2012 Calvin Awards: Best TV Show

By David Mumpower

February 13, 2012

I believe I *am* the boss of you now.

We have a strange tradition here at BOP. Every year we vote for the Best Television Show and every year we pick something new. This marks the seventh time we have awarded a program and this also marks the seventh different series to win the honor. Previous champions in the category are Modern Family, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Friday Night Lights, Battlestar Galactica and Deadwood. While all of these titles save for Battlestar Galactica and Deadwood were eligible to win this year, we have once again lauded a new entrant.

The best television series is Breaking Bad. I commented in last year’s announcement that Breaking Bad had the most first place votes of any series. Its problem was that there wasn’t a lot of support beyond the zealots. The situation changed with the latest round of voting as Breaking Bad not only increased in terms of first place votes but also garnered several honorable mentions from others. The end result is that the highly regarded but lightly watched AMC program averaging less than two million viewers per episode joins the above list of impeccable television series. This is heady company but Breaking Bad deserves the recognition.

After a seven episode trial run in 2008, the Bryan Cranston showcase has meticulously chronicled the corruption of a high school chemistry teacher who once considered himself a nice guy. By the end of season four, viewers learned that any remaining virtues the teacher once had have been extinguished. What is left now is a Walter White, a ruthless meth dealer who is not above poisoning loved ones if he sees illicit gain in the action.


Breaking Bad had ardent support prior to season four, but make no mistake on the point. This most recent 13 episode story arc is what put the show over the top, elevating it from sixth place last year to the obvious choice for Best Television Show. Anyone who watches Breaking Bad understands why. The climactic events this season included a ringing bell, an old man’s look of satisfaction and a man adjusting his suit in a final reflexive action. The series finale of season four of Breaking Bad may be the finest in the 2000s. If you have not been watching the program prior to now, the current hiatus is the perfect opportunity to catch up and thereby celebrate its greatness. Breaking Bad obtained over 40% of the first place votes in the category. The consensus was that strong.

There is a philosophy in boxing, pro wrestling and MMA that the challengers add to the mystique of the champion. Defeating an opponent who is deemed as powerful makes the best in the world seem better. If this is true of television as well, the fact that Breaking Bad won the vote this year is all the more impressive when we consider that the show finishing in second place is Justified. We heralded the show’s arrival last year in naming it our eighth favorite show. Its follow-up season, however, is where the show found its footing as the most dynamic in television.

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