The Bitch Awards capture the very best of the year, but they’re also only a brief snippet of the immense range of fantastic entertainment on TV. Without further ado, here are some of 2013’s other Best TV shows.
The posts for the Bitch Awards require a certain amount of conciseness since they’re essentially four mini-posts in one. In order to keep those to a reasonable-ish length, I’ve written this additional ‘Best Of The Rest’ post. Considering how amazing this year has been for TV (a veritable bounty of awesome), here are some of the other shows that I’ve enjoyed watching in 2013 (listed alphabetically):
Black Mirror S1/S2: This is a total cheat because the first season of this Channel 4 anthology aired back in December of 2011 in the UK. Since it only began airing in the US this fall, however, it’s fair game and I’ll use any excuse I can to single it out. Black Mirror is essentially an updated Twilight Zone for the 21st century: a series that tells stories about technology (social media, dating and sex, politics, exercise and reality TV) to comment on the human condition. Each of Charlie Brooker’s episodes is like a standalone mini-movie that’s a guaranteed think-piece. It’s frightening, entertaining and important.
Breaking Bad S5 Part 2: We all hoped that the blue meth’s final season would be amazing and it was. The pinnacle moment has to be ‘Ozymandias’, which many have named the best episode of TV of the year. I liked BB‘s final season a lot, but I wasn’t quite as gaga about it as others, so it ends up here – noteworthy, but for my money, not Top 5. (See TVAngie’s thoughts here)
Banshee S1: I only just caught up with this white-knuckle crime drama after a reader recommended it and now I’m pumped for S2. After creatively murdering True Blood, Alan Ball rediscovered his mojo with this adrenaline tale about a recently released convict who impersonates a dead Sheriff in the titular town and the violence/havoc he wreaks in his wake. The knock-down, no holds barred fight in the eighth episode may be the best fight scene I’ve ever seen on TV. Returns: Jan 10
Continuum S2: In its second season, Continuum cemented its status as the smartest, most daring science-fiction show on TV. Full stop. The semi-procedural first season was satisfying; the second was astounding. By chronicling the political, social and moral implications of the rise of the Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen) and his stepbrother, Julian (Richard Harmon), Continuum became increasingly relevant even as its entertainment and execution wowed. It is the smartest “escapist” show since Battlestar: Galactica. Returns: April 21
Game Of Thrones S3: Each season of HBO’s best show has the increasingly more difficult job of compressing George RR Martin’s mammoth books (and limitless characters) into 10 episodes. S3 felt more stuffed and rushed than ever, but there were also plenty of gasp and cheer worthy moments, including the already infamous ‘Rains Of Castamere’ episode featuring the dread (and blood) filled Red Wedding. Returns: Spring 2014
The Good Wife S5: I almost can’t believe that I left this perennial ‘Best Of’ Bitch Award winner off this year’s list (it made it in 2012 & 2011), especially considering that the show has never been better. By now everyone knows about the phenomenal ‘Hitting The Fan’ episode that marked the split at Lockhart/Gardiner, but the show has been firing on all cylinders long before (and after) that pinnacle episode. The Good Wife remains the smartest, most adult television show on TV. Returns: Jan 5
Happy Endings S3: The only canceled show on this list, Happy Endings was an unappreciated (by ABC and audiences alike) comedy that provided my weekly dose of laughter. I loved spending time with this merry band of idiots and haven’t laughed as hard as I did when Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) accidentally launched herself off the couch with an airbag during 3×12 ‘The Marry Prankster’. RIP Happy Endings.
Justified S4: Each year the FX drama just misses the cut for my top 5 and this year is no different. Abandoning the traditional approach of having a Big Bad, S4 used the 30 year Drew Thompson mystery to explore how Harlan county works in greater depth. In the process, we got ‘Decoy’ – one of the best hours of TV the show has ever produced and a strong candidate for best episode of the year. Returns: January 7
Orange Is The New Black S1: This show should be marketed as crack because it is easily one of the most addictive shows I’ve watched in ages. Alternately compelling, insightful, and hilarious, I loved every minute with this group of women and I can’t wait until S2 debuts. Returns: Summer 2014 (See TVAngie’s honourable mention here)
Orphan Black S1: One of the buzziest shows of the year is also one of the best. A thrill a minute sci-fi romp featuring a star making performance by Tatiana Maslany as a woman who discovers she is but one of several clones. The interactions between the clones are amazing and the refreshingly honest portrayal of Sara’s gay bestie, Felix, makes Orphan Black a stand-out. Returns: April 19 (Read my review of the S1 finale here)
Sleepy Hollow S1: The biggest surprise of the fall 2013 season was also its silliest…on paper at least. The instant rapport between Nicole Behrie and Tom Mison helps elevate this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink fantasy into great fun. Imagine my surprise when this became the show I looked forward to most each week. Returns: January 13
Spartacus: War Of The Damned: The late great STARZ drama bowed out earlier this year with a dazzling 10 episode final season that saw the introduction of Simon Merrell’s Crassus and Todd Lasance’s Caesar as memorable villains. The finale, which chronicled the end of Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) and his band of rebels, was perfect: contemplative, tragic, and hopeful all at the same time.
The Returned S1: This French import is less of a zombie show than In The Flesh or The Walking Dead. The drama here originates in the atmospheric, beautifully unraveling mysteries of the small mountain town that suddenly finds its dead returning to take up their old lives. Be warned: not all of it works and things end on a bit of a cliffhanger. Returns: S2 airs in France in 2014
Utopia S1: This UK series about a conspiracy hidden within the pages of an underground graphic novel was my second most addictive series of the year. It falls apart a little as the twists (and deaths) pile up, but the hypersaturated colour scheme pops and the acting is uniformly great across the board. Be warned: characters are disposal and violence is dealt out frequently and in graphic fashion! Returns: S2 has no formal airdate
That’s it for me (and I haven’t even finished Masters Of Sex, The Americans or Top Of The Lake yet). What are your thoughts on this extended list? Any other shows you’ve been watching that need some recognition? Sound off below and thanks for reading!