The nature of making lists is tricky business. I’ve already said multiple times that it’s ludicrous to stick to outdated modalities and devise a list of the year’s best TV consisting of a mere 10 choices when roughly 400 scripted series were on the air and we are, and remain, in the Platinum Age of Television.
This isn’t about minimalism or tradition — it’s about rewarding excellence. But how many do you include? I tried to keep the reasoning simple: Although I was cognizant of the swelling number of shows, I also was aware that even with a list of 46, I'd still be omitting a large number of high-quality shows — as many as 15 that might have made it any other year (and some have in the past).
We’re living in amazing times when it comes to quality television. So no apologies for the length of this list. It actually started out as two lists — one for drama and one for comedy — and while I found mixing them significantly harder, I feel it reflects a truer evaluation.
I have a separate list for broadcast networks because, just as I’ve noted in years past, the playing field simply isn’t level — but the strong work being done in that medium needs to be acknowledged as well. Finally, this thought: The length of this list and the fact that it could be significantly longer makes me happy.
There’s an unbelievable, historic amount of wonderful television out there; giving due credit for making the very best of it brings a lot more joy to a critic than dismantling all the mediocre — or worse — fare in the world.