Monday, December 24, 2012

The Besties 2012

The Best New TV Shows of 2012

If anyone ever says to you that TV is terrible or there's nothing to watch or, God help us, "I don't even have a TV set at home," tell them to "Shut up."

Then, much more politely, point to the incredible number of great and good TV shows that debuted in 2012, like Revolution, and those that continued their incredible runs in 2012. Just toss off a few gems - Sherlock, Louie, Homeland, Elementary, Downton Abbey - and shoo them off.

Then, turn back to your DVR and watch some shows that our readers voted The Besties 2012: TVFirstLook's 2nd annual awards for the best new shows on TV. This year, for the first time, viewers voted for their favs. We here at TVFirstLook chimed in with honorable mentions.

So, here goes, The Besties 2012:

Best New Comedy: Go On (NBC)
Matthew Perry
Matthew Perry has tried too many times to count to reclaim his Friends glory days with a bumpy track record to prove it. But Go On, voted by TVFirstLook readers as 2012's Best New Comedy, may be his best chance to do just that.

On Go On, Matthew is Ryan King, a sports radio show host who's grieving the death of his wife. I know, "Wow, that sounds funny."

Go On is the type of show that isn't likely to have you buckled over in laughter. But it's bringing viewers back with easy laughs and a seasoned cast, like John Cho and Julie White, who give Matthew room to be the star while ever so gently pulling the spotlight away.

Honorable Mention: (Tie) Anger Management (FX) and Malibu Country (ABC)
I know, I know. "Where's Girls?" Forgive me, Girls is an awful, horrible, terrible comedy that aspires to be Louie but is just a bad art school project that critics love to say they like. We hate it. Ugh.

No, for us, real laughs make comedies good. Case in point, FX's Charlie Sheen comedy Anger Management. Which, let's face it, isn't the best sitcom ever. But it reliably delivers laughs.

And ABC's Reba McEntire comedy Malibu Country will never be an Emmy darling. But, on Friday nights on ABC, watching Reba play, well, Reba alongside Lily Tomlin and Sara Rue is kinda like sitting comfy-close to a fireplace on a cold winter night with a cup of hot coco in your hand and your fluffy poochie-poo snuggling next to you.

Best New Drama: Revolution (NBC)
When the fall 2012 TV season began last September, we admit it, we were worried about Revolution, the J.J. Abrams drama about the world after electricity disappears. So much could go wrong with what seemed like a thin premise.

But Revolution is a hit, and it's good (TVFirstLook readers chose it as 2012's Best New Drama). The sci-fi drama is more than a show about a blackout, though. It's thrilling - planes dropping from the sky (and mysterious flashes of light) - with a complex, gradually unfolding story about families and militias while figuring out who's who and what's what.

Honorable Mention: Elementary (CBS)
Talk about new dramas that coulda derailed, CBS's Elementary is a new take on Sherlock Holmes that works, despite initially being overshadowed by Robert Downey Jr.'s blockbuster Sherlock Holmes franchise and BBC's outstanding recurring miniseries Sherlock, which gives TV lovers worldwide a long lesson in being patient.

But Elementary stands on its own as a very good drama that's getting better as stars Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu settle into their characters. The show has a glorious gloomy NYC feel that gives you the sense that you wouldn't be unhappy if each episode never ended.

Best New Reality Show: Breaking Amish (TLC)
Reality TV didn't exactly have a stellar year in 2012, not when TLC's below-a-waste-of-time Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is the year's most memorable new entry. And, at the same time, the reality genre began to evolve into a reality-scripted hybrid with truly awful shows like Amish Mafia.

Breaking Amish is one of the first of that hybrid. And it's TVFirstLook readers' clear choice for best new reality show. On Breaking, a group of twentysomething Amish and Mennonite kids hit the streets of New York City with all the drama of Real World tossed in.

Honorable Mention: Richard Hammond's Crash Course (BBC America)
Richard Hammond is most recognizable to American TV viewers for being the co-host on BBC America's auto-talk show Top Gear, which has been airing in the UK for roughly 300 years.

On Crash Course, the utterly likable sometimes-daredevil Richard takes on automotive challenges, like operating a gigantic crane, or taking a crash course in everyday American jobs like being a New York City taxicab drive or a stand-up comedian.

OK, kids. TV in 2012 was great and, with Downton Abbey season three just around the corner, 2013 is going to be super-duper great. See you at The Besties 2013 in one year!

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