Now that the second decade of the Golden Age of television is solidly underway, everything’s different, right? It’s like ever since Tony Soprano started seeing a shrink, we don’t have to. What can a therapist tell us that a showrunner can’t? Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose — except when we do lose, because power destroys us (see: Breaking Bad), terrorism threatens us (Homeland), the cycle of poverty can’t be broken (The Wire), and we are ultimately alone (Mad Men).
These days, we grapple with humanity when we watch television, so most of us feel less guilty about neglecting books in order to do it. There are distinctions within the medium, of course, and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo helps us make them. Now maybe sometimes, after a season comes to close and a few months have passed, you think, “Wait, what the hell happened on that show again? How come the world is such a mess? Am I making poor life choices?” But then you can always watch Louie. These shows are important (depending on your definition of the word). We need them (so we think). And here are the 10 moments of the year that changed everything (or at least something).