Thursday, 13 January 2011

10 Best Shows of 2010

Belatedly here's my list of my 10 favourite shows from last year in no particular order.

Lost series 6
Lost came to a close extremely well and, on the whole, very satisfactorily. I would have liked more tragedy, but it did a great job of bringing to a close these characters stories while retaining the mystery that served the show so well. It will be missed and should definitely be checked out by those that passed on it.

David Simon's latest was another rich, dense tapestry of a city chock full of great characters, performances, music and writing. Essential for lovers of The Wire (aka humans) and jazz music.

Dr Who
The best British drama on TV and it's for kids. Within 2 episodes I'd forgotten all about David Tennant, so good is Matt Smith. An iffy Dalek episode aside this was a particularly strong series, possibly even then best since it's return. Steven Moffatt had much more control and vision of the series as a whole and the reset button wasn't gay. The Christmas episode was also very good.

This Is England '86
3/4 magnificent this suffered slightly from being one episode shorter than it should have been. It was still an excellent show and extremely funny for 2 episodes.

Boardwalk Empire
While it's never quite reached the height of it's Scorsese directed pilot this is another dense HBO drama that's well worth checking out. Steve Buscemi is excellent as Nucky Thomson. I will write more soon when I finish the first series.

The Walking Dead
Frank Darabont's excellent zombie drama again never quite reaches the peak of it's 1st episode, but is never less than really very bloody good. Bloody being the operative word.

The Trip
Coogan, Brydon and Winterbottom's pseudo sequel to A Cock and Bull Story is quite genius when the two leads out impression each other. It reminded me, in a strange way, of Spare Tyre.

Pete Vs Life
Rafe Spall's life is narrated by a Geordie and the Geordie from Partridge (who's not playing a Geordie) in a show that's 2 shows in one. The first is a blokes life being commentated on, which would be funnier if it was played straight, while the second is a British Curb Your Enthusiasm with Timothy Spall's kid. The first episode didn't quite work, but it developed really well.

Prequel spin-off from the remake of Battlestar Galatica (proof remakes can work) that was chock full of fantastic sci-fi ideas, but was split in half so it was only really half a series and ended as such. The second half, which has just aired in the US, will be the last which is a real shame as the ideas here have got real legs.

Dexter series 5
I will write more on Dexter soon, but all you need to know is it's a very excellent show. The 5th series wasn't the very best, but it was definitely not the worst either.


  1. The only one of these shows I saw was The Trip, which I thought started off quite promisingly but ran out of steam as Coogan and Brydon ran out of impressions. I did watch the whole series but I think it would have been better served as a one-off special over say an hour and a half, as it did start to become very repetitious.

  2. I also really enjoyed this series of Doctor Who. Anyone else thinks Matt Smith looks like James? Or at least like a James who's made some different lifestyle choices.

    Caprica I gave up on. More unpleasant people doing things which made no sense.

    The last series of Lost wasn't very good, but it wasn't a disaster.

    I'm still waiting for Dexter series 5 to be shown on FX, which is disappointing as series 6 is already on in the US. The third series with Jimmy Smits is the one I've enjoyed best so far.

    Agree with you on the Walking Dead. Possibly a bit slow? Nice and gory though.

    And the rest I haven't seen yet. I do need to go through my sky plus and see if any of these are on.

    One show I've been enjoying is Burn Notice. Trashy, formulaic 80s style nonsense done very well. And it's regular work for Bruce Campbell.

  3. I'm offended! I usually describe how Matt Smith looks as "fascinatingly ugly".

    I agree, the last series of Lost wasn't very good. It was excellent! ;) I think, to a degree, it depends on when you think Lost was at it's peak. I think it took a strong upturn in quality after series 3 (when I almost gave up in it), peaking with series 5. Other's prefer the earlier series and cite that as the time it started to get weaker.

    Series 5 of Dexter is the most recent one. 6 will be on at the end of this year. My fave Dex is 4 with Lithgow, just ahead of the third. 2nd's the worst, but still darn good.

    Joe, being a Sky subscriber you should soon be able to record and watch Treme and Boardwalk Empire as they will be on Sky Atlantic, the new channel which lauches Feb 1 and is primarily going to be HBO shows. But as Sky now has exclusive rights to all HBO shows (past, present and future) those without Sky will need to download them.

    The Trip was probably a tad too long. I know there is a version which is doing the festival circuit where the whole series is one film and, I believe, slightly shorter than the series. Still made me laugh every week which is the key component of a comedy.

  4. As great as the first series was, I probably liked series five of Lost best as well. A real sense of scale, plus it was exciting, funny and thought provoking. The two timelines in the final series were a)hokey and b)pointless. It certainly wasn't terrible, but I don't know if many people would argue for it being the best series overall.

    I like Charlie Brooker's description of Matt Smith - a very handsome man who's been hit in the face with a frying pan.