Whether you still own an actual television set, use Hulu or stream illegally, everyone has a show they just can’t miss. Here are our top picks for the must-see shows of 2012.
12. New Girl
2012 saw a toning down of Zooey Deschanel’s “twee-ness,” making “New Girl” a wonderfully light-hearted and fun show. In this sitcom of four 30-something roommates dealing with funny and sometimes serious life situations, the real star is Max Greenfield’s character, Schmidt, who is TV’s most endearing asshole. My current favorite Schmidt-ism: “Bathtubs are medieval filth cauldrons, pass. I’m not interested in simmering in testicle tea for 20 minutes.”
11. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
The only reality show on the list, “Honey Boo Boo” is highlighted not for its exemplary art or content, but for the strong reactions and conversations the show produced. Love it or hate it, everyone had an opinion on this show in 2012 and its ultimate reflection on the state of our society. Any show that gets people debating this much is great, no matter how many fart jokes it takes.
Anyone who grew up in the suburbs can appreciate the satirical take on this common slice of American life, one of the only networked shows to legitimately criticize it. The protagonist is the winsome Tessa Altman, who mirrors the show with her combination of snark and heart. Its first season may be better – what show’s isn’t? – but “Suburgatory” is still the most relatable comedy on TV.
9. Parks and Recreation
Although beginning to suffer the fatigue that most shows suffer from after season three, “Parks” is still quick-witted and endearing and has one of the most positive portrayals of women on television today. Season finales are reserved for Leslie Knope’s (Amy Poehler) career turns, placing personal matters like weddings and boyfriends in mid-season episodes, a real first for television.
Most people stopped watching “Weeds” a few season ago, but for its eighth and final season creator, Jenji Kohan catered to the fans with multiple long-favorite characters returning and a final trip to Agrestic, something dedicated followers have been begging for for years. The bittersweet ending to the crazy adventures of Nancy Botwin was emotional but satisfying, and a perfect summation of the series as a whole.
7. Happy Endings
This popular culture-reference-laden show has about as many jokes as it has breaths. The fast-paced dialogue is always on point, and the lovable, goofy characters are not afraid to portray a masculine gay man and a feminine black guy. As soon as Dave and Alex stop getting back together, this show will be truly “auhmazing.”
Although competing with “Friends” for the title of “Whitest Show of All Time,” “Girls” is a refreshing look at what it is actually like to be in your 20s. Though the selfishness of the characters can be a bit wearing at times, they are entertaining as they try to navigate being an adult for the first time, without the glamour and amazing shoes of its predecessors. “Girls” takes an honest look at the entitlement and difficulties of this generation, sparking a slew of debate and discussion.
Not enough people have been talking about how awesome this show is. While adding satire the egoism and tediousness involved in American politics, “Veep” manages to create laugh-out-loud funny situations. Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus is amazing as always, and actor Tony Hale (Buster Bluth in “Arrested Development”) is hilarious as her awkward and adoring personal aide.
4. Game of Thrones
This cross-over hit’s second season added more actors to what was already the biggest cast ever, more violence you can’t help but turn your head away from, and more risks in the quest to claim the Iron Throne. Any scene from “Thrones” is equal parts stunning and disturbing, yet the strikingly real, human stories are what keeps viewers coming back each week.
3. The Mindy Project
Expectations and pressure were high for this show, starring and written by “The Office” alum Mindy Kaling, but after episode one, all worries were replaced by awe. Notable for being one of few shows on major networks featuring a person of color in the lead role, male or female, “The Mindy Project” breaks down the usual stereotypical minority portrayals, while its witty and quirky script shines. “Mindy” is also a first in blending traditional roles of femininity with the high-powered dragon ladies one is used to seeing on television. In this show, you don’t have to choose between being a successful doctor who has her own practice and a woman who loves Meg Ryan movies and glittery dresses, creating worth in an area that is often criticized.
2. Breaking Bad
With it’s jarringly beautiful shots and ever-escalating tension, season five of this acclaimed series saw Walter White delve deeper into the shady underworld of crystal meth. Viewers were only graced with Part I of the final season in 2012 and, honestly, the show probably needed the break to process the mind-blowing plot twists. Actor Aaron Paul killed it this season with his portrayal of Jesse Pinkman, the lost-boy drug dealer that has viewers increasingly sympathetic. At the same time, actress Anna Gunn, playing Skyler White, became harder and harder to like. The second half of this season is sure to end on a destructively awesome note, thanks to the mid-season cliffhanger. So, if you’re not caught up on “Breaking Bad,” get on Netflix, right now.
Anyone who has seen even one episode of “Homeland” will understand why it tops the 2012 list of notable TV shows. Throwing the glacial-pacing rulebook out the window, “Homeland” reveals a main character’s double agent status in episode two, takes down a terrorist sting operation in episode nine, and kills off the main antagonist for the past two season in the penultimate episode. This level of unpredictably is addicting, and aided by near-perfect performances from the main characters, brilliant cinematography, and relevant geo-political commentary, “Homeland’s” second season never disappoints. Claire Danes is captivating in the lead role as a bipolar, disgraced CIA operative, and her perfection of crazy eyes surely helped her win the 2012 Emmy for lead actress in a drama series.
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Kelly Katz at Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org.