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Tube Talk's Top TV Shows 2012: The honourable mentions

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It's that time when we all start reflecting on the year gone by - and boy, has it been a busy twelve months for television! We've had everything from the quiet end of Desperate Housewives to Angus T Jones's spectacular rant about Two and a Half Men, but more importantly, there have been some rather good on-screen moments.

We've picked out our top 25 shows of the year - which we will start counting down on Digital Spy tomorrow - but it turns out that 25 is a very small number. So with that in mind, Tube Talk presents our honourable mentions - the ten series that we love but couldn't shove into our list. Let us know what you think below!

Archer
The criminally-underrated comedy fails to make Tube Talk's Top 25 list once again, as it falls at the last possible hurdle. Sterling Archer finds himself in more ludicrous situations - Katya's resurrection ("gross and/or ick"), fighting Bryan Cranston in space ("the zone will be one of danger?") - but that's okay, because it gives the egotistical ISIS agent new ways to be freakin' hilarious. Who else would look out for Predator in the jungle? The rest of the cast are also great, from Jessica Walter's overbearing and Burt Reynolds-dating Mallory to Judy Greer's emotionally unstable, ocelot-owning Cheryl, but H Jon Benjamin is undoubtedly the star of the show. [BL]



Awake
It may not have been the game-changing drama that we'd been hoping for, with procedural dullness trickling in a little too often, but NBC's Awake should still be applauded for its bold concept and its visual inventiveness - particularly in the mind-bending series finale. The show was also bolstered by a fantastic central performance from Jason Isaacs - an actor so charismatic and engaging that we'd happily watch him watch paint dry. Awake itself might not have been perfect, but you'd be hard-pressed to fault Isaacs's textured performance as anguished cop Michael Britten. [MJ]



Ben and Kate
Okay, so Ben and Kate is pretty likely to be cancelled, and admittedly the premise - kooky brother moves in with his single mum sister - is one of the oldest concepts around. But somehow, Ben and Kate has become something really rather special. It's unexpectedly sweet but not sickly, Dakota Johnson and Nate Faxon have a lovely brother-sister relationship, Maggie Elizabeth Jones is a rare non-irritating child actor, and it actually makes you laugh (the lines are endlessly quotable). Plus, Tommy (played brilliantly by Echo Kellum) is maybe my favourite supporting character in a sitcom right now. I really hope people start watching Ben and Kate soon, because I'm not ready to say goodbye (UK people - it'll be on ITV2 soon.) [CW]



Chicago Fire
If you're feeling cynical, there's much to pick at in Law & Order creator Dick Wolf's new firefighter drama - Jesse Spencer's shaky US accent, the unlikely twists, some overblown acting and Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) being forced to use his bad arm in every. single. rescue. thus further inflaming his injury and the drama! But that's all part of the fun - Chicago Fire has become one of TV's greatest guilty pleasures - it won't win any Emmys, but it easily scores a place in our rundown of 2012's 'Honourable Mentions'. [MJ]



Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23
This one makes our list for daring to go where no other comedy will - Apartment 23 plunges the depths of bad taste humour and is admirably filthy for a show that airs on primetime network US television. Season two's struggled in the ratings Stateside, suggesting that we might not be spending much more time with June (Dreama Walker), Chloe (Krysten Ritter) and James Van Der Beek, and that's criminal - the show's Thanksgiving episode 'It's a Miracle...' was a comedy masterpiece and Van Der Beek's self-parodying - as he bickers with Dean Cain and offends practically everybody else in Hollywood - never gets old. [MJ]



Justified
The third run didn't match the Bennetts storyline - that would have been some achievement - but it came close. Neal McDonough was fearsome as the season antagonist Quarles, and Mykelti Williamson was a superb addition as butcher Ellstin Limehouse ("I likes to back the winning side"). What was most impressive, though, was how more living and breathing the world of Justified felt, with the addition of Noble's Holler and its history, as well as the show's abundant-in-number recurring characters coming and going as the story demanded. The writers also crafted affecting personal arcs for Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), including his relationships with Winona and his father Arlo. [BL]



Nashville
Now, we're not exactly country music fans here at Tube Talk (okay, one of our writers is a Carrie Underwood devotee, but the less said about that the better.) But something about Nashville got me hooked - perhaps it's the fantastic Connie Britton, never bad in anything, or the fact that Hayden Panettiere is playing a fantastically snarky bitch with the brilliant name Juliette Barnes. Nashville isn't perfect by any means - there's a dull political sideplot and it sometimes tips alarmingly into nonsense (Juliette's druggie mother provides some of the more absurd moments). But when it's good, Nashville (coming to More4 in the UK) is really good - and whatever your views on country music, you won't be able to get some of the songs out of your head. [CW]



Once Upon a Time
At first, the fantasy-drama struggled to live up to the potential of its kick-ass concept, but Once Upon a Time has valiantly improved. At its best, the show is capable of delivering superb character-driven moments to the backdrop of a unique setting and mythology. The back-end of the first season - which culminated in a jaw-dropping finale - injected a sense of urgency that was arguably previously lacking, while Robert Carlyle never disappoints, hamming it up as Mr Gold/Rumpelstiltskin. It may be heavily inspired by fairy tales, but it nearly always takes creative liberties, providing a fresh spin on people's favourite childhood characters. [BL]



Scandal
Scandal is one of my real drama discoveries this year. Full of twists and turns, this light, frothy political thriller has kept me hooked. The first season - which just finished in the UK on More4 - expertly mixed salacious affairs, creepy murders, surprisingly shocking torture scenes and intriguing mysteries, and then left us all on a massive cliffhanger as everything we knew about the show's young ingénue Quinn Perkins was thrown into question. Olivia Pope - embodied wonderfully by Kerry Washington - is one of the year's best new characters, and without giving anything away, season two is even more insane than the first. I'm really hoping Scandal is around for a while, because it's a real pleasure. [CW]



Strike Back
Rejected from our official top 25 shows of the year for being...well, just a bit silly, Strike Back is still one of the most entertaining programmes on the box regardless. When it comes to balls-to-the-wall action, the show has few rivals, and its simple tales of devious terrorists, square-jawed heroes, secret operatives and moles fill the void left by 24 very nicely indeed. The show's anchored by a pair of dynamite dual performances - Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton are fantastic as Section 20's best agents, the tortured Michael Stonebridge and cheeky womaniser Damian Scott. [MJ]



What do you think of these shows? Are you disappointed they didn't make our top 25 list? Let us know below!

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