As Alan Sepinwall has explored at length in his new book, The Revolution Was Televised, we’ve been living in a golden age of TV for the past several years. And, on the basis of content quality, if not general health, the medium lost none of its luster in 2012.
It was a massive year for the Big Serious Shows, the kinds of premium cable fare that Sepinwall addresses in his book–Breaking Bad and Mad Men–along with Homeland, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, and The Walking Dead (for the latter especially, it was creative resurgence after a season two that tried many fans’ patience).
But big drama was only one of the high points of 2012. There were more surprising stories like Happy Endings, which, in its third season continued to bring a fresh edge to the sitcom. And then there were the stories that didn’t happen on TV but happened to TV, like the rise of the second and third screen experience and the influence of digital content creators.
In the slide show above, we recap some of our favorite stories of the year wherein we speak to the creators of some of TV’s notable shows and moments about the story behind the storytelling. We also speak to the people who have a hand in the evolution of TV vis a vis social media and mobile.
Among the highlights: Vince Gilligan discusses saying goodbye to his troubled creation (and offers storytelling tips!), Anthony Bourdain talks about being a scriptless badass, HBO’s head of digital Sabrina Caluori breaks down how the channel is plotting social and a who’s who of social TV talk about the evolution of the medium in the age of co-viewing, The Walking Dead’s creators and practically the whole cast on keeping a brand alive, and a Norwegian professor breaks down why The Wire was the best.
See the complete list in the slide show above.