Best of 2010: TV Drama Series

20 Dec

Hey there, and welcome to the penultimate installment of my illustrious Best of 2010 Series. I know! The series flew by for me, too. Today I’ll share my favorite TV dramas. Again, I “broke” the rules and included series that I’ve really enjoyed this year but that didn’t necessarily premiere in 2K10. Ok, I don’t think any of them premiered this year. Oops! But all did have new episodes come out sometime during this fine year, and that counts for something, right? I’ll keep the descriptions short and sweet, because I’ve realized (sadly) that I watch a lot of TV.

Mad Men


I will admit that I had to get over all of the characters’ philandering, drinking, sexist and smoking ways before I was really able to enjoy this show.   But once I got into it, I appreciated the complex and textured world of Madison Avenue. The pacing is slow and steady while setting, character and mood rule instead of extreme plot twists (well, except for that John Deere incident). As my dad would say, “It’s one of those talking shows.” On one hand, Mad Men is an authentic portrayal of the early 1960s from the fashion (love the dresses by the way) to the current events the characters face, and the viewers get to experience everything from the death of Marilyn Monroe to the assassination of JFK. But on the other, it is a character study that produces a dark, brooding, creative feel that lingers after the credits roll.

Friday Night Lights

When I first started watching this show and I tried to explain my love for it to people, I used to give up and label it my guilty pleasure. It is, admittedly, a series about high school football in a small town that features a seemingly endless supply of ultra-attractive and ultra-older- than-teenage students. But once I got past that feature (try by 15 minutes into the pilot) I knew that I had found an emotionally intense but honest drama. I will venture to say that the first season is nearly flawless. And although I can’t stand by all of the plot twists in season 2 (Landry’s sub-plot, I’m looking at you), the show has generally stayed interesting, intense and satisfying. I have to love the show that gave me Tim Riggins. But my favorite feature is the successful and loving marriage between Coach Taylor and his wife, Tammy. I love to see marriage working out in a mainstream media sort of way.

Breaking Bad

AMC strikes again with Breaking Bad. To start off, the premise is tantalizing. A mild-mannered 50-year-old chemistry teacher is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.  After the diagnosis, he decides to put his sweet science skills to better use to provide for his pregnant wife and his disabled son. What’s his solution? Cooking meth with one of his former students, of course! But the tantalizing premise is backed with solid acting, character development and “I-didn’t-see-it-coming” plot twists. My only complaint? This show can be gross. I mean, melt a body with acid gross. But really, it’s good. I promise.

Dexter

I also love Dexter, another show with an intriguing premise (try serial killer blood splatter expert who only kills people who deserve it). The show can err on the violent and sexy side, but in general the dark protagonist and his struggle to feel authentic human emotion are mesmerizing. Each season features a satisfying arc that keeps me stressed and at times awake at night.

Lost

(may it rest in peace)

I can’t believe Lost is gone.  But after several months to digest the final season, I have come to peace with the ending. I won’t give spoilers to those of you who need to wake up and indulge in this great TV mystery, but I will say the journey is worth it. The many characters and the many mysteries, personal and island-wise, are a consuming pastime. Plus, this show is perfect for DVD watching and the holidays would be a great time to start.

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