11. Sons of Anarchy (FX)
Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Ron Perlman, Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan, Maggie Siff, Ryan Hurst, Theo Rossi, Mark Boone Junior, Dayton Callie, Rockmond Dunbar, Danny Trejo, Jimmy Smits, Harold Perrineau
As Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) learned every stretch of the way during Sons of Anarchy's taut and unpredictable fifth season, a bossman's stresses never end. Seriously, dude had the worst year ever, from watching his best friend Opie (Ryan Hurst) get beaten to death in prison to seeing his wife, Tara (Maggie Siff), get escorted out of their house in handcuffs.
The driving force behind creator Kurt Sutter's engrossing motorcycle drama this year was Jax's handling of the simultaneous corruption and entitlement that comes with being the head biker in charge. And with the (sadly) too often overlooked Hunnam at the top of his game, as well as co-stars Ron Perlman (as the morose yet still backhanded Clay Morrow) and newcomer Jimmy Smits, Sons of Anarchy flourished with its best season since the show's second one in 2009.