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The Top 18 TV Shows of 2010

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Walking Dead
Scott Garfield/"Walking Dead," Courtesy of AMC

See which series made the list, as ranked by The Hollywood Reporter's chief television critic, Tim Goodman.

Instead of annotating all the qualifiers these kinds of lists truly need, let’s just cut to the chase and say that reasonable people can disagree.

1. Breaking Bad. AMC. This riveting and audacious series about life, death and meth just continues to astonish. Brilliant writing, acting, cinematography and sound flesh out stories that are both unvarnished and funny.

2. Mad Men. AMC. Don Draper’s existential crisis finally collapsed upon him fully – and we found out a lot about how a man rebuilds from the ruins. Intelligent, sumptuous, laden with surprises, playing out under the ominous change that’s coming.

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3. The Pacific. HBO. Following Ken Burns’ epic The War, who thought there was room for more narrative, more emotion? But this miniseries showed that the Pacific theater was a brand new kind of hell and profoundly different in its scarring and scorching of the human spirit.

4. Treme. HBO. How do you follow up arguably the best drama ever made for television? David Simon answered with something wholly different than The Wire. Equally complicated and artful, this look at post-Katrina New Orleans was lyrical and heartfelt.