1.“Luther”: Idris Elba hasn’t been nominated for a Golden Globe for nothing. BBC/BBC America’s “Luther” is a critically-acclaimed show from across the pond that features a detective who fights crime while dealing with his internal struggle, sometimes, violently so. This show is also notable because, at least in America, it’s one of the few shows that has a person of color as their lead character, thus broadening the landscape of viable actors in Hollywood.
2.“The Walking Dead”: AMC is still going strong with their zombie drama starring Andrew Lincoln. The gory realism, along with the intense human drama of basic survival, makes this show a must-watch.
3.“Hell on Wheels”: AMC has also got “Hell on Wheels” keeping them at the forefront of cinematic dramas on standard cable. The show, starring Anson Mount and Common, is a gritty, ultra-realistic take on the old West during the time of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad.
4.“Parenthood”: “Parenthood” is a drama on NBC that is critically loved, but somehow still under the radar. The series, starring Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Dax Shepherd and Craig T. Nelson, has been brought back for a third season, something I’m sure fans who thought their show would be cancelled are happy to hear.
5.“Community”: Another show that is critically loved and highly underrated, NBC’s “Community,” starring an ensemble cast led by Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, has smart writing and a rabid fanbase, making this show one of the biggest cult shows on television right now.
6.“Parks and Recreation”: NBC seems to have a ton of under-the-radar shows. “Parks and Recreation” is another one that flies below the publicity the fans expect for it due to the large shadows of “The Office” and “30 Rock,” which are great shows in their own right. The show, led by Amy Poehler, has gotten better with each episode, and at the very least, people have stopped comparing it to “The Office.”
7.“Adventure Time”: This insane cartoon created by Pendleton Ward has gotten way more serious as the seasons progressed. What was once a goofy show about a boy and his dog friend fighting bad guys has turned into a show that explores inventive art direction (such as in the episode “Memory of a Memory”), the inclusion of a possible same-sex relationship between Marceline and Princess Bubblegum and crazy metaphysical themes thanks to the show’s staff made up mostly of indie comic book writers. Not to mention the show’s increasingly disturbing imagery of the parts of the Land of Ooo that show that the land is the byproduct of a nuclear war that destroyed humanity as we know it.
8.“The Looney Tunes Show”: I don’t think a lot of people recognize the genius of this Cartoon Network show due to the fact that it could be viewed as bastardizing the original Looney Tunes characters. However, the concept of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck living in a “Seinfeld”-esque suburbia couldn’t work if it wasn’t for the stellar writing, which is actually as laugh-out-loud-inducing as any live-action sitcom.
9.“Homeland”: Claire Danes stars in Showtime’s “Manchurian Candidate”-esque drama about a soldier who has come home from war and may have become a Weapon of Mass Destruction himself. The reviews for the show has been stellar, so I’m sure fans will be eager to see what happens next when Season Two rolls around.
10.“The X Factor”: Some might think it’s ridiculous to have FOX’s “The X Factor” as one of the best shows of 2011. But just think of the drama it provided! Tension between Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell! America turning on Scherzinger after voting out Rachel Crow! The scandals go on and on and on. This show seemed to bring back the fire that “American Idol” seems to have lost, so for that alone, I’m putting it on the list.
What do you think about this year’s top shows? What show did you feel was a great addition to your TV lineup that didn’t make it into this list? Give your opinions in the comments section below.
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