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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 24, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 52
Best of television 2010 - Glee, Mad Men and Man Zou were tops
Arts & Entertainment
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Best of television 2010 - Glee, Mad Men and Man Zou were tops

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Why rent movies, when television is brimming with quality offerings - drama, comedy, reality series, and original features? In 2010, we waved goodbye to LOST, Ugly Betty, Nip/Tuck and The Tudors, but said hello to The Walking Dead and The Big C. Here's what stood out in a year of great TV watching - in no particular order.

Glee
The Gayest show on primetime has lost a bit of its amateur charm, everything in season two appears to be wrapped in huge production numbers ("Singing in the Rain"/"Umbrella" mashup), or spotlights A-list celebs (Gwyneth Paltrow). On the other hand, it continues to frontline issues like bullying, homophobia and discrimination in a public school setting, while entertaining us with a weekly soundtrack that people of any age can relate to.

The Walking Dead
True Blood, which had a better second season than third, goes for the jugular - a series with sexy bloodsucking vampires running around the Bayou. This year, another legendary cult is explored and brought to life in The Walking Dead, a comic book-turned TV series by the same name, in which a police officer wakes from a coma only to find flesh-eating zombies on the loose. Yes, zombies are cool. The show resumes in October 2011.

LOST
It's never easy saying goodbye, and this year we bid farewell to a great drama that was as bizarre as it was addictive. LOST delivered mystery and intrigue until "The End," the appropriately titled final episode - questions still lingered afterward, and frustration over the patchwork of flashbacks, flash-sideways and present scenes throughout the last season caused many series' faithful to scratch their heads. When LOST did go away, a part of us wanted to go with it.

Mad Men
In 2010, Mad Men earned its third straight Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama, deservedly. The season finale, "Tomorrowland", brought about surprises - Megan over Faye, no way! Don Draper (Jon Hamm) became an even bigger jerk in season four, though he also displayed a riskier side of himself by going to unpredictable measures to prove a point. Meanwhile, will Joan (Christina Hendricks) reveal the real babydaddy next season? Two words: can't wait.

Top Chef
Kevin Sbraga shouldn't have won Top Chef, the title truly belonged to Angelo Sosa. Either way, the Emmy Award-winning reality competition series served up its best ever season, set in Washington DC and featuring guest appearances like that of Nancy Pelosi. The elimination challenges were more complicated (i.e. cooking astronaut food), the competitors were talented and interesting (did Alex really say that he practices making babies?), and the finale set in Singapore was a brilliant touch to a show that was just plain delicious to watch.

Modern Family
Glee is hip and entertaining, but Modern Family is flat out hilarious. Season two is off to a good start, though I'm still laughing at season one's final episodes, the family trip to Hawaii and the mudfight during their portrait session. Eric Stonestreet and Jessie Tyler Ferguson, even if they do bicker all the time, have solidified themselves as TV's most loveable Gay couple and same-sex daddies.

Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai
Shortly after the 2008 Summer Olympics, four men from Seattle flew to China in hopes of capturing an authentic snapshot of a country overflowing with fascination. Local filmmaker Jason Reid and three of his cycling buddies traveled from Beijing to Shanghai, a 1000-mile trek through lush mountainsides, farming villages, busy urban streets and the heavily polluted regions of this global superpower. Man Zou premiered on KCTS in early December, and it's a must for adventurers, travel buffs or anyone eyeing China for a future visit. You can view it online at: http://kcts9.org/reel-nw/man-zou-beijing-shanghai

Breaking Bad
Mad Men may have walked off with the Outstanding Drama series Emmy, but Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul of AMC's Breaking Bad were rightly entitled to their lead and supporting actor wins, respectively. The drama series intensified in season three, from Walt (Cranston) and Jesse (Paul) now rivals with separate drug operations to Skyler (Anna Gunn) sleeping with her boss to the involvement with the Juarez Cartel. Too bad the show is on a brief hiatus until 2011, but it will be back with a bang I guarantee.

Temple Grandin
I knew nothing about Temple Grandin until HBO's semi-biographical feature film premiered in 2010, showcased by a bravura performance from Claire Danes in the title role. Autistic, yet well-scholared and respected in the field of animal science, Grandin became a quiet warrior in the plight to make slaughterhouses more humane by developing a machine that calms down livestock. It's intriguing stories such as this, of extraordinary people in our own society, that really capture my attention.

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