>1. Doctor Who — For years we wondered what it might look like if Steven Moffat could run Doctor Who. Last year we found out with a thirteen episode series that played with the series central conceit of being a time travel show. Moffat made the series into a fairy tale and delivered a season finale that not only capped off the season in a perfect way, but also paid off most of the on-gong season storylines all while leaving something over for series six. I’m more excited about Doctor Who than I have been since it returned in 2005. And the Christmas special was nearly perfect as well. A great year for Doctor Who.
2. Lost — The finale sparked a lot of debate on-line–as most good finales will and should do. The best thing that ever happened to the show was giving it and end date and finally forcing the writing staff to build to something. And they did. OK, sure the whole Jacob and his mysterious brother episode three from the end was a bit forced, but the sixth and final season did so many other good things that it’s easy to forgive. I am curious to see how the show will hold up to viewing on DVD.
3. The Walking Dead — Yeah, sure there are zombies, but that’s not the main point of the show. It’s about how humans continue to function and survive when the zombie apocalypse has happened and there are no end credits in sight. The pilot episode was fantastic and the season finale left me curious and anxious for more. I like how the show has created its own universe outside of the graphic novels.
4. Mad Men — It’s a good year for AMC. (And no, I’m not caught up on Breaking Bad...but I plan to be). Many have called the fourth year of Mad Men the best one so far. I’d be hard pressed to disagree.
5. Stargate: Universe — Yes, I know it’s a Stargate spin-off, but damn if this show just didn’t keep going dark and really opening up the characters. Easily one of the most compelling sci-fi shows since BSG went off the air. And yes, I’m upset SyFy canned it after only two seasons.
6. Chuck — We got a lot of Chuck this year…the entire third season and the first part of season four. The first half of season three suffered a bit from treading water, but once they got Chuck and Sarah together, the show never looked back. And bringing Morgan in on the secret and into the spy world has been a wonder to behold. I can’t wait for more of season four.
7. Sherlock — Not a re-imagining so much as an update of the classic Holmes stories. Watson’s chronicles of Holmes are now told in blog form and seeing Holmes use technology in his investigations is a nice touch. Three episodes wasn’t nearly enough, even if they were all 90 minutes each. And that cliffhanger….holy cow am I anxious for more.
And that’s my top seven. These are the shows I enjoyed the most in 2010. I saw a lot of other stuff that was good and almost made the list. And I’m catching up on a few on DVD. But that’s really what tickled my fancy last year.