Best Serials of 2010

We’re a week into 2011, which makes it the perfect time to look back at the year that was and provide a list of the best serials that entertained us in 2010.  Come on, it’s the internet.  You HAVE to list things.

5. LOST (TV Series)

This is going to be a controversial call for a lot of people.  But what’s the point of listing things if you can’t court controversy for the three minutes people are engaged on your blog?  Some are going to go nuts that LOST is only ranked number 5.  Others will be ranting and raving in the comments that LOST doesn’t even belong on the list.  But no matter where you fall on the quality of LOST’s final season, there’s no denying its cultural impact.

The LOST phenomenon captivated people around the globe compelling them to tune in week after week to watch the layers peel away in the countdown to the end.  And that my friends, is the perfect example of a serial working the way it should be.

Whether or not it was actually good storytelling or a satisfying ending is different questions.  (The answers to those questions are yes and very much no respectively.)  But we’re far enough removed from the show that I don’t think I need to get into it here.  That said, if anyone wants to disagree and try to convince me I’m wrong and that the end of LOST was a masterpiece, bring it on in the comments.  LOST may have disappointed me in the end like I knew it was going to, but I was compelled to watch regardless.  Which is what made it one of the best serials in a long time.

4. South Park: Coon and Friends (TV Series)

Here comes the list’s oddball choice.  But long time fans of South Park know exactly why this three part mini-event deserves its place on this list.  Was it hilarious?  Yes.  Did it drop bombshell revelations about the shows continuity?  Yes.  Was that extra weird and hilarious since South Park, out of all shows, has never cared about continuity at all?  Yes.  Do we all still laugh whenever somebody cries “MINTBERRRRRRY CRUNCH!”?  Yes.

For three glorious weeks, this mini-serial ratcheted up the insanity.  You may be surprised by this pick, but Captain Hindsight saw it coming a mile away.

3. Chew (Comic Series)

Chew: The best serial you’ve never heard of.  This Image comic tells the continuing story of FDA agent Tony Chu.  What makes him so special?  Well, Agent Chu is a cibopath.  Which basically means he gets psychic feedback from everything he eats.  If he eats a chicken parm hero, he’ll flash back to the poor chicken’s life, and maybe some of the prep that went into the cheese and sauce.  But Tony Chu solves murders (yes, for the FDA), so that means he’s biting into corpses and severed body parts to get to the bottom of various twisted mysteries.

And twisted is the best word you can use to describe this series.  It is MESSED.  UP.  Seriously.  It will make you gag.  It will make you cover your eyes.  And it will make you laugh.  A lot.

With great character work, a compelling overarching plot, and phenomenally styled art Chew is a highly recommended read.  The first three story-arcs have been collected and can be purchased through Amazon or finer book stores everywhere.  You won’t regret it.  After you’re done throwing up, you’ll start smiling and get ready to dig into the next volume.

2. The Walking Dead (Comic Series/TV Series)

This one is kind of a cheat, since this is a combined entry for two different serials with the same title.  But any way you look at it, it’s inescapable that this was the year of The Walking Dead.  Or at least a month and a half out of the year was dedicated to The Walking Dead with it’s too short, but massively successful first season.

The show is based on a popular (but less popular than the TV series) ongoing comic series written by Robert Kirkman.  And it’s good.  Seriously, if you’ve watched and enjoyed the series, you owe it to yourself to hunt down the first few collections of The Walking Dead.  You will devour them (pun very much intended).  2010 was the seventh year of the series and things have just been getting progressively darker and more dangerous.  The concept has proven to have a longevity no one could have expected, especially given the high mortality rate amongst the main cast.

The TV series has also been great.  Sure it’s had a few stumbles (including a bizarre season finale that came completely out of left field and didn’t really fit the tone of anything that came before it.  I’d actually say that it felt more hoky and dare I say “comic book-y” than anything in the ACTUAL comic book), but all in all it has proven to be a very strong adaption with a great ongoing narrative that should keep it on air for a long time.

But again, I want to plug the series from which it was spawned.  As good as the show was, The Walking Dead is ranking this high thanks to the strength of its print element.  So don’t miss out.

1. Mad Men (TV Series)

Lets get this out of the way.  Yes, Mad Men really is THAT good.  It deserves every award, every bit of critical acclaim, every article of in depth discussion written about it.  From the acting, to the writing, to the costume design, the show is flawless.  And this year, the ongoing story of Don Draper’s two worlds took its audience to new highs and more often, unexpected lows.

And can we just stop and talk about Joan Halloway?

But back to the show as a whole.  Year after year it has proven itself as the best period piece, the best character piece, and the most satisfying ongoing narrative on television.  If you haven’t started watching it yet, there’s plenty of time to catch up on the last few seasons.  The bombshell season finale has guaranteed that next year will be even better, and you don’t want to miss out.

So there you have it.  Our picks for the best serials of 2010.  Agree?  Disagree?  Dismayed over the omission of Weeds, The Amazing Spider-Man or your other favorite serial?  Let us know in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Best Serials of 2010

  1. Well, Nebulous and Mysterious Eat Your Serial List Generation Machine, I have to agree with this list where it applies to my knowledge. I will grant you Lost, though I did not watch it, by its unavoidable pop culture impact. I will give you Walking Dead because the TV series was extra awesome. The others I don’t know from. Can we talk MadMen now?

    How is it possible that this is the most successful underground show ever? Still nobody watches it…yet the ratings are high. Everyone hears its good, but nobody knows when its on. MadMen is the best thing to happen to television drama in a decade–especially a decade full of Law and Order spin offs, or Crime Scene Acronym Squad (C.S.A.S.) and all the cities that can happen in. MadMen has proven the ability of a cable network that isn’t HBO to crank out successful series (Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, not sure about Rubicon) that can be of good quality with individuality. The impact of the show is so great that it was parodied on Sesame Street. If that ain’t makin’ it I don’t know what is.

    The only thing that could possibly make MadMen better would be if it paid for me instead of me paying for it. Week after week you tune into wanting to know, not only what major events are going to transpire (because those are slow in coming) but about the development of the characters and the minutia of their lives. The character’s are deep, engaging, and complicated MadMen never offers an easy answer and even its dilemma’s are complicated. It makes you question what “being a good person” is in respect to actions and deep personal flaws. Plus Christina Hendricks…but all the same…wtf Christina Hendricks…

  2. I do enjoy Mad Men, overall, but I did not like season 3. Compared to any of the other seasons, almost nothing happened in season 3. Until the end. From the season 3 finale onward, I loved the show. Before that, I was a little disappointed. I don’t think the show should have won Best Drama for its third season. Breaking Bad or another, more deserving, show should have won.

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