Year in Review: Allison’s Top 10 New TV Series of 2013

by     Posted 307 days ago

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Whether you subscribe to the idea of a “Second Golden Age” of television or not, there’s no denying that 2013 was a great year for TV.  Outstanding, even, because for all of the trash there were so many treasures.  Hit the jump for the first batch of treasure: a look back at the best new series from this year (in no particular order, and miniseries are saved for another list), which are all worth binge-watching to catch up with in preparation for their second seasons in 2014, if you haven’t indulged already.

Honorable Mentions: Ray Donovan [Showtime], The Wrong Mans [Hulu], Moone Boy [Hulu], The Americans [FX]

10. Bates Motel  [A&E]

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Bates Motel deserves some love.  It’s not probably going to make it into the upper echelons of the TV canon, but it’s a creepy, strange and unexpectedly funny show that has found a way to give a wholly original take to the Psycho story.  Vera Farmiga also gives one of the most indefinable performances you’ll ever see; it’s vulnerable, over the top, subdued and kooky all at once.

9. Almost Human  [FOX]

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Almost Human has shown how good a procedural on network TV can be, and because of that, the ratings haven’t been great.  But the expansion of the show’s world, and the emotional (and humor-filled) connection between Karl Urban‘s human and Michael Ealy‘s android characters is a top selling point.  A surprising series that has started out fairly strong, but has the potential to get even better.

8. Orange Is The New Black  [Netflix]

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This rather than House of Cards, you say?  Yes.  Because Orange Is The New Black was just really fun, strange and unexpected.  Its vibrant supporting case made it dominate the zeitgeist for awhile, and rightly so (whatever you may feel about its main character).  There’s not another show like it, and it truly came out of nowhere on the TV radar; a radar which Netflix is now firmly and deservedly a part of after a great year.

7. Masters of Sex  [Showtime]

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Based on the true story of the groundbreaking collaboration between William Masters and Virginia Johnson regarding human sexuality research in the late 1950s, the series is a little slow to take off before the emotional payout starts.  In the meantime, there’s a lot of nudity to pass the time.  But the show also brings up questions about human sexuality that still interest (and in some cases plague) us today, particularly from a female perspective.  An insightful show which has supporting characters that make it excellent.

6. Rectify  [The Sundance Channel]

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Another slow-burn, small-town drama, but also one that is entirely different from any other.  A man returns to his south Georgia town after being released from death row because of a technicality.  The town is convinced he’s guilty, and viewers are never really sure.  Something happened, but it almost doesn’t matter what, because like Broadchurch, spending time with the family and the townsfolk is the emotional crux of the series.  And it’s a strange and beautiful one.

5. Banshee  [Cinemax]

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In the town of Banshee, located in Pennsylvanian Amish country, an ex-con jewel thief kills the men who just murdered the new local sheriff before he even got to town, and then assumes that sheriff’s identity as he goes looking for his former accomplice.  That’s in the first five minutes.  Banshee then opens up into a sprawling, emotional, and violent series that is elevated by its lush and inventive cinematography.  The new season starts in January, so catch up quickly, because this is not one to be missed.

4. Hannibal  [NBC]

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A moody, atmospheric series that probably could have been French, given its stylistic approach to such a well-known story.  Bryan Fuller‘s take on Hannibal though is independent of any other version, and though gory, the series also has a magical (and frightening) quality to it that kept viewers uneasily drawn to how delicious those cooked human organs looked … Though not a ratings powerhouse, the show luckily garnered enough attention to be given more time to tell its sickeningly good tale in 2014.

3. The Returned  [The Sundance Channel]

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A moody, atmosphere French anti-zombie series about people in a small lake-side town, confronted with ghosts from their past.  Except they aren’t ghosts, they are flesh.  They don’t, however, eat flesh.  Along with BBC America’s In The Flesh (another fantastic series, and only three episodes), these shows give a refreshingly new and definitely creepy take on the zombie genre, and cannot return fast enough.

2. Orphan Black  [BBC America]

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Sorely overlooked, this brilliant sci-fi series was carried (many times over … yes, the show is about cloning, but that’s evident as of the first scene) by its star Tatiana Maslany, who is captivating and believable in each of her sundry incarnations.  The series brings up the ethical implications of cloning, and gives a variety of faces (literally) to the pros and cons while also tying in a number of mysteries and personal dramas.  A truly excellent watch.

1. Broadchurch  [BBC America]

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Hypnotic and engrossing, Broadchurch‘s addictive quality was largely (though not exclusively) tied to its central mystery: the murder of a young boy in a sleepy British coastal town.  But the town’s mix of charm and horror (a theme in a number of series this year) was so popular with viewers that it led to an unexpected renewal for a second season (huzzah!), even though the murder is solved.  There’s sure to be plenty left to explore, and it could be a rare series that proves dragging a mystery out beyond its interest point is not the best way to go, especially when there’s a firm foundation of excellent characterization.

Tomorrow: The Top 10 Best Returning Series 




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  • Davis

    Matt goldberg won’t be happy…or is it just top 10 film lists he hates?

    • Davis

      Also most of these shows are mediocre shit especially Bates Motel and Ray Donovan

  • Davis

    Matt goldberg won’t be happy…or is it just top 10 film lists he hates?

  • Marissa Evans

    Fantastic list, Allison. :) I would have put Ray Donovan on there somewhere as well, perhaps in the place of Almost Human (I’m yet to see that one).

    • Mule

      can’t dismiss something you haven’t seen now, can you?

  • Marissa Evans

    Fantastic list, Allison. :) I would have put Ray Donovan on there somewhere as well, perhaps in the place of Almost Human (I’m yet to see that one).

  • lobtaylor

    I thought Broadchurch was one of the most boring and pretencious shows I ever watched on TV.

  • lobtaylor

    I thought Broadchurch was one of the most boring and pretencious shows I ever watched on TV.

    • tim

      *pretentious.

    • GrimReaper07

      I can’t even remotely think how anyone could think it was pretentious. Do you even know what the word means?

  • Lance

    Mob City doesn’t even get an honorable mention? It started off a little slow and unsure, but the last few episodes were great! Eyeball.

  • Lance

    Mob City doesn’t even get an honorable mention? It started off a little slow and unsure, but the last few episodes were great! Eyeball.

  • edshrinker

    INSANE for not listing either Sleepy Hollow or Blacklist. The only ones in this list in their league is Orphan Black and Almost Human. Maybe Masters of Sex. You need your head examined listing these others over BL and SH.

    • Scurvy

      I understand no Sleepy Hollow even though I love it (it’s a little out there for most I think) but HOW is Blacklist missing?!

      Not even an honorable mention… for the #1 new show of the year ratings wise.

      Also, why no sitcoms? The Millers and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are fantastic.

    • Scurvy

      I understand no Sleepy Hollow even though I love it (it’s a little out there for most I think) but HOW is Blacklist missing?!

      Not even an honorable mention… for the #1 new show of the year ratings wise.

      Also, why no sitcoms? The Millers and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are fantastic.

      • edshrinker

        you are right, of course. I get passionate about shows I really love (as it was with Farscape, L O S T, Fringe) and Sleepy is my new one true love. But yeah – you have to be little warped to just dive in unconditionally. Blacklist is my #2 Fav and is very mainstream and is a procedural in a cool way. And has a favorite with Spader. So I would think that would appeal to most. That not showing up… well we know who Red is coming after next! Watch your back, Allison ;)

      • edshrinker

        you are right, of course. I get passionate about shows I really love (as it was with Farscape, L O S T, Fringe) and Sleepy is my new one true love. But yeah – you have to be little warped to just dive in unconditionally. Blacklist is my #2 Fav and is very mainstream and is a procedural in a cool way. And has a favorite with Spader. So I would think that would appeal to most. That not showing up… well we know who Red is coming after next! Watch your back, Allison ;)

  • edshrinker

    INSANE for not listing either Sleepy Hollow or Blacklist. The only ones in this list in their league is Orphan Black and Almost Human. Maybe Masters of Sex. You need your head examined listing these others over BL and SH.

  • Mingie Noriega

    i loveeeee orphan black

  • Mingie Noriega

    i loveeeee orphan black

  • Walter Tusinski

    How is Utopia not on this list?

    • lostnvegas

      I so hope the next season is as good as the first… I swear i felt like I was high on weed when watching that season..though was cold sober (you have to be to keep up lol)

  • Martino

    yeaa Broadchurch!

  • Martino

    yeaa Broadchurch!

  • Leo Spaceman

    But what about Quinn?

  • Leo Spaceman

    But what about Quinn?

  • Jay

    I would of thought- The Americans. I’m about to check out some of these shows.

  • Jacob

    Almost Human but not The Americans?!

    • jay

      yea i think there may be a little recency effect. i like Almost human too but not over the americans

  • Joe

    This is a wonderful list. I’m so glad to see both Hannibal (the most underrated TV show of 2013 in my opinion) and Orphan Black get mentions. Plus, the rest of them that I’ve seen are great as well (Orange is the New Black, The Returned, Broadchurch). Great taste!

  • The Flobbit

    Hannibal was the best show of the year, followed by the brilliant and moving Broadchurch. But no way was OITNB better than House of Cards.

  • Redjester

    Awesome list! Lots to check out!

    Of the ones I’ve seen, my favorite new shows in order are:

    1. Masters of Sex
    2. The Returned
    3. The Americans
    4. Broadchurch
    5. Almost Human

  • Fitzy

    house of cards is easily one of the best tv shows of the last several years, ridiculous list, collider: yes for tv and movie gossip, nope for critical nous

  • Michael

    No Da Vinci’s Demons? Seriously? ¬¬

    • lostnvegas

      agreed!!! awesome show!

  • slimpunk

    I have no idea what Allison has against House of Cards. Not into political dramas perhaps?

  • Robert Colontonio

    SLEEPY HOLLOW IS PRETTY GOOD

    • lostnvegas

      TYPING IN CAPS is not… ;)

      • Robert Colontonio

        WHAT DO YOU CARE.JUST READ IT OR NOT AND SHUT UP

  • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

    Not surprised about Sleepy Hollow not making the cut (yes, that show is bonkers… but incredibly fun to watch) but why not The Blacklist? Is it bad (I like it) or are this shows SO much better?

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