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Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2012 edition: The Outcasts, Part 1

23 Jan

I’m currently out of the country, which is causing me to unfortunately to temporarily fall behind on current television.  What better time, then, to finally issue my slightly belated ranking of TV shows that I watched in 2012.  I last put together a ranking in the summer of 2011, and it will be interesting to see what went up, went down, and stayed the same.  Here are the rules:  to be ranked, the show has to have aired episodes in the 2012 calendar year.  Secondly, I’m not ranking any shows that debuted in Fall 2012 and haven’t finished full seasons, because those shows haven’t put in enough time yet to judge.  Third, I’m trimming the fat from my 2011 rankings; I’m only ranking shows that I’ve seen several of this past year; for most shows that I rank, I’ve seen all of, and for just a couple I’ve seen most of.  So for the most part, I at least like every show on the list, and it’s something of an accomplishment just to make it on.  Fourth, while I’m considering body of work as far as the whole year goes, if a show was much better in fall 2012 than the end of a previous season in the spring, I’ll tend to lean towards accounting for the uptick in performance.  Lastly, primetime shows only; which mainly means no Daily Show or Colbert Report.

With that in mind, we’re almost ready to start, but first we’ll spend a couple posts going over shows that made the last list but didn’t make this one, and why that was the case.  Also, quick apologies to British shows Peep Show and The Thick of It, both of which aired episodes in 2012, but which I’m one season behind on and thus won’t rank; I look forward to catching up with both of them.


Fuck Glee

2011 ranking:  34

I had already stopped watching this show by the fall of 2011; it’s simply, well, bad.  I know a number of people who watched it regularly at some point and most have at one point or another just decided to quit. It’s closer to Heroes than to even a show like Lost in the ratio of how long it was good before it turned bad. There was a half season in which the show had a coherent plot arc,while  the remainder of the show has been spent trying to reach that again. Flaws include characters which have extremely inconsistent personalities, an extreme reversion to status quo sometimes (like a comic book villain, Jane Lynch can’t win enough to stop the club, but also sticks around to keep almost doing it), plot arcs that just go way over the top, and plenty of the characters that are just well, bad.  Goodbye Glee, I’m glad to see the public has largely stopped caring about you as well.

Modern Family

Three Modern Families

2011 ranking:  33

I gave myself more leeway last rankings in terms of how much I needed to watch a show before ranking it, and though I’ve seen most of Modern Family’s first season, I haven’t watched much after it.  It isn’t so much because I don’t think it’s a good show (though I certainly don’t think it’s a great show) as much as it’s not a show for me; it just isn’t really up my alley.  It does feature an all-time personal pet peeve with little narrations at the end of each half hour summing up the episode and giving it some totally unnecessary and unsubtle overarching theme, but mostly I think it’s still just a small bit old-sitcom-y for me.  I will say I think, from my previous watching, that Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen and their family are far and away the funniest of the three families on the show and I do think there are some genuinely good laughs.  Anyway, I can’t really begrudge anyone for watching it, though I’ve heard it’s gotten worse of late, but I stopped because I realized I just didn’t care enough it to watch, and that’s still how I feel.

Fairly Legal

Fairly Legal

2011 ranking:  32

We’re really in the dregs here.  Honestly, there was absolutely no reason for me to be watching Fairly Legal at any time, except that I had a bit of a possibly ironic, and possibly not ironic obsession with USA programs.  That obsession has subsided and Fairly Legal, the worst of the USA programs that I watched, was pretty quickly dropped.  It’s not awful but it’s pretty generic; charismatic lawyer-turned-mediator uses her natural charm, ability, and determination to solve problems others can’t.  You’ve seen it before.  Just in case I hadn’t stopped watching it by now, USA’s stopped it for me; cancelling it after it’s second season finished airing last summer.  I doubt many will be crying over the loss.


Somebody's Watching You

2011 ranking: 31

Last year’s list reached back into 2010, so it hit upon AMC’s one true failure (we can debate The Killing, but at least it went two seasons),  Rubicon.  It’s a little bit of a shame because Rubicon, unlike say Fairly Legal, had a chance to be a really interesting, good, show.  And then, well, like so many other dramas that start off with promise, it wasn’t.  It tackled a 70s neo-noir feeling in a way I don’t think recent shows have, but while the mood was right, the plots slowly fell apart and the conspiracy may have unraveled a little too far even for a conspiracy show.  I probably would have watched if there was a second season, but part of me was certainly comforted by the fact that it was cancelled and I wouldn’t have to.  I wish it was better, because I think there was something there, but it wasn’t, and it’s rightfully gone.