The more television changes, the more it stays the same.
After six seasons, MTV did what letter-writing campaigns and venereal diseases couldn't by putting "Jersey Shore" out of its misery. But not before Snooki was replaced as a national punch line by another weird-nicknamed bundle of stereotype-fulfilling ridiculousness: Honey Boo Boo.
In addition to "Jersey Shore," viewers also said goodbye to "One Life to Live," "House," "Desperate Housewives," "CSI: Miami," "The Closer," "Weeds," "Damages," "Chuck," "One Tree Hill," "Gossip Girl" and "iCarly."
But in return, they got Jennifer Love Hewitt as a naughty masseuse on Lifetime's "The Client List," so it was kind of a wash.
Locally, the CBS drama "Vegas" began chronicling the adventures of longtime Clark County Sheriff Ralph Lamb, with Dennis Quaid portraying Lamb, despite getting almost none of the biographical details right. Danny Koker, the "Pawn Stars" car and motorcycle expert, landed his own spinoff with History's "Counting Cars." And the claws came out during TLC's "Real Housewives"-esque "Sin City Rules."
Elsewhere, Showtime's "Homeland" followed up its Emmy dominance - it took home trophies for best drama, best actress (Claire Danes), best actor (Damian Lewis) and best writing - with an uneven season that threatened to slide into Kim Bauer-from-"24" territory before ultimately putting terrorism on the back burner so Danes and Lewis could make goo-goo eyes at each other.
Likewise, ABC's "Revenge," which had an inaugural season chock-full of soapy goodness, got off track when it stopped being, well, revenge-y.
And it didn't even take the NBC musical "Smash" a half-dozen episodes to squander all the goosebumpy magic of its premiere.
It was a great year for Walton Goggins, who continued to get some of the best dialogue on TV as Boyd Crowder on FX's "Justified." But "The Shield" veteran topped even his previous high standards with a guest spot as transsexual dominatrix Venus Van Damme on FX's "Sons of Anarchy."
Arthur Conan Dolye had a pretty good 2012 as well with another triumphant season of PBS' "Sherlock." And with Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Watson, CBS' "Elementary" made for a solid reimagining. Of "House."
ABC's "Happy Endings" continued to be the most fun you could have on TV. Except during those weeks when Fox's "New Girl" - which finally developed both Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Nick (Jake Johnson) into uproarious supporting players - was firing on all cylinders.
But FX's "Louie," Louis C.K.'s one-man DIY opus, remained the class of the comedy world.
HBO scored with two vastly different comedic leading ladies: wily veteran Julia Louis-Dreyfus in "Veep" and fearless newcomer Lena Dunham in "Girls." The star-studded "Luck" proved to have everything but, shutting down early in season two after the deaths of three horses. And although Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom" had its ups and downs, it served as a reminder of just how much TV had missed his ear for dialogue.
O n AMC, "The Walking Dead" kept delivering monster ratings. "Breaking Bad" had another brilliant, if frustratingly brief, season. And, after a 17-month absence, "Mad Men" "Zou Bisou Bisou"-ed its way back into viewers' hearts.
"Revolution" gave NBC its first scripted hit in what felt like a decade, while the network's "Parenthood" kept alive the spirit of "Friday Night Lights."
England's "Heroes"-for-slackers drama "Misfits" finally debuted on U.S. TV thanks to cable's Logo channel. Canada's deliriously weird, sexy-but-earnest, can't-tear-your-eyes-away-from-it soap "The L.A. Complex" debuted on The CW as the lowest-rated broadcast drama premiere on record. But it was fantastic while it lasted.
And FX's "American Horror Story" was overrun by aliens, serial killers, sexual deviants, a Nazi war criminal, a demon-possessed nun and a deliciously over-the-top Jessica Lange. Oh my!
Behind the scenes, TBS saved ABC's "Cougar Town" - penny can! - while NBC's "Community" parted ways with both its creator, Dan Harmon, and its least favorite curmudgeon, Chevy Chase. And in a lawsuit, Dave Hester, a former cast member of A&E's "Storage Wars," alleged that "nearly every aspect of the series is faked." It would almost have to be. Nobody could really be as bad as Barry at buying those lockers.
In other reality news, rednecks ruled the cable landscape. In addition to TLC's "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," viewers were bombarded with CMT's "Bayou Billionaires," "My Big Redneck Wedding," "Redneck Island" and "Redneck Rehab"; Animal Planet's "Hillbilly Handfishin' " and "Call of the Wildman"; A&E's "Duck Dynasty" and "American Hoggers"; History's "Swamp People" and "Mudcats"; Discovery's "Moonshiners"; and National Geographic's "Rocket City Rednecks," just to name a few.
And Joel McHale and the rest of "The Soup" gang over at E! still offered the best place to see just enough of those shows to know you didn't need to see any more.
Contact Christopher Lawrence at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4567.