1. Terriers (FX) – The best show no one watched, the best new show of the fall, and the best show I saw this year. As everyone nows by now, it wasn’t renewed for a second season. But season 1 was high quality season that wrapped up all of the major storylines in a satisfying way for the fans of the show, and for that I am thankful.
2. Party Down! (Starz) – Another little seen show that was canceled this year after two short seasons on Starz. Such a strong ensemble that will certainly be missed.
3. Mad Men (AMC) – Everyone loves the episode “The Suitcase” (and with good reason), but this was another damned fine season for the show.
4. Parks and Recreation (NBC) – If I happened to watch the NBC comedies on DVR the next day because I missed them live, this show was the first one I watched. For a few reasons: 1) The show really found its voice in its second season and stopped trying to make Leslie Knope a female Michael Scott 2) The writers were able to flesh out the supporting cast, especially April, Andy and Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) and 3) Ron Fucking Swanson. Can’t wait for season 3 in January.
5. Lost (ABC) – I was fine with the series finale, and thought the season as whole wrapped up the series in a satisfying way.
6. Friday Night Lights (NBC) – Yet another solid season from a show I’m just really going to miss after it ends next season. Texas forever.
7. Rubicon (AMC) – A surprise for me, as I only watched it due to it being next to “Mad Men” on Sunday nights. But even despite the relative letdown of the finale, it was actually a cool, throwback-to-the-70s-era political thriller.
8. Treme (HBO) – No, it wasn’t as immediately great as “The Wire” but not even the first season of “The Wire” was as good as what you think of when you think of “The Wire.” I actually liked “Treme” quite a bit, and am more than willing to give David Simon time to truly find the voice of the show.
9. Louie (FX) – A true piece of auteur work, where Louis C.K. writes, produces and directs every episode. The show could be laugh out loud funny, cringeworthy, or even kinda bleak and somewhat depressing, all sometimes within the same episode.
10. Fringe (Fox) – Another show who figured things out in its second season, this time when it went from a strictly freak of the week show to a freak of the week show with more of a narrative arc relating to an alternate world that has continued its momentum into season 3 (interestingly, at the same time another Bad Robot show “Lost” was exploring the “sideways world”).
Others receiving votes: Eastbound and Down (HBO), Better off Ted (ABC), 30 for 30 (ESPN), Community (NBC), Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
2010 continued the encouraging trend of a) bands actually coming to Charlotte instead of just Chapel Hill or Atlanta and b) me attending festivals and seeing a lot of great bands in a relatively short timespan. 2011 is already promising, as I already have Girl Talk in Charlotte as well as a reunited Dismemberment Plan in NYC on the calendar in late January. A return trip to Austin for SXSW 2011 and going to Bonnaroo for a third year in a row are also out there. In any case, here are my 5 favorite shows of the year.
5. Free Energy at Snug Harbor, Charlotte, NC, 6/2 – I always love a small club show where the band is just on, and this was certainly the case for Free Energy, a band I wasn’t too familiar with before seeing them that night. Kenny had a nice write up of the show here.
4. The National and Owen Pallett at Progress Energy Center, Raleigh, NC, 10/4 – My favorite current band in top form, with Matt Berninger doing his crazed lead singer thing (as opposed to him being painfully shy when I first saw them in 2005). As stated before, Owen Pallett was a revelation live.
3. Major Lazer at Pitchfork Music Festival, Union Park, Chicago, IL, 7/18 – This show was less of a concert and more of a performance art show. We thought we were just getting a good spot for headliners Pavement, but this turned out to be so much more than just camping out for a good spot. The show had Chinese dragon dancers, ballerinas, daggering, daggering from on top of a ladder, toilet paper, chugging Hennessy, and a bunch of other crazy shit I’m most likely forgetting, with Diplo and hypeman Skerrit Bwoy leading the way.
2. Pavement at Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA, 9/26 – I finally saw my favorite band ever this year (and two times at that). This one trumps the first time I saw them at Pitchfork because it wasn’t ridiculously hot and sweaty and the crowd’s median age meant it was too old for things like crowdsurfing and moshing. But also, the band wasn’t crunched for time in a festival timeslot with a noise ordinance looming and actually seemed to be in a good mood, which definitely showed on stage.
1. LCD Soundsystem at Bonnaroo, 6/11 – Quite simply, one of the most fun concert experiences I’ve ever had, and in the wee horus of 2:30-4am on the Friday of this year’s Bonnaroo at that. I would have loved for them to keep going past their timeslot, but unfortunately the people throwing glowsticks at the band kind of ruined the prospect of that for everyone. That band was tight, and each of the songs had so much energy live.
All the bands I saw this year listed in chronological order after the jump… Continue reading