TV Fanatic Staff Round Table: Best New Show of 2011

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From the brilliance of Breaking Bad to the cuteness of Zooey Deschanel, from the nudity on True Blood to the tears we're still shedding over Friday Night Lights... it's been quite a 12 months in television.

Over the next couple weeks, members of the TV Fanatic staff will gather for a handful of Round Table discussions, all based on a single, year-end question and all concluding with a poll that asks readers for their opinions. Ready to debate? Let's start with...


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Matt Richenthal: Homeland. This may be the easiest Round Table question I've ever answered. 2011 Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Drama, thy name is Claire Danes.

Jim Garner: 2 Broke Girls. Max and Carolyn are the Felix and Oscar of the 21st century. What a great pairing of actresses. I adore both Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs.

Eric Hochberger: Game of Thrones. I couldn't even imagine another choice when you consider the sheer depth of George R. R. Martin's novels and what HBO has managed to do with the first one. Tyrion Lannister FTW.  Plus, it helps the only other new shows on my DVR were The Secret Circle and 2 Broke Girls and not even my crush on Kat Dennings could let me list that one with a straight face. No offense, Jim.

Leigh Raines: Revenge. Emily Van Camp has successfully brought "The Count of Monte Cristo" to the modern day Hamptons. With Madeline Stowe as the icy villain and a cast full of sexy newbies, revenge has never been more juicy.

Arlene Gonzalez: As much as I absolutely LOOOOVE American Horror Story, Once Upon A Time gets my vote. Any show that can get this Disney-hater enthused is tops in my book. The concept is a unique one, the mixing of old school fairytale characters being stuck in the present world with no idea of their history is fun to watch and Lana Parilla is a kick ass Evil Queen. Plus, the costume design and the effects are stunning. Not bad for a network show!

Christine Orlando: Once Upon a Time. Each week brings us to this fantasy of characters that are familiar yet somehow completely new. Even fairy tales I had no interest in, like Snow White, I now find completely enchanting. It's a love story, and a mystery, and a fantasy all wrapped into one captivating hour of TV.

Steve Marsi: The answer is obviously New Girl, unless there's another show in which a lingerie-clad, hilariously awkward Zooey Deschanel starts choking a mortified Justin Long in an effort to spice up foreplay. Not even sex, mind you. Just foreplay. NOTE: If there is another show featuring this exact encounter, let me know so I can cringe/laugh all over again.

Carissa Pavlica: I have to go with Game of Thrones, as well. Not only was it true to the incredible books on which it was based, but it has some of the highest production value and best casting I've ever had the pleasure of viewing. All of the characters, whether beloved or abhorrent, were so well fleshed out that you even enjoyed the most miserable of scenes. Pure brilliance.

Dan Forcella: Homeland. It was difficult to decide, but week in and week out, Homeland has delivered the most interesting and entertaining television of any new series in 2011. Claire Danes and Damian Lewis have put forth unbelievable acting performances, while the writing staff has kept the audience guessing during and after each and every episode. 

Christina Tran: American Horror Story. It confuses and scares the crap out of me and has truthfully kind of made me a little paranoid. With an amazing cast including Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, Jessica Lange and Zachary Quinto, the creepy factor is off the charts.

Nick McHatton: I'm going to break the mold here and pimp Awkward, MTV's little comedy that could. Heart, humor, slutty punctuation, and genuinely funny moments for all ages. Everything a comedy should be and more.

Chandel Charles: I am going to have to say Suits. USA really hit the ball out of the park on that one!

Your turn: What do you think was the best new show of 2011?


@Nick McHatton Hell on Wheels was far from my favorite. I definitely would have Homeland and Game of Thrones before it. But to snub it from even contending in the poll is kind of silly. I also watch Once Upon a Time, True Blood and other guilty-pleasure silly shows like those, but to say they are better executed than something like Game of Thrones, Hell on Wheels or Homeland is absurd. Once Upon a Time has way too many plot holes to even contend for "best writing", let alone best show. But whatever, you're right. It's just a poll on a website. Nothing to get riled up about.


Revenge of course! :)


secret circle shauld be on this?

Kitanishi h mcdonald

Revenge easily.


Rosaboom, these are NEW shows. TVD is not a new show. Therefore, it can't be on this. Game of Thrones and Once Upon a Time :)

Uss biddle dlg 34

There was only one A+ show in 2011......... BOSS BOSS BOSS BOSS !!!!
But there were several A shows**.....
Breaking Bad
Game of Thrones
Justified ** Lame commercial network shows...Get Real ! IF, i had to pick one just for hon mention - Person of Interest rises to the top of that heap.


ha.. hmm
WHERE is vampire diaries ?


Downton Abbey for drama and Awkward for comedy. Downton Abbey is technically a 2010 show but it premiered in the US in 2011.


Alex, This is just a poll of the staff who liked what show the most this year. It's just a fun piece, and you're welcome to disagree with all of us. We won't mind. If you liked Hell on Wheels out of everything this year, there's nothing wrong with that, and you're free to share that opinion (as you did). Many of us watch a lot of the same shows, and we discuss them amongst ourselves, but we all have differing tastes. Some of us like comedy more than drama, some of us prefer Once Upon A Time over AMC and HBO dramas. This poll says nothing about total rankings, viewership, average scores, network loyalty, or anything more than just a response to a question that is going to evoke opinions and gut reactions. Which means, again, that you can agree with us, disagree with us, but to bash this column and question all of us because things didn't go your way doesn't help your case. But, hey, thanks for the great new name for our editor! I think I'll start calling him The Mighty Editor.


@Matt Richenthal, Oh-mighty-Editor-in-Chief I'm not going to go around searching every single newspaper and website looking for top 10 lists, but I'm just going to grab you one post from a quick google search. The show is fantastic so I imagine there's probably on a lot more lists than this one so I'm sure that if you want more, you can find more.

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