The nature of the medium of television breeds a certain amount of critical consensus every year.  There just aren’t that many shows out there, and while there are enough that this list could be entirely different from someone else’s, it isn’t likely.  So what’s the point of making this list?  Basically, it’s just a bit of fun really.  I’d also like to talk briefly about something that I devote far too much of my time so it feels at least somewhat worthwhile beyond sheer entertainment.  The rules are simply whatever aired in 2011, so the final results shouldn’t include the first half of a broadcast network season (even though I admit that they probably play a role in some cases).  There’s an intriguing discussion to be had somewhere about how a year-end list favours cable dramas because of this, but we’re not going to have it here.  Just a note that Friday Night Lights could technically be on this list, but as it only aired 3 or so episodes – as I saw them – this year it didn’t seem fair.  Suffice it to say that it’s a great show and if you haven’t seen it you should seek it out. Spoilers for two shows have been noted in the headings.

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