Here they are: 10 more TV shows that can stand among the best TV of the year. This round-up includes many of the shows I wept, agonized, and rent my garments over including or dropping from my 10 Best list, which can be seen here.
11. Carlos (Sundance Channel) A portrait of the terrorist as a narcissist, a screw-up, and a human lethal weapon, Carlos — a three part made-for-TV movie by director Olivier Assayas and starring Edgar Ramirez as Carlos the Jackal — was as unnerving as any thriller on the small or big screen this year, and unafraid to show both the glamor and the horror of self-styled revolutionary action.
12. Louie (FX) Intentionally loose and ragged in its construction, Louie was initially most compelling when it showed Louis CK onstage, doing his act. But it’s a great act, the perorations of a father and a citizen outraged by the way petty irritations accumulate and conspire to bury our best, most noble instincts. May the more plot-driven segments of Louie become as equally strong. (Warning, strong language in this clip.)
13. In Treatment (HBO) The final, ironic conclusion the makers of In Treatment may intend us to draw is that Dr. Paul Weston was never all that great a therapist. In this batch of episodes, he really screwed up: Misdiagnosed patients, used the ol’ “transference” excuse again to become emotionally involved with his own therapist. In short, another terrific season — if way too short — with crackling performances by Irrfan Khan, Debra Winger, Amy Ryan, and Dane DeHaan, with Gabriel Byrne giving his most intense concentration yet.
14. Lost (ABC) Very nicely done fantasy show; a bit long and wayward at times, but full of interesting characters, and the entire production has a good heart.
15. The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (CBS) Robot sidekick – check. Interviews with Nobel Prize winners – check. Transcending the banality of the “talk show wars” by reaching out to competitors or merely ignoring that exhausted controversy – check! For Ferguson, silliness is a form of wit; insouciance a form of subverting clichés.
16. Better Off Ted (ABC) Only the most intelligent, wacky, slapsticky sitcom that was strangled in its prime-time crib by its network.
17. Rubicon (AMC) Only the most intelligent, dour, quietly witty drama that was strangled in its cable-TV crib by its network.
18. Boardwalk Empire (HBO) It got better as it proceeded. Biggest surprise: It wasn’t Steve Buscemi (as good as he was) or the elaborate set (as expensive and fake as it looked) that most intrigued. No, it was its female characters, headed up by a marvelously sly performance from Kelly Macdonald, that gave the series its texture.
19. Eastbound and Down (HBO) There were a couple of episodes in the middle of E&D’s truncated second season that played like shaggy-dog jokes set in minor-league-baseball Mexico. But Danny McBride’s Kenny Powers is such a superb creation — a monster of self-absorption with a tragic streak — that just hearing his rants about the repulsion he feels for soccer, as well as for his broken heart, were exhilarating. (Warning: Strong language in this clip.)
20. Ultimate Fighter 12 (Spike) One of the best seasons of ground-and-pound: You can’t go wrong when your grapplers include Alex Caceres, a.k.a. “Bruce Leroy,” a wiseass who backed up his egotistic eccentricities with fighting skills.
So, what do you think?