CJ has been bugging me to do my own “best of” television list for 2013. I had been resisting in order to stop inundating y’all with list after list. But, since CJ has clearly gotten his list so incorrectly organized, I feel that it is my duty to comment. This isn’t an attempt to tell you what the best shows of 2013 were (although arguably all of these should be included on this list); this is simply my favorite shows of 2013.
*Side Note – While CJ and I do watch a lot of the same TV shows, he undoubtedly watches more. So, for instance, Luther or Justified aren’t on my list because I simply don’t watch them. At the bottom I will include a list of shows I considered, but ultimately did not include.
11. House of Cards (Netflix) – Ok, so this started out as a top 10 list. But, at the end of the day, I could only get down to my favorite 11 shows. Sue me. House of Cards was my first experience at alternative-TV shows (i.e., ones not found on the networks, cable, or HBO, etc.) and it did not disappoint. I am generally not a huge Kevin Spacey fan, but he was incredible as the power-hungry, crafty, and often times, super creepy Congressman. The supporting cast was also exceptional, especially Corey Stoll as Russo (and who doesn’t love Kata Mara). This show was entertaining, suspenseful and simply well-written. I cannot wait until February 14, 2014 for season 2.
10. The Americans (FX) – Keri Russell as a spy. I really shouldn’t have to say more. You have Cold War spy tactics intermixed with family and personal drama. It’s a great recipe for a show. Keri Russell is as awesome as she ever has been, as are her castmates (Matthew Rhys, Noah Emmerich, Annet Mahendru, etc.), and as much as I hate to say it, she makes me want to support the Russians.
9. Rectify (Sundance) – I like prison. I know what you are thinking, and yes it sounds weird. But, here is what I mean, I like almost everything that has to do with prison or prisoners, whether it is a book, a movie, or a TV show. What do I like more than prison? (well a lot of things, but what I mean is…) Stories about someone that may be wrongly accused of a crime. And, that is what you have here with Rectify. You have a story of a man, Daniel, who has been on death row for 19 years when some DNA evidence allows him to be released. The first season of Rectify showed us what it is like for Daniel to try and reintegrate into a “normal” life as well as how his release from prison is affecting his family, his friends, and everyone in the small town of Georgia. On top of all that, we get some clues as to who actually committed the murder/rape of the girl, which sent Daniel to prison in the first place (heck, it might even have been him).
8. Broadchurch (BBC America) – Not a show about prison, but a show about the murder of a young boy in a small town in Britain and the following investigation that ensues. The show doesn’t entirely focus on the investigation of Danny’s murder, but also shows the impact that such an event can have on a family, on friends, and on the community as a whole. I can honestly say that I had no clue who the killer was until the very end–that is how well written the show was. Apparently there is going to be an American version of this show, but I still believe that the original is a must-see.
7. Arrow (CW) – You assumed this would be on my list, didn’t you? Last winter/spring we got season 1 of Arrow and this fall we have been watching the first half of season 2. This show is only getting better and better. Oliver’s crime fighting escapades aren’t what keep me loving this show though. In between those adventures, the viewer is given glimpses into Oliver’s past on the island, which is what really intrigues me. Seriously, I have to know what happened there! Additionally, you can’t help but realize that Oliver’s compadres both on the island and in present day Starling City add depth to this superhero show.
6. Veep (HBO) – 2013 was apparently the year of the drama (at least for me), but Veep stood out as the best comedy (I don’t count Orange as the New Black as a comedy) and one of the best shows of the year. The cast and the story I felt got stronger in season 2 of Veep and I could seriously watch the Veep crew berate Jonah all day.
5. Masters of Sex (Showtime) – Masters of Sex was without argument the best new show of the fall and was definitely a saving grace on Sunday nights (after suffering through Homeland). Lizzie Caplan is captivating, plain and simple. But, what is also captivating, is the complicated relationships that develop between the characters as the season progresses. Virginia and Bill are the two main characters, and obviously their relationship takes center stage, but Masters of Sex has proved that it is also capable of showing the struggles and relationships of the supporting characters with just as much depth and intricacy.
4. Shameless (Showtime) – Shameless starts each January and is such a perfect way to start of each new year. Unfortunately though, since it is so early in the year, I feel like it gets overlooked so much of the time. I am here to tell you that Shameless is one of the best and most underrated shows on TV currently. Emmy Rossum is simply amazing as Fiona, a girl who is willing to do whatever it takes to provide for and care for her brothers and sister (since their dead-beat-dad is clearly incapable and one of the worst human beings to walk the Earth). This show is funny, it’s dramatic, and features a fair amount of nudity. What’s not to love?
3. Game of Thrones (HBO) – Big changes happened in season 3 of GoT. Most obvious is, of course, the massacre of the Stark family. And, while the Red Wedding was certainly the highlight of the season in a light of people’s minds, I was most happy that season 3 saw a lot more of Dany kicking-ass and pretty much being the coolest chick ever. I haven’t read the books so I have no clue what is going to happen next, but I hope that season 4 is just as epic.
2. Orange is the New Black (Netflix) – As good as I thought House of Cards was, Orange is the New Black turned out to be even better. Yes, it focused predominately on the life of Piper, but we also got a look at many of her prison roommates as well. We saw flashbacks to these women’s prior lives, which gave insight into how all these women ended up being locked up. And, we got to watch everyone trying to do their best and cope with their life in prison. It will be interesting to see what happens in season 2 since Piper’s girlfriend won’t be appearing in many episodes and also since Piper probably killed someone at the end of season 1.
1. Breaking Bad (AMC) – Now, I know you saw this coming. But, let’s be real, was there anything as good as the final 8 episodes of Breaking Bad on TV this year? No, there wasn’t. Period.
Other shows that could have been considered – Top of the Lake, The Walking Dead, Family Tree, Mad Men, Scandal, The Returned (only 2 episodes in), Bob’s Burgers, Raising Hope, Parks and Rec, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Ground Floor, New Girl, The Goldbergs, Trophy Wife, The Blacklist, Girls, Nashville, The Carrie Diaries, Downton Abbey, Rookie Blue, The Fosters. (I, of course, left off shows that I watch that could never be considered for such a list…like X Factor).