TOP 10 TV SHOWS of 2013 [Face-Off]: The Downward Spiral.
It’s that time of year again, where GHG looks back at the year that was. The first of many “Best” lists, our boob-tube experts “Father” Tyler McPhail and “Divine” Derek Vigeant offer their distinct Top 10 TV Shows of 2013. We tried to keep it “geek-centric”; but there’s no doubt even the most diehard sci-fi/fantasy dweeb loves a little laughter — and sitcommie romance — every now and then. Hell, that’s what our honorable mentions lists for.
Happy Holiday Viewing, congregants!
“Divine” Derek Vigeant: 10. Sleepy Hollow – The creators of “Fringe” come back with a scary and crazy ride into the world of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse…as they charge forth onto 2013. Each episode, we’re given a large helping of Washington Irving’s rich myth and folklore that continually drives the mystery ahead. The rogues gallery of supernatural and magical villains is equal parts crap-your-pants and gasp-in-amazement. And as Ichabod Crane (a thankfully not so hokey Tom Mison) continually tries to adjust with life in the modern world, his partnership with the lovely police Lieutenant (Nicole Beharie) adds a unique and fun balance to the already twisted subject. While the first season finale comes this week, don’t expect FOX to get off this saddle any time soon.
“Father” Tyler McPhail: 10. Castle – Zzz… Huh? Oh, Divine, did you say something? Look, Nathan Fillion can take the sky from anyone…even a remake of an average Tim Burton movie. I love “Castle”… and especially Stana Katic. With great character development, writing, and nerdiness, this is by far the first cop/investigation show I don’t hate. There’s not much else to be said other than “Castle” is one of those ultimate nerd shows that needs to be on more Top 10 lists — even yours, D.
Derek: 9. Continuum – “Firefly” that is not. Speaking of sci-fi, time traveling law enforcement officer Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) returns for a second season of deliberating the Liberate, a group she must stop before they become a future terrorist organization. While last season watched the group lose its leader, Kagame (Tony Amendola), the group only watched its strength grow in numbers. And it surely doesn’t help that police aren’t buying her (false) background story, with the ongoing threat of risking her own secrets. Will she be able to hold her own psyche together during this time of bleak and dire threats? I know I’ll sure be on board to see if she can survive a world away from everything and everyone she knows.
Derek: 8. Sons of Anarchy – I know some “webheads” in Charming, who were ready for yet another round of bikes, guns, and backstabbing with everyone’s favorite MC SAMCRO. Oh, backstabbing.. that’s all I kept thinking about with this season. There’s been so much strength in the unity of the brotherhood of SOA in the past; but this season had more player have their own agenda than ever before — a season that went to a new level of smacking you in the face while hitting you below the belt. So much tragedy, lies, and heartbreak… Sounds like the initial reviews for “Ultimate Spider-Man.” Where’s Dr. Melfi when you need her? (see more).
Derek: 7. Under the Dome – No worries, Father; you won’t see any BBT on my list either. The summer’s big –and perhaps even surprise — hit show of 2013 about a small town trapped underneath an impenetrable dome did its thing! What worked for this CBS series was, not only the ongoing mysteriousness of the dome, but the crazier interactions between townsfolk. Greed. Lies. Murder. And that was just Dean Norris’ sheriff! “UTD” offered all of the chaos that people trapped against their will would see fit, but it’s the backstories and conflicts that unfold that also keep one watching. It also found a way to avoid getting “Lost” in the shuffle, because the people of this town had me a lot more invested than some lonely island (see more).
Derek: 6. Almost Human – The biggest sci-fi example of the year goes to J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman. Not saying it’s the best show of the year, but this futuristic take a human police officer (Karl Urban) partnered with a smarty-pants android (Michael Ealy) has been the genre’s finest representation. FOX wasn’t playing with the budget, either. “Almost Human” packs plenty of next-gen tech, wondrous architecture, super cool weapons, and smart crime cases (even if one episode did see a nod to Vince Gilligan). I mean sex bots?! You won’t find that on “NCIS”. Through its first 5 episodes, the series has only baited us with hints of where exactly the story is meant to go, and there’s no doubt there’s a bigger picture at play here. And, the “buddy” cop quips between our leads are just fantastic (see more).
Derek: 5. Vikings – Sitcoms? Who’s here to talk about Sitcoms!? In a year like this? Even the History Channel became major players in the world of geek drama, with a series that delivered a few hundred hungry “Vikings”. The show follows Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) as an ambitious Viking father and husband who knows there is more out there in the world for the taking — but is held at bay by a king who wants to keep his people sheltered from the unknown. “Vikings” quickly shifts from a show about family values and tradition to conquest and power. Because the show focused so much on these strong characters early on, that made it difficult for fans to distance themself from these barbarians who unabashedly took and destroyed the lives of others. In the end, the show left so many seeds for the stories to grow that Season 2 promises to be one that will dwarf the first (see more)!
Tyler: 5. Mad Men – Ahh at least we have this in common: we both love angry, depressant human beings. “Mad Men” was my favorite show on television from seasons 1-4. This season however — despite making my Top 5! — was a little disappointing, despite the riveting downward spiral of Don Draper/Dick Whitman (John Hamm). I loved the new characters brought onto the show, however, too many things were happening, which lead to nothing at most times (drunk Sally and Bob’s beach shorts?). And with the introduction of new characters, a lot of my favorites from past seasons became useless and nonexistent — except for the saving grace Hershey speech and that one night stand with youknowho. Expect an even juicier, twisted fate for the Don come its last and final season.
Derek: 4. Arrow – Season 2 of the hit CW take on the DC Universe’s “Robinhood” has jumped off to a huge start. While Oliver Queen has taken an oath to not kill anymore, this only gave the criminals of Starling City a free pass to start wrecking havoc. The series is even more action packed and faster paced than the first. I especially favored Ollie’s flashback journey on the island, which has certainly evened out the simultaneous stories. With the addition of Black Canary (Caity Lotz), Brother Blood (Kevin Alejandro) and Oliver’s new boss, Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau), Queen Consolidated has only gotten richer (see more).
Tyler: 4. Arrested Development – Welcome back, old friends. Finally the Bluth Family has come back. After almost 7 years of no chicken dances, America was feeling lost after finishing season 3 on their DVD players. But Mitch Hurwitz brought them back, with more vodka, more never-nude, and more lighter-fluid. It had a fantastic start, got lost with too much story in the middle, but made up for everything in the end. When the story got kind of weird with relying on guest cameos, it still didn’t affect me too much. I was just happy to see my favorite messed up family again.
Derek: 3. Fringe – You know what’s messed up? Witnessing one of the most creative and puzzling sci-fi shows in years coming to an end. Now, was it the best season? Not by a long shot. But because of what it gave us over the five seasons it aired it deserves some recognition. Continuing with the alternate timeline that they had been going with lately the show was weird and cryptic as usual but that’s why we love it. The series finale was both sad and complete at the same time. Glad the FOX network gave the show the chance to run its course and go out properly.
Tyler: 3. Legend of Korra – I cannot emphasize how much I love the Avatar world. Not the one of James Cameron, but the exceptional animated show on Nickelodeon. “Legend of Korra” is also connected to the show “Avatar: The Last Airbender” — the fantastic show, which so happen to turn into one of the worst films of all time by M. Night Shamalamadingdong. “Korra” is back in it’s second season titles Book 2: Spirits, and although it isn’t as dark as the first season, it opens up the universe to so many amazing possibilities. Season 3, hurry.
Derek: 2. Breaking Bad – So how many people were chomping at the bit waiting for this one to come back in the summer? Not as many Korra fans, of course. But, hey, even though there were only eight episodes for the second half of Season 5, each one of them was packed with enough show-stoppers that left everyone jumping on social media just to say “Ohhhh shit!” Bryan Cranston continued his Emmy worthy performance as drug lord Walter White/Heisenberg and was all the more evil and cunning as ever. A man so conflicted in the sense that all he wanted to do was provide for his family, but somehow got sucked into the power and ego of being the monster from which he could not let go of. There were a lot of deaths, tears, and people called “BITCH!” by Jesse Pinkman (the breakout Aaron Paul) but in the end was one of the most satisfying series finales ever.
Tyler: 2. South Park – Jesse’s cool, but no one bitched out more people this year than Trey Parker and Matt Stone. This season was astounding. It definitely was one of the best out of the 17 seasons of airing. ‘Let Go, and Let Gov’ had me tearing at times from laughing. But the Console Wars episodes were pure brilliance. The last episode of the season also had an amazing message — that has been blowing up on the internet — about airbrushing ala “photoshopping” women in advertisements. The Kanyeezy-meets-Hobbit episode was a great season ender, unlike some from the past. “South Park” really nailed it this season.
Derek: 1. The Walking Dead – Yet their game is still coming out for current-gen. Riiiiiight. Anyways, AMC owned. The network’s zombie-dominating, blood-drenched, scream-filled champion of 2013 began a little slow with Season 4, but picked up in the prison our frightful friends had inhabited from the last. Here, “TWD” focused even further on the relationships within the group, the new folks from Woodbury, and, of course, everyone’s emotional state. But that didn’t last long. Throw in a viral disease turning everyone into zombies and the anticipated return of the Governor and the show everyone knows and everyone — but Father McPhail? — loves was indeed back. Why is “TWD” #1? The show challenges. “Dead” draws you in with sympathetic individuals who can instantly become terrifying in an ugly situation, a struggle to become lost to the brutality of a mindless enemy. The mid-season finale brought many tears to eyes of fans, but also applauded the perseverance of the group past the ongoing evils that threaten their existence. Can’t wait till its February return in 2014!
Honorable Mention (yes I need about 7 DVR’s):
-American Horror Story: Coven
-Person of Interest
-Masters of Sex
Tyler: 1. Arrow – You’ve got more crap on your DVR than a landfill. But, in the end, we both loved “Arrow.” And who in their right mind wouldn’t? Season 2 — thus far — surpassed its first season with amazing pacing, character introduction, less romance crap, more island flashbacks, and lots of Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards). The CW caper has certainly found its audience: people who love GHG. After the two-part episode with Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), how excited can one possibly get for The Flash! If you aren’t watching “Arrow”, you deserve a big fat bullseye on your back. It’s been real, D. Til’ next year!
-Parks & Recreation
-Teen Titans Go!
-How I Met Your Mother
What… no “Game of Thrones”, kids??!!?! Hell, stay tuned to GHG for more “Top 10” lists leading to the New Year!