The Excellent 10 of 2011

What's the Number One show of 2011? Scroll down to find out!

There is a lot of mediocrity that abounded in the media business this year. But in this post, T Dog Media is honoring the standouts of 2011 – the year’s ten best shows and the best media items. Let’s countdown the best shows of the year first…

Best shows of 2011

10. Bob’s Burgers (Fox). What could’ve been the next entry in the T Dog Media Blog Hall Of Shame turned out to be a rather decent and funny show (and for the record, Allen Gregory went instead.)

9. 24/7 (HBO). Whether if its a Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito fight or a journey to the annual NHL Winter Classic, this sports documentary series take us behind the scenes in the preparations for a big event in ways nobody else can.

8. Beavis & Butthead (MTV). Fourteen years removed from the air and as fresh and funny as ever before. Their critiques of pop culture (goodbye Sheena Easton videos, hello Jersey Shore) only rivals Tom Servo and the MST3K crew in brilliance. Welcome back!

7. Breaking Bad (AMC). Critically acclaimed and a ratings winner. You would never know Bryan Cranston ever played Malcolm’s dad in Malcolm in the Middle.

6. Men Of A Certain Age (TNT). It’s too bad TNT canceled this wonderful and well written drama about the trials and tribulations of four middle-aged male friends. Its awesomeness and its cancellation is summed up in one of the best editorials the Chicago Tribune has ever written about a TV show.

5. The Walking Dead (AMC). What a year for zombies! The second straight appearance on the best year-end list, with the series breaking cable ratings records in the adult 18-49 demographic.

4. South Park (Comedy Central). Led by the excellent “You’re Getting Old” story arc, South Park completed one of its best seasons in years. And there’s more to come – Cartman and the gang have been picked up for thre3 more seasons.

3. The NFL. Lockout? What lockout? Despite ratings down a tad from last year on various networks, the NFL is still a ratings force to be reckoned with. Ratings are so strong, even lackluster teams like the Chicago Bears and the Cleveland Browns still post strong ratings in their respective local markets.

2. The Big Bang Theory (CBS). Sheldon and Co. continue to roll along on Thursday night with the addition of Mayim Bialik (Blossom) as Amy Farafowler bears an uncanny resemblance to Dobie Gillis‘ Zelda Gilroy.

1. Modern Family (ABC). Multiple Emmy winner. Multiple TCA Award winner. Multiple Writers’ Guild America Award winner. And just as important: a hilarious sitcom. How could this series NOT be #1 for the year?

One item of note here… of the ten shows listed here, only four are on the broadcast networks – Bob’s Burgers, Big Bang, Modern Family, and the NFL. The rabbit-ear gang need to step up their game.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: American Horror Society (FX), Brandmeier (Non Stop Chicago), Game of Thrones (HBO), Mad Men (AMC),  Once Upon A Time (ABC), The Simpsons (Fox)

Other great media items of note in 2011:

Johnny B returns. In a move that came out of nowhere – in December no less, WGN Radio canned vanilla host Greg Jarrett and replaced him with the eclectic Jonathan Brandmeier.

Arrested Development returns. One of television’s best comedies ever is poised to make a comeback in 2013 with the announcement to its return via Netflix. The question is… will Netflix be around by then?

So Long, Farewell, and Amen: The last hours of WKQX-FM (Q101) on the morning of  July 15 was the best radio in Chicago in years and perhaps the best sendoff since the final episode of M*A*S*H.

Still Number One: Despite losing The Oprah Winfrey Show and All My Children – two of its highest-rated programs – ABC-owned WLS-TV still managed to lead the market in the ratings and in all local news time periods (excluding mornings, where WGN-TV reigns.)

Welcome Back, Part 2: Beavis & Butthead weren’t the only animated characters to stage a comeback in 2011 – the Peanuts gang (well, some of them) returned in a new direct-to-video feature Happiness Is A Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown set in the strip’s golden era, the 1960’s. Long live Snoopy!

Happy New Year!