Bullz-Eye’s 2012 TV Power Rankings

So…where were we?

Oh, fine, let’s go ahead and deal with the elephant in the room: it’s been nine months since Bullz-Eye doled out its last TV Power Rankings. What can we say? There were a lot of good shows on the air between May 2011 and February 2012, and somewhere around late October, it just kind of reached a point where we said, “You know what? It’s way more fun to watch TV than it is to write about it.” Eventually, though, the powers that be pried us off the couch (there’s still an indentation where we were sitting), set us back in front of the computer, and said, “Look, the readers demand to know Bullz-Eye’s take on the best shows of the past year* and, frankly, they’re starting to get a little belligerent about it.”

(*Rounded up for statistical purposes.)

So here we are, ready to offer up our list of the 25 best shows on television** as well as several shows bubbling just under our list, plus a new section called “Still Too New to Call,” where we praise shows that seem pretty damned good after their first few episodes but simply haven’t been around long enough for us to feel comfortable including them in the other two lists.

(**Okay, technically, it’s the 24 best shows on television plus one show that hasn’t been on since 2010, but we’re so excited about that particular show coming back that we included it, anyway.)

All told, we hope you’ll walk away from this piece either nodding your head in agreement or wondering why you haven’t been watching some of these shows. If not, however, there’s a perfectly good Comments section that’s just waiting for your opinions about what’s good on TV.

Everybody ready? Then let’s get this thing started…

1. Breaking Bad (AMC)

Fact: if you believe that there is any show on television that’s better than “Breaking Bad,” you are wrong. Period. End of story. Although the show began with a concept that spoke to many a family man – if you knew you were going to die, to what lengths would you go to make sure that your family was provided for? – it has since evolved into so much more. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul continue to startle with the depth of their performances, but Giancarlo Esposito‘s work as the chillingly efficient Gus Fring was the kind of work that makes an actor’s career. With an end date now in sight, the series has grown more gripping than ever, and there’s little doubt that we’ll see Hank (Dean Norris) figure out what Walt (Cranston) has been doing behind the back of him and his fellow DEA agents. In other words, folks, for all the shit we’ve seen hit the fan so far, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Breaking Bad lab

2. Mad Men (AMC)

Yes, we know it hasn’t been on the air since 2010 (we covered that in the intro, you may remember), and, no, we don’t know any more about what to expect from the new season – which premieres on March 25 – than you do (series creator Matthew Weiner is notoriously tight-lipped, and we’re pretty sure he threatens to do terrible things to his cast’s pets if they leak anything to the press), but if we’re going to be doing these TV Power Rankings on an annual basis, then we’re forced to go with our instincts here and presume that “Mad Men” will continue to be as awesome in the future as it has been up to this point.

Mad Men female characters

3. Modern Family (ABC)

It’s a little hard to take the cynics seriously when they say that “Modern Family” isn’t as funny as it used to be when we continue to laugh so hard at each and every episodes. Admittedly, the storyline about Cam and Mitchell trying to adopt another baby has been a little hit-and-miss, and the idea of Claire running for public office seemed a lot funnier in concept than it has in execution, even with David Cross in tow. But the heart of the show continues to be the relationships between the three distinct family units – Cam and Mitchell, the Dunphys, and Jay and Gloria – and their respective kids. If things haven’t been quite as funny this year, so be it: it’s still funny, and we’re still watching.

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