It’s the end of the year, so it’s time for everyone’s lists. (I work in newspapers, so all anyone seems to do is Top 10 lists).

Anyway, I’ve picked my Top 10 for this season, plus honorable mentions. My criteria? Pretty simple. It’s the Top 10 shows I looked forward to watching each week, and the Top 10 that delivered most consistently. For this list, I don’t care about ratings, Emmys or other critics’ lists.

For the purposes of this list, each series had to have at least one episode broadcast in 2010.

Honorable Mentions:
Here are five series that could have made the cut, but just barely got squeezed out, listed alphabetically:

1. Archer (FX)
2. Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
3. Doctor Who (BBC America)
4. The Sons of Anarchy (FX)
5. Terriers (FX)

I should note that Dexter would have made it into the Top 10 had any of the Lithgow episodes met the criteria of airing in 2010.

So, that’s a pretty good list already. How can I possibly have 10 better? Well, here they are:

10. Supernatural (The CW): Probably the best show on TV that no one watches, Supernatural is consistently one of the best mixes of humor, thrills and drama of any show on the air.

9. Sherlock (PBS): Despite being in the hands of writer Steven Moffat, I had mixed feelings when I heard they were updating the Sherlock Holmes legend to modern times, complete with texting, the Internet and GPS, etc. But Sherlock was an absolute delight, and one of those rare watercooler/word-of-mouth series that had people buzzing.

8. The Choir (BBC America): If every teacher in the US was like choirmaster Gareth Malone, education would not be an issue anymore. Quite simply, TV’s most uplifting hour, a reality show featuring actual real people and not C-list celebs.

7. Lost (ABC): While some people didn’t particularly care for the spiritual tone the finale took, I choose to celebrate a very high level of work over six seasons. I, for one, didn’t expect easy, neat answers in the finale, and it did what every other Lost episode did — it got people arguing and thinking. Not too many other shows do that.

6. Walking Dead (AMC): The surprise hit of 2010, Frank Darabont did a masterful job in creating a world of walking horrors, with deeper philosophical issues as in trying to survive in a world that seemingly has no hope of ever recovering. The makeup and special effects were also amazing.

5. Breaking Bad (AMC): Though I wrote above that I wasn’t using Emmys as a gauge for this list, I do want to know that I’m glad Aaron Paul earned a much deserved Emmy to go along with Bryan Cranston’s. It’s one of the most complex shows on TV, showing the corruption of a basically decent man forced to do more and more indecent things to keep his world together.

4. Justified (FX): Any series that uses Elmore Leonard style dialogue is going to get serious consideration from me as a top show, and “Justified” didn’t disappoint, thanks to the performances of Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins.

3. The Good Wife (CBS): It’s funny, this show seemed to start off as a vehicle for Julianna Margulies, but it’s become arguably among the top ensemble shows on TV. Margulies, as always, is fantastic, creating a believable character that you can root for without turning her into some sort of saint. But the other storylines, especially the cases of the week, are equally compelling.

2. Modern Family (ABC): TV’s best sitcom, it’s a tribute to the cast and crew each week how they balance the storylines between the three branches of the family. Eric Stonestreet walked away with the Best Supporting Actor Emmy, but they could have picked any of the male leads for that award and no one would have complained. And co-stars Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen are not only two of the most beautiful women on TV, but two of the funniest. And for those worried about a sophomore slump, Modern Family hasn’t missed a beat in Season 2.

1. Mad Men (AMC): Hardly a surprise, since Mad Men has topped pretty much every critic’s list since its debut. This season maintained a high level of quality, and lead Jon Hamm might finally earn a much deserved Emmy this year after his amazing performance in the episode “The Suitcase.” Mad Men continues to set the bar for TV shows everywhere.

So, what are your Top 10 shows? Please share your favorites in the comments.

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