While 2013 was arguably a better year for movies, television did deliver its gems. There were several new shows that can be added to my favorites list, several returning shows that continued their excellence, and even a couple shows that I watched for the very first time that surprised me. Top ten lists are never easy to compile, but here are my picks for 2013.
Anybody who has been following this MWTVG party for a decent amount of time already knows this, but let me preface my list for the uninitiated: I don’t watch comedies, so don’t expect to see them here. I’ll leave that for MIKE and MO to squabble over.
Shows that Almost Made the Cut – Mob City, Almost Human, Da Vinci’s Demons, Hemlock Grove
10. Banshee – Cinemax
After sucking the soul out of TRUE BLOOD and discarding its lifeless husk at the conclusion of a truly awful season 5, ALAN BALL jumped from HBO to Cinemax and gave us BANSHEE. It is an instantly likable show driven by an excellent cast, solid script and a great balance between action and ALAN BALL’S signature quirk. ANTONY STARR plays a badass leading man and IVANA MILICEVIC provides tons of clothing-optional eye candy. Admittedly, I’m only halfway through the first season, but I am excited to get through the rest and catch the second season in full when it premieres on January 10th.
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Nickelodeon
Being the one MWTVG who still has small children, it gives me a great excuse to watch and enjoy some shows that I would otherwise have no reason to watch. Being a true child of the 80’s, I had a default love for everything TMNT. Between the cartoon, the movies, the toys, the comics, I probably had it all. Hence, I was mortified when Nick first announced this series last year essentially bastardizing everything I held sacred about the original. It was CG-animated, they got rid of most of the standard baddies (no Bebop or Rocksteady?!?) they even went so far as to replace Michelangelo’s “Cowabunga” with “Booyakasha”. I vowed to never watch it…
…until me and my son sat down and caught a marathon a few weeks ago. By kids show standards, this show isn’t good, it’s terrific. It strikes a perfect balance between homage to the original and standing on its own feet. The animation and voice acting are top-notch, attracting some interesting talent including JASON BIGGS, SEAN ASTIN and ROSEANNE BARR (who voices Kraang Prime… hilarious). Their fine tweaks to the storyline were smartly done like April and Casey Jones being in high school, and the Kraang aliens’ dialogue is absolutely hysterical. I totally recommend each and every episode of this series for anybody who is even remotely fond of TMNT whether you have young kids or not. It’s in the second season break right now but returns in February. Season one is readily available on DVD or streaming on Hulu.
8. In the Flesh – BBC America
Just about everything seems zombified these days… even the Archie comic book series has an “Afterlife with Archie” featuring the risen dead. With an inundation of everything zombie, it’s getting more and more difficult to find something truly original. Four years ago it was THE WALKING DEAD, but even that is getting more and more tiresome.
Then clear from across the pond comes a criminally short miniseries called “In the Flesh” that picks up the zombie narrative right after a cure is found. Ex-zombies are forced into government reeducation camps to assimilate back into their old communities. Obviously, the ex-zombies and ex-zombie hunters do not quite see eye to eye with each other and drama ensues. The premise and execution of this show was outstanding, especially because of the fact that it doubled as a believably accurate social commentary on what would actually happen under the circumstances. It’s not a zombie show per se, but rather a human drama that just happens to situate itself around a post-zombie world. The second (and hopefully longer) season is currently in production.
7. Sons of Anarchy – FX
It’s not higher on the list only because last season was far superior, but SONS OF ANARCHY still delivered its perennial brand of biker violence and mayhem which improved considerably from the first few episodes into an excellent second half. Never one to disappoint on the shock value, KURT SUTTER threw a few massive curveballs, one of which I did not expect at all and will significantly change the show for its final season next year.
On a side note, I want to take a moment to proclaim my incredible prowess, as I accurately predicted almost every major plot point in the season. Go check it out for yourselves, I’m pretty darn awesome.