HOLLYWOOD—At the end of each year, television critics and viewers have to decide which shows are the best and why they make the grade. This year ends with a tough decision. How can you narrow down such magnificent TV series, many of which are almost critically acclaimed, but all are fan favorites? The AMC network broke the record with “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men” and now their newest hit “The Walking Dead.” CBS brought back a 1970s classic “Hawaii Five-0,” while ABC captured everyone’s attention with the 11th season of “Dancing With The Stars.” However, the three shows that created the most buzz and captured this critic’s attention the most include a USA Network sleeper hit drama, an HBO vampire series and Daytime TV’s most popular series world-wide.

The show that is in third place of the three best shows of 2010 is “Burn Notice.” It ended season four last weekend with a pair of exciting episodes titled “Out of the Fire” and “Last Stand.” Canyon News reader Bobby Head, who has an eclectic taste for television, was the one who convinced me to watch this show. Once I caught up with the fourth season and viewed the episodes from previous seasons, I concurred with his assessment that “Burn Notice” is one of TV’s best series. Sharon Gless is absolutely luminous in this show and actor Jeffrey Donovan is sublime in his role. Supporting the excellent cast are actress Gabrielle Anwar and actor Bruce Campbell.
The show has a “24” style feel to it, but it’s much more action packed and the final episode of the season “Last Stand” featured Sharon Gless in what is perhaps her best acting work since the 1980s hit “Cagney and Lacey.” “Burn Notice” doesn’t get a lot of attention because it’s not on one of the three major networks, but it’s certainly at number three of my list of best shows of the year.

The second best show in 2010 is most certainly HBO’s cult classic “True Blood.” From the love affair between Bill and Sookie, the vampire King of Mississippi’s reign of terror and Lafayette’s realization of his own supernatural powers, the show didn’t let the viewers get bored for one split second. Sam Trammell, who is a classically trained actor, mesmerizes fans. Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skarsgard bring European sex-appeal to the show, and Oscar winner Anna Paquin as fairy Sookie, the woman who is the consummate heroine who faces more danger than any other leading lady on television, is astonishing in the role.

Last season’s revelations of werewolves, were-panthers and witches in Bon Temps was a lot to grasp, but viewers were never bored by the superb writing skills of Alan Ball, the show’s creator. The show is filled with wit, humor, lust and intrigue; all of the things that make a supernatural series tops for millions of Truebies.

The countdown to television’s best show of all time for 2010 is the 2009 and 2010 Daytime Emmy-winning drama “The Bold and the Beautiful.” A show helmed by Holmby Hills scion Bradley P. Bell, and is starred by multi-Emmy winner Susan Flannery, Ronn Moss, Katherine Kelly Lang, John McCook, Hunter Tylo, Jack Wagner and Don Diamont has more lives than any cat in Hollywood’s illustrious history. Just when you think Brooke Logan can’t get into anymore trouble, she does. Whenever you think Stephanie’s been defeated, she pulls out a win. “B&B” has captured over 40 million viewers worldwide and is such a huge European hit, that it has won several international awards including several prestigious awards in Monaco year after year.

“The Bold and the Beautiful” is an extraordinary drama that sets the standard for daytime television again and again. It is better than any primetime show as well. It is on its way to an even better 2011.

Photographs are Courtesy: Burn Notice by USA Network, True Blood by HBO Productions and “The Bold and the Beautiful” by Gilles Toucas