2) BBCAmerica Six Nations Rugby & Pre-Game Show
3) Fox NFL Today
4) LinkTV Al Jazeera English live feed of Tahrir Square
5) Global Public Square with Fareed Zakaria, CNN
6) Masterpiece Theater PBS
7) Gavin & Stacey, BBC America
9) Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations, Travel Channel & DirectTV Audience Network
10) NFC & AFC Playbook, NFL Network
Honorable Mention: Peppa Pig
Clearly I don’t watch much network TV. But DirectTV, BBCAmerica & Netflix have made some really fun British shows available. The top of the list is How Not to Live Your Life. Like Peep Show, it is an internal monolog show but works to flout conventions. Gavin and Stacey is a British Romantic Comedy that feels sweeter and more real in that it gives its characters more room to be eccentric. Finally, there is the delightful children’s show about a very English family of cartoon pigs that have the most ordinary adventures imaginable — maybe it is the accent that makes it so much fun.
On the sports front, Fox NFL Sunday, just can’t be beat. The show walks the line between allowing the panel to have their own personalities without ever losing focus on their shared passion for the game. I laugh out loud during every episode and learn a lot about football too. The show is a trailblazer in embracing social media — Woot woot Lilly! BBC Six Nations Rugby, could stand to reign in the personalities a bit — but the pre and post game show does a fabulous job of breaking down rugby for an American audience and the website provides even more detail. The timing of six nations couldn’t be better in that it starts immediately after the Super Bowl, so it is a kind of cool down from the football season. The panel on NFL Playbook on the NFL Network doesn’t gel at all — the producer also needs to be fired for the awful background guitar music and the constant reflection of the studio lights on the TV screens. However Playbook is trying to be the advanced course of NFL shows providing insight into how plays develop and how the game is actually played. Great effort.
As a religious watcher of the Sunday Morning news shows the vitriol has made Sunday morning TV completely unwatchable. The exception to the rule is the Foreign Policy show on CNN, Global Public Square with Fareed Zakaria — I never miss it! Although the show is indispensable resource for foreign policy buffs, it also is a crucial insight into what is going on in the world and why. Finally, Thank you LinkTV for turning all of its programming over to live coverage from Al Jazeera English during the Egyptian Revolution. If there was truly must see TV in 2011, this was it.
Footnote — best news website of year http://www.aljazeera.com/ — http://www.guardian.co.uk — I got nothin but love for you baby — but your blog-style minute by minute coverage doesn’t hold a candle to streaming video from Tahrir Square.