12. Lights Out

Network: FX
Stars: Holy McCallany, Stacy Keach, Catherine McCormack, Pablo Schreiber, Meredith Hagner, Billy Brown, Eamonn Walker, Reg E. Cathey

It hurts us to think that this Best TV Shows Of 2011 inclusion will be the first time that many folks hear about Lights Out, but, alas, that’s no doubt the truth. Back in the year’s first quarter, though, the rookie FX boxing saga was a real knockout, centered around a fascinating character, Patrick “Lights” Leary (Holt McCallany), and his efforts to reclaim his once-prevalent ring king status.

When Lights Out put the gloves on, McCallany’s believable athleticism and the show’s dedication to real-looking pugilism made for a Rocky lover’s dream; outside of the ring, the domestic issues and media conflicts showed that Lights Out could bob and weave its way around intriguing drama. Something tells us that creator Justin Zackham had a truly great series in him if he’d been given more seasons to earn an audience; unfortunately, as it stands, cancellation has knocked Lights Out into the graveyard of unfairly killed TV programs. And don’t even get us started on that question-igniting final scene.