This being the last day of 2103, I thought we should reflect on what was most important last year. Namely, television. Yes, it was truly a spectacular year for the wires and lights in a box. Not only did some great returning favorites continue to impress, but some newcomers became instant classics. So in the spirit of end-of-the-year introspection and for the love of lists, here are my Top 10 favorite shows from 2013. These were, quite simply, the shows I enjoyed watching most this past year. And, as an added bonus, half of them featured prominent lesbian or bisexual female characters. Here’s to another spectacular 365 days of sitting on the couch and staring at the flickering lights on the screen. Thanks, 2013. Bring it, 2014.
If it took you more than three days to watch this entire series from start to finish you were clearly doing it wrong. This show defined binge watching and defied all stereotypes. On its surface it was a fish-out-of-water story of white privilege meeting prison bars. But underneath it was about women of color, survival and the ways we all interact. Also, it gave us Alex Vause. Best. Show. Ever.
2) Orphan Black
We’ve had to coin a whole new word to describe the crazy twisty turny adventure that is this show – clonespiracy. And, oooooh doggy, if this isn’t this a good one. Human cloning. Genetic engineering. Corporate maleficence. And Tatiana Maslany playing everyone all at once and twice on Sunday. We are all part of the sestra-hood now.
3) Sleepy Hollow
If you told me the story of a Revolutionary War-era, time-traveling Ichabod Crane trying to stop the end of the world as we know it in present day would be one of my favorite shows of the season, I would have thought you’d lost your head. (Rim shot.) But this supernatural story with apocalyptic overtones has the best mix of action, scares, drama and comedy than any other show on right now. It’s just damn good fun.
4) Lost Girl
Sorry, all non-resident and “virtual” (ahem) Canadians, but you’ve been missing out on a pretty a-maaaaaz-ing season thus far. But Syfy viewers will get their chance to get on the crazy train come Jan. 13. I can’t say exactly where it’s all going, but I do know I can’t wait to see how many ships, crackships and straight-up-huffing-glue-ships the writers can set sail this season. Grab some popcorn and a life vest. Oh, yeah, and there’s also Post-Pregnancy Boobs O’Clock.
5) The Fosters
Admit it, you get a little choked up just watching the credits of this show. So much heart is packed into this seemingly simple family drama. This two-mama drama felt so familiar from the start because it showed that family, in all its various shapes and forms, is always just that. They’re the people you come home to, always.
6) American Horror Story: Coven
Witches get stuff done. This season has added a much-needed sense of wicked, wicked fun the over-the-top franchise. And it has hands down the most impressive cast of female talent amassed on one show this season. Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe…I could keep going. This season is all about women’s power, and damn it if I’m not bewitched.
7) The Fall
I don’t know how she does it, but Gillian Anderson keeps getting better with age. This methodical crime series is a slow-burn cat-and-mouse game that still manages to keep you on the edge of your seat. Also, have I mentioned how amazing Gillians is? I don’t think I can say it enough. Oh, and there’s a little Archie Panjabi thrown in there, too. Because you can never have enough smart, talented women on the screen together. Ever.
Yes, this show is controversial. Yes, some people hate it – with reason. But for all its many and admitted flaws, it’s still invigorating to see young women’s stories told by young women. Also, it reminds me that I definitely don’t want to be in my twenties again.
9) Game of Thrones
Khaleesi! The most epic of mic drops by the Mother of Dragons a.k.a. Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen was a much-needed jolt of female empowerment in a show that you need a freaking flow chart to keep track of all the men trying to take the throne from other men. But this season many women started to come into their own, finally. Yes, there was the Red Wedding. But there were also dracarys.
10) Parks & Recreation
Leslie Knope, yo. That is all.
Some honorable mentions: Elementary (I like it more than the British Sherlock, there I said it), Rizzoli & Isles (I’m just a sucker for gayzzoli), The Mindy Project (this show has improved so much, seriously, so much), and Top of the Lake (I haven’t had a chance to watch this yet, but so many smart people whose opinions I trust love it that I know I will – next Netflix marathon: set).
So, those are mine. Now you show me yours. What were your Top 10 shows of 2013. And, dear God, help the poor souls who still say “Glee.”