Best TV Drama 2010

Breaking Bad II
Breaking Bad II – AMC
Possibly stronger and definitely darker than season one, the writers explored some interesting avenues that saw Walter dealing with some tough competitors, remission, an increasingly suspicious wife and even (SPOILER ALERT) manslaughter. Nice to see Giancarlo Esposito working again too.

Hero at 30,000 feet
Hero at 30,000 feet – Channel 4
At the end of this show Derren declared it was ‘the proudest moment of my professional life’. He’s right, this was not just the usual tricks of the mind or hypnotism: over the course of an hour we saw a man totally adrift in a dead-end life turn himself around.

Hung
Hung II – HBO
Hands down winner of hippest soundtrack this year – no mean feat when Californication is still going strong – season two was also home to quite a few touching and charming moments set against decaying post-industrial Detroit.

Isner Mahut Wimbledon marathon
Isner / Mahut Wimbledon marathon – AELTC
Not only did this three day marathon at Wimbledon crush all existing records for longest game ever played, both players also broke the record for most aces served in a game. At times play descended into near farce when one or other was just too tired to return a shot but boy, what a match.

Justified
Justified – FX
Not much to shout about story wise but Olyphant brings such fantastic kinetic energy to the lead role that every episode is propelled forward beautifully and the secondary characters are, in typical Elmore leonard fashion, a treat to watch in their own right.

Luther
Luther – BBC
Idris had a lot to live up to post his triumph in The Wire but this was very entertaining. Standard cop procedural infused with some neat existential drama egged on by a nutty Ruth Wilson…and all the better for being filmed in sarrrrrrf london.

Mad Men III & IV
Mad Men III & IV – AMC
2010 was kind enough to deliver two seasons of Mad Men and both continued to deliver simply the best drama on television. The lawnmower incident, Trudi & Pete doing the Charleston and a drunk Roger berating the Japanese were the visual highlights while Don’s ‘Why I’m Quitting Tobacco‘ letter sequence was the finest piece of film-making this year.

Modern Family
Modern Family II – ABC
Season One totally passed me by last year so the richness of this comedy near enough blew me away when season two aired. Not afraid to cross any number of politically correct lines it delivered time and again with not a dull episode in the run.

Sherlock
Sherlock – BBC
Being something of a Holmes purist I was initially very skeptical about this – a modern day take on Baker Street’s most famous resident, however with Mark Gatiss at the helm it turned out to be something of a minor triumph. Conflations of quite a few stories from the canon with nicely updated 21st century twists that didn’t undermine any of the main characters.

30 Rock
30 Rock IV – NBC
Oooooooh. Very, very nearly lost it in season four. The first five or so episodes of the latest series were self indulgent, naval-gazingly referential, messy and only worth watching for Baldwin but it picked up with pace soon after and by the end of the run was back to full strength, thank goodness.