My best-of list for television begins the same way it did last year, with “Breaking Bad” on top.
I’ll be sorry to see the drama end in 2013. It’s been that good.
Anyway, here’s my top 10 for 2012 and five honorable mentions:
1. “Breaking Bad,” AMC. Creator Vince Gilligan ups his game every season. The dynamic between Walter (Bryan Cranston) and his protege, Jessie (Aaron Paul) and his wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn), made for the most compelling TV this year.
2. “The Walking Dead,” AMC. I figured showrunner Frank Darabont leaving the show signaled the creative demise of "Dead". I was wrong. The first half of season three was an emotional, gut-wrenching affair.
3. “Longmire,” A&E. The only new show on my list features Robert Taylor as a no-nonsense Wyoming sheriff attempting to put his life back together after his wife’s death. Very, very well done.
4. “Homeland,” Showtime. I had a hard time buying into the season two relationship between Carrie (Claire Danes) and Brody (Damian Lewis). Still, no drama builds suspense better than this Emmy winner.
5. “Sons of Anarchy,” FX. Remember when Jax (Charlie Hunnam) was a guy you could root for? Well, that’s really not the case anymore.
6. “Modern Family,” ABC. How do the writers do it? Each week is funnier than the previous week.
7. “The Good Wife,” CBS. Julianna Margulies is stellar, but the supporting cast (Matt Czuchry, Archie Panjabi, Josh Charles, Christine Baranski, Alan Cumming and Chris Noth) is why I tune in each week.
8. “Downton Abbey,” PBS. Although the writers went a bit overboard with storylines -- Matthew’s paralysis, Lord Grantham’s affair, the Spanish flu and several other eyebrow-raisers -- they found their footing with the strong finish involving John Bates and his arrest.
9. “Mad Men,” AMC. Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is much more interesting when he’s a cad. Apparently, Emmy voters thought so, too, when it didn’t name the show best drama. Here’s hoping we see more of the old Don in season six.
10. “Southland,” TNT. Michael Cudlitz and Regina King deserve some awards for the work they are doing in this gritty drama.
* "Suits," USA. The dialogue is as snappy as the wardrobes.
* "Justified," FX. I love how Raylen shoots first and asks questions later.
* "Dexter," Showtime. Dexter found his groove again thanks to “Chuck” alum Yvonne Strahovski.
* "Hart of Dixie," The CW. It’s quirky and features Nebraskans Scott Porter and Jaime King.
* "Parks & Recreation," NBC. The ensemble cast rivals the ones from "Modern Family" and ratings monster "The Big Bang Theory."