2010 TV in review: Fond farewells
The '00s were a polarizing time for television, with an explosion of reality TV hell followed by a renaissance of creative, scripted cable shows.
This year was no exception - reality TV was a consistent presence and viewers were treated to some fantastic stuff from a stellar crop of newbies and well-established series. Here's a quick look back at the year's intriguing stories.
First and foremost, it's time to acknowledge that the best shows are on cable. The broadcast networks have fallen behind, relying too heavily on reality TV. Basic cable outlets AMC and FX outdid everybody this year with a number of great shows.
Secondly, I'd like to congratulate James Badge Dale (pictured) for his breakout year. Dale isn't a household name - most people don't even realize he's the guy who shot Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Departed" - but he starred in two fantastic pieces, HBO's WWII miniseries "The Pacific" and AMC's moody conspiracy "Rubicon."
Cancellations were a big story this year, and some particularly great stuff got axed.
"Rubicon" was one of those casualties, in fact, which didn't surprise me. AMC has to fund a 12-episode season of its pricey-to-produce hit, "The Walking Dead," as it continues to add new series to complement stalwarts "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad." Look for "The Killing" and "Hell on Wheels" in 2011.
Fox and its cable outlet FX each canceled shows with very low ratings despite critical acclaim. Fox dropped "Lone Star" - the best pilot I've seen since "Lost" - after only two episodes, and FX cancelled "Terriers" after a season.
Loyal fans of the hilarious and gut-wrenching P.I. series (myself included) are still trying to accept that "Terriers" is gone.
I can't argue the business side of these decisions, but given the uproar on the internet over the cancellations, especially over "Terriers," I have to assume more people were watching than ratings indicate. It's time Nielsen's methods be reevaluated, given the updates in technology.
Finally, I'd like to say farewell to "Lost." I wasn't pleased with how the final season - not just the finale - wrapped things up, but the show was landmark television, especially the first three seasons.