2012 has been a rough year for television shows. Some beloved series turned in their worst seasons yet (I’m looking at you Dexter) while many new series were cancelled before they were really given the chance to prove themselves. I’m working on an article about shows in the latter category but before I get to that negativity, I want to do something a little more positive. This is about new shows and old shows that far exceeded the expectations set for them, at least in my eyes anyway. Let’s take a look.
10: Sons of Anarchy
There aren’t many shows out there that continually get better with every new season and for that reason alone, Sons of Anarchy exceeded my expectations. Touching on several themes the show has never explored before, revealing secrets that have been hinted at since season one and completely changing the dynamic of several key relationships, Sons of Anarchyseason four was not only as good as the first three seasons but perhaps even better. September cannot possibly come soon enough.
I wasn’t sure about Scandalin the beginning. I’m not really a Shonda Rimes fan so I wasn’t sure I wanted to give this one a shot. In all honesty, had it not been for Guillermo Diaz and Henry Ian Cusack I probably wouldn’t have turned in. I was bored by the end of the second episode but have a very strict three episode rule. Every show I decide to check has three episodes to grab me. This show is a good example of why I have that rule. Episode three had my hooked and I remain hooked to this day. I can’t wait for season two. I’m a little disappointed that Cusack won’t be back but as long as the rest of the cast remains intact, I’m in!
The only reason Grimm sits at number eight on this list is the fact that I had such high hopes for it to begin with. I expected it to be awesome and it was. The cast is fantastic, the story is interesting and every episode is as engrossing as the one before it. I’m thrilled Grimmhas been picked up for another season. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
07: Once Upon a Time
Once Upon a Time is the exact opposite of Grimmand so it sits a bit higher on my list even though I love the shows an equal amount. I checked this one out because of the cast. I love Josh Dallas, Jamie Dornan, Jennifer Morrison and Ginnifer Goodwin but I wasn’t entirely convinced I was interested in the show’s premise. It seemed a bit confusing and, to be honest, a bit childish. The first episode caught my interest but it wasn’t until further into the first season that I really started getting hooked. By the end, I was in love. I can’t wait to see what will happen to the residents of Storybrooke and their Evil Queen in season two.
This one could’ve been awful. It could’ve been nothing but clichés about the suburbs and the people who inhabit them but instead, it was a lot deeper than that. Sure some moments were a bit over the top for the sake of comedy but it always worked. The show’s real saving grace was the relationship between Tessa (Jane Levy) and her father George (Jeremy Sisto). While many of the situations Tessa and George found themselves in bordered on the ridiculous, the relationship between father and daughter always felt very real.
05: Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23
The name is ridiculous and I think that could be part of the reason more people haven’t yet given this show a chance which is a shame as this is without a doubt one of my favorite new comedies of 2012. Dark, a little twisted but wickedly funny, Apartment 23was a real surprise. James Van Der Beek is hilarious every time he’s on screen and Krysten Ritter is delightful. Seven episodes was not nearly enough for the first season.
04: American Horror Story
I really didn’t know what to expect from American Horror Story but I definitely didn’t expect what I got. At times that was a good thing. At other times … not so much. Regardless, by the time the first season had ended, I was completely immersed in the show, the characters and the idea that I was watching a show unlike anything that had been shown on television before. There were shocking moments. There were disturbing moments but from start to finish, the show had me guessing.
I wasn’t so sure about Revengewhen I heard the premise. It seemed preposterous, quite frankly, but I decided to give it a shot anyway. I’m glad I did. It’s cheesy and sometimes eye-roll worthy but the cast is fantastic and the story just keeps building. Perhaps the greatest thing about this show is that the characters can actually be fairly complex. It’s the characters and the choices they make that keep the show so interesting. Even the good guys have their secrets and make questionable decisions and for that reason, the show never really feels predictable. It was a great first season that really set up a promising second season.
02: Hart of Dixie
It is no secret at all that I adore Hart of Dixiebut in all honesty, I really didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. In fact, I didn’t really expect to like it at all. I tuned in for the cast and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the show. Is it a little silly sometimes? Sure it is but that’s part of the appeal. It’s nice to have a silly distraction from stresses of every day life every now and again. This is a delightful show and I’m thrilled The CW chose to renew it for a second season.
01: Nurse Jackie
Nurse Jackie might seem out of place on a list filled with newer shows but it earned its spot here. The first two seasons of Nurse Jackie easily made it one of my absolute favorite shows on television and then the third season came along and bored me to tears. It was just more of the same. None of the characters were growing and changing. The story was stale. I had little hope for this season. The only saving grace of last season was the season finale. It left things up in the air enough to get me to tune in to see what was happened. I got a lot more than that though. What I got was a fresh twist on the show I’d loved so much in the beginning. The show has completely reinvented itself and is better now than it has ever been.