The best TV shows of the year

Slide show: From "Breaking Bad" to "Homeland" and with a surprise at No. 1, cable dominates the best shows of 2011 SLIDE SHOW

Topics: Friday Night Seitz, TV,

We’re living in some kind of new Golden Age of scripted TV, and this year’s best offerings were amazing. I decided to be rigorous and restrict myself to just 10 entries. It wasn’t easy.

These 10 picks represent what I think were the most creative and consistently satisfying scripted comedies and dramas that aired on American TV during 2011. If I’d expanded the list to account for shows that were somewhat more erratic but that produced terrific individual episodes, this list would have had 30 or maybe even 40 titles on it. If anybody’s curious, I may post the expanded list in the comments section.

You may see some of the runners-up cited next week, when I will present a slide show honoring the best individual episodes of scripted series. There might be an article listing the best nonfiction programs as well.

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    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

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    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

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    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

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    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

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    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

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    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

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    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

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    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

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    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

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    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

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    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

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    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

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