Monday, January 27, 2014

End-Of-Year: Favorite 2013 TV Shows, Part 1

My goal was to get this list posted a few days after I picked my acting winners, more than two weeks ago, so clearly that didn't happen. In any case, below is the first part of my ranked list of TV shows I watched in 2013. You may think having a Top 35 List is pretty much giving everyone an trophy, but that's not even half the number of the shows I saw last year. And thus...

35. Cougar Town - New network, but same hijinks. At this point, the show really is just a bunch of drunks having fun together. I'm not complaining.

34. 30 Rock - Probably too low, but I sort of already fell out of mad love with the show a few seasons ago. With that said, their final season was a back to form and it'll truly be missed if only for my love Jenna Maroney.

33. Big Bang Theory - The most popular show on TV right now isn't perfect, but the cast chemistry in undeniable. When the show takes advantage of its full ensemble, it's very good.

32. New Girl - Its sophomore season was really great including the back half which aired last year minus the whole Schmidt two-timing storyline, but while still good, it seems to have stagnated early in its junior season just a bit.

31. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - I was lukewarm on the pilot and a few of the early episodes were a bit unmemorable. With that said, I've become oddly invested in the characters and while it's still not the show I know Whedon can deliver, it's still a show I like to watch.

30. Arrested Development - I actually saw the whole series for the first time last year which is why I've ranked it here since while I was intrigued at how they structured the latest season in Netflix, it made for rough watching early on.

29. How I Met Your Mother - This ranking would be much higher if the show took full advantage of Cristin Milioti, because every episode she's been featured in has been aces. But look this is one of my favorite shows the past few years and while the unique final season framework hasn't been super successful, at least they're doing something different.

28. Community - Most people would like to forget that this Dan Harmon-less season ever happened, but I was never really one of those people who thought it was a bad season, just different. In fact, I ended up loving a handful of episodes.

27. Girls - I actually think I may have liked this season over the first one and its lower ranking only means A LOT of new shows premiered this year. That said, I honestly don't get the haters for this show. Okay, maybe if they're complaining about anything Jessa-related.

26. Call the Midwife - Managed to watch the first two seasons last year and ended up loving its mix of high-stakes drama (delivering babies!) with some organic comedy (Miranda Hart!).

25. Please Like Me - There's something just super appealing to the quirky, brash humor by Josh Thomas in this fun British show about a guy coming out of the closet and yet stubbornly refuses to change one iota.

24. Vikings - I honestly didn't expect to love a show about the lives of Vikings and yet with fully realized characters and superb production qualities, this History show really delivered. Plus it has a hot monk!

23. Teen Wolf - This is a supernatural show full of hot guys and kickass ladies. Do I really need to explain more about why it's one of my not-at-all guilty pleasures?

22. Sleepy Hollow - When this show premiered, I pointed out that its pilot walked "the fine line of embracing its weirdness while also providing a refreshing sense of gleeful sincerity in its tone" and fortunately the show maintained this throughout while also developing its characters and its overwrought, but entertaining mythology.

21. The Crazy Ones - This is a show that definitely got much better as it went, especially when it stopped being the Robin Williams show and became more of an ensemble show, a really funny one at that. Its end tag bloopers is one of my favorite things this past season. Also Kelly Clarkson in the pilot! Win!

20. Hannibal - As a huge fan of Bryan Fuller, I knew this show would be right up my alley and while it's less whimsy and more gory than his other shows, the quality remains. It helps that Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy are doing amazing things in their roles.

19. Elementary - I don't subscribe to comparing this show with BBC's Sherlock since they're both so different. What I do love about this show is the fresh take Miller brings to the character and his fantastic relationship with Liu's Watson.

18. Downton Abbey - I never know which season of this show I'm honoring--the one that aired in the US early last year or the one that aired in the UK later last year. No matter, as I think the show has found its sweet spot between period piece and soap opera melodrama and I can't get enough of it.

17. House of Cards - While it wasn't my favorite Netflix original of last year, it was still such a delight to see Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright plot together to take over the world. I can't wait to see what/who else they can manipulate and destroy.

16. Mad Men - Ranked the exact same last year, I do think people have started to really take the greatness of this show for granted. But it's still pretty damn great especially with its central character so much more broken than ever. Also, this season gave us Bob Benson, so there you go.

I'll hopefully post the second part of my rankings aka my Top 15 before the end of the week, but whenever I say that it usually takes a few more days or week to actually happen. In the meantime, here are a few honorable mentions...

An Adventure in Space and Time - This was a BBC television movie that dramatized the origins of the show Doctor Who airing in time for the 50th Anniversary of the show. So good, but as it was a movie, didn't make my list.

Fringe - Based on the last three episodes it aired in 2013, this would be a Top 20 show easy, but I wanted to honor newer shows and it already made my Top 10 list last year.

Lizzie Bennett Diaries - Such an inventive take on the Pride & Prejudice story, adapted for the YouTube generation. Since it was a web series, I felt it'd be better to call it out here rather than including it in my list. Watch it here.

Reality Shows - I saw a lot of good to great ones the past year, but with so many scripted shows to honor I had to take them out. But from old favorites (Amazing Race, Masterchef, Face Off) to new surprises (The Writers' Room, Masterchef Junior) to silly fun ones (American Ninja Warrior, Whodunnit?, Hollywood Game Night), I had to pay tribute to them in some small way.

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