End of year lists are a lazy way of generating hits on websites and stirring up debate among readers. If you think White Noise is above that, you are sorely mistaken. While in the next week White Noise will be running some Best Of type lists, I thought it may be prudent to start out helpfully by pointing out 5 interesting TV shows that you may have missed throughout the year.

  • Fresh Meat – Created by Jesse Armstrong & Sam Bain, this is somewhat like a UK version of the Judd Apatow short-lived sitcom Undeclared. It concerns a group of teenagers attending University for the first time where they deal with the world of living as an adult for the first time, relationships with peers, and general shenanigans. While it’s not as sharp as Armstrong & Bains Peep Show, it is charming enough to warrant some dedicated casual viewing. The cast, who are all pretty fun, includes comedian Jack Whitehall and Inbetweeners star Joe Thomas. 
  • Louie – I talk up Louie pretty frequently, but I fear you still may have given the show a miss. Louie is written, directed, and stars US stand-up comedian Louis CK. While each episode has Louie (dedicated father and comedian who lives in New York City) at its core, no two episodes are ever the same. Each episode has a different tone and resonance to them as CK explores issues that traverse the human experience. This years episode ‘Ducks’ has CK visiting Afghanistan to take part in a USO tour, only to find that his daughter has placed a pet duck into his bag. The result is one of the funniest and touching episodes of TV to be broadcast this year. The show will be coming to ABC2 in 2012, but is already available on DVD. Don’t hesitate.
  • Justified – Based on an Elmore Leonard short story, Justified has U.S. Marshal Raylan Given (Timothy Olymphant) issuing justice in Kentucky. While this episode adopts the same slight story beats as a lot of USA Network drama series (re: Burn Notice, White Collar, etc), this is elevated considerably by much stronger writing, great characterization, and amazing performances from both the regular cast as well as weekly guest stars each and every week. There’s a reason the shows fan base is so rabid.
  • Black Mirror – Created by Charlie Brooker, this three part series is still screening in the UK with its final episode airing this coming week. Modelled after The Twilight Zone, somewhat, this is an anthology series that revels in the technologically driven society of today. Also, any show that suggests the UK Prime Minister has sex with a pig to allow the release of a hostage in the form of a Royal Family member is a show worthy of your attention.
  • Dave’s Old Porn – Starring US standup Dave Attell, the concept of this series is deliciously simple. Dave sits on the couch with another comedian and they watch vintage pornography together, riffing as the film goes on. Add to the mix a second guest, a porn star relevant to the film being watched, and you have one of the more unique shows to have gotten a run this year.