The best shows of 2012 (so far)

21:17, Jul 02 2012

We're over half-way through the year already and it seems a good time to take a quick look back over the past six months. So here are my 12 favourite shows of 2012 (so far). Share your favourites in the comments section, below!

Game of Thrones (SoHo): My favourite show of the year. But at what point do we start questioning how good Thrones is in a historical context? I think we need an inquest and a series of town-hall meetings to decide the order of Thrones, Mad Men, The Sopranos, The Wire, Homeland and Breaking Bad and make an official The Greatest Shows Ever list.

Boss (SoHo): The return of Kelsey Grammer as Chicago mayor Tom Kane went off the boil after a brilliant premiere, but managed to redeem itself with a stunning run of episodes to close out its first season. Martin Donovan also deserves recognition for his portrayal of Ezra Stone, Kane's senior adviser. Look for Season 2 later this year (hopefully).

Justified (One): The second season of the antics of Raylan Givens was a lot more character-focused, and seemed a lot more serialised, than the first - and it absolutely worked: Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins are a great 1-2, while Margo Martindale and Jeremy Davies were great in supporting roles.

Above Suspicion: Red Dahlia (One): Who said TVNZ don't show quality British drama anymore?! It was only three episodes long, but this short British series - led by Kelly Reilly and Ciaran Hinds, and created by Lynda La Plante - was gripping, it was dramatic, and it told a helluva story. Plus, it's the second of four Above Suspicion seasons. More please, TV One!

Homeland (TV3): Damien Lewis and Claire Danes turn in two of the best performances in a serial drama in a decade, while Howard Gordon & Alex Gansa create the first post-post-9/11 television show ... umm, whatever that means.

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Breaking Bad (Four): We're just about finished Season 3, with Season 4 following right behind it (and starting with one of the best hours of television you'll ever see). Though I have to say: Walter White had such noble intentions when he started cooking meth - its amazing that things have got this far out of hand, and it's been amazing to watch.

The Almighty Johnsons (TV3): The second series gave us more fantasy, more spectacle, and more laughs, while expanding the show's world beyond the Norse mythology on which it was founded last year. Oh, and for the record, I would totally take Johnsons' Loki over Avengers' Loki any day.

Mad Men (SoHo): Thanks to being a little lighter in tone, the fifth season of Mad Men was probably its most fun season to date, not so steeped in the ambiguity and subtext that made the first four seasons such an intense viewing experience. Also, Pete Campbell getting his butt kicked by Lane Pryce was one of the greatest scenes of the year, in any show.

Sherlock (One): Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as a modern-day Holmes and Watson is just too much fun - and when you factor in that I'm still wracking my brain over that final scene, you have to admit it's at least one of the most memorable shows of the year (so far).

Hounds (TV3): Is Hounds the best Kiwi comedy ever? Yes. And I'm not just saying that because they quoted me asking that question in a trailer without telling anyone that I said yes, but because it is brilliantly written and shot, hilariously funny but poignant at times too, and has three great leads in Toby Sharpe, Mick Innes and Susana Tang.

Fringe (TV2): What's not to love about a show that features multiple universes connected via an inter-universal bridge, a mysterious terrorist group known only as shape-shifters, and a former Dawson's Creek cast member who may or may not actually exist?! When you talk about cleverly written shows, Fringe should be at (or near) the top of your list.

Parks & Recreation (Four): "'Zerts' are what I call deserts. 'Tray-trays' are what I call entrees. Sandwiches are 'sammies', 'sandoozles' or 'Adam Sandlers', air conditioners are 'cool blaterz' with a 'z'- I don't know where that came from. I call cakes 'big ole cookies'; I call noodles 'long-ass rice'; fried chicken is 'fry fry chicky chick'; chicken parmesan is 'chicky chicky parm parm'; chicken cacciatore is 'chicky catch'; I call eggs 'pre-birds' or 'future birds'; root beer is 'super water'; tortillas are 'bean blankets'; and I call forks 'food rakes'." - Tom Haverford.

What are your favourite shows from the first half of 2012? What do you think of my list? What have I forgotten?

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