Your personal enjoyment of the year in television depended entirely on how much you love Betty White. But it wasn't all octogenarian, all the time. Here, along with White's much ballyhooed Saturday Night Live hosting gig, are some shows, moments and other TV or laptop screen-centric vibes from 2010 that turned me on.
Louie: FX has become my favorite network, thanks to consistently good shows such as Sons of Anarchy, the Kentucky-set Justified and Terriers, which, sad to say, has been offed after its great first season.
But really I come to praise Louie, the dark and insanely (and profanely) funny comedy starring Louis C.K. Watching Louie bumble through awkward situations is more uncomfortable than a barrel of Larry Davids — and smarter, too.
Treme: David Simon and company might have lost a lot of Wire fans with this HBO series about post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. Good riddance, perhaps, and time to move on. Treme, which stars Central Kentucky resident Steve Zahn, was a tough fit (is it a show about music? civic rage? chronic dysfunction?) and yes, after a fantastic first few episodes, it did start to drag. (Mardi Gras felt like a chore.) But the finale, thanks to standout performances from Melissa Leo and Khandi Alexander, made for a beautifully elegiac payoff.
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The BP Spillcam: The sight of all that oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico was more frightening and more relentless than all the zombies seen in AMC's oddly stultifying hit series The Walking Dead (which turned out to not have enough zombies for the discerning horror fan).
For several weeks this spring and summer, I found myself returning to the live, underwater feed of the environmental disaster. Spillcam seemed to symbolize so much about our world now: the end of responsibility, the lack of oversight, the feeling of apocalyptic doom.
Work of Art: Bravo's soul might belong to the devil (pernicious Housewives clones!) but I do hope it brings back another season of this reality competition, in which visual artists of varying potential and talent compete in the manner of Project Runway and Top Chef. It turns out that watching people make art is much more intriguing than watching them sew or cook. And the results are far more subjective, giving the viewer a lot more to think about.
Betty White hosts SNL: Facebook users demanded it, Lorne Michaels acquiesced, and 88-year-old White ruled the land. We all expected the show would treat her gently and use her in a few sketches, but as it happened, she worked harder at it than any other host all season. This seemed to cheer up the national mood immensely, if briefly.
Lost: The Lost island was purgatory, after all! Oh yes, it was. We were right all along. I'm telling you, it was.