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More Lists! The AFI Chooses Its Top Ten TV Shows

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The Walking Dead walked off with a spot on AFI's list. / AMC

The American Film Institute—they’re not just about film!—announced yesterday its list of the top 10 TV shows of 2010. (And, oh, yeah, its top 10 movies, if anyone cares about that.) I voted on its jury this year, as I did in 2008 and 2005, and as with any juried list, you get some of what you want and some of what you don’t: you can see my own top 10 list for 2010 to compare the group’s choices with my own.

Other jurors included fellow critics Mary McNamara of the L.A. Times, Maureen Ryan of AOL and Matt Roush of TV Guide magazine as well as academics and TV professionals including Jennifer Love-Hewitt. (We’ve been looking for a project to work on together forever!)

I find the general rule for TV awards chosen by group—whether AFI, the Emmys, the Television Critics Association or anyone else—is that because the votes aggregate around a median, they tend to favor already established series, and that seemed to be the case to an extent with the AFI list this year (e.g., 30 Rock, Glee).

On the other hand, that doesn’t explain The Big C, which must have had a bigger constituency than I would have guessed, and while The Walking Dead didn’t quite make my own list, I was glad to see it in there among some more familiar names.

The full list, in alphabetical order:

THE BIG C
BOARDWALK EMPIRE
BREAKING BAD
GLEE
MAD MEN
MODERN FAMILY
THE PACIFIC
TEMPLE GRANDIN
30 ROCK
THE WALKING DEAD

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