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Your Top Ten TV of 2013

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  • Icky
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    #306437

    getting this out of the way

    1.  Enlightened– This dearly departed sad comedy/ironic drama ended its short run with an almost nit-perfect sophomore season. It works independently from the first season and has the tight structure and atmosphere of a miniseries that’s been perfectly adapted from some lyrical, sardonic novel. It used the most simple of motifs (a single person’s ability to affect the wide world) to explore more humanistic themes of isolation, unrealized potential and relational frustration. Laura Dern, as the show’s determined and often grating lead, gave one of the most unique performances ever on TV, approaching the role both as mockingly and as earnestly as possible. It’s the performance of the year in the show of the year. (Best episodes: “Follow Me”, “The Ghost Is Seen,” “Agent of Change”)

    2.  Justified– The somewhat stale, cliché third season of this modern western left this show with a loss of buzz and diminished impact at awards shows. Unfortunately, the fourth season didn’t quite place it back in the league of TV’s most talked about dramas, but it should have. In fact, the fourth season was its most consistent, ambitious and thrilling yet. It enthralled me a bit more than the final season of another pulpy crime thriller, a series that’s bound to win more awards and land on more top ten lists than this one. (“Decoy”, “Ghosts,” “Where’s Waldo?”)

    3.  Breaking Bad– The concluding episodes supported some of my criticisms of recent seasons. The episodes were rather conventional and tidy and played fast and loose with character motivation. Yet, those final episodes also re-captured that mix of dread, struggling morals and base level excitement. The show hadn’t worked all those elements at once since its brilliant second season. I may not place this series on the highest tier of TV greats, but the show’s peak episodes and its best arcs tower over most everything else. That can’t be argued. (“Ozymandias,” “Buried,” “Confessions”)

    4.  The Good Wife– 2012 represented a bit of a down turn for this series. The latter half of season three was merely passable. The first half of season four was often too silly. In 2013 The Good Wife not only stabilized its quality, it elevated that quality to a level the show had never before reached. By adding a bit of Mad Men’s office conflicts and Scandal’s plot twists to its stalwart ‘West Wing’ meets courtroom procedural format this show once again became the premiere broadcast drama. Sometimes it was simply TV’s best drama. (“Hitting the Fan,” “Red Team, Blue Team,” “What’s in the Box?”)

    5.  Orange is the New Black – It took around half of its season debut for this to start living up to the hype. However, the strength of the season’s final episodes helped snuff out many of its earlier dents. It’s not the groundbreaking series some are claiming it to be, but it is a diverse, ambitious and addictive soap opera. It had legitimately powerful moments and some wonderful characterization. I’m all about strong characterization. (“Fucksgiving,” “Can’t Fix Crazy,” “Fool Me Once”)

    6.  Person of Interest– The success of this show’s revamp likely led to CBS loosening their procedural grip on other shows such as The Good Wife and Elementary. The influx of mythology and longstanding mystery greatly improved a show that was initially just an interesting premise. If the writers from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are trying to steal some ways on how to craft an exciting, slick action series that actually has a personality then they should look no further than this kooky show. (“The Devil’s Share”, “Relevance”, “God Code”)

    7.  Southland– This been one of the best dramas on TV since the beginning of its TNT run, but it was never innovative or risky enough to truly stand out among the more glossy and cynical cable shows. In its final season it became the darker, more confrontational show it probably should have always been. Props must be given to any series that last at least a few seasons and manages to go out at its peak. (“Chaos,” “Heroes,” “Babel”)

    8.  Orphan Black– It’s gimmicky, soapy and often cliché genre fiction, and that’s okay. That’s okay because this show has Tatiana Maslany. Her abilities allow the show to randomly become whatever it wants (it’s a show that can feel like Alias in one scene and Desperate Housewives the next). She tethers all the craziness and tropes and gives it weight. I’ve never seen a show so dependent on one actor, at least not a show that actually works. Once again, all the awards to Tatiana. (“Unconscious Selection,” “Effects of External Conditions,” “Natural Selection,”)

    9.  Game of Thrones– The connect-the-dots quality of season two left me indifferent. I don’t know if it’s because my expectations for season three were tempered, but I enjoyed the third season significantly more. The show might not ever reach the level of its debut season’s second half, but this did offer surprises, thrills and some interesting character development. At its best this is still an engaging, intimate epic. (“The Rains of Castamere”, “Walk of Punishment,” “And Now His Watch Has Ended”)

    10.  30 Rock– Yes, I’m including a show that only aired five episodes in 2013. It’s partly because I liked those final episodes. But it’s mostly because the lameness of this year’s comedies. I wanted to include at least one overtly ha-ha comedy, and I have mixed feeling about other sitcoms. So, I’m left with 30 Rock and its five episodes. In its closing season the show did regain much of its wit and weird, quirky heart, and it reached its peak in the last five installments. (“Last Lunch”, “Game Over”, “Hogcock”)

    The Returned, Hannibal, Elementary, Bob’s Burgers, Rectify, The Americans, Getting On, Broadchurch, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Big Bang Theory, New Girl, Master of Sex, The Killing, Boardwalk Empire, Arrested Development, Bunheads

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    Denis
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    #306439

    1.Breaking Bad
    2.Southland
    3.Boardwalk Empire
    4.Justified
    5.The Americans
    6.Broadchurch
    7.The Killing
    8.Veep
    9.Rectify
    10.The Bridge

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    Anonymous
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    Jan 1st, 1970
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    #306440

    10. New Girl
    9. Modern Family
    8. Arrested Development
    7. The Big Bang Theory 
    6. Veep
    5. House of Cards
    4. The Good Wife
    3. Homeland
    2. American Horror Story : Coven
    1. Game of Thrones

    fuck me right? haha 

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    Gabriel
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    #306441

    1. Enlightened
    2. Breaking Bad
    3. Orange is the New Black
    4. American Horror Story: Coven
    5. Girls
    6. Parks and Recreation
    7. Arrested Development
    8. The Walking Dead
    9. The Killing
    10. Mad Men

    Honorable Mentions: New Girl, Happy Endings, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The Americans.

    I haven’t caught up with Justified’s last two seasons, but if I did, I’m sure i’d like it enough to put in my top 10.

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    vinny
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    #306442

    1) Game of Thrones : If there is such a thing as the perfect season this is it.
    2) Sleepy Hollow : Another one that isn’t done yet but it’s captivating.
    3) Mad Men : The biggest surprise this season for me. I didn’t expect much and it was great.
    4) American Horror Story: Coven : Amazing cast, amazing season.
    5) Modern Family : Rebounded amazingly from last season.
    6) Boardwalk Empire : Amazing season.
    7) Homeland : Its an off season but really has been captivating.
    8) Law and Order SVU : Amazing season so far.
    9) Blue Bloods : Best season yet.
    10) The Blacklist : I know it’s only halfway through the season but it’s great.  

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    Marcos Moreira
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    #306443

    1- Boardwalk Empire
    2- Breaking Bad
    3- Enlightened
    4- Homeland
    5- Luther 
    6- House of Cards
    7- The Killing
    8- The Newsroom
    9- Game of Thrones 
    10- The Bridge 

    Mad Men, The Americans, Hello Ladies, Veep, 30 Rock, Girls, Masters of Sex, Hannibal, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl and The Blacklist because I love Spader

    Haven’t watched the current seasons of The Good Wife, Arrested Development, Justified, Southland, Sons of Anarchy, Broadchurch, The Returned and Person of Interest yet

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    probablyROB
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    #306444

    1.   Justified
    2.   Breaking Bad
    3.   The Americans
    4.   Orange is the New Black
    5.   Game of Thrones
    6.   Arrested Development
    7.   The Bridge
    8.   Suits
    9.   Enlgihtened
    10. Derek

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    CanadianFan
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    #306445

    I’m going to hold off until I watch all of the finales… 

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    BenitoDelicias
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    #306446

    A lot to choose from….I thought I wouldn’t have that many options…

    1. Breaking Bad
    2. The Good Wife
    3. Veep
    4. Survivor (both seasons)
    5. Enlightened
    6. Arrested Development
    7. Orange is the New Black
    8. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    9. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
    10. Game of Thrones

    Others: The Goldbergs, Orphan Black, Hannibal, The Killing, House of Cards, Justified, Mad Men…
    Maybe I’ll edit later since I haven’t seen Homeland, Boardwalk Empire (waiting for them to end)…

    Nobody’s asking but is there really any other option for:
    Worst Show of the Year: Dexter’s Final Season. 

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    Cobalt Blue
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    #306447

    1. Breaking Bad
    2. Game of Thrones
    3. Homeland
    4. Veep
    5. House of Cards
    6. Masters of Sex
    7. The Bridge
    8. Orange is the New Black
    9. The Americans
    10. Boardwalk Empire

    Showtime’s shows still in flux until next week

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    Riley
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    Oct 11th, 2010
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    #306448

    Thank you, Icky, for kicking off things with well-thought-out write-ups for each of your picks and I hope that everyone else follows suit.

    You prefer the one where she discovers Twitter over the Luke Wilson episode, really?

    Note to self: My tastes are incompatible with those of vinny.  I match the most with probablyROB at six out of ten, although that includes my tenth-place show which might fall out by the time that I make my list.  Does The Bridge get substantially better after the first two episodes?

    I would actually take the final season of Dexter over the fourth season of Downton Abbey.

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    Icky
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    #306449

    You prefer the one where she discovers Twitter over the Luke Wilson episode, really?

    Note to self: My tastes are incompatible with those of vinny.  I match the most with probablyROB at six out of ten, although that includes my tenth-place show which might fall out by the time that I make my list.  Does The Bridge get substantially better after the first two episodes?

    “Follow Me” is the episode where I realized how great the show had become. It’s overall my favorite Dern performance of the series, and I loved the closing inner monologue. “Higher Power” is my fourth favorite of the season, but the season was so strong that I could have almost chosen at random.

    I wouldn’t say The Bridge gets signficantly better after the first two episodes, though the second half builds momentum and has a couple of very good episodes.

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    FrozenBarbie
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    Sep 27th, 2011
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    #306450

    1. Breaking Bad
    2. Justified
    3. Game of Thrones
    4. The Americans
    5. Veep
    6. The Returned
    7. Orange is the New Black
    8.  The Fall
    9. Homeland
    10. Mad Men

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    probablyROB
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    #306451

    The Bridge rewards its most pateint viewers.  There is a string there where I would almost put it up against any drama on TV.  It doesn’t make my top 5 because of an odd finish.  The final two episodes felt like what should have been the first two episodes of Season 2.

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    Denis
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    #306452

    shit, forgot Game of Thrones – Consider it a tie with Southland though I doubt anyone is counting points.

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