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Top 10 TV Shows of 2012

12.25.2012by: Johnny Moreno
SPOILERS AHEAD

While you may not agree on the shows that Moreno and I have chosen as the "Best of 2012", I think we can agree that this was a damn good year for television. Shows like The Walking Dead and Homeland kept us on our toes, and wanting more. Fans couldn't wait until the next night that their favorite TV show was coming on. "Is it Sunday yet? F*ck." You will notice quite a few fans favorites on this list, and you may see some unexpected choices as well. Hope you enjoy the list! Can't wait to see what's in store for television in 2013! YEAH, BITCH! -Niki

This was a fantastic year of television. Was there ever a more recited phrase than, “Yeah! Magnets, bitch!”? And even though we wanted a certain mother to be “off’d” on a certain zombie show, it’s not like we cheered on her demise like dragons burning down a goddman warlock’s magic building. That’s quality TV programming right there. We weren’t trying to go high brow and we weren’t trying to play too cool for the room. We picked shows that affected us on a dramatic, comedic and spiritual level. Probably not a spiritual level, unless you count a nude Emmy Rossum as spiritual (I do.) - Moreno

#10: Adventure Time with Finn and Jake

When Ward Pendleton created Adventure Time, he intended for it to be something that both kids and adults could enjoy. With the end of season four and the lead in to season five, the show has gone to a place that most animated series either try to do and fail, or avoid altogether in order to keep their audience.

Things in The Land of Ooo have gotten more serious for Finn. While Jake has always been at his side to hand out silly pieces of advice, this has been the year that Finn has need his friend the most. The pregnancy of Princess Rainicorn has made Finn think more about his relationships with girls, and what they mean. He's still just as confused, and plays this out more recently in "All The Little People". This episode shows Finn using a bag of mini characters from Ooo, and using them to figure out the dynamics of relationships...even if it is a little strange. What journey like this one, isn't though?

Where the series has really hit deeply with is the story of Simon and little Marceline. In "I Remember You", viewers finally get to see what happened to the Ice King before the Mushroom War. Why was Marceline so mad that her Dad ate those fries? Well, now you know. Sadly, the Ice King does not remember the days when he was Simon, so his promise to take care of Marceline is long forgotten.

All the characters are discovering new feelings and emotions, yet it never comes off like an after school special. At its core, this show has a heart with a strange sense of humor, but a heart nonetheless.

#9: Mad Men

Where do I even begin with this one? Shall we start at the end? Lane Price is dead. He killed himself over the shame of his embezzling from the firm. Meanwhile, it's still Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce even now that Joan has a rightful place among the men. Peggy took a job at a rival agency who offered her more money, and Don was at his most sincere when she was telling him that she was leaving. A kiss on the hand, and a goodbye. Megan is pulling away from Don to follow her dreams, but Don spends most of the season trying to convince her that she has a natural talent for coming up with ads. She doesn't fall for it, and while I do like her, I realize she is sort of shallow. And don't even get me started on us abruptly getting dropped on fat Betty.
The best moments of the season come from Roger, Pete, and Megan's mother played by Julia Ormond. Roger goes on the most amazing LSD trip ever broadcast on television. And may I say, his ass still looks good at 50. Megan's mom later gives him a discrete blowy during an award ceremony where Don is a recipient. Sally attends as well, and here we see her start to shy away from girlhood while she's innocently flirting with Roger. Poor Pete (at this point, you kind of feel sorry for him) is finally unraveling at the seems, but just before Lane checks out he gives him a good punch to the face. It was a glorious moment for all.
I've read from several fans that the show went to a different place this season that did not keep with the traditional path the show was on. I for one welcome it, because times they are a changin'.

#8: Shameless

Frank Gallagher: That's the Gallagher sperm: ambitious, relentless, everything we're not once we're born.

The Gallaghers of Shameless are like The Dunphy’s of Modern Family, but if they had more kids, Phil spent all his commission checks on booze and Claire got on antidepressants and hooked up with a lesbian. And Haley took her shirt off (had to Google her age before typing that, we good). TV families are often shown as idealistic; they’re always witty, good looking and have the perfect resolution for any situation. Shameless reminds us a lot of Roseanne; not that the characters are the same, but it’s how the family is presented and treated that makes the show seem reasonable and relatable. Who doesn't struggle day to day and worry constantly about money, providing for a family, and paying bills? The characters in Shameless are some of the most diverse in TV, representing various racial, social and sexuality backgrounds, and the story lines given to these characters are smart, funny and fit within the universe.

This season, Daddy Frank went to even more ridiculous measures to make that paper as his relationship with Sheila (played by the scary good Joan Cusack) cracked and fell apart. We finally get to meet the often referenced and little seen matriarch of the Gallagher clan, Monica, who arrives on the southside with her girlfriend, hoping to make amends with the family and gain custody of young Liam. Fiona (Emmy Rossum, marry me) rebounded from her relationship with Steve, Lip tried to make sense of his relationship with Karen (and battled Frank at the same time), and Ian hooked up with “in the closet” neighborhood bully Mickey (who also planned to kill Frank from potentially "outing" him). One thing Shameless does well is pick its spots with being funny, serious, and surprisingly sweet. Yes, even for a family that scams day to day, they do find time to get in a little TLC.

#7: Sons of Anarchy

Jax Teller: "I’m getting released. There’s nothing you can do to stop that. I’ll find out who you are and where you live...and then I’m gonna kill you.

With Clay sidelined and Jax Teller effectively taking the gavel, the new president balanced his need to get the club out of muling drugs, and his commitment to Tara and his family (and the “Jax Teller Strut” became more animated). Old beefs from season 4 were answered in the form of Oakland’s smooth talking business man and killer, Pope, who sought revenge on Tig for killing his daughter at the end of season 3. SOA has always done well with having a villain for each season, and Pope assumed the role nicely. His criminal reach seemed to extend much further than previous villains like Zobelle, employing undercover cops, pulling the strings for the Niners and orchestrating the brutal murder of one of the most beloved and tragic characters in the series, Jax’s right hand man, Opie. The death left us angry and pissy eyed, but also showed, once again, that Kurt Sutter and crew are fearless when it comes to storytelling.

As Jax made his moves with Pope, Clay undermined his leadership behind the scenes by enlisting some Nomads and causing chaos for the club, Charming, and eventually Lt. Eli Roosevelt. Jimmy Smits, while making us want to watch Blood In, Blood Out again, was relegated to “love bird” duty with Gemma, but also cemented a business partnership with the club. Tara, like her husband, also balanced her role as “old lady” and continuing her career as a top notch surgeon, spending her spare time in the never ending battle with Gemma and Adrianna from the Sopranos (we forget her name).

The one who has us most intrigued about next season is the one and only Donal Logue, who’s entrance into the series was nothing less than fantastic, as he beat poor blind Otto to a bloody pulp, and leading us into season 6 as the next great SOA villain.

Also, how about Walter Goggins episode? It made us feel weird in our man parts.

#6: Boardwalk Empire

Gyp Rosetti: "F*uck 'em all, huh? I came here with nothing. How you lose what you never had?"

Well, it took three seasons to finally get to the place we all wanted it to, but Boardwalk Empire hit its peak of entertainment, story and impact in their third season. You can easily chalk that up to the sociopathic menace Gyp Rosetti, played by the criminally (wah wah) underrated Bobby Canavale. Seriously, the dude MADE the season, from his needling of Nucky at dinner, to his strange yet Moreno approved sexual practices, and ending with his speech about the American Dream.

If there was a longer series arc initially planned for Empire, it’s beyond us, but what the first two seasons lacked was a solid villain, and Rosetti injected a conflict into Nucky’s operation that threw the whole East Coast bootlegging operation out of whack and made the season interesting and divisive for the viewer. With Jimmy out of the picture, do we root for or against Nucky?

Though Michael K. Williams’ still seems to be underused in this, he played a vital role in Nucky’s war on Rosetti. Not to mention we finally got to see Al Capone come into his own as a main player and call the shots when it came to backing up Nucky. We missed Michael Shannon’s Van Alden tightly wound ass and creepiness, but it looks like season four might find him even further beyond the law. Oh, Boardwalk. Come for prohibition style violence, stay for Richard Harrow basically saying “F*CK THIS SHIT” and wrecking shop, all in the name of little Tommy Darmody. Meesus Schroeder…where art thou? Hopefully far away from season four.

#5: Louie

"If someone asks you to keep a secret, their secret is a lie."

When Louie started his television journey, we spent a good amount of time watching him getting caught in these comedic every day life situations stretched out of context. Now it seems that he's crash landed into this surreal place where the world seems off kilter for him.

The season started out with Louie having a mid-life crisis moment of sorts, wrecking an expensive motorcycle he had no business riding then went to a ton of strange and jarringly real places. However, if it ever started to get too odd, there would always be a reality crashing moment to settle the dust. Louie finally meets a woman who might be the love of he was waiting for, then she disappears, only to show back up at the end to suddenly die on him. In between all this, Louie is told in secret that he is up to replace Letterman, but only if Jerry Seinfeld doesn't swoop in. Did I mention that Seinfeld is good at playing a total prick? His coaching from David Lynch as late-night guru, Jack Dall takes his farther on his journey when he finds out that Letterman resigned for another 10-years. When all is said and done, Louie ends up in China (Remember the story with Ping?) happier than he ever was to begin with. Why am I waxing so poetically about Louie? Because it f*cking deserves it.

#4: Homeland

Saul: You don't know a goddamn thing. You're the smartest and dumbest f*cking person I've ever known.

When last we left Homeland, Dana saved Brody (and the top U.S. political brass) from annihilation, Saul was beardy, and Carrie underwent shock therapy just before connecting the dots between Brody and Abu Nazir. Blerg.

Season 2 of Homeland picked up with the agency feeling the gap where Carrie had been (she was making samiches for her pop) and Brody trying to live a normal life as the Vice President’s right hand man, while maintaining his loyalty to Abu Nazir. But episode by episode, we got a piece of the bigger picture revealed as the stakes were raised and Carrie wormed her way back into the agency, while Estes made his own moves beyond the initial "get Nazir" mission. Who’s that handsome new guy? Oh, he’ll just put a knife through someone’s hand during a typical interrogation.

It took damn near 8 episodes for Jessica to showcase her “abilities” with Fat Damon Mike, and despite the 24-esque subplot with Dana Brody and Finn Walden, the season finale blew the top off of everything and left little to wonder how the third season would continue: with Saul’s beard f*cking every terrorist cell in the mouth. Also, THIS GODDAMN CHICK .

#3: Game of Thrones

Tyrion Lannister: Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let's go kill them!

With Ned Stark decorating the Red Keep, and King Robert dead, the second season of Game of Thrones kicked into full battle mode with the Young Wolf rallying the North against King Joffrey and the Lannister army in Westeros. Elsewhere, we had Daenarys trying to find her way in Essos with her dragons, Jon Snow and The Watch traveling beyond the Wall to battle the wights, and Brandon Stark adjusting to his role of “The Stark in Winterfell” and trying to make sense of his “wolf dreams” that predict doom and gloom invading his home.

But the real winners of Season 2 came two-fold: Tyrion Lannister, who not only outwitted every player of the “game of the thrones” (Cersei Lannister, Littlefinger, Varys) but also instituted an ingenious offense against tight ass Stannis Baratheon and his fleet in the Battle of Blackwater Bay (so THAT’S where the budget went). His plan to find out who was spying on him for his sweet sister was one of the best sequences of the series thus far, playing on Tyrion's wits and ability to manipulate people into doing what he wants, when he wants.

And I defy you to find any character as wholly badass as Arya Stark. She was present when her father was beheaded, made to look and act like a boy and almost got away with it if it wasn't for Ser Tywin Lannister. Her conversations with the former Hand of the King were some of the most engaging and intense exchanges in TV this year, with both characters knowing what cards they held without showing their hand. We still get goosebumps thinking of the line: "Anyone can be killed" and the resulting staredown between the feared general and the 10 year old cup bearer. When she befriends Jaqen H'gar, she uses her new gift of death to her advantage, and uses her new friend to escape the doomed castle of Harrenhall.

And how about that season finale in the House of the Undying, when the dragons basically pull a “F*CK YO COUCH” with one little word: “Dracarys.

It was nice knowing you, creepy blue lip, warlock guy.

#2: The Walking Dead

Shit escalated rather quickly this season on The Walking Dead. While most considered season two "the search for Sophia" aka "long, drawn out, and boring", this season definitely made up for it.

The series pulled out all the stops especially with the fourth episode of the season, "Killer Within". The baby finally comes, and Lori has no other choice but give birth with the help of Maggie and Carl. When Lori loses too much blood, Carl makes the decision to go ahead and kill his own Mom. Gives meaning to the saying, "When one life ends, another begins". Carl's innocence is now lost, and Rick, who was previously ignoring his wife, is now struck down with grief over her loss. If you didn't tear up during that episode, we weren't watching the same thing. Michonne has proven to be the strongest female character the series has seen as of yet. Leaving us to wonder why comic Andrea has not translated better to the show. Andrea is now the token slut without a clue. You saw those heads in The Governor's secret room? What the hell is wrong with you?

The season left us with Merle and Daryl finally reunited, unfortunately the loving reconnection is cut short due to the crazy antics of The Governor, and the fact that they are right in the middle of Zombie Fight Club.

#1: Breaking Bad

It all started with magnets and ended with shit hitting the fan. The first half of season five of Breaking Bad has left us itching for more. How will it all end? And why do we have to wait so damn long for the second half?

The season started out with a flashforward to Walt's birthday at Denny's. He's alone with a full head of hair, beard, and his bacon placed to look like a 52-- a tradition that Skylar started--but where is Skylar? What medication is he taking in the bathroom? Shit, did his cough come back? Why does he need all those weapons? We were left at the beginning with more questions than ever before. The ultimate question of the series has always been: how will things turn out for Walt? There are all these theories floating around, and yet the writing of Vince Gilligan and company always leaves us at a loss. The minute we think we've got it all figured out...we don't.

This was the season without Gus Fring. Heisenberg tries to fill the role that Fring once had, but as Mike said, "Just because you shot Jesse James, don't make you Jesse James." We were all taken back by the killing of a kid by Meth Damon Todd, and so was Jesse, who finally decided to give it up. The two biggest shocks were were: Walt killing Mike and Hank finally figuring out who Heisenberg really was while dropping some serious bombs of his own. I think Gale's death is no longer in vein.

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