Why Top 11? I’m blatantly stealing it from the Nostalgia Critic.
1. Doctor Who
I never got into the previous versions of this show as I was unlucky enough to be born into a childhood without Doctor Who. I saw the dude in the scarf on magazines in comic book stores but it was beyond me. I missed it when Eccleston began in 2005 but caught the first bits of David Tennant’s first season. This show always makes me smile and often makes me laugh. It’s hard to explain to you what this show is since each episode can pretty much be about anything. I’ve seen every episode that was aired since it began again in 2005. Matt Smith is rocking the new seasons and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.
2 Gravity Falls
The show follows Dipper and Mabel, twin siblings forced to spend the summer working at their Great Uncle (“Gruncle”) Stan’s Mystery Shack which is a tourist trap in Gravity Falls. In each episode they tend to get entangled in supernatural mysteries and/or hijinks.This is a new find for me. I love goofy, crazy humor that is just this side of surreal. Well, I love it if the show isn’t trying too hard. This show effortlessly pulls off throwaway gag after throwaway gag but it also keeps a good foundation of reality and continuity. Each episode has callbacks to earlier episodes but isn’t pushy or intrusive about it. Really though, this show just makes me laugh during every episode and that’s enough to make me love it.
Nathan Ford is a former insurance investigator who descended into alcoholism after the insurance company he worked for refused to pay for an experimental procedure that could have saved his son from death. He pulls it back together to form a Robin Hood kind of team that punishes the powerful who hurt the powerless. Each member of the team is a specialist in their field which reminds me of character classes in Dungeons and Dragons. We get a fighter, a hacker, a grifter, a thief and Nate who is the mastermind. I love a good ensemble and I like that each of them gets to show off their particular skills and personalities. However, this show has given the characters a lot of room to grow. I can’t wait for the mid-season finale tonight.
Dr. Lee Rosen is a neurologist and psychiatrist who is an expert in the Alpha phenomenon. Alphas are individuals who have developed superpowers through some quirk in their neurology. He leads a team of his patients in stopping threats from violent or out of control Alphas. This is another great ensemble show with everybody working towards a great show. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that David Straitharn as Dr. Rosen is a huge reason why I love the show. The show kind of reminds me of Heroes but if it was a tad more realistic and didn’t have vast, meandering subplots. Which is less bashing Heroes and more praise of this show.
5 White Collar
Neal Caffrey is a world-class conman and forger who is caught by Special Agent Peter Burke. He makes a deal with the FBI to work with Burke as a consultant to the white collar crime division where they use his larcenous gifts to catch criminals. What instantly stole the show for me was the fast talking, smooth Neal Caffrey but the supporting cast really has grown on me. Each character has become a little more rounded with each episode and I’ve come to appreciate the complicated relationships between the cast of characters. It also has a conspiracy theorist who often spouts famous quotes.
Team 1 of the Strategic Response Unit in Toronto responds to crimes and tense situations where normal police are less equipped to act. The team heads into life or death situations which usually involve gunplay and usually at least one of the team on sniper duty but there is also a strong emphasis on negotiation. This is another ensemble show so I hope you’re sensing a pattern. I like that the show focuses a lot on tactics and the human element of each and every situation they face. I also like that those same situations are rarely black and white and the solution almost always leaves you and the characters wondering if they did the right thing.
7 Warehouse 13
Warehouse 13 is where an untold amount of magical and potentially dangerous artifacts are stored. These artifacts usually bestow some special ability to the user but often have a terrible downside. The agents go out into the world to track these artifacts down so they can be safely stored in the warehouse. Artifacts may range from Sylvia Plath’s typewriter which sucks the will to live from people all the way to Anne Bonny’s cutlass which makes you act like a pirate. The show is fun to watch but sometimes even more fun to research as all of the artifacts are connected to real life historical figures and events. While the show doesn’t make me laugh, I can appreciate it’s low key sense of humor.
8 Young Justice
A group of superhero sidekicks forms their own team which takes on more covert missions as back up to the more flashy Justice League of America. The founding members of the team are Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Artemis, Superboy and Miss Martian. They are the sidekicks of Batman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Arrow, Superman and Martian Manhunter. The cast has since majorly expanded so the episodes have a rotating cast of crimefighters. I am a huge fan of the Young Justice and Teen Titans comic book series so I was excited when this premiered. It doesn’t disappoint as they stick pretty close to the source material while also doing their own thing.
Jeff Winger is a shark of a lawyer who is suspended from practicing law because it is discovered that he faked his undergraduate degree. He attends Greendale Community College as a way to get a quick degree so he can get back to his career. The show follows Jeff and the study group that he inadvertently forms in the first episode. They are a mismatched group of characters with surprisingly realistic personality flaws considering the off the wall humor of the series. The show is very “meta” and the more episodes that you’ve seen, the more you’re rewarded. The show begins it’s fourth season soon after firing their showrunner who also created the show. I hope it keeps the same spirit that it’s had since day one.
10 Lost Girl
Bo is a succubus, which in the world of the show is a kind of faery but is pretty much how a succubus is explained elsewhere. She teams up with a human named Kenzi to act as a private invesitgator amongst the fae and the supernatural world. Basically an urban fantasy show with a tough female protagonist. I like its take on supernatural creatures and how they fit in or don’t fit in to modern society. The low production values and clever dialogue remind me of another show called Sanctuary. I just discovered this show as it was recently imported from Canada.
Shawn Spencer has a photographic memory and a razor sharp attention for detail which he uses to convince the Santa Barbara police that he is a psychic detective. With the help of his friend Gus and two police detectives, he solves murders. I was obsessed with this show for a while and I am still a big fan. Shawn’s tendency to spout pop culture references is a big plus for me as I’m a sucker for pop culture references. The show is often over the top but usually doesn’t go too far. The show also has a kicking theme song.