Zombies still rule, but Dr. Sheldon Cooper is closing fast.
For those yet to become addicted to AMC's Sunday night pleasure of "The Walking Dead," please do so. Start from the beginning, because it's kind of difficult to jump right into the middle of a zombie apocalypse.
I feel fortunate to have started with the series when it debuted three years ago. Its unpredictable twists, turns -- not to mention unexpected death of key characters -- are only a few of the reasons The Dead ranks as the No. 1 show on television in the second annual installment of "The Stevies," my personal version of the Emmys.
An interesting story about The Dead in The York Times pointed out the show, despite being on a cable network, now has more viewers than any program on NBC and has the largest following of 18-to-49-year-olds (the age group advertising target most) of any program on any network.
Runner-up this year is the hilarious CBS comedy "Big Bang Theory," starring comedic genius Jim Parsons as Dr. Sheldon Cooper, a physicist described as someone who "exhibits a strict adherence to routine and a lack of understanding of irony and sarcasm." That's putting it mildly.
Parsons, however, hardly carries the show by himself as Sheldon. All five of the principal characters -- Leonard, Howard, Raj and Penny are the others-- share equally in the success and appeal of the show.
Here's the second installment of my top 10 television shows and individual award winners:
1. "The Walking Dead" (AMC): The most unique show in television history.
2. "Big Bang Theory" (CBS): At first, I did not care for this show. Now, I can't live without it. Earlier this year, I watched 43 episodes in one week. Arguably the most underrated performer on the program actress Kaley Cuoco, who plays "dumb blonde" Penny. The show also has a great theme song, sung by Barenaked Ladies, the Canadian alternative rock band.
3. "American Idol" (Fox): The addition of judges Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban has revitalized the one-time 800-pound gorilla of network television. Her Minajesty was a lightning rod of controversy earlier in the season, but she has settled in as a needed breath of fresh air for the 12-year-old series. My guess is the show will reclaim its No. 1 ratings position next year as it continues to reinvent itself.
4. "Justified" (FX): There's a reason TV Guide named this program the No. 1 drama on TV -- U.S. marshal Raylan Givens, effectively portrayed by Timothy Olyphant.
5. "Suits" (USA): To be honest, the second season was mildly disappointing, but what it lacked in screenplay it more than made up in the performance of Gabriel Macht as attorney Harvey Specter. Specter remains the most compelling figure on TV.
6. "Breaking Bad" (AMC): The series' fifth and final season arrives this summer. We will bid bon voyage to meth-making Walter White and sidekick Jesse. It's been a great run, guys.
7. "The Americans" (FX): Keri Russell is fantastic in this 1980s drama about KGB agents operating inside the United States.
8. "American Horror Story" (FX): This show can be brutal, both in a physical and emotional sense. The hook is it follows a storyline through an entire season. Sometimes it wanders a bit too far off base, but overall, it has given horror a new home on the small screen.
9. "Archer" (FX): The foul-mouthed, animated version of James Bond is the center of a comedy that has some of the best writing -- cartoon or otherwise -- on television.
10. "Burn Notice" (USA): The more this show ages, the better it gets. Just when you think the "burned spy" theme is getting old, Gabrielle Anwar and Jeffrey Donovan take their performance up another notch.
º Best actor, drama: Gabriel Macht, "Suits."
º Best actor, comedy: Jim Parsons, "Big Bang Theory."
º Best actress, drama: Angie Harmon, "Rizzoli and Isles."
º Best actress, comedy: Kaley Cuoco, "Big Bang Theory."
º Network of the year: FX.