It may be 2014, but lets take a moment to remember back to a simpler time — 2013. When we still had eight whole episodes of Breaking Bad to look forward to and the term “Red Wedding” only meant your aunt was too drunk to properly request a Billy Idol song.
2013 was a real good year to be a TV fanatic and this is but a brief look at some of the stand out shows.
Note: This list is unranked because such decisiveness evades me. Lets just say I love all my shows equally. Although if one were to assume that the first show on this list is first for a reason, perhaps I wouldn’t scoff too loudly. Unless the other shows were in the room. That would be rude.
What can be said about Breaking Bad that hasn’t already been said (and much of it by me)? Breaking Bad was that rare show that improved every season and managed to grow its simple premise to empire proportions without ever stretching believability. Despite varying opinions on the finale, it was at the very least warranted and absolutely satisfying in its finiteness. And “Ozymandias” will go down in history as one of the best hours of television ever, so there’s that.
Orange is The New Black
Not only is Orange is The New Black funny, moving and completely fresh storytelling, it also happens to be the only show focused solely on women and the relationships they have with each other. There’s a lot of talk about an increase of female presence in the television industry, but OITNB is the only one showing, rather than talking.
The Mindy Project continues to be the funniest, smartest and depressingly underrated shows on television. Please, watch this show. Otherwise I will hold you personally responsible if it gets cancelled.
Every year Mad Men is on air it will be on my list of the year’s best. Especially when it delivers a fever dream of a season that more accurately portrayed 1968 than any documentary ever could. Mad Men may have lost some of its new car smell, at least according to people in charge of awards (but what do they know anyway), but the fact remains it set a standard in this Golden Age of television and it just keeps raising the bar.
House of Cards
Netflix entered the big leagues this year and it greeted the old guard with a with a big ol’ “Stand back, bitches” in the form of Francis Underwood and his ruthless quest for power. Francis may be the one fighting his way to the top, but that fight has already landed Netflix there.
On paper, a spy show set in 80s sounds more than a little lame. But when the reality is a tense, visually stunning portrait of a strained marriage dealing with the trappings of the American Dream set against a backdrop of Cold War era espionage, its pure brilliance.
By far the best new show of the season, The Blacklist has proved network can compete with cable without losing its procedural roots. As long as you have James Spader, anyway.
Top of the Lake
If the compelling mystery of a missing girl in rural New Zealand isn’t enough to draw you in then check it out for the spellbinding performance of every single cast member, led by Elizabeth Moss. Top of the Lake is unlike any TV I’ve ever seen and while I don’t see the mode of storytelling really taking off stateside, its refreshing to know that TV can still be surprising.
There was a lot of buzz surrounding Orphan Black, but being the contrary young woman I am I ignored the hype… until I found myself alone for three days with an empty DVR. Don’t make the same mistake I made. Believe the hype.
Game of Thrones
Another show I held out on for a while, but once something reaches cultural phenomenon status it gets harder for me to ignore. Lucky for me I jumped on the bandwagon just in time for The Red Wedding. Lucky me. In all seriousness, Game of Thrones has the ability to entertain all audiences. Its part soap opera, part fantasy, part action adventure and all awesome.
Honorable Mentions: Scandal, Revenge, Trophy Wife, Girls, Almost Human.
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