Everyone knows Mad Men, The Good Wife, and Glee – especially Mad Men — are great TV. If you read about TV, you have read about them — especially Mad Men — endlessly. Not everyone knows that Downton Abbey (second season trailer), Switched At Birth, and Suits are also great TV.
Downton Abbey is great because Julian Fellowes, who also wrote Snobs and Gosford Park, is a great writer. The plot is good, the details are good. I’d read or watch anything he does. (After I wrote this post I came across this interview with Fellowes — apparently the NY Times saw the same gap in coverage as I did.)
Switched At Birth is great because to a perfectly good idea for a TV show (two girls are switched at birth, a fact discovered when they are teenagers) was added — by management, not the originators of the show — an excellent idea: one of the girls is deaf. This adds an attractive layer of complexity and novelty (deaf teenage life).
Suits appears formulaic: lawyer show, buddy show, cartoon villain, romantic plot connecting the episodes, every episode, the good guys win cleverly. But perhaps the formula, whatever it is, is really well-executed because I enjoy every episode and don’t feel dirty afterwards.