Top movies of 2011 lists are appearing all over the place. Some time next month, when I'm caught up with the December releases, I'll post my annual film year wrap-up. Critics are also posting the best television of 2011, but I won't because even though I watch a fair amount of TV (too much), I'm not a paid TV critic who has to sample everything. And TV, unlike movies, often requires more than one viewing to appreciate something.
Still, I figured I'd put up the TV list over at the AV Club
, coming from the combined votes of all their critics, and comment on it. Here's their top 30 in reverse order:
30. Sons Of Anarchy
Don't watch it. It sounds like one of those shows, such as The Shield
, that is decent but I'm never gonna check out unless someone buys me the DVD set.
29. Raising Hope
I liked My Name Is Earl
and this seems like a redo. One friend told me it's the show Earl
wishes it was, but the few times I've checked it out I didn't get into it.
27 (tie) The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
What he does he does well, but I only like it for comedy's sake (and then only occasionally)--it's scary that anyone would watch this to be better informed.
27. (tie) Men Of A Certain Age
Another show I couldn't get into and now that it's gone I never will.
Haven't watched it.
25. Childrens Hospital
Seen a few episodes. Frenetic and never quite as funny as I'd like, but not bad. (Not as good as Robot Chicken
, if you have to pick a 15-minute comedy.) It was fun to see the Party Down
24. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
I've seen a few episode and find the characters more annoying than humorous. Maybe I should give it another chance.
23. 30 Rock
Poor 30 Rock
. It displaced The Office
as the critics' darling, but now Modern Family
gets all the awards. Still worth checking out, but seems to be on its downward arc.
22. The Vampire Diaries
I don't really want to watch a series about vampires. (I prefer zombies and don't even watch the zombie show.)
21. Cougar Town
Watched it a bit in the first season, didn't go for it. It supposedly has gotten better, but when I checked I couldn't tell. A charming cast, but not great material. I like it best as a reference on Community
20. Boardwalk Empire
One of the more overpraised show. Looks great, but the drama isn't that compelling, and once you get to know the characters most of them aren't that interesting. Still, I often check it out so there must be something beyond my need to justify the cable bill.
19. Curb Your Enthusiasm
Can still be very funny, though this season was spotty.
Don't watch it.
I've given this chance after chance, but it's unwatchable. I like the music, but I don't watch a show for its soundtrack. Critics give it way too much credit--just because David Simon created The Wire
doesn't mean everything he does is great.
Watched it a bit during the first season, but didn't get into it. My sf friends say give it a second chance, but maybe it's too late.
15. Bob's Burgers
Really? Got a shot in the Sunday night animation line-up, and it seemed to be a minor, not especially good, comedy. Family Guy
and The Simpsons
have been around so long they no longer make these lists, but I still prefer them. I even prefer Allen Gregory
, which may be weak but is at least supremely bizarre.
14. Happy Endings
This has been getting some critical attention lately, and I'm flabbergasted. It represents what's most wrong with sitcoms today--young hipsters ironically commenting on their lives as they go by.
13. Downton Abbey
Didn't watch it, but it's being repeated now and with all those Emmys I'll give it a shot.
12. Mildred Pierce
Impressive design, and did stick more closely to the novel than the melodramatic movie, but sort of a snooze.
Didn't watch it.
Didn't like the pilot and haven't been back. Critics seem to say it's something, and it'd be easy to check out, but I'm still doubtful. (Still better than The Big C
, at least.)
9. The Good Wife
Another highly-praised show I missed out on. Maybe I'll buy the first season for myself as a Hannukah gift and see what all the talk is about.
8. Friday Night Lights
From the way the critics talked you'd think this was another Sopranos
or something. I watched it a few times and didn't come back.
Best new show of the season.
6. Game Of Thrones
Second best new show, though there seems to be a lot of time spent with various parties maneuvering. Okay, you've maneuvered, now do something.
Friends and critics rave. Guess I'll have to get this DVD too. (These days I prefer to watch hour-longs from the start.)
My favorite sitcom. Please give them one more year to graduate.
3. Breaking Bad
Made the top of a lot of lists, so surprised to see it only third. I thought the fourth season wasn't quite as good as the previous seasons, but was still easily better than any other drama out there. (No Mad Men
this year, I see.)
2. Parks And Recreation
Okay, it started weak and has become fairly reliable, but let's not overstate how good it is.
One of the more intriguing comedies. Louis C. K. attempts things no one else will, and even if it doesn't always work, you never know if you might see something brilliant. Maybe rated a bit high, but should be up there.
There are a lot of omissions here, but the most surprising is Modern Family
, which keeps winning Best Comedy Emmys. It's also a damn fine show. Is it now cool for hip critics to overlook it?