Top ten TV moments of 2012

It was a year of stunning highs and crushing lows when it came to the tubes in 2012, and most of the latter were provided by a programming department that nearly sent Ten down the gurgler and just about bankrupted Nine.

Cable TV continued to prove the "TV is the new cinema" brigade had a point, and locally, a return to the great Aussie art of the miniseries came up trumps. I spent a good part of the year drowning in the sea that is American subscription television, and the rest of it yelling at The Project on Mum's couch, which provided a compelling cross-section of the art of television. In other words, my bum is numb from all the viewing. I did it all for you guys. 

So here, in no particular order, are my most favouritest moments from TV this year. 

* * *

Game Of Thrones - Blackwater

With a script by George R. R. Martin himself, the penultimate episode of Game Of Thrones' second season more or less redefined what could be done within a TV format, and was the first scene of war committed to film that finally toppled Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers' battle at Helm's Deep, as far as I'm concerned, from its position as 'best medieval/fantasy battle sequence of all time'. (Incidentally GQ has an entertaining oral history of how the episode came to be, if you're into that sort of stuff.)

Adam on Girls

After failing to connect with its pilot episode, I ended up liking Girls a lot, despite agreeing with the bulk of the criticism of Lena Dunham's chronicles of middle-class 20-somethings in NYC. But what I liked most about it was the stunning character arc of her weird not-boyfriend Adam. He went from being a skeevy fuck buddy to one of the most complex characters on TV within the course of the show's short first series, helped by Adam Driver's exceptionally nuanced performance. 

Australian TV drama living in the '70s

Now that Underbelly has well and truly gone to the dogs (some would suggest it was born there), period drama fans had to get our "look! Paper money!" fix elsewhere in 2012, and did the networks ever deliver in spades: between Ten's Puberty Blues and Nine's Howzat! (despite the latter network's best efforts to turn everyone off by cramming in as many ads as possible), there were bullhorn moustaches aplenty and more Dragon hits than you'll find in my iTunes. And, more importantly, some of the best TV the country has produced in a long time. 

Danny Boyle's 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony

Let's face it, it was better than Sydney's. Danny Boyle's exquisite "live film", which took in everything from Shakespeare's The Tempest to the Industrial Revolution, Mary Poppins fighting Voldemort, and Dizzee Rascal holding a house party while Tim Berners Lee invented the world wide web, was one of the few things I watched multiple times this year. In a genre - sports broadcasting - not known for its eloquence, Boyle's poetic, artistic ceremony, with its impressive (yet natural) approach to inclusiveness and diversity was, a bit like Madonna's hyper-gay Super Bowl half-time show, an intervention. I'm sure it, and the Games that followed, were solely responsible for half the world deciding they'd like to move to London.

Story continues next page.

profile of clembastow