Paul & AJ’s Top 10 TV Series of 2012

On this, the eve of 2013, Paul and I begin to look back at some of our favorite things of 2012. First up, our ten favorite TV series.

Also, let’s give a slow clap to Paul, who struggled through severe illness just to get these words to you, dear reader. A speedy recovery to you, sir!

– AJ

PAUL: 10. PARKS AND RECREATION (NBC)

Adam Scott, Amy Poehler, and Rashida Jones in 'Parks and Recreation'

Season 5 gets out of the office a little bit, with Ben and April in Washington D.C. (with an evil robot congressman). Ron gets a new love interest (the always lovely Lucy Lawless). Tom starts a new business. And Andy finds a new career.

AJ: 10. GAME OF THRONES (HBO)

Peter Dinklage in 'Game of Thrones'

What Game of Thrones did in its first season was nothing short of exceptional, a 10-episode narrative that goes down as one of the finest accomplishments the medium has seen thus far. And while the second season struggled at times to recapture that majesty, it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. The scope and breadth of George R.R. Martin’s world remains impressive; the cast, especially Peter Dinklage as the kind of noble imp Tyrion Lannister, continues to knock out high fantasy material that would crush lesser actors; and thrilling hours like “Blackwater” remind us that this is the closest thing we have to a Lord of the Rings on TV. And it’s a whole lot nastier and sexier, too.

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‘Party Down’ Is Canceled; Comedy Fans Weep

Lizzy Caplan and Adam Scott in 'Party Down'

You’ve probably never seen an episode of Party Down. It had dire ratings; this past Friday’s season finale, for example, only garnered 74,000 viewers. My rationale was that it was on premium cable channel Starz (which, we can agree, does not have the luster of HBO or Showtime) but with that channel’s relative hit Spartacus: Blood and Sand, I was proven incorrect. Each episode was also available on Netflix Instant Viewing, but I doubt that expanded viewership much. Perhaps it was just too bleak; good things rarely happened to its team of fame-seeking caterers, and it reveled in the art of schadenfreude almost as much as the British Office. Or maybe it just wasn’t on the right channel at the time, or something.

What I do know is that for two seasons, it was the funniest show on television, or at least tied with Parks and Recreation. It was hindered by the fact that its stars were only signed for season-by-season contracts, which meant it lost Jane Lynch after season 1, and would have lost Ryan Hansen or, far more troubling, main caterer Adam Scott after this season. (The irony here is, of course, that they lost Scott to Parks and Rec.) But I presume that Rob Thomas, John Enbom, and the rest would’ve carried on and would’ve continued to make one damn funny show. Alas, Starz officially announced that the series was canceled today.

Now that Party Down is over, there are only a handful of worthy sitcoms left on the air: Parks and Recreation, Community, Modern Family, and maybe 30 Rock (this season was good, not great, but maybe it can come back; I have no such hopes for The Office).

I still haven’t watched the finale. I think I will right now.