TV Fanatic Staff Round Table: The Best Show of 2011

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We've reached the conclusion of our end-of-the-year Round Table discussions. To wrap up 2011, the TV Fanatic staff so far has debated the following categories:

So how could we flip the calendar without first asking: WHAT WAS THE BEST SHOW OF 2011?

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Matt Richenthal: Homeland actually made me think twice, but there's no answer other than Breaking Bad. The best acting, the tightest storytelling, the most riveting main character on television. Brilliant in all levels.

Dan Forcella: Every single episode of Justified that aired in 2011 was thrilling, emotional, and made the viewer think. With a superior leading performance by Timothy Olyphant, and stunning supporting work from Margo Martindale, Walton Goggins and Jeremy Davies, this FX drama emerged as a favorite by fans, critics and the Emmys during its second season. I can't wait to get back to Harlan County in 2012!

Steve Marsi: The better question would be what was the second best show of 2011. As long as Sons of Anarchy is setting the gold standard, every other program is playing for silver.

Arlene Gonzalez: American Horror Story blew my mind (Rubberman! The infantata! The Black Dahlia! Dylan McDermott's bare ass!) and therefore gets my vote for best show of 2011. Ryan Murphy never fails to surprise me with his creativity and warped sensibilities. From his Nip/Tuck days to rah-rah Glee to this modern tale of horror, he's always managed to shock, annoy, horrify and amuse me...and leave me craving more. And to now hear that the show will basically be a new one every year puts a new spin on serial dramas. Hail the new master of horror! But, please, just one more Dylan butt shot.

Leigh Raines: Can I go with Revenge again? It's so juicy and I haven't seen anything like it in as long as I can remember. The idea that we know what's going to happen and get to watch the buildup is so fun.

Christine Orlando: Part of me wants to say it's Sons of Anarchy because I do enjoy the overwhelming drama or perhaps Justified since I can' wait for its return, but I'm going to surprise no one and go with my hands down favorite, Castle.  This show never fails to make me happy. The chemistry between Kate and Rick can melt the screen but there isn't one character I dislike. All of the relationships gel, from Castle's family to the team at the 12th. Heck, even Capt. Gates is growing on me. The show has wonderful light/funny episodes but then floors me with its dramatic moments like the season 3 finale. I simply can't get enough. That's why I call them Happy Castle Mondays.

Carissa Pavlica: Fringe.

Carla Day: After days of deliberations, I'm picking... as I type this I still can't decide, so I'm going to have to pick my top two shows: Game of Thrones and Homeland. I have tried to pick between them and I can't. While they are different themed shows, they have several similarities. They are both new shows with short seasons and on cable. Game of Thrones was an adventure like I'd never seen before on television. The visual effects, the complex world of Westeros, the intriguing characters drew me in every week. Homeland was a thriller with twists and turns that never seemed contrived. The acting was impeccable which was all the more impressive given the highly complex characters. Again, it was a show that kept me on the edge of my seat and into its world each episode.

Jim Garner: I'm going with Burn Notice. The last three episodes of the season all earned perfect ratings from me and Matt Nix is amazing at both wrapping up a storyline and giving a breadcrumb to the next season. I can't wait for June to get here and see what he does with season six.

Your turn, TV Fanatics: What was the best show of 2011?

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