As we look back on 2012, it’s clear to see that this has been a phenomenal year for American television. It’s biggest dramas have become goliaths that never fail to enthral, with calls that this is a golden age for TV more justified than ever this year.
So, as we are going to make traditional, we’re giving out our set of TV awards to our cousins from across the Atlantic that have given us so many hours of amazing television they’ve given us over the last course of 2012.
Best Drama – Homeland
It had to be really. Nothing came along and shook up our screens from across the pond like Homeland did this year. Even Breaking Bad and Game Of Thrones couldn’t keep up with one of the best dramas we’ve seen in years.
With a brilliantly twisting plot that left you permanently guessing, Homeland took War On Terror television, picked it up and shook it until only the golden nuggets remained.
With the second series having kicked off brilliantly this autumn too, Homeland has instantly become one of the most talked about and loved shows in the FemaleFirst office.
We could go on for ages about why we love the show so much, but we pretty much sum it up here.
Best Comedy – Girls
Lena Dunham has recently been called the young, female, Woody Allen and on the evidence of the first series of Girls, the sticker doesn’t seem such a bad fit.
While four girls running around New York has been done before, it’s never been as refreshingly done as this fantastic show does. Dunham delights in finding the comedy in the uncertainty of life, with a brilliantly dry wit running through the vein of the show.
Open, frank and hilariously funny, Girls is a show that should be seen by all and Dunham’s a name that should be on everybody’s lips.
Biggest Decline – Glee
The first two seasons of Glee were incredible. Smart, funny and with a song in its heart, the show was instantly a favourite. Imagine our disappointment with the show’s third year then.
With boring and underdeveloped new characters, plot arcs that were tired and lacking any of the sparkle of old and even some wonky musical numbers, Glee massively fell in our expectations.
The show’s absolute obsession with righting the worlds wrongs through ham fisted messages, its protracted time with show tunes and seeming desire to destroy Sue, the best thing in the show have led to many who feel in love with the delightfully sharp opening series to quit the choir.
Luckily the fourth series of the show, which has begun airing in the States but won’t be over here until early 2013, sees the show improving massively, but still not up to the halcyon days of yore.
For the record, this category was a very close call between Glee and The Walking Dead, but the latter’s amazing second series finale saved it from the questionable honour of this award.
Best Comeback – The Walking Dead
The zombie based TV had a really rough second series, nearly throwing away all of the good will built up by the show’s astonishing opening salvo.
The pressure was on then for the show’s creative team to turn the ship around for its third year and thankfully, not only have they returned the show to form, but they have brought it back so well that its troubled past has almost been forgiven.
The show mercifully changed tack completely, deciding to move away from the soap-opera level melodrama and introduced a whole new aspect to the show, The Governer.
Played by the terrific David Morrisey, this snake of a man became the show’s best inclusion, as his pure ruthlessness makes for utterly compelling viewing. The return of Michael Rooker as the loathsome redneck Merle was another masterstroke, giving us not just one, but two brilliant villains for a show in need of a good antagonist.
Best Character – Tyrion Lannister (Game Of Thrones)
Game Of Thrones is a series full of brilliant characters. From the crusading Rob Stark, through to his resilient little sister Arya and the indomitable Daenerys Targaryen, but even amongst that established company, one stands head and shoulders above them. Figuratively speaking, Tyrion Lannister is a giant of a character.
Rightfully earning Peter Dinklage an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his performance as the single most likeable character in the entire tableau, Tyrion is a character that made us root for him despite wanting to see nearly everyone around him die horribly. He positively steals every scene he’s in.
The biggest, and best surprise of them all though was that Tyrion doesn’t just stay the class clown, throwing off his jesters hat at the end of the year and becoming a warrior for the closing episodes. Who would have thought it, Tyrion Lannister at the head of an army by choice?
Best Surprise – Bunheads
If I’d have even suggested that he would become a fan of a show about a chorus girl helping out a struggling ballet studio, you would have been right to have me carried away to a secure institution. Hence how Bunheads so easily picks up this award.
Housed on the ABC Family network of all places, Bunheads sees the return of Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino to TV. Often referred to as the female Aaron Sorkin, Bunheads is filled with her trademark machine gun dialogue, bone dry humour and odd references that have become her trademarks over the years.
With lovable characters, brilliant banter between the players and a wonderfully upbeat tone, Bunheads is the perfect antidote to the grim drama we love so much, but occasionally need a break from.
Light, fluffy and eminently likeable, Bunheads is more than worth snooping out, despite the rather high degree of difficulty in finding it.
Best Cancelled Show – Awake
We’ve already gone on at some length here about Awake, mostly here, but the brilliance of the Jason Isaacs fronted police show is absolutely unquestionable.
Far brighter than the average police procedural, Awake was a fantastic combination of character study, psychological drama and detective work that made it stand head and shoulders above the other shows that littered the killing fields after the annual cull. A show gone far before it’s prime.
But what about Terra Nova you ask? Well despite opening and closing extremely strongly, the show’s rather problematic and fumbling middle section let it down terribly and letting Awake scoop this prize with consummate ease.
So, there you go, our winners (and one kind of loser) from this year’s bumper crop of American TV. Make sure you see who grabs our British awards right here. What are your thoughts on our victors? Let us know in the comments below.
Starting tomorrow though, we throw off the regional boundaries and start counting down our very favourite shows of the year.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith