2012 was a terrific year for television. There were so many great shows that I was unable to narrow down my list to only ten. So here are my Top 15 series in order of preference:
15) Political Animals
I'm disappointed that this enjoyable series will not be returning for a second season. The excellent performances of Sigourney Weaver, Ellen Burstyn and the gorgeous James Wolk were worth tuning in for.
The most disappointing cancellation of the year was this amusing comedy starring Kristin Chenoweth, Miriam Shor, Annie Potts and a frequently shirtless Mark Deklin. I miss these funny ladies (and hot guy).
13) Once Upon a Time
I'm amazed at how well the writers are able to juggle so many fascinating characters, and the handsome Colin O'Donoghue (as Captain Hook) and the fabulous Barbara Hershey (as Cora) have been wonderful additions to the show.
12) The New Normal
The best new comedy of 2012 is this groovy gay sitcom, which some folks hate. They find Ellen Barkin's extremely homophobic character to be too much, but I look at her and see a female Archie Bunker, who was TV's first outspoken bigot. This series also features the hilarious NeNe Leakes, the gorgeous Justin Bartha and young Bebe Wood, who may turn out to be the next Meryl Streep.
I just started watching the first season of this Showtime series on DVD a few weeks ago, and now I can understand why its winning all the awards. Both Claire Danes and Damian Lewis are outstanding, while the drama is definitely "on the edge of your seat" tense.
10) Nurse Jackie
I watched the third season of this Showtime series on DVD in 2012, and the performances of the entire cast are so good - especially Anna Deavere Smith and Merritt Wever. Nurse Jackie is a perfect blend of comedy and drama.
9) American Horror Story: Asylum
And here I thought the first season of this anthology series was delightfully demented. Jessica Lange continues to astound me with yet another brilliant performance as Sister Jude, while Lily Rabe, Zachary Quinto, Sarah Paulson, James Cromwell and Evan Peters have also been acting the hell out of the "anything goes" scripts.
It was definitely a bumpy first season, but I loved the original music and most of the performances - especially Katharine McPhee, Christian Borle, Jack Davenport and Anjelica Huston. And I'm looking forward to Season 2, which begins on February 5 with new cast members Jeremy Jordan and Daniel Sunjata and special guest stars Sean Hayes and Jennifer Hudson.
I watched the first four seasons of this addictive drama on DVD in 2012, and I look forward to spending more time with the talented Michael C. Hall in 2013.
6) Parks and Recreation
Once again this is my favorite sitcom of the year. No one makes me laugh more than Amy Poehler and her hilarious cast.
It felt like old times seeing J.R. and Bobby and Sue Ellen and Cliff again, and I look forward to Season 2, which begins on January 28. It will be interesting to see how the show continues without the late, great Larry Hagman. I think they need to persuade Victoria Principal to return as Pam, who has become a rich "Alexis" bitch since we last saw her. Below you can watch a special holiday greeting from the Ewings.
The best new drama of 2012 is this country-fried soap opera starring the always engaging Connie Britton, the sexy Charles Esten and the deliciously bitchy Hayden Panettiere.
3) Downton Abbey
What's not to like about this entertaining period drama? It's got the magnificent Maggie Smith - and this Sunday the series returns for a third season with the marvelous Shirley MacLaine. I can't wait!
2) Mad Men
Zou Bisou Bisou, I loved the fifth season of this 1960s drama, which continues to be one of the best television series of all time.
1) The Walking Dead
In 2012 I became a devoted fan of this emotionally-draining zombie drama, which made me cry when Lori died during childbirth. And the addition of the incredibly talented David Morrissey as the seriously disturbed Governor has made this "must-see" Sunday night television.
The 5 Most Disappointing Television Experiences of 2012:
What the hell is going on with this show? I LOVED its first soapy season, but Season 2 has introduced some bad storylines and boring characters (Aiden, Padma, the Ryan brothers and the Initiative's Helen). Hopefully the second half of this season will be better.
4) The Vampire Diaries
Turning Elena into a vampire was a big mistake, and I stopped watching.
3) 666 Park Avenue
What a waste of Vanessa Williams' talents.
What a waste of Sutton Foster and Kelly Bishop's talents. This Gilmore Girls-wannabe was the most disappointing series of 2012.
1) Liz & Dick
The worst television experience of the year was watching Lindsay Lohan try to impersonate Elizabeth Taylor. She failed miserably in her attempt.
The Grooviest Daytime Soap of 2012: Days of our Lives
I was hooked on the sordid lives of Salem this year as my favorite homosexual, Will Horton, got Gabi pregnant, Sami's hot brother Eric returned as a priest (played by the hot Greg Vaughan), and Eileen Davidson returned to the show after 14 years as the devious Kristen DiMera, who quickly began an affair with John's son Brady.
The Grooviest Daytime Actress of 2012: Susan Flannery
The Bold and the Beautiful actress left the show after 25 years, and her beloved character Stephanie sadly died.
The Most Intriguing Daytime Drama of 2013
Will Prospect Park finally bring back All My Children and One Life to Live? It would be so nice to see Erica Kane and Viki Lord again. Click here for more details.