Several new series debuted in April 2011 to transform what had been a mediocre season into an exceptional one, including Game of Thrones. AMC, meanwhile, systematically abused three of its great series, calling into question whether the cable network is truly ready for the big time.
Highpoint Number 1: Game of Thrones and the Shows of April
On 31 March 2011, if asked to grade the 2010-2011 television season, I would have been hard-pressed to give it much above a C. Perhaps a C+ at best. The season hitherto had not been without some highpoints, many enumerated in previous installments in this countdown. But all in all, it had been a fairly undistinguished season. Most of the new shows were not successful and several had been out and out disappointments. A couple had been outstanding newcomers, like The Walking Dead, Boardwalk Empire, and Raising Hope, while one of the very best new shows, Terrierson F/X, had been a ratings bomb of the first order. All things considered, on the eve of April’s Fools Day, the 2010-2011 season was more bust than boom.
Then came April. Several shows returned to start their new seasons (Treme and Doctor Who), which helped improve things a bit. Above all, though, it was a string of outstanding new series that elevated the television landscape: HBO’s Game of Thrones, Starz’s The Borgias, AMC’s The Killing, and HBO’s miniseries Mildred Pierce. As a group these shows raised the season’s grade up to at least a B+. Rarely have so many outstanding series debuted so late in a television season.