There is so much good television on these days, especially comedies. When I started to think about the shows I was going to have to leave off this list, I almost turned it into two -- one for comedies, another for action/drama shows -- but 10 is just such a nice, simple number. And I'm lazy. Who knows, maybe next year! Onward...
------------------------------------10. The League (FX)
What a transformation The League has made. It's always been good for some laughs, but a few adjustments made in season three -- namely fewer plots revolving around fantasy football, more Nick Kroll and dropping that bizarre requirement of earlier years of a Jon Lajoie musical number in nearly every episode -- it's gone to the next level (evidence). There were also a bevy of well-placed guest stars throughout the season, including Eliza Dushku, Seth Rogan and Sarah Silverman, but none were better than Jeff Goldblum's turn as Ruxin's father (during the best Thanksgiving-themed episode for any show ever). It doesn't matter if you don't follow football or even play fantasy sports. The best parts of The League have little to do with that stuff.
9. Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
While most of the best dramas in 2011 built themselves into a fury before ultimately pulling back the reins during that final episode to the colossal disappointment of their audience (I'm especially looking at you, Sons of Anarchy), Boardwalk did no such thing. If anything, they went further than I ever dreamed they would. The reason this show is sitting this low on my list is because the early episodes continued the first season's slightly tedious plotting. But that changed in a hurry during the final slew of episodes. It'll be interesting to see if the show can continue at this level with the necessary changes as a result of the finale; I hope it can.
8. Parks & Recreation (NBC)
It's pretty safe to say this is the most consistent comedy on TV; it never ceases to make me smile a few times an episode, and that's between when I'm bursting at the seams laughing. The supporting characters are the best part about the show, especially Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson who never fails to kill his scene ("You had me at meat tornado."). The latest stretch of episodes haven't been quite as good as when season three ended in the spring (hence its drop in my hierarchy), but with recent events in the show, it appears that the less-interesting subplots have been excised. See what the gang in Pawnee is up to here to see what I mean.
7. Doctor Who (BBC)
Matt Smith's second year in the TARDIS was even better than the first. That said, this year's Who was one of the victims of building more anticipation for a grand ending than the show was able to deliver upon. However, in this case, the small stories away from the larger story arc of the season were mostly outstanding and still enabled to maintain its position in my good graces. And that big story... man. Is anything better in the Who-verse than River Song? There's so much magic evident when Alex Kingston and Smith share a scene. I know more River means less Amy and Rory, and would spoil us with too much of a good thing, but dammit if sometimes I want it anyway. Enjoy the Christmas special this week because it'll be a while until we get more adventures with the Doctor -- Fall 2012.
6. Game of Thrones (HBO)
What a debut season. After some slow plotting early on, Thrones failed to yield from my attention once it got going. Any other complaints regarding this fantasy action-drama are likely to be nit-picks. Having recently finished the novel which this inaugural season is based upon, I can attest that they really trimmed most of the fat from the narrative, leaving all the best parts to play out on screen. What's most exciting about this series is to hear from fans of George RR Martin's novels that the best is yet to come. We'll get at least three more years of Thrones, as they're already making preparations to split book three, A Storm of Swords, into two television seasons. Winter is coming, indeed.
------------------------------------Did I leave your favorite show off? Got any guesses as to what the final five are? Find out after the jump.