2012 has so far lived up to early expectations. We were promised some quality new TV series this year and that promise has without doubt been delivered on. Apart from the wonderful returning series such as Breaking Bad and Damages we have seen some top class new releases hit our screens for the first time. Series such as Magic City and The Newsroom prove that 2012 may well be the best year for sensational TV programming yet. Here is my list of the best shows to air this year so far.

1. Breaking Bad – Season 5

A troubled high school chemistry teacher who struggles with many aspects of his life, Walter White (a brilliant Bryan Cranston) is diagnosed with terminal, stage-three lung cancer. At wits end, Walter resorts to selling drugs to provide for his wife and handicapped son. The story begins in season 1 with Walter on a ‘ride along’ with his DEA brother-in-law when he sees a former student, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) fleeing the scene of a meth lab. He contacts Jesse and devises a scheme to cook and distribute high-grade methamphetamine in order to pay for his treatment and leave his family financially stable.

Season 5 begins with a flash-forward to Walter’s 52nd birthday. He is in a poor state, hair and beard unkempt, using a false name and buying a car with weapons pre-loaded in the trunk. Things can only go from bad to worse as we flash back to the aftermath of drug kingpin Gus’s death at the conclusion of season 4. His wife Skyler is dazed and baffled by Walt’s murderous triumph over Gus while Jesse and Walt make peace. DEA brother-in-law Hank (Dean Norris) visits the scene of the previous seasons burnt out, high tech drug lab looking for clues. Walt remembers the surveillance cameras from the lab and he and Jesse seek assistance to get rid of the digital evidence.

2. Damages – Season 5

Up and coming law school graduate Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) became the protégé for the ultra successful and hard-hitting high stakes litigator Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) in previous seasons but this year she will tackle her mentor head on. As is the formula for earlier storylines, nothing is what it seems in season 5.

Ellen starts up her own firm in the latest and final season of Damages and her very first client and case finds her head to head with Patty in a twisted and sordid tale based around the death of a Wall Street whistleblower and her connections to the founder of an online information exposure site. Is Ellen murdered in the final stanza and is Patty responsible?

3. Dexter – Season 6

Dexter is the worlds most “killer’ dad!

Based on the Jeff Lindsay novels Darkly Dreaming Dexter and Dearly Devoted Dexter this crime thriller series follows Dexter Morgan, a forensic blood splatter analyst with the Miami Dade Police Department. He is the rock of support for his sister, he had a steady girlfriend with two kids who became his wife before becoming the victim of a serial killer at the end of season 5. It’s a normal life on the surface but Dexter also has a very “active” nightlife.

Based on a code instilled in him by his foster father, Harry, he hunts down those who have escaped justice and makes sure that they don’t get away with their crimes again. Dexter is a loveable serial killer whose urges to kill are controlled by Harry’s code. In season 6 Dexter finds himself alone again raising his infant child following the death of his wife at the hands of his season 5 nemesis. Can he control his urges? Can he maintain his anonymity? All will be tested in the turmoil that awaits in the latest season.