It turns out 2012 wasn’t a total wash. The year had a little bit of everything — zombies, spies and fighting tycoons.
With that, here’s a list of the 10 best series of the year:
1. “The Walking Dead” (AMC)
The third season was high octane and contained the most daring twists: two beloved regulars were killed off and a new villain — David Morrissey as The Governor — made this must-see TV.
2. “Angry Boys” (HBO)
Aussie writer/ actor Chris Lilley’s mockumentary, dry, sad and clever, chronicled unrelated characters whose lives slowly intertwine. Lilley explores the darkness of life in ways not seen before on American television.
3. “30 Rock” (NBC)
Tina Fey’s sitcom about life on a primetime sketch show remained as sharp as ever in the seventh and final season. It’s the type of comedy from which you quoted around the water cooler the day after.
4. “Shameless” (Showtime)
The plight of the low-rent Gallagher family — headed by con man Frank (William H. Macy) — never failed to cause jaws to drop each week with its outrageous and scandalous antics as the family tries to get by day to day, playing the welfare system and manipulating the innocent.
5. “Dallas” (TNT)
This sequel to the 1980s soap opera returned without skipping a beat. The Ewing clan kept feuding and showing us why this quarrelsome family kept us in its collective grip all those years ago. This is 2012’s greatest guilty pleasure.
6. “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
This dark drama about a meth dealer and his partner masterfully pulls out shocking turns. You can’t get comfortable thinking the show is headed into a cozy, predictable place. It never does.
7. “Mad Men” (AMC)
Several months away caused this period piece to fade, but once it got cooking it was back on par. A suicide inside the office was enough to reveal this hour never plays it safe.
8. “Veep” (HBO)
Mix “The West Wing” with “The Office,” and you have the right formula for a sitcom starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the top of her game as the second-in-command.
9. “Parks & Recreation” (NBC)
Amy Poehler is the queen of primetime comedy in this sitcom that looks at the wacky staff running a small-town’s parks department.
10. “Episodes” (Showtime)
Matt LeBlanc has made a career out of laughing about his own image as a high-maintenance, dried up sitcom star trying to rebuild his career with an intolerant Hollywood.
Email Terry Morrow of The Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee at [email protected]