- The Thick Of It
The BBC’s ferocious political satire – the cleverest, crudest sitcom of the last 10 years – bowed out on a potty-mouthed high with its fourth and final series.
Starring: Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison, Rebecca Front, Roger Allam
Having endured years of drama series centred around high-gloss hyper-bitches sniping at each other’s $500 hairdos, Girls allowed young women to see their lives portrayed in a recognisable manner – cringing calamities and all. Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna – Girls’ central quartet of struggling Brooklynites – may lack the funds and sex-smarts of the Sex And The City foursome, but they’re destined to become similar generational touchstones.
Starring: Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Marnet
Game Of Thrones
If, two years ago, you’d told us we’d soon be addicted to a dungeons-and-dragons-filled TV show based on a series of doorstep-sized fantasy novels, we’d have told you to naff off back to your mum’s cellar to play with your action figures in a fug of your own BO, loneliness and Pringles-dust. We would, of course, have been foolish to do so. Turns out that swords plus sorcery plus sex plus swearing plus Yorkshire-accented ultra-violence equals one helluva good time.
Starring: Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Aidan Gillen, Alfie Allen
Not only was Fresh Meat the best show about the sex-and-horror-filled fever dream that is student life since anarchic ’80s classic The Young Ones, it was also the strongest performer in a pack of yoof-centered shows – see also Him & Her, Friday Night Dinner, Cuckoo and Grandma’s House – that suggested the British sitcom was enjoying a renaissance in 2012. It also proved its creators, Jesse Bain and Sam Armstrong, had more to offer the nation’s funny-bone than just Peep Show.
Starring: Jack Whitehall, Joe Thomas, Kimberley Nixon
If the first half of Breaking Bad’s fifth season (the second half is due summer 2013) has felt a tad tame following its relentless fourth season, it’s done little to dampen our enthusiasm for it. Even firing on half its cylinders, it’s bum-squeakingly thrilling. This being the last season, the sense that a final reckoning is fast approaching has hung heavy – and with Walt’s bad karma stacking up, we’re not anticipating a happy-ever-after…
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, RJ Mitte