Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tops in Teevee

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.

1) Orange Is the New Black

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.

8) Girls

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.”


Carmen SanDiego said...

I agree with most of your list but I would add Scandal to mine. And Greys Anatomy. I am a Shonda fan.
Happy 2014 DS

Carol A said...

I would have to add Once upon a Time even though it boarders very close to offending me with the narrow idea of parenthood.
Looking forward to reading your blogs in 2014 DS, hve a wonderful new year

Anonymous said...

Scandal, yes. KW is fun to watch. But Sherlock from the BBC is a much more entertaining and cerebral show than the American Elementary. It's just that the US version has Lucy and isn't so much a boys club. Brownie points for Lucy but Sherlock ftw!

maya said...

I am chagrined to admit that I have not seen a number of the shows you listed as it breaks my first rule of teevee watching: Watch whatever Dorothy Snarker tells me to watch! But it's hard to keep up, what with all the cat videos and all. I've been practicing my deep breathing to ready myself for AHS for a few years now and have yet to make the plunge even though it breaks my first rule of anything-watching: Watch anything with Sarah Paulson in it! Well, I will slink off now and try to mend the error of my ways. Here's to all of us and a New Year of tv watching, blog reading (and writing if you're Snarks), kibitzing and a little heckling (with love--so much love.)

Anonymous said...

Would add Sherlock, The Returned, Broadchurch, Rectify, The Americans and Last Tango...and I had to remove Lost Girl this season..... There is cheesy, self mocking funny and then there is flat out bad writing, bad acting Lost Girl, hey I stuck in there for 3 seasons though.....it was a great year for returning shows too...

Tristen said...


LAL's Solace said...

Rookie Blue
Lost Girl
Grey's Anatomy
This mainly all the TV I watch. Happy New Year!!

LAL's Solace said...

Rookie Blue
Lost Girl
Grey's Anatomy

This about all the TV I watch.
Happy New Year!!

Anonymous said...

the oitnb is great but even better was the killing....all actors were great in the two shows...the chemistry and the lines are hilarious in lost girl...I am not sure how they get off some of those lines and we are pretty tolerant in canada...the lines are topical and a lot of puns many non canadians may not get.....broadchurch was great also...hope more good shows come along....!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mine has Lost Girl in top billing but otherwise very similar...add Murdoch Mysteries, Warehouse 13 (last year, sniff) and Defiance (Bering Wells lives on - in my mind at least). I still watch Once and Good Wife though only out of habit with too few thrills these days, so they wouldn't make any lists.
Happy New Year Snarks!

Sam Bennett said...

Scott and Bailey, A Touch of Cloth (only 4 episodes but so so funny), Ripper Street and The Americans.
Its difficult to be up to date with tv as iv been travelling forthe last 6 months, but its good to know what shows are worth watching so as soon as i get home i can get on netflix, order in some supplies, shut out the world, and settle in for a 3 month mega marathon of catching up! yay!