10 Best TV Shows of 2013
As 2013 draws to a close, let us look back on what was, without a doubt, a great year for TV. 2013 gave us shows like ‘Orange Is the New Black‘ (thank you, Netflix), continued to tantalize us with crazy twists in ‘Pretty Little Liars‘ and ‘Scandal,’ and epically concluded ‘Breaking Bad.’ With a mix of comedy, drama and period pieces (looking at you, ‘Reign‘), read on to see what made our list of Best TV Shows of 2013.
(Warning: Some videos below may be NSFW.)
‘Pretty Little Liars’
In the twisted, tangled web that is the plot of ‘Pretty Little Liars,’ more and more secrets are being revealed as the Liars attempt to close in on A. The second half of Season 3 and the first half of Season 4 (both of which aired in 2013) brought us the mind-blowing bombshell that Toby was working with the A-team, Ezra is somehow connected to A and Allison may be still alive. What?
If you’re a ‘Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ purist, you might have been a little apprehensive about how they were going to take Washington Irving’s classic Halloween tale and turn it into a modern-day retelling. But ‘Sleepy Hollow’ is actually quite good for what it is (and one of the best TV shows of 2013): a supernatural thriller with just the correct amount of comedic elements (Ichabod Crane navigates the world of the 21st century), action (more than just horse chases) and plot changes (instead of Ichabod Crane being pursued by one Headless Horseman, there are four) to make the show successful on its own.
2013 marked the end of the fourth season of ‘Modern Family’ and the beginning of its fifth — proving, once again, that it is a sitcom with staying power. The jokes are still fresh, the characters are only evolving, and, thanks to the overturning of Prop 8, the hijinks involving Cam and Mitchell’s upcoming nuptials are some of the funniest moments on the show. And we still have yet to tire of Sofia Vergara’s ridiculously charming accent.
‘Glee‘ was rocked to the core in 2013 with the tragic and untimely death of Cory Monteith. The show’s tribute episode, ‘The Quarterback,’ was a riveting, heartfelt testament to both Monteith and his character Finn, made only more poignant with the fact that the emotions felt by the actors were genuine. In the episodes to follow, ‘Glee’ continued to handle Monteith/Finn’s passing with poise and dignity (never mentioning the cause of death), while still producing the show-stopping musical covers and mashups for which it’s famous — making it one of 2013’s top TV shows.
The CW’s historical drama, which debuted in 2013, tells the tale of Mary, Queen of Scots, as she navigates her engagement to Francis, the future king of France. Meanwhile, Francis’ mother, the reigning queen, maliciously attempts to break them up, as it is predicted that the marriage will lead to her son’s death. Oh yeah, and everyone is sleeping with everyone else. If you’re a sucker for teen drama (The CW’s hallmark) coupled with the sex, intrigue and secrets of the (fictionalized) French monarchy, ‘Reign’ will not disappoint.
‘Nashville’ is kind of like country music’s answer to a soap opera: delicious drama, forbidden love triangles and desperately hidden secrets, all interspersed between twangy jams and blues-filled tunes. The show’s second season has already seen its fair share of drama (Deacon reveals he is Maddie’s biological father, Juliette copes with her mom’s death and Peggy fakes her own pregnancy), and it’s only bound to get better, because — guess what? — a major character is going to die. Stay tuned.
‘Catfish: The TV Show’
The MTV docuseries (and spin-off of the documentary film by the same name) follows filmmakers Nev Shulman and Max Joseph as they unite people with their online loves, who, 9 times out of 10, are not who they say they are. But what makes ‘Catfish’ so intriguing is that it doesn’t just end there — instead, it explores the reasons behind the “catfish’s” deceit, as both parties try to come to terms with the complexity of their emotions.
‘Breaking Bad’ not only broke bad, but shattered expectations of television forever. Not only did it make our list of the best TV shows of 2013, but it earned a Guinness World Record this year for being the highest-rated TV show of all-time. Bryan Cranston’s truly unbelievable performance as the brilliantly dark meth-making Walter White garnered him a barrage of accolades — including three consecutive Best Actor Emmy wins — and the respect of critics and fellow actors alike. 2013 marked the end of the groundbreaking series, culminating in one of the most highly-anticipated, intense, and arguably, fitting finales in TV history. And then to release the ‘Newhart’-esque alternate ending in which Hal (Cranston’s ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ character) wakes up from a dream that he was Walter White? Genius.
As if Shonda Rhimes (the mastermind behind ‘Grey’s Anatomy’) wasn’t already giving us enough beautiful drama, she came up with ‘Scandal,’ the explosive political thriller that has everyone hooked. The show’s second and third seasons, which aired in 2013, dove deeper into the heartbreaking betrayals and deeply-guarded secrets, leaving Olivia Pope struggling to come to terms with the exposure of her presidential affair and the many troubles of her past. The well-crafted and incredibly well-executed plot of the show (Kerry Washington wasn’t nominated for a Best Actress Emmy for nothing) only leaves viewers salivating for more.
‘Orange Is the New Black’
‘OITNB,’ how do we love thee? Let us count the ways: 1) Your groundbreaking glimpse into (fictional) prison life that drives home the fact that in between black and white, there are many, many different shades of grey, 2) Your stellar, stellar cast made up of a incredible, diverse group of women, each of whom gets the opportunity to share her own backstory, and lastly, 3) The fact that you are on Netflix, so that viewers everywhere can binge-watch the first season and angrily throw things at the TV/computer upon when they realize that the second season won’t be out until next year. Thank you for everything that you are.