First things first: Enlightened is the A.V. Club’s best show of the year. As T.V. Editor Todd VanDerWerff puts it:
What Enlightened got right, particularly in its second season, when it was the best show on TV, was that the act of simply being alive, of sitting in your home or standing on a street corner or driving through the night, can hurt so much. Every second is another opportunity to feel alone or useless or washed up. Every day is a new chance to wash up on the island of your own lost opportunities.
Yet Amy Jellicoe does good.
Of course, Breaking Bad makes the list, in at number 2, followed by Bob’s Burgers, with Orange Is the New Black the best new show and an unranked 5-15 that includes The Americans, Scandal, Hannibal, The Good Wife and Game of Thrones. But more telling than the Top 15 itself is the fact that it actually includes 26 shows, with another 25 honorable mentions following, and another list of shows individual writers love more than the group as a whole. In other words, it was a very, very good year for television.
The essays devoted to each show in the Top 15/26 bear that out, with Erik Adams on Breaking Bad‘s thrilling (or was it too “tidy“?) conclusion, Sonia Saraiya on the “real hero” of Bob’s Burgers and an appropriately ensemble-based tribute to Orange Is the New Black. There’s not much new on TV the next several weeks, but the A.V. Club’s package leaves us with plenty of watching, and reading, to catch up on.