Provided you asked Santa Claus to tell you what ranked between 70th and 61st with regard to the best things about television in 2013, then hooray! Christmas came early! And also hooray, you ask for really weird things! What else is under your tree? A bicycle made out of straws? A velvet painting of Diane Sawyer? A three-day-old enchilada casserole? You know what? Your Christmas sounds pretty nifty. Is it cool with you if the TV.com staff comes over to celebrate? Oh and here's your gift, Volume 4 of our Top 100 Everything of 2013. Sorry we didn't wrap it.
70. Oh deer, Reign!
Look, we didn't expect to love Reign
when The CW first announced it'd ordered a full-on period piece. But somehow, the drama about a young Mary Queen of Scots has captured our eye with its fancy dresses and its hunky Nostradamus and Mary's weirdo ghost friend Clarissa, who lives in a secret passageways.
And OH YEAH, STAG HEADS JUST CASUALLY DRIPPING BLOOD ON SLEEPING QUEENS.
You know, as is wont to happen when you've pissed off the pagans. We especially like that the series, while not the most accurate in terms of history or
when the push-up bra was invented, has made Mary an actual character who's worthy of being called a queen, and that it's not afraid to go balls-to-the-wall crazy when it wants to. And seriously, that stag head!
PREVIOUSLY: Reign "Chosen" Review: Stag Party
69. Fiona lays down the law on Shameless
Through three seasons of Shameless, headliner William H. Macy has played one of television's most irredeemable villains. Whenever the Gallagher family has managed to escape financial shortfalls or rise above from social shortcomings, Frank has been there to drag them back down to their dirt-poor, embarrassing reality. The character serves as the show's reliable plot engine and provides the talented young actors who surround with an opportunity to shine—which is exactly what happened in the season 3 finale, when Emmy Rossum's Fiona, the show's true lead, provided a very welcome hint that the show may finally change its formula. With Frank's body finally failing after years of drug-fueled binges, Fiona delivered a knockout speech challenging Frank to change his life: "So do it for you. Do it for your kids. It doesn't matter. Do it." Sure, it's possible that Season 4 will open with Frank passed out in an alley in Mexico, but Rossum's criminally underrated work on the show has us believing that Fiona Gallagher can achieve the impossible, even when it comes to her dad.
68. Once Upon a Time, Marilyn Manson was Peter Pan's shadow
When it was first announced that Marilyn Manson would be voicing a character named Shadow, we were like, "Ummmmmkay." But looking back, it was really kind of brilliant. What better way to represent the dark side of a boy-fairy than with the voice of the Lord of Grumpy Teens? The storyline eventually became a perfect metaphor for parental abandonment—a major theme of the show—and on an emotional level, it worked. So congrats, OUAT, we applaud thee.
67. Banshee's extended, violent fight sequences
Cinemax's pulpy small-town thriller arose out of nowhere in 2013, primarily on the back of its really tremendous and well-choreographed fight sequences. It really started with lead character Lucas Hood's throwdown with the massive MMA fighter (and rapist) Mr. Sanchez, continued with his takedown of an entire motorcycle gang, and concluded with a shorter—but just as aggressive—tussle with Kai Proctor. And wasn't just the men on Banshee who had to navigate some seriously dangerous situations; Ivana Miličević's Carrie barely survived the season's most extended and personal throwdown with henchman Olek. The series airs on Cinemax, so it's no surprise that the fights are bloody and testosterone-filled, but we never expected them to be so well-paced and effective. Anytime a show can make us cringe and fist-pump at the same time, it's done something right.
PREVIOUSLY: Banshee Season Finale Review: March Madness
66. "Chaos" reigns on Southland
We're still smarting over Southland's cancellation, but at
least the show went out on one heck of a note. Season 5's penultimate
episode, where Michael Cudlitz's Cooper and his partner were kidnapped
and held hostage by a couple of meth heads (there was no confirmation of whether they were high on that ABQ blue magic), started at the show's typical level of
intensity and somehow continued to get more suffocating as the ordeal
unraveled. Cooper watched the spazzed-out druggies murder his partner
and then was forced to bury him in the desert, slowly cracking under the
pressure of his own possible death. Cooper survived the horrifying experience,
but only sort of. In what would turn out to be the series finale, he was a broken man uninterested
in living much longer, ultimately resulting in Cooper getting gunned down by
fellow boys in blue. Even though we'll
never know whether Cooper lived or died, "Chaos" was quite the way to go
65. James Spader makes The Blacklist
The fall season was packed with overhyped shows fronted by big-name stars, as the broadcast networks equated facial recognition with quality. But Hostages with Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott? Ugh. The Crazy Ones with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Robin Williams? Eh, sure. But The Blacklist with James Spader? Yes please! Spader's the only headliner who delivered on the hype that preceded him, bringing life to the well-dressed and cocksure criminal informant Red Reddington with glee. The rest of the show is ridiculous, but Spader is teaching a class on how to achieve charismatic creepiness that makes The Blacklist one of the better new network dramas of the year.
PREVIOUSLY: 7 Reasons Why The Blacklist Is One of the Fall TV Season's Pleasant Surprises; The Blacklist Series Premiere Review: The James Spader Show; The 12 Best New Characters of the Fall 2013 TV Season
64. A Girls lands a guy and everyone goes nuts
Need to add a little controversy to your television show? Apparently all you need to do is take a female character who's totally comfortable in her own skin yet admittedly not a supermodel and hook her up with a hunk (in this case, Patrick Wilson). Then you can just sit back and watch disbelieving viewers go crazy on the internet. "One Man's Trash" was one of the most debated episodes of the year, largely because one side of the argument couldn't understand how Wilson's character could be attracted to Hannah Horvath. Which was kind of stupid because it somehow forgot that fugly guys get hot chicks all the time. Double standard much? Instead, everyone really should have focused on the discussing benefits of naked ping pong.
63. Elementary's Irene Adler is Moriarty! Moriarty is Irene Adler!
Early on, Elementary may have been brushed off as a pale imitation of the BBC's Sherlock, and of Sherlock Holmes in general, but over the course of the first season, as the show plotted out the hunt for the elusive M., it managed to find a way to twist the Holmes canon while staying true to the spirit of it. In the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories, Irene Adler is one of the few people to best Holmes and pretty much the only woman Holmes has any respect for, so the introduction of Adler as Elementary's Sherlock's One True Love and the catalyst for his spiral into addiction after her apparent murder was a nice variation on the character. But by making Irene one and the same as the show's Moriarty--the only criminal who's ever posed a real threat to Holmes--the writers pulled off the deft trick of merging two of Holmes' most respected adversaries into a single character that packed an emotional wallop for a man struggling to come to grips with his addiction and with himself. That Natalie Dormer played Irene Adler/Jamie Moriarty with pitch-perfect, snake-in-the-grass cunning was just a cherry on top of the sundae.
62. Pretty Little Liars drops a new A bomb
OMG OMG OMG. Ezra might be A. This summer's half-season of Pretty Little Liars wasn't the most exciting string of episodes in the show's history, but when the finale revealed that Aria's on-again off-again boyfriend (and sometimes
teacher) Ezra might be the mysterious A—or at least working on the same
team as A—the fandom exploded with just about every variation of
OMGWTFBBQ?! that exists. It couldn't be true, could it? For most of PLL's run, the biggest detriment to Ezra's character was his gross-when-you-think-too-hard-about-it relationship with a
high-schooler. And the fact that he carries a satchel. But this
development changes everything. Ezra is no longer just a loser English
teacher with questionable boundaries. Now he's got a secret
that could potentially end Ezria as we know it, and that could change
the entire future of the show.
61. Orphan Black gets crafty
This terrifying and hilarious scene—in which Alison interrogated her husband and suspected monitor Donnie with a hot-glue gun—was perfect for Alison's big coming-out moment as a mom who wasn't to be messed with. Way to turn an everyday object into an instrument of torture, Orphan Black! The soccer mom's use of the craft tool offered some new insight into her domestic life and provided an exemplary metaphor for transforming something innocuous into a threat, while still keeping things tongue-in-cheek. That glue gun WAS Alison. For as serious as this show is, it also knows how to lighten the mood and add depth to its many fascinating characters in unexpected ways.