn’t atop this list until very recently, I was going to give it to Dexter again. But after rewatching most of the 2011 series I just had to reward what I can only describe as the best show currently on TV. Genuinely funny, without ever waiting for a laugh, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why Modern Family is so perfect. Is it the cast, where everyone including all of the kids has incredible comic timing? My personal favourite character Phil simply has to look at the camera now to make me burst out laughing at just how much of a fail he can be. Is it the writing, where everything feels completely believable and yet simultaneously ridiculous? Or is it the heart the show has, where this imperfect family gives every single person watching an insight into their own personality. I see myself in literally everyone on Modern Family, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Most definitely the best thing on TV in 2011, Modern Family is just about perfect.