Top 10 lists are very popular right now. Top 20 lists are also getting their due. But where’s the love for Top 30 lists? Top 30 lists are the new Top 20 lists, which are the new Top 10 lists, which will be defunct by springtime. So let’s hear it for the Top 30 of our Top 100 Everything of 2011, which will soon be the new Top 10. Styles and trends are so hard to keep up with!
We’ll be posting 10 items each weekday through December 30, so check back often to see what made the cut!
30. Saturday Night Live still knows how to make the most of some hosts
This year brought some great hosts to the stage of NBC’s long-running sketch show. Zach Galifianakis, Justin Timberlake, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Emma Stone, and Jimmy Fallon were all great and had excellent material to work with.
29. Castle knocks us out
Bitter, meet sweet. The Season 3 finale, “Knockout,” ended with a cliffhanger and major step forward for the Castle/Beckett love connection. Hearing Castle say “I love you” with such gravitas (thank you, Nathan Fillion!) while hovering over Beckett, who’d just been shot, made the show’s summer hiatus particularly rough.
28. John Reese and his guns!
Person of Interest may be about a supercomputer giving two guys hints so they can save the world from itself, but the show’s characters are the reason we tune in every week. And one of our favorites is John Reese and his kickass arsenal of high-powered weaponry. Grenade launchers, scoped assault rifles, snipers, and reliable pistols look fantastic in the hands of New York’s finest vigilante madman.
27. Oprah‘s final goodbye (sort of)
The Queen of All Media stepped down from her insanely successful daytime talk show this year, ending the most impressive reign in daytime television history. Even though we didn’t get a free car just for watching, we got something more valuable: proof that Tom Cruise is an alien. Uh, we mean sage advice. Yeah, advice.
26. Khal Drogo gets fired up
Note to self: Do not mess with Khal Drogo’s girl. After learning of a plot to poison his dainty Khaleesi, the Dothraki chief got mad. Like, really mad. Like, “I’m gonna pillage the mainland and rape some broads and enslave some kids and shave funny shapes into their pets’ fur” kind of mad. Heck, this entry isn’t just about this one speech, it’s about Khal Drogo in general. Whether he was pouring hot gold over people’s heads or ripping tongues out of people’s throats, Drogo was BAD. ASS.
25. The Bennetts of Justified
Mags, Dickie, Coover, and Doyle were four rednecks you didn’t want to drink moonshine with. Season 2′s bad guys were a handful for Raylan Givens and a huge part of the show’s success, especially mama Mags. Margo Martindale’s performance proved Emmy worthy, and Jeremy Davies shined as limp Dickie. It looks like Justified will reset its bad guys in Season 3, and they have huge overalls to fill.
24. Parks and Recreation loves love
NBC’s most delightfully warm-and-fuzzy-but-not-overly-sappy comedy did an excellent job of balancing its own brand of humor with good old-fashioned
23. Sons of Anarchy‘s skidmarks
In Season 4, FX’s biker drama entered a new level of intensity and pacing that few single seasons of television acheive. Every episode moved at the speed of a turbo crotch rocket, and more stuff went down before each episode’s opening credits than happens over a whole season of other shows. Though the finale broke down slightly, showrunner Kurt Sutter pushed things harder than anyone else this year, on and off Twitter.
22. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia reveals Mac’s REAL name
A strong season of FX’s comedy has yielded great contributions from every cast member, but Rob McElhenney went above and beyond the call of duty by shoving donuts into his mouth until he packed on 50 pounds to become Fat Mac. The funniest moment of all came during Season 7′s two-part finale, when the gang attended their high-school reunion and Mac donned a nametag that bore his real name.
21. Supernatural‘s “The French Mistake”
The CW sci-fi show is no stranger to poking fun at its genre, its fans, or itself. But this episode, in which Sam and Dean were transported to a reality where they starred on a show called Supernatural, was riotous and a treat for hardcore fans. Mostly it showed us that the crew behind the show pride themselves on their fearlessness and absence of shame, both of which are required to pull of something as enjoyable as this ultra-meta self-spoof.