As a huge fan of NPR and Fresh Air with Terry Gross, I often listen to David Bianculli. David Bianculli is a guest host and TV critic. A contributor to the show since its inception, he has been a TV critic since 1975. David recently named the top ten TV programs for 2012.
As a media buyer, I found it interesting that none of his favorites were new shows, all have been on air for at least a season, and most were from cable. The networks continue to struggle with new programming, many of the new shows won’t even make it through a second season.
Bianculli's Top 10 Shows of 2012:
10. Justified, tied with Homeland
9. Modern Family
8. Walking Dead
5. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
4. The Good Wife
3. The Colbert Report
2. Mad Men
1. Breaking Bad
While I agree with many, I disagree with a few. ABC’s Modern Family doesn’t seem as modern as it once was. The ratings are strong with Adults 18-49 and even get a bump when the DVR ratings are added in, but the plot is starting to drag.
ABC has bigger problems with their line-up from 2012. Private Practice, 666 Park Avenue and Last Resort have been cancelled. Weak writing and low ratings will most likely add to the demise of Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23, Malibu Country and Last Man Standing. There probably won’t be a happy ending for the show Happy Endings.
Not on the list but one of my favorite shows of 2012 was HBO’s The Newsroom. Created and principally written by Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing. The series chronicles the behind-the-scenes events at the fictional Atlantis Cable News (ACN) channel. Jeff Daniels heads the cast as news anchor Will McAvoy.
CBS’ The Good Wife, may be on the chopping block along with CSI-NY. Lackluster ratings may be a problem for Vegas, while Partners and Made in Jersey are already history. However, CBS is still the strongest network in prime time.
Whitney on NBC is likely to be cancelled and Animal Practice is already gone. NBC is losing 30 Rock, a classic, and The Office. This will be their final season. NBC will have to scramble to replace these two solid shows.
One of my favorite cable shows is The Colbert Report. The Colbert Report is a parody of personality-driven political opinion shows such as The O'Reilly Factor.
Pumped by the election year, Colbert has consistently produced hilarious and pointed shows that put a spotlight on our political environment. Not only did he provide great TV viewing, but his book I Am America (And So Can You!) was No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list.
Colbert formed a super PAC called “Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow,” in 2011 to draw attention to loosened campaign finance rules. It was shut down a week after the 2012 election, citing the death of “Ham Rove,” the fictional strategist designed as a parody of Republican operative Karl Rove.
Colbert’s Pac donated $800,000 to charity. Three organizations working on the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort will get $125,000 each: Donorschoose.org’s Sandy relief fund, Team Rubicon’s Sandy outreach, and Habitat for Humanity. The Yellow Ribbon Fund, which helps injured service-members and their families, will also get $125,000.
The rest of the money will be split between the Center For Responsive Politics and the Campaign Legal Center, groups working for campaign finance reform and openness.
Colbert was named one of Time's 100 most influential people in 2006 and 2012.
There are a lot of great shows, and some not so great, but TV is still the national past time. The networks will continue to struggle as cable continues to provide cutting edge programs that have captured the TV ratings and awards.
If you are looking for a great show to watch whiile you're snowbound, Lilyhammer is worth a subscription to Netflix. It is a Norwegian-American television series, starring Steven Van Zandt, about a New York gangster trying to start a new life in far away Lillehammer in Norway.
It premiered on Netflix in North America on February 6, 2012, with all eight episodes being available in full for streaming on the service. Lilyhammer is the first original series by Netflix.
A second season has been commissioned, but due to Van Zandt's involvement in the current tour with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, it is unknown when production will start.
What are your favorite shows and which shows would you like to see cancelled?