The Top TV Shows of 2012

By Kim Townend

So, that was it. 2012 is practically over, and with it some of the best television we've seen in years. Here's my pick of what you should've been watching in 2012.


Given the hype that surrounded this show, and the fact that it's about the only watchable show on Channel 4 these days, I wouldn't have thought that there was anyone out there who'd missed this. But I still meet people who haven't gotten around to it. So this is for you. Watch this show

This season has had some great episodes and some pretty terrible episodes, but despite the inconsistency it remained eminently watchable. The writers pulled twists and turns out of nowhere  and every time that you thought they were done and there was nowhere else for them to go, they'd not only surprise you, they'd knock it right out of the park. Too much happened to begin to even try to explain it here, so you should probably go and watch it. Oh, and then read this article that asks whether Carrie is just Claire Danes character in My So Called Life all grown up. 

Bob's Burgers

Bob's Burgers is hands down the funniest show on television currently. And how could it not be? The cast is practically a go to of the best of America's alt.comedy circuit right now. Don't be put off by the fact that it's animated - it's smart and awesome and has been nominated for both Emmys and Annies. Developed by Lauren Bouchard of Dr Katz fame, the show revolves around Bob Belcher (voiced by the amazing H Jon Benjamin) the owner of a small town burger joint in NJ and his (sometimes) functional family.

Each week they encounter a new adventure,  guest stars this season have included the likes of John Hamm, Zack Galifianakis and Aziz Ansari) with hysterical results. Louise (voiced by Daily Show Alumni Kristen Schaal) is never seen without a pink rabbit eared hat and is my personal hero. Given the rest of this list can lean towards the "heavy going" side I would recommend Bob's Burgers for a lot of  light relief. The Jaws episode "The Deepening" is amazing. 

The Bridge/Bron

The Bridge is probably the least known of all the Nordic Noir floating around right now, but in my opinion one of the best. A collaboration between Sweden and Denmark, this 10 part crime thriller starts with the lights of the bridge that connects the two countries being shut off, and when they come back on, a body has been placed across the border meaning that both countries Police Departments are going to have to work together. As is now the norm for Scando noir, a quirky and uptight/slightly autistic female officer is paired with a laid back/morally dubious male officer to head up the investigation.

What I love about Scandinavian drama is that it is unafraid to be bleak, you don't have to worry about happy endings for the sake of ratings here. This in itself is liberating and enough of a reason to watch, so when you place it alongside the gorgeous houses and a well written story it becomes unmissable. Oh, and because of the subtitles, you really have to pay attention, no half hearted watching while you work with this one. 5 stars.

The Hour

I feel bad about not including enough British TV in my lists, drama in particular is something we're supposed to be great at - but usually I just don't "get" it. The Hour is the exception to this. The second season of the BBC show was even better than the first, and due largely to creator Abi Morgan, featured even more believable, strong female characters who carried the story alongside their male counterparts while dealing with what has traditionally been  masculine subject matter.

The narrative is strong, the writing is great, an given it's historical setting, everyone is always remarkably well turned out. (A world in which everyone wears lipstick!) The inclusion of Peter Capaldi this season was the icing on the cake. If none of this does it for you, then just marvelling at the thickness of Ben Whishaw's hair might. 

The Killing : Season 2

The second season of the US remake of Forbrydelsen had little in common with the series it was based on by this stage, but was all the better for it. It was the season in which we finally discovered who was responsible for the death of Rosie Larson, but by the time we did so many dirty secrets had been aired that it was almost immaterial.

I know a lot of TV snobs really disliked this show and this season in particular, but I loved it and genuinely looked forward to watching it each week. Yes, there were some pretty huge plot holes, but I was willing to overlook them because the character development was so much better in this season, watching Mireille Enos's Sarah Linden teetering on the edge of losing everything again was compulsive. Also, Joel Kinnaman who plays Holder, Sarah Linden's homicide partner is superb, I could watch him for hours. This one is a bit of a slow burner, but definitely worth it.

 Well, that's it for the main list, but honorary mention goes to this years seasons of Mad Men, Parenthood, and True Blood (who knew that could get good again?) and also on the UK side of things the little bit too dumbed down for the second season Sherlock and Luther. 

Feel like I was wrong or I missed one of your favourites?

Let me know in the comments!


Wed, 26 Dec 2012 15:07 (GMT+00)
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