Hello and welcome to TV.com's Top 50 Everything of 2013! Don't get too angry, but the 50 items we've spent the last week discussing aren't important—we just had so much extra time on our hands that we made up a bunch of things that were pretty good about 2013 TV. And now it's time for the stuff that was REALLY good. Well, until the next installment, anyway; then we'll probably talk smack about this one because that's just the kind of people we are.
50. There's always room for improvement
Even television is prone to bad days and rough patches, and sometimes all it takes is one less-than-stellar episode or storyline to inspire scores of doomsday prophesies for any given show. But in 2013, several series surprised us by bouncing back in the wake of some particularly dark times, realizing the potential we always knew was there. True Blood took a dying and silly show and made it pop again in Season 6. Revolution went from being one of sci-fi's biggest jokes to actually fulfilling its promise in the early going of of Season 2. The Walking Dead rebounded from a terrible Season 3 finale with a compelling start to Season 4. The Killing—which once upon the time seemingly drew nothing but ire from viewers—delivered a solid third season. Arrow shed some of its Season 1 baggage and started filling out its tights in Season 2. And even The Newsroom got off its high horse long enough to make its second season much more enjoyable than the first. Way to overcome your bad habits and/or pull yourselves out of your ruts, shows!
49. Family Guy kills Brian
Sure, it was a publicity stunt that angered fans, and the show brought the pup back to life a few episodes later with the aid of Stewie's time machine, but c'mon guys, IT'S A CARTOON. Not to mention a cartoon with time machines! Seth MacFarlane master-trolled his fans, and those who were silly enough to believe that Brian would stay dead deserved it.
And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash.— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) December 16, 2013
I mean, you didn't really think we'd kill off Brian, did you? Jesus, we'd have to be fucking high.— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) December 16, 2013
PREVIOUSLY: Family Guy: Oh My God, They Killed WHO?
48. Vera Farmiga IS crazy Mama Bates
A&E's Psycho prequel about a young Norman Bates was totally dominated by the intense performance of series star Vera Farmiga, who plays Norman's mom Norma. While the creepy small-town drama had its moments, our eyes were firmly locked on Farmiga's batty acting, which earned her a deserved Emmy nomination for "Craziest Lady in TV Land." Oh sorry, it was for Best Actress in a Drama. But it was definitely well-earned nonetheless!
47. The Office closes its doors with one last "That's what she said"
The Office suffered its fair share of ups and downs in its last couple seasons, but thankfully, it pulled itself together for its final few episodes. Jim and Pam made up. Dwight and Angela got married. And even though everybody involved with the series insisted it wouldn't happen, Steve Carell returned for one last cameo as our beloved Michael Scott. Way to go out on a high note!
46. Bert earns Trophy Wife's trophy for best new kid
At the core of Trophy Wife's easy likability is its cast of amiable characters. And front and center in that cast is Jackie and Pete's adopted Asian son Bert. Simultaneously full of wisdom, innocence, and great salmon recipes, the kiddo—who's played to perfection by the adorable Albert Tsai—is an all-out scene-stealer, and the heir apparent to the coveted Luke Dunphy Cool TV Kid Award.
45. Teen Wolf dares to go there
Teen Wolf has always been kinda gay, and that's one of the reasons why we love it, but it went really gay in "Motel California," when Danny and Ethan shared a hotel room and then shared some saliva and then probably some other stuff. Why is this historically important? Because it continued the show's tradition of handling its gay characters and relationships like they're NO BIG DEAL. And unless you're a backwards bigot or on Duck Dynasty, you know that presenting gay love as no big deal is actually kind of a big deal. What's more, this episode proved that even a highly serialized drama can produce a riveting standalone hour.
44. Homeland goes Zero Dark Brody
100 Everything of 2013 spoiler alert: This is as high as Showtime's uneven CIA drama will appear on this year's list, an astounding tidbit considering its placement in the last two years. But a good chunk of Season 3 was garbage, with only a
few episodes toward the end that reminded us of the show's heyday. One of those episodes was "Big Man in Tehran," a bridge installment whose only real purpose was to connect two plot points
but nonetheless ended up being the most thrilling episode of the season by about a
million miles. A team of Spec Ops shipped Brody to Iran, people were
shot, Dana was nowhere to be seen, and we remembered what it was like to feel suspense while watching this show.
43. Kenny Powers goes out in typically ridiculous/awesome KP fashion
The concluding season of Eastbound & Down hit some surprisingly powerful emotional moments as it explored Kenny Powers' frustrations with becoming a kept man in the suburbs after years of doing all of the drugs while clinging to the outskirts of celebrity. And while that story was far from devoid of hilarious moments, it wasn't until the second half of the "series" finale that the show went completely nuts. The episode's faux-epilogue, with Kenny guiding us through the ups and downs of his post-Sports Sesh life (including April being murdered in an alley and his children growing up to looking a lot like Lindsay Lohan and Alexander Skarsgard) just kept going and going and going, until we ended up in a remote African village in the future, because why not? Though the sequence might've just been the ending to KP's glorious screenplay about his life, it's not that hard to imagine everything turning out that way.
42. Sleepy Hollow's batshit recipe for brilliance
Who would have guessed that Sleepy Hollow would be one of the surprise hits of the fall? Besides us, of course. What started out as a goofy supernatural drama with a Frankenstein'd premise turned out to be one of the most entertaining new shows of the season. Let's quickly recount its creative DNA: The show is a Revolutionary War period piece, a modern-day odd-couple buddy-cop drama, a retelling of the classic Legend of Sleepy Hollow short story, a biblical doomsday tale featuring the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, and a genre series about a handsome time-traveler. It absolutely should have buckled under the weight of its own insanity, but somehow it keeps everything just measured enough to work.
41. We love you and we like you, Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation's uncanny knack for being simultaneously hilarious and heartwarming was on full display in "Leslie and Ben," a near-perfect episode that ended with the much-anticipated Knope-Wyatt nuptials. The wedding was exactly what we'd hoped and expected it would be, even given its relatively quickie nature. It made us laugh, it made us cry, and Ron Swanson punched a drunk Councilman Jamm for being obnoxious and ruining what was shaping up to be a beautiful ceremony. But not even Ron's subsequent trip to jail could stop Pawnee's nerdiest lovebirds from getting hitched; after bailing Ron out, Ben and Leslie said "I do" in the Parks Department offices in front of all their best friends, and Donna sang and the vows were beautiful and oh crap, does anyone have a tissue?
Editor's Note: We won't be publishing a new installment of the Top 100 Everything of 2013 on Wednesday because Christmas, but we'll see you back here Thursday for Volume 7!