A totally subjective list for your viewing pleasure.
  1. True Detective
    Before you discount this list, I'm basing this choice solely on the first season, and possibly solely on the six-minute, single-take tracking shot in Episode 4. I'd never been so mesmerized by a scene. (For what it's worth, I haven't watched S2.)
  2. The Wire
    Great writing. Great cast. Great storylines. But I found myself getting less interested with each season. RIP Wallace.
  3. The Office
    The Office rejuvenated network comedy. The little British show that leapt across the pond left its parentage behind even in the first season. A stellar cast of writer/actors made for compelling, cringe-worthy, utterly rewatchable episodes—until Michael left. His departure certainly came too soon. (TWSS!)
  4. Lost
    LOST, with its all-cap title, was pretentious from the start, but at least a few million people didn't care. Its lingering questions (and gaping plot holes) provided ample fodder for early bloggers and social networkers. The Hatch, Desmond and Penny's love story, Charlie's (SPOILER) sacrifice, flash forwards, and the anticlimactic ending that was universally panned (which I sort of liked) will live on in TV history. So far as Desmond keeps pushing that button.
  5. Friday Night Lights
    I think it's fair to call Friday Night Lights the realest fake show ever. From camera operators and actors given fairly free reign to the storylines that could have been taken out of any small Texas town (Let's forget Landry's murderous tendencies, though they would again reveal themselves in both Breaking Bad and Fargo), FNL got so much right. Also, Wallace lives! Disclosure: I had the great fortune to be an extra a few times, but was only on screen once—featuring the back of my head.
  6. Fargo
    An impeccable, inimitable, impressive series with fine acting, superb storytelling, and the perfect mix of humor and pathos. Am I anxious for Season 3? You betcha.
  7. Breaking Bad
    Breaking Bad is the only series on IMDB whose viewer ratings kept increasing season over season. I thought the series should have ended with its best and penultimate episode, Ozymandias. And I found Joyce Carol Oates' and Norm MacDonald's theories about the ending quite compelling. (Google it!) Disclosure: I'm highly biased toward this ranking. See bit.ly/tgatbbama.