The end of the year was made for lists, and for TV fans, nothing is more telling (and difficult) than naming our favorite shows of the last 365 days. Amidst lots of complaining and whining about having too few slots to fill, we challenged each member of the TV.com editorial staff to name his or her top five shows of 2010. Take a look at our favorites, and then let us know what made your list in the comments section, below.
Why Mad Men made Meredith's list: Mad Men Season 3 was a study in character decay and big-burst, unconsidered-narrative gut punches; this season was a string of jewels, with episodes that gave us everything a loyal fan could want (more Joan! Joan and Roger together! Don realizing he's an ass! Sally Draper losing it! Minimal Betty!). The writers of the show started listening to the fans, and the result was mini-series level quality TV that holds together over the entire season. Fingers crossed that Season 5 takes all of its cues from Season 4.
Why Terriers made Ilana's list: The show's understated performances and underdog characters made for one of the most unique new shows of the year (and likely also led to its unfortunate cancellation). While we won't actually get to see what becomes of Hank and Britt, we were satisfied with the show's final episode and trust that those two probably went on to do the right thing.
Why Breaking Bad made Emily's list: Season 3 took a show that was already intense, complex, and compelling as hell and turned up the volume: Jesse struggled with huge revelations, Hank dove deeper into his own issues, The Twins terrified us all. Plus, that scene in the last episode of the season? One of the most shocking and fist-pumping TV moments ever.
Why Doctor Who made Heather’s list: Nobody thought David Tennant could be matched; he was the people’s Doctor. So when Matt Smith flounced into the role with his floppy hair and flippant outlook, it was a pleasant surprise to see what a natural he was. Team the great casting with Steven Moffat’s scripts, which almost always hit the spot, and you get a truly emotional season. Just don’t mention Victory of the Daleks.
Why The League made Stefanie's list: I'm all for the crazy-witty inside jokes on 30 Rock and the memorable physical gags on Modern Family, but at the end of the day, I laugh the hardest at The League's consistently
hilarious antics. With five superb comedians playing believably immature middle-aged dudes, ladies who repeatedly break their balls, an extensive made-up vocabulary, and a ton of fantasy football references, this show is always part of my starting line-up.
Why Archer made Walter's list: From The Simpsons to South Park to Family Guy (okay, that last one's debatable), the torch for Awesomest Animated Comedy has been passed to Archer, TV's most quotably funny show since the premiere of 30 Rock. The ridiculous spy missions, office politics, and sexual escapades—not to mention the top-notch voice cast and ridiculously filthy/funny lines like "She was, like, the Pele of anal"—compelled me to watch each episode probably six times.
Why Louie made Louis' list: Calling Louie a sitcom seems a bit shortsighted. It's dark, it's uncomfortable, it's actually kind of avant-garde. Comedian Louis C.K. created an absurdist comedy that tackled heavy issues like religion, homophobia, and aging better than most hour-long dramas. And yes, there were moments of laughter, even if they were precipitated by, "Did he really just say that?"
Why Lost made Price's list: When television's most watercooler-worthy mystery finally revealed its most shocking twist—that it was a character piece rather than a sci-fi show—legions of viewers were disappointed and crestfallen. Not me. Lost's dense mythology was always inconsistent and frustrating, but its emotional pay-offs were always perfect. You can have your Dharma Initiatives and multiple timelines; it's the characters I'm going to miss the most.
Why Supernatural made Tim's list: Supernatural gets bullied around as just another CW show with two heartthrobs who kill spooks, but Season 5 was as good as anything else on TV. You want emotion? How about two brothers torn apart by Lucifer? You want laughter? How about an angel saying, "Hey Ass-butt!" and then getting blown to angel puree?
Why Community made Jen's list: In short, because it's so delightfully meta and weird. Community doesn't follow a set format; you never know what you're going to get, and that's a very, very good thing. Thank goodness for show creator Dan Harmon wonderfully bizarre brain: From clever movie spoofs to secondary pregnancy plotlines to the show's recent bottle episode, Community is a prime example of what makes TV fun.