The 5 Best TV SHOWS Of 2012
2012 will be long remembered in British minds as the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics. But it hasn’t been the best year for TV. Try to think of a new show that stole our hearts in 2012 and you might struggle.
This being Bad Haven, my list of best shows will be strictly focusing on anything that can be termed ‘geeky’. But a quick shout-out first to some great dramas and comedies this year: Mad Men returned after an extended hiatus for an excellent series 5, Sky’s UK production arm made an impact with Moone Boy and A Young Doctor’s Notebook, the BBC’s Hollow Crown series of Shakespeare adaptations were incredible, and HBO’s Veep and Girls were excellent new comedy/dramas. Homeland series 1 came to the UK for the first time in 2012, but I’ve disqualified it simply because it aired in the US in 2011.
As for ‘geeky’ shows, 2012 hasn’t been a great year for them. Red Dwarf returned, but doesn’t make my list simply because it was very hit and miss (although it nearly made the list purely on the strength of the last episode). Misfits continued to deteriorate, ITV2’s big supernatural hope Switch was a disaster, and even Doctor Who was off form, with a series of stand-alone episodes which didn’t gel despite a teary farewell to Amy and Rory. The Doctor Who Christmas Special was a real return-to-form, but it still misses out on my top five.
So, let’s get to this list so that you can all tear my decisions apart, shall we? Excellent.
5. Merlin Series Five
A controversial choice, perhaps, seeing as it’s stolen Doctor Who’s spot on the top five, but the fact that this is the last ever series of Merlin earns it its place. Series five wasn’t as good as the superlative series four, but was consistently enjoyable and heartfelt, and that finale was an absolute killer.
After all those quests and monsters, the death of loads of knights (Arthur really is quite careless with them), the big Guinevere romance and the machinations of Morgana, it turns out Merlin was always just about the friendship between one man and his servant, and the stellar performances from Bradley James and Colin Morgan. The last episode was the most bromantic – or arguably, by the end, plain old romantic – 45 minutes of TV you’re ever likely to watch. It’s a miracle Tumblr didn’t explode.
4. Being Human Series Four
Really, series four of Being Human shouldn’t have stood a chance. Aiden Turner’s vamp Mitchell copped it in the series three finale and Russell Tovey’s George didn’t survive beyond episode one of this series. Leonora Crichlow’s Annie was still around, but let’s be honest – she was always the least interesting one. Series four should have sunk without a trace. But Toby Whithouse’s masterstroke was in bringing back earnest-but-naive werewolf Tom and pairing him with 500 year old OCD vampire Hal. After a couple of episodes of the two of them working in a café together, Mitchell and George were distant memories. The series was also blessed with great villains in the form of Andrew Gower’s Cutler and Mark Gatiss’ late-in-the-series turn as a vampiric Old One. A remarkable turn-around in the same year that Misfits floundered following the loss of their original cast.
3. Game of Thrones Series Two
Series two had a big act to follow after series one, and it is a weaker series. The characters have scattered even further apart, and keeping track of them all can make the show very fragmented at times. Sean Bean’s absence as the moral heart of the show is keenly felt, until it’s filled by the unlikely figure of Tyrion Lannister, the only decent human being in King’s Landing (who also just happens to be a bastard when it suits him).
King’s Landing was where all the best stuff happened this series and Peter Dinklage stole the show even more spectacularly than in series one. Blackwater was probably the best hour of television put together all year – unbearably tense, and left you hoping for a Lannister victory even though you hate most of the family – they’re the most compelling ones, after all.
2. Sherlock Series Two
The creators and actors involved in this show plonk it firmly in the realm of ‘geeky’ shows, okay?! Also, I maintain that there’s something of the supernatural in Sherlock’s impossible deductions (nicely spoofed in the Doctor Who Christmas special – Moffat went all meta-textual there).
The three films that make up series two were, on the whole, quite brilliant (with only The Hounds of Baskerville falling down slightly), and The Reichenbach Fall’s mind-bending ending (just how did Sherlock survive?) made it the most talked-about series of the year. It was a beautifully crafted series, staring two of Britain’s biggest stars of the moment and boasting a wit and chemistry beyond any other show. Series three can’t come soon enough.
1.The Walking Dead Series Three
The number one slot goes to what is also the Most Improved Show of 2012. How can the thrilling, smart series three be the same programme that produced the fatally ponderous series two? The excitement factor (and the budget) have shot up, dead wood is being ruthlessly cut away from the cast and the characters are better than ever. Unhindered by the tiresome Lori/Shane story, Andrew Lincoln is suddenly turning in a breathtakingly charismatic performance as the damaged Rick, while David Morrissey is simply perfect as the unstable Governor.
The Walking Dead was always a show that frustrated me. It was never as good as it had the potential to be. I just didn’t care about the characters as much as I should have (which explains the Daryl love from the fans – he used to be the only character you could love). But series three has turned all that around, and puts me on the edge of my seat every damn episode. Great television, which deserves to pick up awards for more than just the zombie make-up.
So what do you think of our choices? Chuck your two-pence in in the comments.