1. Justified
Back when Justified was still figuring out exactly what it wanted to be, FX’s hit drama put together a season that placed marijuana deals, coal-mining and moonshine at the forefront. Our hero, Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) was faced with a formidable opponent in Mags Bennet (Margo Martindale), and the various stand-offs that occurred were bold and beautifully done. I thought Mags might be the greatest idea the Kentucky-based drama might be able to dream up. Thank god for Walton Goggins.

Season 4 of the drama aired this past spring, and gone were the days of any sort of procedural plotline added to the series to keep the episode count up. During the course of Justified’s run, Mr. Givens have fully acclimated to his new situation as a Kentucky Marshall and has become familiar with much of the local riff-raff. This means we get to spend more time with the bad guys. It also means more of the bad guys get multi-episode arcs. Season 4, in fact, should be renamed the era of Boyd Crowder, a man with his little finger wrapped around a Bonnie & Clyde dream that might be destined to morph into a nightmare. Harlan County, Kentucky, might not be a favorite setting for TV watchers, but if you get beyond the geographical location and settle into the dialogue, you might just find that Justified is the most entertaining and cleverly drawn program that cable has to offer.

Even if you don’t find that, it’s still damn good TV.

This list might be comprised of my five favorites, but there are quite a few other programs that were close to making the cut, including Game of Thrones, Eastbound & Down, Defiance, and The Blacklist. And kudos to South Park for having an excellent fall run.

You can check out some of this year’s other picks by TV Blend’s fine staff of writers, here.

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