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Best of 2013: Our 11 Favorite TV Shows

Posted by December 23rd, 2013 No Comments »

When we started making lists of our favorite things back in 1997, we watched our TV shows once a week. We set our schedules to accommodate the networks’, and made time to watch the new episode of Seinfeld, The Sopranos, or The X Files at the same time as the rest of the world.

The emergence of digital media changed all that, making it a little harder to pinpoint our favorite shows of 2013. Are these the shows that produced new episodes this year? Are we evaluating solely the episodes that were released in 2013? Or is it OK to take the show’s overall impact in to account when making our selections?

When it comes to the rules governing’s highly-sophisticated year-end ballot process, we decided to leave it open. More than 30 contributors shared their thoughts on their favorite things of 2013, including TV shows.

Interestingly enough, the show in our top spot seemed to resonate with every type of 2013 TV watcher – the nation tuned in together as the show debuted new episodes, including a season finale, and was one of the most popular shows on streaming sites like Netflix.

11. Boardwalk Empire

Remember how good The Sopranos was, before it got all shitty? Boardwalk Empire is like that, but set in Atlantic City during prohibition, so the set pieces and costumes are a hell of a lot cooler than New Jersey circa 2000.

10. Adventure Time

9. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Because we still like bathroom humor, toilet humor, locker room humor, and bar room humor, especially when cleverly delivered by a group of endearing, if morally questionable, characters.

8. The Walking Dead

Patient and careful, AMC’s blockbuster drama perfects the cable TV model of long story arcs and deep character development in that it’s the only show I can think of that’s gotten better in each of its four seasons.

7. Orange is the New Black

6. Archer

Archer keeps the spirit of Sealab 2021 alive – awful people doing awful things to each other, impeccably animated and brilliantly voice-acted.

5. Parks & Recreation

4. The Colbert Report

Comedian Steven Colbert’s latest triumph is definitively transcending the college audience and becoming “must see TV” for people of all ages without compromising his format. This transition has been a long time in the making, but 2013 marks the year my parents began DVR-ing every episode and talking about him like he’s the modern day Dan Rather. Impressive feat.

3. Game of Thrones

2. Bob’s Burgers

Perhaps we’re showing our age here, but since some of us still have every episode of Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist available on a homemade VHS tape, it’s not surprising that both of H. John Benjamin’s current projects made the list. He’ll never top Home Movies as far as I’m’ concerned, but Bob’s Burgers is still one of the funniest things on television.

1. Breaking Bad

Surprise, surprise! The year’s most talked about show was worth the hype.

(Also receiving votes: American Dad, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Black List, Broadchurch, Enlightened, Girls, Hannibal, Hello Ladies, House of Cards, the Mindy Project, Nashville, The New Girl, Orphan Black, Portlandia, Sons of Anarchy, Top Gear, Veep, Wilfred.) 

More 2013 Year-End Coverage:

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