Best shows of 2012

Dexter: After last season's big twist, the show has really hit its straps as it heads towards next season's grand finale.

The Big C: The humour is winning, the acting superb and that last episode of season two was a tearjerker and heartstopper.

Nothing Trivial: Proof that New Zealand can match and even beat the Aussies when it comes to crafting warm, witty adult dramas. And finally ex-Shortland Street actors have somewhere to go.

The Jono and Ben Show: The breakout comedy hit of the year. Who knew that the marriage of Wanna Ben and The Jono Show could be so consistently funny?

The Great British Bake Off: Someone should make the creators of New Zealand's Hottest Home Baker watch this on endless repeat. Here is how to make a cooking show that combines drama with social history. Plus Sue Perkins is far funnier and hotter than Colin Mathura-Jeffree.

Doctor Who: Funny to think now how many of us doubted the casting of Matt Smith. I'll miss Karen Gillan, but roll on the 50th anniversary in 2013.

Episodes: Despite its shabby treatment by TVNZ, this Anglo-American comedy was a hoot and proved Matt Le Blanc could actually act.

The Graham Norton Show: A ratings bonanza for TV3 and a major Friday night headache for TVNZ, Norton gets the best guests and the biggest laughs. Dependable.

Homeland: We've been lucky enough to get a double dose of this compelling US drama this year. Some of the politics might be a bit suspect, but Claire Danes and Damian Lewis light up the screen.

The Newsroom: A show that divided audiences, particularly in America, but Aaron Sorkin's audacious TV current affairs-set screwball romantic comedy hits all the right emotional notes.


Most misleading title: New Zealand's Got Talent. Quite apart from the obvious, TVNZ also didn't bother to hold any auditions in Christchurch.

Best show not screened here: Life's Too Short. Ricky Gervais' hilarious comedic series about the life and times of actor Warwick Davis can be caught on Air NZ international flights but not on a television near you.

Great idea, but . . . Four and TV3's decision to take shows the same week as their US debut. Unfortunately, US networks like Fox tend to bump regular programming for things like baseball and elections so it's been stop-start so far for some favourites.

Jumped the shark: America's Next Top Model. Once Tyra started the girls rapping, plugging her books and began cutting people like "noted fashion photographer" Nigel Barker the thrill was gone.

Act of desperation: After trying everything from Jonathan Ross to Titanic to stop the Norton juggernaut they decided to dust off old episodes of Fawlty Towers and Mr Bean.

Best use of NZ on Air funding: 7 Days

Worst use of NZ on Air funding: The GC

Worst decision: TVNZ's halting of Episodes midway through season two, promising to bring it back, and ending up dumping it post-11pm on Friday nights.

Missing in action: Parenthood and The Good Wife - beloved in the US but never given a chance here.

Looking forward to: Luther (series 3), Harry, Zero Hour

The Press