Macall B. Polay/HBO
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Honorable Mention: Boardwalk Empire
In its second season, HBO's Prohibition Era drama amped things up by making its hero, Steve Buscemi's Nucky Thompson, vulnerable. Rendered almost powerless while being investigated by the U.S. government, Nucky was forced to play along as his nemeses plot to take back Atlantic City. The move allowed supporting players Jimmy (Michael Pitt) and Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) to shift into the spotlight, but as both of their characters' fortunes increased, so too did their heartaches: Jimmy lost his wife, while Margaret's daughter was stricken with polio. The characters may never know who to trust, but we've come to rely on this as one of the week's finest hours of television.