Top Ten Shows of 2011

Time doesn’t slow down as you get older, I’ve come to realize. It’s hard to believe we are less than two weeks from 2012. This last year was big for TV, with some fantastic new shows, as well as some great new seasons of current shows. Megan, Kyle, and I put together our Top 10 shows, including a few choices for Honorable Mentions, so let’s take a look back at 2011 and see what we’ve loved the most. And as always, thank you to everyone who has commented, emailed in, entered contests, and helped spread the word about the site. We appreciate each and every one of you! Without you, there would be no site. Have a great holiday season!
 

Top 10

Jenny's Choice: The Big Bang Theory
It seems odd that The Big Bang Theory is tenth on my list. But then I sat down and really thought about it, I realized I know why: Priya. Like the actress, HATED the character. I was so glad when she was finally gone. But the show still absolutely slays me each and every week, and the addition of Mayim Bialik & Melissa Rauch as series regulars alongside the boys and Kaley Cuoco is truly the smartest decision the show runners could ever have made.
Megan's Choice: Off the Map
I know this show has been canceled. I was really sad, because I enjoyed it way more than other medical dramas on the air today. The fact that it was different and the cast was enjoyable played a big part in my love. I really enjoyed how it wasn't your average hospital, and the relationship drama was also really great. Mina (Mamie Gumer), and Tommy (Zach Gilford, Friday Night Lights) were becoming an awesome couple. The way their relationship was built from friendship was so realistic. Or how Lily (Caroline Dhavernas) fell in love with Mateo (Nicholas Gonzalez) and risked her career for this bad boy. We'll never know if they worked things out or how long Ryan (Rachelle Lefevre) survived her heart problems. It pulled my heart strings and made me fall in love, and for that, it makes my top 10.
Kyle's Choice: Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
With this season (season 2) being a prequel, you would think there would be no surprises – but you would be totally wrong. This season, just like the first, was packed with loads of action, tense drama, and surprise...gruesome, deaths. They did a great job of filling in some of the blanks from the original series, but also giving us enough mystery to keep us guessing until the end. It will be interesting to see next season how things play out once we return to “present” times, with a new actor in the title role.

Jump with us to see numbers nine through one!
 

Top 9

Jenny's Choice: Raising Hope
Raising Hope is so wrong sometimes, it's terrible (but in a good way). This show has so much heart. Sure, the Chance family isn't the brightest in town (as evidenced by the fun little movie about their life in the last episode), but they love and support one another like every family should. It gives me hope (no pun intended) that even though their family doesn't have a ton of money, they have each other, and that's what matters. Greg Garcia did a fabulous job coming up with the show and bringing in the cast he did. And with episodes like last season's finale – with Jimmy the goth – and this season with Greyson Chance guest starring as young Jimmy, it can't go wrong.
Megan's Choice: The Walking Dead
I was new to jump on the bandwagon for the zombie phenomenon, and for that, I am really sorry. Season 2 has been awesome in my opinion, and despite what others say, I loved the twists. It's not perfect, but it's amazing TV. The fact that they didn't have a happy ending for Sophia was fantastic, because let's face it, in a world full of zombies, there really are NO happy endings.
Kyle's Choice: Sons of Anarchy
After that third season in Ireland, Sons needed a big comeback, and they really did that this year. It was an explosive and tense season 4, and I couldn’t wait for each week’s new episode. Though we didn’t ultimately get the death of Clay that I and many others wanted, it was a fun ride all season. I’m looking forward to seeing how things play out next season.

Top 8

Jenny's Choice: Grimm
There are many different genres of shows: comedies, drama, and reality being the main three. But in those are different subcategories. Drama specifically has several big ones. There are cop shows, law shows, family shows...and the big one for many people this season & last in particular has been supernatural shows. My favorite supernatural series by far has been Grimm. There is no denying that the supernatural is the big part of the show, but Grimm handles the supernatural in such a fun way. It's not as dark as it could be, because there are a lot of laughs, too. My husband & I have been enjoying this show tremendously. There are few supernatural shows on TV right now. I hope this one sticks around a while, because it's a great edition to NBC's lineup. If you aren't watching...you should be!
Megan's Choice: Grimm
This was a big surprise for me, because I don't usually like any new shows that NBC puts out. (Sorry NBC execs... 🙂 ) However, every single week, I want more. I love the way they have taken our favorite fairy tales, rubbed them through the dirt, and made them rough around the edges. My favorite episode of the season so far was the one where the Three Little Pigs had it out for the wolves. That is great writing and exactly why this show will be around for awhile.
Kyle's Choice: Raising Hope
Raising Hope continues to be one of my favorite sitcoms. This season (season 2) has given us some hilarious episodes, such as Jimmy discovering that he was a musical prodigy as a child, or Jimmy competing with a 13-year-old for Sabrina. No matter what happens, the Chance family always seems to find the bright side to every situation. In the first season, the only downside for me was that the stuff with Maw Maw got a little too gross at times. However, in this second season, they have really found the right balance for this character.

Top 7

Jenny's Choice: Covert Affairs
Like I've mentioned before, Alias is my favorite show ever. I've loved spy dramas since the first episode of that one. So it should be no surprise that I love Covert Affairs. Piper Perabo is still fantastic as Annie Walker, and Chris Gorham is absolutely brilliant as Auggie Anderson. There's no real romantic relationships on the show, which is odd for me, but the show works well without it. That being said, I'm an Annie/Auggie shipper (surprise!). The end of this last season crushed me, when Annie was *this* close to telling him she had figured out she had feelings for him, but he was oblivious. Yeah, it's way early for them to get together, and I know that, but... Still, it's one of my favorites, and I look forward to each and every episode, which is why it made my list.
Megan's Choice: Blue Bloods
If you read the site regularly, this shouldn't come as a surprise. I adore this show. Is it dramatic gold? Of course not, but it's solid. Week after week, Blue Bloods delivers well thought out plot lines, great character development, and a show that viewers can really get hooked on. If you haven't given it a chance, I am strongly urging you to.
Kyle's Choice: Strike Back
I had really enjoyed the original UK season of the series, so I was glad to hear it was coming to Cinemax for an all new season. This season was more of a collection of 2-week buddy action films. Often over-the-top and campy, it was always an explosive fun ride. In addition to a new story every two weeks, there was an interesting overriding arc across the season. I’m looking forward to the next season.

Top 6

Jenny's Choice: Rookie Blue
Everyone say it with me. Sam & Andy! Yay! This past season on Rookie Blue, Andy finally wised up to how wrong Luke was for her. She broke off their engagement and finally...FINALLY sought Sam out. Unfortunately, he was undercover at the time, and Sam nearly got beaten to death. We got some hot hot hot love scenes before that, thank goodness! lol The rest of the cast is terrific, too. I wish Dov hadn't come between Gail & Chris, because I was liking them together, but I do love Noelle & Frank, and Jerry & Traci. For me, this show is mainly about the relationships. There are some great cases, too, like this past season, when Andy was nearly shot when a guy killed the young woman standing beside her as she worked crowd control outside a concert, or when they all went undercover working on a sting operation at a local car dealership. But as most of you know, the relationships are almost always front and center for me, and at the end of last season, Rookie Blue had them in spades.
Megan's Choice: Bones
There were so many people that were angry over the way last season ended, with Bones telling Booth she was pregnant. I was not one of those people. This was genius writing by Hart Hanson and his team, because these are two people that any other way they approached a relationship probably would have ended before it started. In order to avoid jumping the shark, he thought outside of the box. It works, and this new season has been great so far. I'm enjoying watching their relationship grow, as well as the new squints. More, more, more in 2012 please!
Kyle's Choice: The Middle
The Middle continues to be one of my favorite sitcoms. The ever-optimistic Sue and slacker son Axl are really the stars of the show for me. There is no shortage of laughs each week when the Heck family is on my TV … (whispers) TV!

Top 5

Jenny's Choice: Falling Skies
Never has there been a show that my whole family has anticipated as much as we did TNT's Falling Skies. For me, it wasn't just the storyline, but the cast. I have been a HUGE fan of Noah Wyle's since ER. I will watch anything he's in. Of course, when I actually watched the show, the rest of the cast sucked me in, as well. This is a great show for families. There are aliens for the guys, some slight romance and tragedy for the ladies, and lots of action for everyone. It's well acted, beautifully shot, and we were all incredibly sad when the season ended. Even now, months later, every time my son or I think of it, we frown and say we wish it was Summer 2012 already. If you didn't see season 1, be sure and check the television schedules, because I'm sure TNT will re-air it before season 2, and you don't want to miss it again!
Megan's Choice: The Big Bang Theory
It's only #5 on my list, but it competes for the top spot in my heart – like all of these shows do. What can I say? I'm a TV whore. 😉 The Big Bang Theory manages to make me laugh EVERY single week. I adore how this group of friends is everything that is wonderful and disturbing about geeks and geniuses everywhere. Sheldon makes me giggle constantly, and my favorite quote is still, "I cry because people are stupid. That makes me sad."
Kyle's Choice: Doctor Who
I love companions Amy and Rory and Matt Smith’s Doctor. This season, we also got a lot of great River Song reveals and back-story. The writers did an excellent job working this back into the mythology first established in “Silence in the Library” years earlier. I can’t wait for this year’s Christmas episode.

Top 4

Jenny's Choice: Bones
Last season, when Vincent Nigel Murray was shot and killed on Bones, it rocked the entire cast and audience, but none more so than Temperance Brennan and Seeley Booth. It was a heart-wrenching episode, and the aftermath literally changed everything. Of course, when Emily Deschanel announced that she was expecting, instead of hiding it, producers decided to write that into the storyline. So out of the death of one of the beloved squinterns came new life – as well as a new romantic relationship between my favorite crime fighting duo. I was as skeptical as a lot of other viewers about how well that would work. I thought for sure a pregnant Bones would alter what I so dearly loved about the show. But we are now 5 episodes in to the shortened season, and I am beyond thrilled to admit that I was wrong. The chemistry that Booth and Bones have always had is still there. Brennan is still getting out in the field, and they are still arguing back and forth like they always have. What I was hoping for and missing for the last 7 seasons – the romantic relationship – is there in spades, but it doesn't overwhelm what the show is supposed to be about: a scientist and an FBI agent who have teamed up to solve murders. Yes, Emily D. isn't on screen quite as much – especially as the season goes along – but the rest of the cast fills in beautifully. All I can say is: Finally!
Megan's Choice: True Blood
This is a show that no matter how many ups and downs it has, I love it. There are vampires, werewolves, fairies, and witches. We see sex, violence, love, raw emotion, and so much more. Again, this is not a perfect show, but it's entertaining as hell. Season 4 marked a turning point for me, like coming out of the darkness that was cast by the maenad story and followed it through a rocky season 3. I know a lot of people disliked the witches story arc, but I did not. It's easy to say that my favorite part of season 4 was Eric and Sookie together. That was deliciously epic, which is mostly why this made it as high on my list. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a hot vampire. Sue me.
Kyle's Choice: Happy Endings
What initially started as a summer burn-off show, Happy Endings has turned into one of my favorite Wednesday night comedies. Despite the fact that ABC aired the initial episodes completely out of order, fans like myself quickly saw how smart and fun this show was. Each week, I couldn’t wait for the next two episodes. I am so glad that ABC realized the gem they had and picked this show up. It hasn’t lost a beat in the second season.

Top 3

Jenny's Choice: Castle
I am convinced Nathan Fillion is a TV god. He is just so damn funny and such a nice guy (if you don't follow him on Twitter, you should...), and that makes it even more fun when I see his character be the same way. Rick Castle is smooth, charming, sexy, funny, and really smart, but he's also such a good guy who loves his family, and that is part of what makes the show so great. Then you have Stana Katic, who is absolutely beautiful and who plays Detective Kate Beckett perfectly opposite Castle. They make a great team, both professionally and – hopefully soon – romantically. Then there's the rest of Beckett's police team. Ryan, Espisito, and Lanie are all fantastic characters, and a lot of times, I wish Castle's family was my own. The cast has a great chemistry together. The 2nd half of last season was great and contained some of my favorite episodes: the freezer, the bomb, the airplane hanger, the shooting. This season, the aftermath of that shooting has been fun to watch, and the episode where they dealt with a sniper was damn near perfection on Stana Katic's part. I wait on pins and needles every week for this show.
Megan's Choice: New Girl
Here is where you all start to think I've lost my mind. Settle down, I haven't lost anything... at least, not that I know of. That's besides the point, though. I can put New Girl in the third spot on my list for one simple reason – entertainment. True Blood is entertaining because it's an erotic, mythical show. New Girl is entertaining because it's hilarious. I love Zooey Deschanel as Jess, and I dare you to deny that we haven't all made up little songs about nothing during the day. Raise your hand if you have done that? *looks around* That was awkward. Anyway, the cast chemistry is fantastic, and I can't wait for them to explore that sexual tension between Jess and Nick. Whether you tune in to feel better about your own oddity (like me) or for the hilarious antics of this group of friends, the bottom line is, you MUST tune in.
Kyle's Choice: Parks and Recreation
Season 3 of Parks and Recreation didn’t even start until January of this year. All of the episodes had already been filmed by the time the season even started. However, what we got was the best season this show has ever had. April and Andy getting married was a stroke of genius – those two are hilarious together. Throw Ron Swanson into the mix, and you’ve got a trio of comedy gold. The series has also been pretty consistently funny into the current fourth season.

Top 2

Jenny's Choice: 2 Broke Girls
I know this is a freshman show and we haven't even finished out a full season yet, but 2 Broke Girls makes me laugh like almost no other show I've ever seen. Like Raising Hope, this show is so, so wrong sometimes, but that is what makes it even funnier. It quickly became a must-see favorite of not only mine, but my husband's. We love all the side characters at the diner: Earl (the cool ex-musician-turned-cashier), Han Lee (the stereotypical short, dorky Asian dude), and Oleg (the pervy, raunchy, stinky cook). And Max's other job – babysitting the twins Brad and Angelina – is always funny to watch. All around, we just love it.
Megan's Choice: Teen Wolf
Again, I have NOT lost my mind. This was a tremendously well done remake. I was hooked from the pilot until the finale, and now, I am salivating for season 2. It may be possible that besides having solid story arcs, scary effects, and excellent character growth, it also has one of the hottest up and coming casts on TV today. Tyler Hoechlin who plays the bad ass, now Alpha wolf, Derek, is too yummy for words. Colton Haynes is also so easy on the eyes. Dylan O'Brien is adorable, but his character Stiles is the vital, moral guiding force of the group on the show. You love him more than the others. I had the chance to chat with this cast in person at Comic-Con, and believe me when I say, they deserve all the credit they receive. Amazing group of actors, for an amazing show.
Kyle's Choice: The Walking Dead
I have heard some complaints that this season was too slow or not as good as the first, due to a lower budget and less zombies. However, I didn’t see that at all. Each week, they kept me captivated, and I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen. I was one of those totally shocked to see Sophia walk out of the barn in the mid-season finale – such a great moment!
And our picks for our FAVORITE shows of the year 2011 are…
 

Top 1

Jenny's Choice: The Glades
I have adored this show since the beginning. I love cop shows (check out my Top 10 list, after all...), and this one is a great example of what a good cop show can be. First, you have the detective – in this case, Jim Longworth – who is extremely good at his job, cares about the victims, and will do what he has to do to find out who killed them. Next, you add in a dash of a great supporting cast – like Carlos Gomez, Jordan Wall, & Michelle Hurd, who play Jim's co-workers. Finally, you add in a splash of romance – in the form of Kiele Sanchez, one of my favorite actresses ever and one of few I'd switch teams for in an instant. It all adds up to being my favorite show besides Alias ever. The second season finale had me tearing up and cheering when Callie got out of the cab at Jim's house, when he thought she'd actually left for a job interview out of state without telling him. After being torn apart when her husband came back into the picture, it was a reunion that, while short, was perfect.
Megan's Choice: Once Upon a Time
Did I just hear the sound of awesomeness echo? That's right, this show is pure awesome. I won't lie, I was very hesitant when I first heard the premise – like others, I feared it would get stagnant quickly. It hasn't, and if anything, its spiced up our love of fairytales even more. Snow White/Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) is excellent in this role, while Emma (Jennifer Morrison) has never been better. The way the writers are taking us deeper into the lives of our favorite characters is addictive. From the very first episode, we have cared deeply about what happens to our beloved characters, and when they killed Sheriff Graham/The Huntsman (Jamie Dornan) in the fall finale, my heart broke. Will he back? I don't know, but what I do know is that any show willing to kill off a main character is ready to play for keeps.
Kyle's Choice: Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad just keeps getting better. It is not afraid to completely shake things up or kill off characters. This past season was so tense and exciting with Walt and Jesse under the constant watching eye of Gus. You never knew who was loyal to whom, and if Walt and Jesse would go through with the plan to eliminate Gus. All leading up to an amazing season finale. I can’t wait for next year’s final season.

The following shows might not have made our Top 10, but check out our picks for Honorable Mentions!
 

Top Honorable Mentions

Jenny's Picks
Here is my (LONG) list of shows that I feel deserve mentioned – with some of them barely missing a spot in the Top 10:
Person of Interest, Suburgatory, & Breakout Kings – three of my favorite new series of 2011
Criminal Minds – solely for fixing their huge mistake and bringing back JJ & Emily
Blue Bloods – I'm not sure I have ever loved a season finale more than I did last season's of this show
Rizzoli & Isles
USA dramas: Psych, Burn Notice, & Royal Pains
Syfy dramas: Warehouse 13, Eureka, & Haven
Melissa & Joey – still one of my favorite comedies to watch with my family
Justified – I want to have Raylan Givens' baby. The character is pure perfection.
Megan's Picks
Here are a list of shows that, while they didn't make my top 10, still deserve a nod: 2 Broke Girls, Rookie Blue, The Voice, MasterChef, Glee (season 3), Hart of Dixie, Criminal Minds, NCIS: LA, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, and Hawaii Five-0. To those I forgot, I love you all. 😉
Kyle's Picks
Revenge, American Horror Story, and Teen Wolf were surprise hits for me, and animated shows Futurama, The Simpsons, and Family Guy also continue to be great.

 
 
What do you think? Did we hit the high points? Did we miss something you think we definitely should have included? Let us know by commenting below! Stay tuned tomorrow for our Bottom Ten Shows of 2011! Trust me, we have some incredibly strong opinions on what we think the worst 10 shows of the year were!

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5 Responses to Top Ten Shows of 2011

  1. Pingback: Bottom Ten Shows of 2011 | TV Is My Pacifier

  2. martinelli says:

    I am glad and disappointed in the same time. I’m glad Rookie Blue is on the list but a bit disappointed because it’s 6th and really disappointed because Hawaii Five-0 is not on the list.

  3. Jenny says:

    Hehe There were SO many shows to choose from. Megan does have H50 on her Honorable Mentions, though. 🙂

  4. Megan Ward says:

    I LOVE H50, but there are so many shows, and it just didn’t make the list of the BEST shows of 2011. That said, Alex O’Loughlin is still one of my fav TV crushes! 🙂

  5. Nicole says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Rookie Blue!! Love Sam and Andy! This show should be in ABC’s fall lineup. It does not get the recognition that it deserves nor does the shows writers and actors. Cant wait for Season 3!!!