2010 was a banner year for television, which means there was certainly no shortage of nominees for our third annual "Top 100 Everything" list. Here you'll find the shows, characters, and episodes that made 2010 amazing—as well as the behind-the-scenes players, trends, and TV-relevant happenings that helped shaped the culture of television this year.
We'll be posting 10 items each weekday through December 31, so check back often to see what made the cut!
20. Jack Bauer's assault on Logan's motorcade24's final season provided one of the most OMG moments of the series when one-man wrecking crew Jack Bauer, outfitted in the sweetest black assault leotard ever, went ballistic on Charles Logan's vehicle procession.
19. A House hookupFinally, the doctor is in... Cuddy. Eww! The long-awaited union between the two lovebirds was as rewarding as any other TV relationship we've waited for; when Cuddy confessed that she had left Lucas, we couldn't have been more thrilled. How the pair will do in the long term might be a major question, but we'll enjoy it while it lasts
18. Glee's blonde ambitionSay what you will about Fox's singing sensation, but when it came down to delivering "big event" episodes, Glee hit a high note. Particularly good were the show's odes to Madonna and Britney Spears, which brought new life to the singers' catalogs—not to mention Brittany S. Pierce's (Heather Morris) dance moves.
17. Katherine's arrival in Mystic FallsThe Vampire Diaries took things to the next level with the introduction of Elena's evil doppelganger. As the town's primary mischief-maker, Katherine brought mayhem to the lives of bloodsucking Stefan and Damon, and more work for actress Nina Dobrev—who's now playing, and rocking, two roles.
16. Sheldon has a girlfriend. A girlfriend!We never thought we'd see The Big Bang Theory's biggest nerd get a girlfriend, let alone talk to a girl. But then Amy (Mayim Bialik) showed up, the two got together, and we got to bear witness to one of the sweetest and most awkward relationships on television. Ever.
15. Zach Gilford's performance in Friday Night Lights'
We've loved this series from Season 1, with its hand-held camera intimacy, natural acting, and tear-jerking plotlines, but one of the tear-jerkiest performances of the entire
series happened when Matt Saracen learned that his father had been killed in Iraq. Gilford has put his heart and soul into Saracen for four-plus seasons, and it all erupted from his grieving character in "The Son." If we were able to jump through the screen and give one person a hug in 2010, it would have been Matt.
14. Boardwalk Empire's set designWithout the fancy backdrops of the Roarin' '20s in Atlantic City, Boardwalk Empire would arguably be just another gangster show. But the authenticity and detail that went into every set and every scene brought the show alive and transported viewers to the Prohibition era.
13. The Walking Dead's extrasYep, we're talking about the undead horde. A show about zombies wouldn't work without an authentic-looking threat, and the makeup department for AMC's biggest new hit did wonders for each individual flesh-eater, even when they were only on screen for a split second and for the sole purpose of get their skulls bashed in. We've seen gore on television before, we've never seen it quite like this—and on basic cable, no less. Thanks to the oozing, dripping, flesh-eating Walkers, we'll be having nightmares for months.
12. Archer's "Diversity Hire"Any episode of FX's crass new animated comedy could have made this list, but "Diversity Hire"—in which ISIS head Mallory bragged about finding an agent who was Jewish and African-American—edged out the others by just a hair. It was a prime example of what this show is capable of: supremely naughty (and awesome) humor.