's Top 100 Everything of 2013, Vol. 10: Items 10-1

By Staff

Dec 31, 2013

Not only is it the last day of 2013, it's also the last day of our mega-epic super-gigantic exxxtreme-to-the-maxitude Top 100 Everything of 2013! What a serendipitous turn of fortune that was in no way planned! But it's only fitting, because this was an AMAZING year for television—and below, you'll find the top 10 things that we think made it so. Before we get to 'em (and before you debate/thumbs-up/lament our choices in the comments), we'd like to say thanks to all of you who regularly visited during what was our most fun year to date—we've had the time of our lives sharing our appreciation of television with you. Everybody raise your apple juice and let's cheers to a wonderful 2013 and an even better 2014! See you next year, you wonderful people!


Putting aside our current misgivings about New Girl, let us not forget that the end of the show's second season was pretty much the best thing ever, from the set-up for THE KISS in "Cooler" to everything that came after. The build-up to Jess and Nick as an actual official thing was hilarious and heartfelt, and the pay-off—following another glorious round of True American!—was the stuff of TV fairy-tales. You know, really awkward TV fairy-tales. New Girl managed to keep Nessy almost-there-but-not-quite for most of the Season 2 homestretch, and it was actually great, plus we got to meet Nick's family, putting a lot of Nick's Nick-ness into perspective. Oh! And Schmidt/Elizabeth! Schmidt and Elizabeth were awesome, okay? "Table 34," "Tinfinity," "Chicago," and "Quick Hardening Caulk" rounded out a fantastic—fan-tas-tic—sophomore season. But even with all of that, if we had to pick a highlight... damn, that kiss is on our list.

PREVIOUSLY: New Girl "Cooler" Review: ALL. OF. THE. FEELS.

9. American Horror Story: Coven's collection of crazy kooks

American Horror Story's third season is all about creepy witchiness, but the real fun lies in its fantastic bitchiness. Coven has been a showcase for a stellar group of nasty ladies, including Jessica Lange (like duh, obviously); Lange's fellow AHS vets Sarah Paulson, Frances Conroy, Lily Rabe; newcomers Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett; and an excellent quartet of teenage witches-in-training featuring Taissa Farmiga, Emma Roberts, Jamie Brewer, and Gabourey Sidibe. Come for the zombies, minotaurs, and franken-boyfriends, stay for the venom spewed by the talented female cast.

PREVIOUSLY: "American Horror Story: Coven "Bitchcraft" Review: Hahaha This Show (PHOTO RECAP); American Horror Story: Coven "Head" Review: Hunters and Fatherers (PHOTO RECAP)

8. Person of Interest makes an event out of it

Because its DNA is harvested from comics, CBS's Person of Interest centers on a mysterious billionaire, a strong-and-silent killer, and a city that needs their help. But the show has also borrowed from the medium in a narrative sense, as it did with this fall's three-episode "Endgame" event, an isolated arc that felt like a special must-read issue. Over the course of three cohesive hours, one of the series' biggest villains was conquered, a member of the team was lost *sniff*, and the fallout left Finch and Reese in an unknown space that will serve as a springboard for the rest of Season 3. Person of Interest absolutely deserves consideration for the title of "best drama on network television," and this trio of episodes served up its strongest argument to date. 

PREVIOUSLY: Person of Interest "Endgame" Review: Get Carter? Nope, Carter Gets HersPerson of Interest "The Crossing" Review: You Only Made Him AngryPerson of Interest "The Devil's Share" Review: Revenge, Redemption, and Resolution

7. Happy 50th, Doctor Who!

The longest-running science-fiction series in the world turned 50 this year, and it did so with a huge, wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey celebration that was simulcast around the globe and that thankfully lived up to the hype. The series brought back David Tennant's tenth Doctor to play with Matt Smith's then-outgoing Eleven, as well as some other familiar faces—like Tom Baker and Billie Piper, who appeared in roles they weren't necessarily known for—and, oh yeah, the entire race of the Time Lords. Even though Doctor Who's ability to constantly reinvent itself when an actor departs is probably its greatest achievement, we don't think anyone ever really expected the show to last quite so long. But we're glad it has, of course, and the 50th-anniversary special succeeded all of our expectations while simultaneously pushing the series in a new direction. It was fun, it was exciting, and we're looking forward to the next 50 years. If any TV show can pull off such a run, it's definitely the one that revolves around the mad man with a box.

PREVIOUSLY: Doctor Who "The Day of the Doctor" Review: Gallifrey Falls No MoreDoctor Who: 50 Fantastic Reasons to Celebrate 50 Years

6. The Good Wife strikes out on its own 

Most shows entering their fifth season would be content to coast, but not The Good Wife. Whereas lesser series would've settled into comfortable rhythms full of inter-office melodrama and twisty-turny legal cases while driving their central love triangle into the ground, The Good Wife blew everything up with Alicia and Cary splitting from Lockhart/Gardner and starting their own firm. And while this narrative decision was thrillingly executed in the Season 5 episode "Hitting the Fan," the show patiently built up to it, sowing the seeds in the second half of Season 4 as Alicia came to realize that she didn't want her love life and her professional life to mix, that she wanted to recommit to Peter, that ultimately, she wanted to control her fate as much as possible. And in doing so, The Good Wife became one of the most enthralling and emotionally complex shows on all of TV in 2013.

PREVIOUSLY: The Good Wife "Hitting the Fan" Review: Everything You Ever Wanted

5. Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany, and Tatiana Maslany

Acting is difficult enough when you're only playing one character, but Orphan Black's chameleon/star Tatiana Maslany spent a full season climbing into four different sets of skin (and even more in passing) as punk runaway Sarah Manning, stuffy suburban mom Alison Hendrix, brainiac grad student Cosima Niehaus, and feral maniac Helena, all of whom were clones involved in some deranged experiment. And Maslany didn't just change her hairstyle and T-shirts for each character; she moved differently, fidgeted differently, and spoke differently, accounting for even the tiniest details, so that by Episode 3, viewers had forgotten they were watching the same actress. Let's also give a big shout-out to the technology and stand-in that allowed Maslany to act in scenes with herself (and sometimes TWO other versions), which sold the charade even more. We've been waiting for a new young star to set the screen on fire, and now we've found her.

PREVIOUSLY: Orphan Black Season 1 Finale Review: Same, Same But DifferentInterview With a Chameleon: Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany

4. The Americans: Now that's what I call the '80s 

A lot of really, really great new shows debuted in 2013, but the caviar on top was FX's The Americans, a Cold War spy drama that delivered the most confident freshman season of the year. It smashed genres together without anything feeling forced, boasted a cast of ridiculously great actors, and made bad hairpieces and fake glasses cool again. But The Americans' best asset was the way the show used its early '80s setting, which was infused into the soundtrack (the "Tusk" scene is one of 2013's best), the costuming (those wigs), and most importantly, the spy games. With smartphones and laptops still years away, the cloak-and-dagger action was heightened because The Americans had to get back to basics. No other period piece benefited from the limitations of its era more than this gem, and no other new series was as compelling to watch.

PREVIOUSLY: The Americans Series Premiere Review: Cold War Threat of a Nuclear Family

3. Netflix defies tradition and completely changes the way we watch television

One day your children or android pets will look at you and say, "You used to wait for television episodes and watch them on an actual television and there were commercials and what the hell is NBC anyway?" And you will feel like a loser, because you will be one. We are part of the old school, which in 2013 was bombed by Netflix's new-school strategies of binge-watching, original online programming, and on-demand viewing. This was the year that Netflix signed the broadcast networks' death certificates and forced them to face a future of stunt programming like The Sound of Music Live 2: A Few More of My Favorite Things, proving that the online space isn't afraid of quality original series (House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black) and daring experimentation (Hemlock Grove, Arrested Development). In a decade, we might even wonder why Netflix wasn't number one on our list. That's how big a year it was for the company that once was known for its red envelopes. 

PREVIOUSLY: Does Netflix Know What It's Doing?Will Netflix and House of Cards Change Television, or How You Watch It?

2. It's a nice day for a Red Wedding

The shock. The pain. The suffering. The YouTube reaction videos. If it weren't for our number-one item on this list, Game of Thrones' devastating portrayal of the infamous Red Wedding would be the television event of the year. Three major characters were killed off in an act of deception by House Frey and an act of fan torture from author George R.R. Martin, and even if you'd read the books and already knew it was coming, it still hurt like the dickens. If this is an inciting incident that shapes the inevitable big war for the Iron Throne, then we better start stocking up on Kleenex, wine, and painkillers now. 

PREVIOUSLY: Game of Thrones "The Rains of Castamere" Review: Four Funerals and a Wedding

1. Breaking Bad's final season  

Well of course Breaking Bad is number one, what do we look like—idiots? (Don't answer that.) Though we obviously included a couple specific moments from the series' final season elsewhere on this year-end list, it's what Breaking Bad's final season accomplished as a whole that really stands out as the best thing about television in 2013. Even with so much pressure to maintain the quality of its addictive drama until the end, Breaking Bad moved forward with relentless pacing and made the most of its short eight-episode farewell. Instead of cramming everything into the last episode, series creator Vince Gilligan served up every aspect of what we knew would happen (Hank would find out! Walter's family would turn on him! Walter would run! Table-side guacamole would be consumed!) one by one throughout the season, giving each momentous piece the time it deserved. From the opening chapter, "Blood Money," to the very final fade from a dying Walter White, the end of Breaking Bad felt like the end of something great, and it was. Tony Soprano ushered in the "Golden Age of Television" that elevated the medium to new heights, and Walter White capped it off with a pinnacle that will be hard to reach ever again.     

PREVIOUSLY: Breaking Bad Series Finale Review: Truth and Consequences   


– Volume 1: Items 100-91

– Volume 2: Items 90-81

– Volume 3: Items 80-71

– Volume 4: Items 70-61

– Volume 5: Items 60-51

Volume 6: Items 50-41

Volume 7: Items 40-31

Volume 8: Items 30-21

Volume 9: Items 20-11

Volume 10: Items 10-1

  • Comments (225)
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  • rrhoen Jan 05, 2014

    How could the Red Wedding lose out to Spartacus finale?

    Yes, Game of Thrones killed of two of it's major characters but although I was shocked, I wasn't nearly as moved as when I witnessed the former gladiators fight to their glorious deaths.

  • nikkei22 Jan 02, 2014

    Breaking Bad of course number one!
    But i still find it strange to put the entire season on number one, while there were already other parts in the top 100.
    They could have mentioned these events in the number one spot and those other spots could have been saved for other moments in my opinion.
    The red wedding was still very intense even though i have read the books and i enjoyed the americans (especially the sometimes ridiculous disguises).
    Unfortunately the library of Netflix over here is not really big, especially compared to the US, but i guess it has to do with the rights having been sold to other cable companies before it debuted.
    I didn't watch every show in the top 10 but then again there is only so much time.
    Already looking forward to this years top 100 moments!

  • Spoontown Jan 02, 2014

    A great top 10, and specifically top 3, the Netflix way is how I watch most dramas, save them up and watch them in a short period of time, I'd rather wait longer before starting than wait a week between each episode. Breaking Bad like that was sooooo intense.

  • vicbjones Jan 02, 2014

    "Day of the Doctor" was great, but the idea that Doctor Who has lasted 50 years is a myth. It's not like the show has been on continuously since 1963; it was off the air between 1989 and 2005.

  • tamaracassill Jan 02, 2014

    Breaking Bad - hell yeah ;)

  • Loralee_jk Jan 02, 2014

    Breaking bad had the worst ending!

  • joename69 Jan 07, 2014

    How? explain to me what was wrong with it? Tell me a better ending. Go ahead and use spoilers as everyone knows what happens.

  • tnetennba Jan 02, 2014

    Uh what? It had the strongest final season of any show ever. The only thing that might be perceived as a flaw is that the final episode was predictable. But it's not really a flaw. They just chose to put some of the big events earlier in the season. That's part of what made the season so great.

    If you choose to elaborate, please try to avoid spoilers. This isn't the place to talk about what happened in the final season.

  • wudntulik2know Jan 02, 2014

    Tell me how anyone with eyes or ears has avoided knowing the ending of BB.

  • Loralee_jk Jan 02, 2014

    Oh. Than I can't w/out spoilers.

  • tnetennba Jan 02, 2014

    I guess I didn't think that through. This page is already full of spoilers, so maybe it's pointless to try to avoid them here.

  • heartzkidnapper Jan 02, 2014

    In terms of best shocking events and entertaining : i would say Person Of Interest , Orphan Black and of course Game of thrones !
    In term of best acting , performance and strong-writing : Breaking Bad !

  • mekare06 Jan 02, 2014

    hannibal needed a better position it truly is a really great show, breaking bad is good but the finale didnt live up to my expectations so it doesnt even enter my top ten, for me number one is doctor who, it wasnt just the day of the doctor but also the time of the doctor this year!! . and what about supernatural??

  • JayAtkinson Jan 02, 2014

    I still get chills when Rains of Castamere starts being played at the wedding.

  • RebeccaVeight Jan 01, 2014

    Red Wedding & Day of the Doctor were by far number 1 things of this year. New girl kiss in top 10?? No Supernatural angels falling in the finale & so many other things. Netflix is not a TV moment. This 100 list was REALLY BAD

  • eiEY Jan 06, 2014

    Guess you didn't watch Breaking Bad.

  • JayAtkinson Jan 02, 2014

    I am inclined to agree with the angels falling on Supernatural. That was an epic moment that should have easily made it alongside the Men of Letters introduction.

  • thekaitling Jan 02, 2014

    The falling angels were this close to making the list, but the Men of Letters introduction narrowly won out.

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