Best of 2010: Life and Death Edition

The Top Ten Most Promising Midseason Shows!

and The Five Most Devastating TV Series Cancellations.

2011 is looking pretty promising so far, both the networks and the cable channels have plenty of new stuff to stuff down our retinas – and the 10 (unranked) series below have my retinas salivating.

Bob’s Burgers – Premieres Sunday Jan 9th at 8:30 on Fox

Who: The brainchild of Loren Bouchard, creator of Home Movies and featuring the voices of H. Jon Benjamin who’s doing double duty as the star of FX’s Archer and Flight of the Concords’ wacky fan, Kristen Schaal.

What: A fox animated series not created by Groening or Macfarlane? Shocked! Sit Down, Shut Up was a massive disappointment; it’ll be interesting to see if this will break through and find an audience on FOX’s already bloated animated sunday. I’m ready for a change and Bob’s Burgers look like it might taste right.

Breaking In – Premieres Wed April 6 at 9:30 on Fox

Who: Stars Christian Slater in his third attempt (after My Own Worst Enemy and The Forgotten) at a starring network gig. It also stars Odette Yustman (You Again, Cloverfield) and Brett Harrison of dead series Reaper.

What: 3 looks like it might be the lucky number for Slater, Breaking In is about a team of geniuses that work at a high tech security fim. If it finds an audience it may just be a hit and if a post idol slot is any indication an audience it will.

The Cape – 2-Hour Premiere on Sun January 9 at 9:00, Regular slot on Mondays at 9:00 on NBC

Who: Starring David Lyons (Dr. Brenner on the final ER season), Keith David (There’s Something About Mary), genre goddess Summer Glau, Vinnie Jones (Juggernaut in X-Men 3) and James Frain (Franklin Mott on True Blood).

What: A cop is framed and left for dead, saved and trained to use his powers by a circus, he fights crime in fictional Palm City protecting it from an evil billionaire (Frain) with the codename: Chess. I initially wrote it off, but the quality looks above average and Glau doesn’t usually sign on to trash.

The Chicago Code – Premieres  Mon February 7th on Fox

Who: Created by Shawn Ryan (creator of the Shield and current Lie To Me showrunner) and starring Jennifer Beals (Flashdance, Lie To Me), Jason Clarke (Brotherhood), Matt Lauria (Luke from Friday Night Lights) and Delroy Lindo.

What: Beals plays a take no prisoners Chicago Police Chief battling bureaucracies and corruption. Beals is great in everything she does and Shawn Ryan knows how to command a police drama; I think this is a sure fire winner.

Episodes – Premieres Sun January 9 at 9:30 on Showtime

Who: This satirical Brit-com stars Matt LeBlanc (Joey!) as … himself? … … Explain?

What: Episodes is about two married British producers who come across the pond to re-imagine their hit series for Americans and land LeBlanc as their American star. The trailer looks fantastic; LeBlanc looks like he’s at his best and British stars Tamsin Grieg and Stephen Mangan appear to be worthy imports.

Game of Thrones – Premieres in April on HBO

Who: Based on George R.R. Martin’s tomes, it stars Sean Bean (Baromir in LOTR), Lena Headey (TV’s Sarah Conner), Mark Addy (star of CBS shitcom Still Standing) and Peter Dinklage.

What: An epic fantasy series done HBO style? As Liz Lemon would say “I want to go to there”

Light’s Out – Premieres Tues January 11 at 10:00 on FX

Who: Starring Holt McCallany (in what will surely be his big break) along with veteran Stacy Keach (Prison Break), Pablo Schreiber (The Wire) and Catherine Mccormack (Braveheart).

What: A series about boxing and family of the same ilk as Rescue Me and Justified. McCallany plays an aging retired heavyweight at a crossroads between entering crime as an enforcer or returning to the ring. If it’s anything like Rescue Me or Justified i’ll watch.

Luck – Premieres sometime in 2011 on HBO

Who: From Deadwood creator David Milch and starring big time movie stars Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte and Joan Allen along with Richard Kind (Spin City), Kevin Dunn (Shia’s father in the Transformer series), Dennis Farina (Orbach’s replacement on Law & Order), Ian Hart (Professor Quirrel in the first Harry Potter film), Kerry Condon (Rome) and Jason Gedrick (Murder One and Boomtown)

What: A gambling series that focuses on the goings on of a racetrack through the eyes of Chester “Ace” Bernstein (Hoffman)

Mr. Sunshine – Premiers Wed Feb 9 at 9:30 on ABC

Who: Created by and starring Matthew Perry along with Alison Janney and Better Off Ted alum Andrea Anders!!!

What: Perry is the manager of an arena; the series tracks him and the weird shit a arena manager has to go through… huh? This is replacing Cougar Town? ABC is showing this a lot of faith, I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

Young Justice – Premiers Friday January 7 on Cartoon Network

Who: Greg Weisman (creator of Gargoyles) takes the lead and it stars Jesse McCartney (Summerland) and Danika McKeller (The Wonder Years) but really it stars Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Miss Martian, Artemis and Superboy.

What: Six sidekicks team up and try to make a name for themselves. The pilot aired on Nov. 26 and it impressed me. Made with the same care as DC’s animated films (may faves are Justice League: The New Frontier and Superman/Batman Apocalypse) this series will be a window into the DCU from the eyes of it’s youngest protectors.

The Rest: Shameless starring Willian H. Macy, Olivia Munn sitcom Perfect Couples, SNL Alum Casey Wilson’sHappy Endings, Shonda Rhimes jungle medical Off The Map, Pot smoking Kathy Bates in Harry’s LawMixed Signals with David Denman (The Office’s Roy), Body of Proof with Dana Delaney, American remakes of Brits Skins and Being Human, Fairly Legal with Sarah Shahi (Life) and  Retired At 35 on TV Land.

…and the 5 most anticipated returning series!

5. Pretty Little Liars – Returning Jan 3. Trash that knows it’s trash and embraces it’s trashy ways is always welcome to me and this trash is like crack addictive.

4. Big Love – Returning Jan 16. After a rocky 4th season, the 5th and final season focuses on the Henriksons, with their polygamy in the spotlight.

3. V – Returning Jan 4. Jane Balder and Marc Singer from the original series guest star this season. Balder as a re-imagined version of her character Diana

2. Justified – Returning Feb 9. If Parks and Rec returned in the fall when it should have, this would be number one. Season 2 has Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) hunting after the Bennett family, the biggest pot growers in Kentucky. Margo Martindale and Jeremy Davies (Daniel Faraday on Lost) signed on as Bennetts.

1. Parks & Recreation – Returning Jan 20. Ohmigod ohmigod it’s like less than a month till Parks and Recreation returns and I. CAN. NOT. WAIT. (which is apparently worth it) Adam Scott (Party Down) and Rob Lowe join the cast.

In my ranking and listing frenzy I’ve started to commiserate upon the TV series who’s flames were extinguished to soon. 2010 was a pretty violent year in terms of cancellations – CBS was gutted losing 7 series and stalwarts like 24, Lost and Scrubs ended their runs, all in all it was a bloody year.

Here are the 5 best series, cancelled 2010, and ultimately before their time was up…

5. Terriers, cancelled by FX after its first season. This scrappy PI drama had all the moxie and none of the viewers. Donal Logue and Michael-Raymond James take on evil land developers.

4. Dollhouse, cancelled by Fox during its second season. Technically cancelled in 2009 but aired its last brilliant three episodes in 2010.

3. Rubicon, cancelled by AMC after its first season. Twisty and complex, tense and intelligent – a brilliantly underrated series.

2. Party Down, cancelled by Starz after its second season. It could have suffered the loss of cast members Adam Scott and Ryan Hansen, it survived Jane Lynch leaving. But Starz didn’t want to take that chance and gave this new classic the axe.

1. The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, cancelled by NBC after 146 episodes. Need I say anything. NBC deserves to be in 4th place for these shenanigans.

Top 10 Guest Stars of 2010

Top 10 TV Character Deaths in 2010

Top 7 Villains of 2010

Top 10 Performances of 2010

Top 5 Reality Competitors of 2010

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