For all the TV we watch, we inevitably recognize that not all of it is easy to track down. Pay-cable series dominate much of the casual conversation, yet relatively few subscribe to the services when entertainment comes for free on the major networks, or even cheaply with basic cable. So how are we to catch up on the latest 'Game of Thrones' or 'Dexter,' without waiting for DVDs or expensive services? With completely illegal and in-no-way-recommended piracy, of course! So what were the most pirated TV shows of 2012?

'Game of Thrones' has long been a winner in our hearts, but surprisingly has earned another recent award. According to data from TorrentFreak, 'Game of Thrones' was the most pirated series of 2012, with its top episode illegally downloaded 4.28 million times in 2012, 90 percent of the downloads usually occurring in the first week of a show's first-run airing.

Immediately following 'Game of Thrones' was the current season of 'Dexter,' clocking in at 3.85 million first-week downloads, even larger than its legal U.S. audience of 2.75 million viewers. By comparison, the largest broadcast series to make the list was that of CBS' 'The Big Bang Theory,' with 3.2 million downloads, edging out fellow CBS series 'How I Met Your Mother.'

'Breaking Bad' proved the most downloaded basic cable series on the list at 2.58 million downloads, followed by 'The Walking Dead,' 'Homeland,' 'House,' 'Fringe,' and 'Revolution.' 'Revolution' also proved to be the only freshman series on the list.

Keep in mind of course that much of the downloads take place outside of the United States, where the series can be more difficult to obtain. The United States only accounts for about 9.7% of the overall total.

Well, what say you? Is 'Game of Thrones' really the hottest show on the market, or does it owe to HBO's subscription-based service? How do you get your TV? Sound off in the comments!