The Best of TV in 2012

Simon Cocks, Contributing Writer
There has a been a real abundance of great TV in 2012, perhaps even more so than in other recent years. Here are some of the performers and shows that I believe are deserving of appreciation this year.

Best drama: Breaking Bad
Somehow able to remain the drama to beat in its final season, it's difficult to think of another series more engaging than Breaking Bad. Walter White's descent into darkness continues to be the most compelling story on television.

Best comedy: Louie
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There's nothing else quite like it. Louie is able to explore issues that most shows wouldn't dare touch and its episodes are incredibly well structured narratively. Oh, and it's also completely hilarious.

Best drama actor: Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
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It may be that I'm still finding it hard to believe that this man doesn't have an Emmy yet, but Hamm's performance in the fifth season of Mad Men is deserving of high praise. The award-winning actor gives a remarkable performance in every episode and I still feel like he's under-appreciated.

Best drama actress: Claire Danes (Homeland)
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There really isn't anybody else more deserving. Not many actresses are provided with characters as well written as Carrie Mathison and Danes sets a high standard of acting within an impressive cast. You only need watch episodes like 'The Smile' or 'Q&A' to see the versatility and emotive power of Homeland's star.

Best drama supporting actor: Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
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The cast of Game of Thrones is so large and talented that to be the standout actor is really something. Dinklage's performance is truly marvellous. Tyrion Lannister is a character with a large amount of both comedic and dramatic material, and Dinklage makes every moment of it work effectively.

Best drama supporting actress: Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones)
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This may be an unusual choice. However, while many names came to mind vying for best actress, when I thought about supporting actresses the performance I remember most vividly is that of Williams as Arya Stark. She perfectly embodies a complex character and gives a lively portrayal that doesn't hide how damaged Arya is. A great performance.

Best comedy actor: Louis CK (Louie)
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He may not see himself as a great actor, but he keeps providing evidence to the contrary. CK's performance on Louie isn't as simple as just being himself, he works hard to fill his character with honesty and humour. Explaining why he's so good isn't easy, but fans of the show will know what I'm talking about.

Best comedy actress: Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)
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Poehler is clearly one of the greatest comedic actresses working on television right now. She's able to do so much and she's incredibly charismatic. Her performance on Parks and Recreation is critically acclaimed with good reason, she's able to keep the ever-optimistic Leslie Knope realistic and provides much of the show's warmth and emotion.

Best comedy supporting actor: Donald Glover (Community)
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There are a lot of other great comedic supporting actors at the moment, and Donald Glover's Troy Barnes stands out among them. This was really Troy's year on Community as he's central to Season 3. Glover sells every outrageously funny gag and deeply felt emotional moment fantastically.

Best comedy supporting actress: Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation)
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Yes, I'm going with another pick from Parks. Considering episodes from both the fourth and fifth seasons of the show, it has been a great 2012 for Plaza. Her character has gone through significant development, and she still retains her brilliant trademark sarcasm.

Best new drama: Arrow
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Choosing Arrow as the year's best new drama is something that even I am surprised I'm doing, but it's a show that knows what it wants to deliver and does it with style. It's not perfect, but there's room to grow and it's already highly entertaining.

Best new comedy: Girls
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The first season of Girls is about as strong a debut season as I have seen. From the start, the show's tone has been original and confident. It's different from so many other comedies and every episode leaves me wanting to watch another.

Most improved show: The Walking Dead
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After a dodgy and inconsistent second season, The Walking Dead has become exciting and unpredictable. It's not without problems but it has learnt the value of suspense and quicker pacing. It's really hard to tell where it'll go next year and that's absolutely a good thing.

Around the Internet:
  • Arsalaan LaFleur

    Jon Hamm deservers more recognition, he's a superb actor in a great TV Drama.

  • Stephen Weng

    Dexter easily should have been "Most Improved Show"! It's probably the most substantial one, after two pointless seasons.

  • John

    Best tv show , The Thick of It. Miles ahead of everything.

  • SpellingNazi

    They've 'learnt' something over on The Walking Dead? Too bad you haven't learned anything in school.

  • Jahsoldier

    As a self-proclaimed spelling Nazi, you should be ashamed.

  • B
  • Don Draper is nice and all, but Bryan Cranston is on another level.

  • completely agree with you

  • Arsalaan LaFleur

    Jon Hamm*, he's severely under appreciated.

  • Zeto

    Best TV? Or maybe.... best *american* TV?

  • MonkeyFascist

    Best American tv? Sorry I see no shows from Canada, Central America, or South America on this list.

  • Feel free to make some suggestions of shows from other regions. International shows I've really liked this year include Danger 5 and Hellfjord. New series of The Thick Of It was also amazing. And I keep hearing good things about Borgen.

  • MonkeyFascist

    You want me to do your job? I'd take it gladly. Much better than what I am doing currently.

  • Zeto

    A best tv list witout Doctor Who is no good.

  • MonkeyFascist

    Wow. Only one actually good show on this list. Great job.

  • FlyAjiraAirways

    Why is the thumbnail of Walt and Jesse when there is no mention of Breaking Bad in the whole article?

  • Seriously? It's the VERY FIRST THING.

  • Simon has it listed as the Best Drama.

  • Aeron Allen

    I have to disagree with The Waling Dead for most improved. Its not held up since its pilot, Frank Darabont set the bar far to high for anyone to be able to reach it, its going steadily downhill every episode, it cant rival the tension of the comic, they wanted to differ from the comic but all they managed to do was created a weak story with weak characters.

  • KlingonWithAWhip

    It has improved over the lackluster second season, not the much better first season. I suppose that went right over your head...or I wouldn't have to give you this explanation.

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