Heba and Michael are back for another top ten list. Inspired by the end of the ahemworldahem year, this time to countdown our top ten shows of 2012. It’s been a great year for television, actually, with several compelling stories told throughout. And we’re extremely lucky that we got to share some of that with these wonderful storytellers and viewers alike.

It’s difficult to narrow a best of the year list to just ten choices, really. And so many were left slaughtered, that it hurt our souls. But it had to be done. And if we absolutely had to choose, these ten are the ones that made the cut. These are the shows that we thought were both good and just had to watch.

And now without further adieu, here’s our top ten TV series of the year, on the left is Heba and on the right is Michael.

The TV Gods were truly evil to me in 2012, they took away the short-lived Bent from me. It wasn’t just about the fact that Joey King was on my TV (!) or that Amanda Peet landed an awesome role, it was how romantic it was without being cheesy. It’s how captivated it made us with wanting the characters to be together without killing the witty comedy factor. RIP Bent, you were truly amazing.
There’s no denying that FX and Louis CK’s Louie is one of the more brilliant series on television as of late, and you may be wondering why it’s far down on the list for me. Personally, I don’t think this season compared to the peak of season 2. That said, this season there was a definite and cohesive arc and besides it can really do no wrong.

Yes, I put a Josh Schwartz show on my top 10 list. Yes, this is my second CW show on this list. And do you know why? Because this series is so lighthearted that it makes everything seem happy and wonderful and just chirpy. It does not take itself too seriously; it doesn’t take Bluebell too seriously, so every episode is a fun ride. Every episode is just warm and fuzzy.  And sometimes you don’t need more than that from a show. 
The Walking Dead continues to be fearless and absolutely a joy to watch week to week. Sure, it’s a series about people who are just trying to survive the day-to-day of their unfortunate dystopia, but the series really amped it up a notch, telling compelling stories about humans spiraling into the darkness.

First of all, I want to thank TBS for picking up Cougar Town. I want to thank them for honoring the cul-de-sac crew and having enough faith in them to add them to their lineup. Despite its shortened season, Cougar Town did not disappoint at all this year. It had enough heart and enough Ellie insults that could keep us satisfied for a year. I miss the characters of this show so much and I just want them back on my TV, though! January can’t come fast enough.
In a recent review of Awkward Black Girl, I mentioned that it’s not the fact that I can relate to characters that makes any series great. If I were speaking earnestly, I probably cannot relate at all to the upper-middle class white post-grad women that take the reigns of this HBO comedy, but it’s the fact that it’s able to create that world and display it to us so flawlessly that makes it great. Creator/Star/Writer/Producer Lena Dunham has also shown that she’s not afraid to make you hate the characters she writers. And that’s part of its unique comedic ability.

I have been loyal to this show for nine consecutive years. I have given it almost 7360 minutes of my life, and this season basically made it all worth it. I think I have cried these past nine episodes more than I’ve cried in those last 9 years. It may not be the most original series on TV; it may also be quite redundant. But the show, this season, has been pretty rewarding to those who have had faith in the show since the start, and I’m truly grateful for that. The dark and twisted Meredith Grey – after everything she’s been through – is no longer dark and twisted. She’s almost happy. And to see how far the characters have become, each and everyone one of them, is truly gratifying.
How did a show that had a scene as laughable as the scissor to throat moment get on a top 10 list? The truth is that season two of Scandal vastly improved. And while it’s still painstakingly stuck on the Fitz and Olivia romance, the series has broadened its agenda and has proven to us that there’s more to tell here — that there’s a plan. Packed with great performances, and two of the best episodes before the year ended, and this one just had to make the list. Plus, it’s that sort of drama now that you can’t wait to watch next week.

New Girl should actually be handed the award for best improved series. When it first started, I was not a fan, especially since Damon Wayans Jr., and his character, left the show, and was replaced with a subpar character, Winston. I was not impressed with Zooey Deschanel’s exaggerated adorkableness. But somehow, during the second half of the first season, the show picked up. It no longer focused on Jess’ quirkiness alone. It became a group show; it shed light on all of the characters’ insecurities and flaws – something that it has been doing brilliantly in its second season. New Girl has become a must-watch for me lately, and it is easily becoming one of my favorite comedic shows on air today.
Not only is Nikita a powerhouse of (well, a character but also) a show, it’s one of the smartest and fearless ones on broadcast television. Unfortunately, that small, green logo on the bottom right of the screen tends to take away from it. But I’m here to tell you the truth: Nikita is actually good series. Like good good, too. Unfathomable, but true! What really compelled me to add it to the list is the episode where Nikita was chained up in a basement and had to confront her her own burning desire to reap lives. Haunting, chilling, and absolutely fantastic. Besides, it’s also a must-watch.

2012 was Dan Harmon’s Community swan song. And I don’t know what to feel about that. This man created a show that basically elevated comedy to a whole new level. I don’t know how it’s perceived as a niche show; I really don’t get that. Why don’t all people enjoy shows that are so challengingly clever and yet absolutely hilarious? Why wouldn’t all people love “Remedial Chaos Theory” – which is in my humble opinion, the best comedy episode of the year? Why wouldn’t everyone love Abed or Troy or Troy and Abed in the morning? It all doesn’t make sense to me. But what does is that Community is definitely one of this year’s best.
I couldn’t decide which Friends star comedy should make the list and ultimately I had to go with Matt LeBlanc somewhat-vehicle Episodes. There’s really only one way to say it: this show is damn funny. That’s really it. There’s no secret formula, there’s no magic reason, it’s the fact that it’s a comedy and it can make me absolutely burst into tears. Many times we forget what the main reason for a comedy’s existence is, and Episodes reminds us expertly.

I will forever hate USA for taking Political Animals off my TV. Yes, we weren’t promised a second season, especially since it was a mini-series, but we always had hope. We genuinely thought that a political show with awesome, trashy one-liners like “Don’t call a bitch a bitch. Us bitches hate that” would last longer. But it didn’t. So we couldn’t see Sebastian Stan be Emmy-worthy for more than six episodes. We couldn’t see the awesome Sigourney Weaver play the first female president. The silver lining, though? It’s getting lots of recognition in the award circles. It is nominated for a Golden Globe and Weaver is nominated for both a SAG and a Golden Globe. 
Despite its many plot holes this season (does no one think Brody could have something to do with the VP’s death? really?), Homeland is definitely still one of this year’s best series. If not for the amazing performances — and believe me, they were amazing — then for its fearlessness, as well. Nearly every episode from the first half of the season was finale-worthy, and quite honestly, it pulled back up towards the end. And besides, how can you not give the show with the amazing like “You are the smartest and dumbest f—king person I know” a spot in a top 10 best list?

It’s almost awe-striking how consistent the quality of this show has been for the last six years. It has never had an okay episode; they all have been mind-blowing – each in its own way. And this season proved to be no different with episodes like “The Other Woman” and “The Mystery Dates.” It proved, once again, that it is in fact worthy for its 4 Emmy Awards for Best Drama Series. This season might have been controversial with some of the storylines that were presented, with some of the characters that were annexed, but that in no way means that show wasn’t as impressive as it has always been. Mathew Weiner just outdoes himself every single season; it is really amazing. 
Parks and Recreation is one of those comedies that’s just consistently good. There’s never an episode where you think it’s wretch, or bad, or even boring. It comes from the amazing performances from the talented cast as well as the fine-tuned writing that makes every episode appear as though it’s an entire 30 minute improvised bit. It’s just too bad that to audiences as a whole, it’s quite underrated. Even worse is that the Academy, and other award-givers, continues to snub it at every turn. Come on.

I do not understand how this show is not being handed all the awards. I do not understand how Amy Poehler is not an Emmy winner yet. I really don’t. Is there a show funnier than this show? Is there a show as smart and deliciously witty as this show? Is there any other show that has a long-term memory better than this one? One of my favorite things about Parks and Rec is that it doesn’t forget a storyline ever – even when its fans do. It reintroduced characters and plotlines, and I love that about it. I love that it can build a political storyline as huge as the one introduced last season and yet make it seem so awesome and so adorable. I love that last season, as the show always does, made me cry and laugh and cheer all at the same time. The feelings this show has given over the years are feelings that I will carry with me forever. 
Uh, yes, I think that there is a comedy that’s as witty and hilarious, Heba. And that show is 30 Rock. Sorry, Parks and Rec fans, 30 Rock hails for me on this list. While I didn’t completely enjoy season six, the final season of 30 Rock is absolutely inspired. I don’t think there’s every been a final season constructed as intelligently and as hilariously as what 30 Rock is doing here. Hats off to you Tina Fey and co. We’re all waiting with baited breath on how you’ll end it… even if we don’t want it to end.

15 episodes have aired of Scandal so far – just 15. And yet, the show has proven over its last two seasons to be network TV’s best drama; yep, I totally went there. It is intense, keeping-you-at-the-edge-of-your-seat intense. It is so fast-paced that you just cannot look away for a second because you know a bombshell could be dropped any moment. I honestly did not know Shonda Rhimes had it in her; I did not know she was this good at cooking up conspiracy theories. But she is, frankly, amazing at it. What I did know, though, how much heart her shows have – and in this show, it’s all so enhanced. It’s all so multiplied. Those stolen moments between Fitz and Olivia, as wrong as they are, can make you squeal for days. The loyalty the OPA have for each other is so infectious that it has made us loyal to show itself. Led by the underrated Kerry Washington, Scandal is no doubt the best of 2012.

Honorable mentions: Nikita, The Vampire Diaries, The Good Wife, and Suits.

Critics and viewers may have felt that the first half of Breaking Bad’s final season was lacking a bit, or even had some pacing issues, but I kind of absolutely loved it. This season, Walt’s descent into creating a meth empire, and becoming his own worst enemy, has paid of in spades. We don’t even need to talk about how Bryan Cranston’s performance has held out wonderfully, because it obviously has. For us, watching that journey as been a pleasure… and sometimes it has been gut-wrenching painful to stomach, but all of that comes from being a compelling, complex, amazing drama. Even in its final season, which is albeit just five years, it manages to shock and awe. There’s just no other show that can pull this off.

Honorable mentions: Of course, there are so many shows I would have liked to list. Guilty pleasures like Teen Wolf and Revenge and Dallas, amazing comedies like Cougar Town, Happy Endings, and Community, to new comedies that only I like as in Go On. Plus, there’s even those that I don’t watch but maybe would have listed if I watched them (SOA, Justified, Shameless, Game of Thrones, et al).

Now it’s your turn: which series of 2012 make your top 10 list?

Michael loves TV. You can find him at home, where he spends all of his time watching TV with his best friends couch and cable access.