Top 10 Best TV Shows of 2013

words by Nick James
| Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

2013 has come and gone. So many shows, so little time. Behold, this is the list of the top 10 TV shows that I watched within 2013. Unlike most Top 10 compilations, this list is only comprised of the shows that I have actually viewed personally myself. I’m not stating that these are the best 10 shows in existence; rather, I’m saying that these are the best 10 shows that I was aware of during the course of the year. I mean, hell, there’s only so much high-quality television programming that a person can take in. In other words, if your favorite show didn’t make the cut, don’t hate mail me — just drop me a line in the comments, and I’ll do my best to check it out in 2014.

So without further ado:

10. Scandal

ABC’s “Scandal” is a unique spin on the traditional DC political thriller, which introduces Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope. Olivia is a problem solver in a city that is known for having its fair share of problems to fix. A small investment of time is required before the greater story lines in the series are unearthed, but I can assure you that your patience will be rewarded. Just remember to be careful whom you trust in Washington.

9. American Horror Story

After a friend at work insisted that I check it out, I dived into the first season of FX’s “American Horror Story” on Netflix. I emerged from my Netflix binge pleasantly surprised to realize that this show is just my preferred flavor of bat-shit crazy. Season one chronicles the macabre tale of a family that ends up getting more than they bargained for after relocating to a new home with an interestingly colorful history.

This one is definitely not for the squeamish. The first season of “American Horror Story” seems like the kind of program that would make the writers of “The Twilight Zone” proud.

8. Game Of Thrones

Down from sixth place in last year’s best TV shows list, HBO’s Game of Thrones is show that is only for those who can watch a television show without generating any fondness or attachment for the characters depicted onscreen. Honestly, the rate at which I have lost beloved characters to merciless slaughter on this show has left me a broken shadow of my former self. I don’t know what lies in store for this upcoming season, but I’m putting the smart money on someone that I really enjoy watching onscreen dying in the worst way imaginable.

7. Justified

Down from second place in last year’s list, the most recent season of “Justified” broke away from the traditional model of having one big bad villain, and instead gave us a classic “whodunit” tale of mystery. While I applaud the writers’ desire to change things up (unlike other shows that cling to a stale formula), the villains in “Justified” have been so good over the years that the fourth season seemed lacking without a primary villain to root against. Here’s hoping that season five will be more of a return to form.

6. Homeland

“Homeland” dropped from fourth place on last year’s list, and I don’t know how to discuss its third season without being spoilerific. Let’s just say that no one is safe this season as Carrie, Brody, and Saul are forced to face the aftermath of the attack on the CIA from the end of season two. Ultimately, season three is another good entry in this global espionage drama, although I felt that too much screen time was given to characters that are less integral to the overall story, namely Brody’s daughter Dana.

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  • Walter White

    How could you judge a show based on the first season and last six episodes and openly admit to it? Your list is not that far off, but you lost a lot of credibility with that one.

    • Nick James

      Thanks for reading Mr. White. I wasn’t exactly going for the Pulitzer Prize with this list but I think I can see your point. I’m embarrassed to admit that Breaking Bad didn’t capture me enough to take the entire ride. So many of my friends with similar television viewing taste loved that show so much that it really is a mystery to me why it wasn’t a match for me. Me placing it on my list in 5th place over other shows which I am a rabid follower was just a true testament to how good I thought the back half of the final season was. Like I said in the opening, the list is totally subjective. If I based it off of what the viewing public enjoyed in 2013 then clearly Breaking Bad would be number 1.

  • Wirehedd

    Sons of Anarchy? Hello? Sherlock definitely but was not an airing show in 2013. Elementary is a decent substitute. Almost Human? I know, I know, they are standard fare for most but these are shows I like (subjective viewpoint as all are) but i would not be able to take a list seriously that didn’t include SoA at the very least. If you haven’t seen it you absolutely MUST see it. It will change your list.

    • Nick James

      Ahhhhh Sons of Anarchy. That’s another show I’ve heard a lot of good things about. I do want to get into that but it seems that I’m going to need to section off a major block of time considering that the show is getting on in years. Ill definitely make it a point to check it out this year, and thanks for the recommendation!

      • Wirehedd

        Simply put, you will never see Walter Scoggins (Justified, Predators) the same way after you see his role as Venus Van Dam in SoA. I can’t recommend it strongly enough. While the show is primarily a Shakespearian tragedy of the highest order it will astound you that you did not see the show much sooner. They have one more season left so you may want to get on that sooner than later.:)

        • Nick James

          Thats a bold claim my friend. You just don’t understand how much I enjoy watching Walter Goggins playing Boyd Crowder… If I had a top 10 all time list of television characters, Boyd would definitely be somewhere in the top 5. I’m going to take your advice posthaste!

          • Wirehedd

            Goggins… Sorry, but you know exactly who I mean. I will state clearly that you MUST see that specific portrayal.

          • Nick James

            I just Google’d Venus Van Dam…… My life may never be the same again…..

          • Wirehedd

            I also have to add that Venus’ onscreen chemistry with Kim Coates character is both subtle and hilarious. Coates is one of my favourites (a fellow Canadian) of all time as well so the episodes in question remain some of my faves of all time from all TV shows I’ve ever seen. I strongly feel you will agree.

            I’m looking forward to your post after seeing the show and how it will effect your future opinions of other shows. Transformative to say the least.

  • Fergun Connell

    Interesting. I think some good shows did come out during this year.

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