Best TV Shows of 2013
The Staff’s Picks
1. “Breaking Bad” | HBO
2. “Orange Is The New Black” | Netflix
3. “House of Cards” | Netlfix
4. “Arrested Development” | Netflix
5. TIE: “Game of Thrones” | HBO and “Homeland” | Showtime
“SAVE for “Scandal”! You have not seen passion until you’ve watched Olivia and the President get down in the Oval Office!” -Tina Chadha, Deputy Features Editor/Style Editor
TV Editor Alexandra Cavallo’s Picks
1. “GAME OF THRONES” | HBO
As TV editor, I apologize on behalf of my colleagues, who were remiss in their consideration of “Game of Thrones.” Fifth place— and at a tie no less! (Full disclosure: I have never seen an episode of “Homeland.” I know, I know. *slaps own wrist.* I’m one of those people who can’t start watching a show once every single other person I’ve ever known is already multiple seasons deep. It’s a real problem, I’m working on it. It’s the same reason I didn’t watch “Breaking Bad.” *slaps wrist twice, leaps out window*) Anyway, to make a super outdated Kanye joke, Ima let the rest of the staff finish, but “Game of Thrones” had the best season ever. What other show has the balls to ruthlessly — and awesomely, creatively and bloodily — kill off multiple main characters like it ain’t no thing? “Game of Thrones” reigns supreme. See what I did there?
2. “HOUSE OF CARDS” | NETFLIX
Other than HBO (and FX and A&E and — well, damn, seems like television is killing it lately, huh?) Netflix is putting out some of the most exciting and game-changing programs of the moment. “House of Cards,” to put it simply, is utterly captivating — and this comes from a person, that, full disclosure, doesn’t even vote. *applies ice to swollen wrist* Politics is not my thing. But this show has it all: intrigue, sex, violence, scandal and Kevin Spacey. Enough said.
3. “PROJECT RUNWAY” | LIFETIME
Here’s my shoutout to reality TV. I love reality TV. I watch it all. Housewives, teen moms, geriatric moms, people who have sex with inanimate objects — I’ll watch them all, as long as it’s “real.” But “Project Runway” (technically a reality competition show, which makes it higher brow) is legitimately a quality show. The contestants are actually astoundingly talented (for the most part), the challenges are fresh and exciting, and there’s still enough catfighting and drama to sate my appetite for lowbrow reality crap. Plus, it has Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Nina Garcia and Zac Posen (not quite as bitchily awesome as Michael Koors, but close) — the best panel of famous people ever (no offense to “The Voice.” hahaha just kidding, total offense meant.)
4. “GIRLS” | HBO
How did nobody else even mention this show? I don’t care what anybody says, Lena Dunham is a genius, and remarkably likeable despite airing her flaws — both emotional and physical — for the whole world to gawk at. Sure, the second season didn’t quite meet the very high bar that the debut season set — it was a little too dark, and sometimes depressing — but as a 20-something girl myself (OK FINE, 29, IT STILL COUNTS) I can totally relate to almost everything that is said and done on this show. Don’t judge me.
5. “NATHAN FOR YOU” | Comedy Central
Most people have probably never seen or even heard of this show. Get familiar, people, because Canadian comedian Nathan Fielder (is it just me or those Canadians far more talented than us American schmucks — there’s an unbelievable amount of excellent music coming out of our neighbor to the north right now) is one of the funniest dudes on the ‘tube right now. (Also s/o to Billy Eichner of Fuse’s “Billy on the Street.” Dude is hilarious.) This docu-reality comedy series basically features Fielder playing a deadpan, dead-eyed version of himself, using his use his “business background” to help out failing companies and individuals. Spoiler alert: he is not helpful. Just trust me, you’ve got to watch it.
Adult Swim’s “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”
Just because it’s one of the few shows I know of that is so unapolgetically, delightfully bizarre and also makes me laugh like a crazy person.
It wasn’t easy getting these rankings. It took a lot of discussion — and a fair amount of smack talking. Here’s the best of it.
“This is rather pathetic but I still have a soft spot in my heart for Grey’s Anatomy. God, take me off this email “best of” lists. You may as well be asking your mother what is hip.” - Dorothy Robinson, Managing Editor
“I kind of feel like Christina’s take-down of Meredith re: I am moving past you, and that’s OK, was one of the single best scenes I’ve seen on TV this season. Really an apt and concise dialogue-opener in the ongoing “Can women have it all, and what does that even mean?” discourse.” -T. Michelle Murphy, New York Entertainment Editor/Copy Chief
“I’m really glad we didn’t neglect “Arrested Development.” I can’t tell you how many people told me they turned it off after the fourth episode — RIGHT before the first Tobias story, which took it from passable to mind-meltingly brilliant. Even moreso than the original run, it requires you get into its singular groove. Then it’s hard to quit. - Matt Prigge, Film Editor
“I’m with Matt here. I loved the encore of “Arrested Development,” because it didn’t rely on its old formulas. It was a new start! (If you get that reference then you watched far enough into the season that you probably voted for the show!) It was smarter, darker and weirder than its first few seasons.” -Pat Healy, Features Editor/Music Editor
“Arrested Development was so bad. It was like going back to a high school reunion and being feverish to see an old crush only to find him weird and off-key. The original chemistry you longed for so much just died with time.” - Dorothy Robinson
“Is there a way I can push Arrested Development into oblivion from this list? Out of the 5 TV things we’re going to let Netflix reign over 3 of them? Did they really do that much better at making television this year than ANY other network/cable channel? (The answer to this question is possibly yes, but it’s also my rationale for striking Arrested Development from the list)” - Julia Furlan, Careers/Education/Dating Editor
“I just wanna go on the record saying that “Orange is the New Black” is kinda lame. There’s too much cuteness and it’s also super hokey, but people don’t really realize that because it’s based in a prison and there are so many “tough” women, but when she leaves the phonecall with her fiance to chase the chicken is when I left the show.” - Pat Healy
“You clearly missed the episode where the crazy meth head walks into an abortion clinic with a shotgun and becomes a poster child for the Evangelistic church. Yeah it might be hokey at times (it’s TV!) but it’s dark, too and the story line is refreshing compared to the usual female centric — girl-in-the-big-city or girl-raises-baby-on-her-own— sitcom. #NodisrespecttoGilmoreGirls/TheMindyProject” -Tina Chadha
“Sad to see “Breaking Bad” come to an end, but at least it went out on a high note. HA! High note! Get it? See what I did there? Pun on HIGH? Nevermind.” -Meredith Engel, Wellbeing/Going Out/Travel Editor
“I didn’t watch Breaking Bad because it was too dark and made me sad about the world, which made it perfect for me to catch this last season when I wasn’t emotionally involved in the least. This is all to say that “Breaking Bad” can even draw in a person who can’t stand violence or bleak worldviews that had no idea who Heisenberg was. “ - Julia Furlan
“Can we have Bryan Cranston and Kevin Spacey just duke it out, in character, for the honors? WHO WOULD WIN THAT DEATH MATCH?” -T. Michelle Murphy
“I’m just impressed you all can afford cable.” - Dorothy Robinson