Everyone has his or her favorite holiday traditions. Lately, among mine has been sitting in the Fresh Air studios to wrap up the year in TV and field questions by Terry Gross.
This year, my conversation with the host of NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross takes place Monday, on Christmas Eve, paired with Terry’s similar pop-culture debriefing with Fresh Air film critic David Edelstein. As they say, check local listings, or just visit the Fresh Air website after 5 p.m. ET Monday.
(The photo left, taken with my iPhone, is my POV show after Friday’s show. Executive producer Danny Miller is dead center — director Sue Spolan and engineer Kevin Griffin, blurry or obscured, but that’s my fault, not theirs. I don’t think I was supposed to take the photo in the first place.)
On the show, I’ll be playing a couple of clips, but mostly talking. With television, there’s always a lot to discuss — and this was not only a presidential election year, but a year of everything from Homeland to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
And though Fresh Air is the place where I’ll elaborate on, and explain and defend, my Top 10 TV Shows list of 2012, TV Worth Watching readers ought to be privy, in advance, to the TV I found most Worth Watching in 2012. So here’s the list, with a tie for 10th place to make it, in truth, a Top 11:
1) Breaking Bad, AMC
2) Mad Men, AMC
3) The Colbert Report, Comedy Central
4) The Good Wife, CBS
5) The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Comedy Central
6) Louie, FX
7) Parenthood, NBC
8) The Walking Dead, AMC
9) Modern Family, ABC
10) Justified, FX
For the Bottom 5 list — the most prominent or putrid Worst TV Shows of 2012 — you’ll have to tune in. And it’ll be worth it, because Terry’s reactions to the worst TV I can find is one of my favorite elements of our annual chats.
My favorite thing of all, though, is just being there. Fresh Air has been a national radio program on NPR for 25 years now, and Terry and executive producer Danny Miller have allowed me to be there from the start. It really feels like family (in the good sense), and when Terry throws questions at me on the air, it’s very much like our conversations in the hallway: casual, inquisitive, and usually containing a burst or two of genuine laughter.
Capturing it on air, during the holiday season, is a present I don’t even have to unwrap. Producer Phyllis Myers is the one who talked my way into the starting rotation of the end-of-year on-air conversations with Terry — and that, too, is a gift that keeps on giving.
I hope you listen in, and I hope you enjoy it.
I also hope you also provide your own Top 10. This year, there are at least 25 shows that deserve to make it, and I suspect — in fact, I hope — you’ll champion ones that just missed my cut.