Best Moments on TV of 2012

Andra Fuller (left) and Shayla Hale in
"RoomieLoverFriends" - an original YouTube series
With the advent of Smart TVs as well as Roku boxes, game consoles and Blu-ray players with Internet access, it is possible to stream videos from websites like YouTube, Crackle, Blip, Vimeo, Hulu and Netflix right on your television. Most of these websites have been providing platforms for original, scripted content for years now. Netflix and Hulu entered the original content race this year, but it's soon going to get to a point when Netflix and Hulu are just two, additional channels to which people can flip and watch on their flatscreens. After a while, people won't differentiate, so I won't differentiate now. Internet videos or web series to me are no different than a TV series on ABC, AMC or HBO.

In the TV entertainment business, there were two big stories this year that are worth repeating. The first was during the summer when DirecTV subscribers suffered a blackout of Viacom-owned channels like MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1 and Comedy Central. The second was during the fall when Dish Network subscribers lost AMC and related channels like Sundance and IFC. In both cases, the satellite companies had to pay more money to the various channels. DirecTV had to give more money to Viacom and Dish Network had to give more money to AMC.

Satellite companies don't want to pay more because often the content that they pay extra to get is more easily downloaded or streamed from online services like Netflix or iTunes. A lot of the content and channels don't get as high ratings as sports programming, which is already drawing complaints from cable and satellite companies for increased prices. ESPN and SportsNet have upped their prices and the cable and satellite companies don't want to pay it because subscribers don't want to pay it, so they cancel their subscriptions or "cut the cord."

Emmy winners Claire Danes (left) and
Damien Lewis in "Homeland"
AMC for the trouble that it had with Dish Network had smash ratings with The Walking Dead. This year at the Primetime Emmys, all the programs nominated for Outstanding Drama Series were shows on cable TV, including two from AMC. Homeland ended up winning the top prize, marking the first win for the Showtime cable channel. Modern Family won for Outstanding Comedy Series.

Modern Family also won the GLAAD Award for the same category. The GLAAD Awards honor movies and TV shows that promote positive representations of LGBT people: lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. GLAAD also recognized NBC's Days of Our Lives. The daytime soap opera had its teenage character of Will Horton come out as gay this year. Chandler Massey plays Will Horton who went on to win the Emmy for Outstanding Younger Actor, marking the first time that a soap opera actor has won an Emmy for playing a gay character.

It's interesting because Hulu provides the past five episodes of Days of Our Lives to stream for free, but there are people out there who capture that video and edit only the scenes involving Will Horton and post them on YouTube for people. If you only want to follow Will Horton, you can and it turns Will's storyline into its own web series. Anthony D. Langford of the website AfterElton does this along with others. The British soap opera Hollyoaks is one of Langford's featured playlists and the gay storyline of Ste and Brendan is one that he's been following since it began in 2010.

Chandler Masey at Emmys
A YouTube user known as "kimbaforevaryanlamb" has been following the British soap Emmerdale since 2009 when it announced its teenage character of Aaron Livesy would come out as gay. YouTube user "LightLoo0789" has been following British soap EastEnders since 2009 as well when that show had its Muslim character of Syed Masood come out as gay. Again, it's like Aaron and Syed have their own web series. Both of which wrapped up this year. Both the actor who plays Aaron, Danny Miller, and the actor who plays Syed, Marc Elliott, left their respective shows this year.

It got me interested in other web series that deal with minority characters. Because minorities like African-Americans and LGBT are not widely recognized in movies and TV shows, they now turn to the Internet and web series in order to get representation out there. These web series are of course drowned out. Providers of this content only have Facebook and Twitter to help promote them. The occasional blog like Indiewire or EW will catch wind, but it's difficult to get the word out.

Until then, entertainment through traditional TV channels will have to suffice. Here are ten of the best, individual and often live moments from 2012.

Best Moments on TV of 2012

10. AL SMITH DINNER (Oct. 18) - The annual, white-tie, Catholic charity event was covered on live television this year because both Presidential nominees, Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama were in attendance telling jokes. It probably wasn't as entertaining as the town hall debate between the two on October 16, just two days prior, but President Obama was certainly funnier than he was at the White House Correspondents Dinner on April 28.

9. OPRAH INTERVIEWS JASON RUSSELL (Oct. 7) - Following the release of Invisible Children's 30-minute documentary on YouTube called "Kony 2012" and its 100 million hits, certifing it the most viral video in history, two weeks later, the documentary's filmmaker, Jason Russell was arrested in San Diego for a mental breakdown. Because he was on her show years ago, Russell allowed Oprah Winfrey to interview him for the OWN series Oprah's Next Chapter.

8. CLINT EASTWOOD'S SPEECH IN TAMPA, FL (Aug. 30) - The 2012 Republican National Convention will not be remembered for what the Presidential nominees said but for what the Oscar-winning filmmaker said to an empty chair.

7. BILL CLINTON'S SPEECH IN CHARLOTTE, NC (Sept. 5) - It was long but even those on the right have to admit it was a well-delivered oration. But, if Bill Clinton's perfectly-pitched argument wasn't catchy enough, Wrong Direction's music video "Disclosure," which was posted on YouTube two weeks prior, might be better for you.

6. SACHA BARON COHEN VS. RYAN SEACREST (Feb. 26) - Sacha Baron Cohen walked the Red Carpet at the Oscars as his character from The Dictator and used his time with Ryan Seacrest who was doing interviews for E! Entertainment to spill what he thought was ashes from Kim Jong Il's urn.

Still from Chipotle TV ad
5. BACK TO THE START - CHIPOTLE AD (Feb. 12) - The TV ad featured stop-motion animation of a farmer going "green" and going "organic" in the way he cultivates his live stock. Adweek named this commercial the second-best TV ad of 2011. The two-minute ad became Chipotle's first national television spot when it aired during the Grammys. It featured Willie Nelson covering Coldplay's song "The Scientist."

4. FALLING FOR... & COLOR CHANGES EVERYTHING - TARGET AD  (Sept. 16 & Feb. 14) Director Fillip Engstrom follows a colorful, energetic, and sprightly group of characters who arrive in a bright, bold hot air balloon, spilling out and bringing their magic touch. Advertising agency Weiden + Kennedy created the ad. Music is the French folk song “Alouette”, sung by Delta Rhythm Boys in 1958. The second is a slow-motion fall of a bunch of people onto a picnic table.

3. 12-12-12 THE CONCERT FOR SANDY RELIEF (Dec. 12) - On October 30, Hurricane Sandy made landfall on southern New Jersey, devastating that state's coast as well as the coasts of several, eastern states. A couple of weeks later, the same organizers behind the benefit concert following September 11 in New York announced this concert. Due to the NHL Lockout, the organizers were able to secure Madison Square Garden. Performers included Bruce Springstein, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, The Who, Coldplay, Billy Joel and Paul McCartney, as well as many other guest stars. The concert was simulcast on 39 U.S. television stations, including HBO, AMC Showtime, Ion and MundoFOX. It was carried on over 20 international networks and streamed on over 25 websites, including YouTube, SiriusXM and Hulu. Local CBS and PBS stations in New York and Philadelphia carried the concert live and Clear Channel radio did the same for the radio.

2. WHITNEY HOUSTON MEMORIAL (Feb. 18) - Held at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, this service, which was essentially the pop singer's funeral was simulcast Saturday morning starting at 11:30AM on CNN, BET, MSNBC and NY1. Various news web sites and live-streaming services broadcast the 4-hour-long event online as well. It featured a bevy of celebrities who performed or spoke on Houston's behalf, including her mentor Clive Davis and Kevin Costner. My favorite performance was by Alicia Keys who sang "Prelude to a Kiss (Send Me an Angel)."

1. LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS (July 27) - The Opening Ceremonies was reportedly watched by 40 million viewers in the U.S. I wrote an extensive blog about the overall coverage. You can read it here. The whole thing was a great spectacle but obviously the achievements of the athletes are what it's really all about. I wrote about some of the most notable athletes here.

Best TV Movies

1. Family Affair (OWN)
2. Woody Allen: A Documentary (PBS)
3. Michael Jackson: Bad 25 (ABC)
4. Leave It On the Floor (LOGO)
5. 8: The Play (YOUTUBE)
6. Legalize Gay (LOGO)

Best Reality / Variety Series

1. Frozen Planet (DISC)
2. Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)
3. 1 Girl, 5 Gays (LOGO)
4. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (COM)
5. The Talk (CBS)
6. In the Big House (LOGO)

Best Comedy Series

1. 30 Rock: Season 7 (NBC)
2. Web Therapy: Season 2 (SHOW)
3. Nurse Jackie: Season 4 (SHOW)
4. The Middle: Season 4 (ABC)
5. Parks and Recreation: Season 5 (NBC)
6. Glee: Season 4 (FOX)
7. The New Normal: Season 1 (NBC)

Best Drama Series

1. The Good Wife: Season 4 (CBS)
2. Dexter: Season 7 (SHOW)
3. Homeland: Season 2 (SHOW)
4. Inside Men: Season 1 (BBCA)
5. Teen Wolf: Season 2 (MTV)
6. Castle: Season 5 (ABC)
7. Chicago Fire: Season 1 (NBC)
8. Supernatural: Season 8 (CW)

Best Individual Performance

1. Andra Fuller - The L.A. Complex
2. Bruce Greenwood - The River
3. Zachary Quinto - American Horror Story: Asylum
4. Megan Hilty - Smash
5. Maya Rudolph - SNL (Feb. 18)
6. Lucy Liu - Elementary

Web Series to Watch

1. "The Number" by Dennis Dortch
2. "THR Roundtables" by The Hollywood Reporter
3. "Roomieloverfriends" by Issa Rae
4. "The Chadwick Journals" by Deondray Gossett & Quincy Le Near
5. "What the Flick" - by Matt Atchity, Alonso Duralde, Christy Lemire and Ben Mankiewicz
6. "Hunting Season" by Jon Marcus
7. "Hustling" by Sebastian La Cause
8. "Where the Bears Are" by Rick Copp, Joe Dietl and Ben Zook
9. "Steam Room Stories"- by J.C. Calciano and Nicholas Downs
10. "The Outs" - by Adam Goldman


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