Saturday, December 28, 2013

How will we survive without Breaking Bad? (my 2013 TV year in review)

Peggy Power

At the end of 2011, I ranked my favorite 11 TV shows of the year. The following year, finding difficulty making the cut between 12 and 13, I decided to go crazy and rank every show I watched in completion. (2011's post / 2012's post)

Now, for 2013, I'm embracing the obsession and will include a few shows I didn't watch for a single second. You've been warned, but thank you for reading. Please share your list with me if you ranked your own favorites.

Blissfully Quit: The Newsroom (HBO),
Sons of Anarchy (FX),
Under The Dome (CBS), Michael J. Fox Show (NBC)
I Hate-Watched The Newsroom throughout its first season and after seeing its second season premiere I told myself: "nope, i'm done." Haven't looked back and have zero regrets.

Quitting Sons of Anarchy wasn't my intention, it has always been a "you get what you deserve" guilty pleasure. I had moved in October, and all my recorded episodes were lost when the cable company upgraded by DVR. I checked back in to watch its season finale - just to be able to talk to some relatives and friends about it. I may check back in sporadically to see how the series ends.

As a vow to my love of Breaking Bad, I will give any show with Dean Norris or Betsy Brandt a chance. I quit UtD after two episodes / couldn't make it that long with MJF.

Recorded but Never Watched: Low Winter Sun (AMC), Ray Donovan (Showtime)
These shows were both not watched as a consequence of their lead in programming. Breaking Bad was such an amazing achievement that I had zero desire to watch anything after it. Dexter became a shitshow that I was only watching at the end to make sure it actually stopped. Also, like previously mentioned, my move / new DVR lost anything I had recorded and I won't bother myself to catch up for there are better shows to watch.

Tough Cuts: Modern Family (ABC), Conan (TBS), The Soup (E!), Workaholics (Comedy Central), The Eric Andre Show / NTSF:SD:SUV / Children's Hospital / Check it Out with Steve Brule (Adult Swim)
Each of these decisions to stop actively watching is 100% the result of time management. With Conan, I will be able to cherry pick bits that the Internet deems special. The other shows, especially anything aired in easy to consume 15 minute bites on Adult Swim, will be watched in bulk sometime in the future.

I'll Get To It... Eventually... Promise: New Girl / The Mindy Project (Fox), Scandal (ABC), Downton Abbey (PBS), Rectify (Sundance), Maron (IFC), Sherlock / Doctor Who / Luther / [everything else on-] (BBC America)
Someday... I will.

My Favorite TV Shows of 2013

41. Dexter (Showtime)
Get off my lawn, Dexter Morgan.

40. That log on the fireplace video on an endless loop to play when having a Holiday Party (it's some very high numbered channel)
I just didn't want to have Dexter in my Top 40. Seriously, what a joke that show became (as I literally began watching it for comic effect - for example the world's worst extra).

39. Big Brother (CBS)
I know I've said it before, but I'm done with this show. I'm quitting it. To see the above quality list of entertainment I still want to watch... I don't have time for provides no excuses to watch this pile of garbage.

38. Bar Rescue (Spike)
I'm not one to watch this type of Reality Programming, but I enjoy watching this show. I got hooked into one of those lazy Saturday marathons and never looked back.

37. Fox Sports Live (FS1)
This show deserves a special mention. Sportscenter has devolved into a mess of talking heads. If you like sports, check out a show that is more concerned with highlights of games than personality of its staff.

36. The Following (Fox)
It started out amazing, but just got too ridiculous. Haven't figured out if I'll even bother with its second season.

35. Family Tree (HBO)
I wanted this show to be sooooo much better. The small bits of brilliance will keep me on the hook for more episodes.

34. Veep (HBO)
The second season was stronger than it's first (I had quit this show, but based on the recommendation from a friend I got caught up and am ready for an even better 3rd Season).

33. Comedy Bang Bang (IFC)
My favorite podcast is my 33rd favorite show. Please don't look too poorly at that statement, for it's very difficult to translate from the "theater of the mind" experience of the podcast.

32. The Office (NBC)
Give credit where credit is due: the show concluded in a very great fashion. The last few episodes created a perfect close.

31. The Walking Dead (AMC)
2013 was an incredibly strong year in television. I watch WD the day it airs, which is the highest compliment I can give a TV show. It's crazy for me to have it this low, but I feel this season was a tad overrated.

30. The Killing (AMC)
I'm as surprised as anybody that I enjoyed this season. Joel Kinnaman needs his own show, and very soon.

29. Arrested Development (Net Flix)
My views at length, posted shortly after I finished the new episodes.

28. Masters of Sex (Showtime)
This is a great show, its ranking will most likely improve in the upcoming years.

27. Shameless (Showtime)
I wish Showtime would pair together Shameless with Masters of Sex [instead of Homeland]. Maybe they don't think we can handle Lizzy Kaplan and Emmy Rossum in the same night.

26. @Midnight (Comedy Central)
Most likely the ranking that will make the least sense to people reading. It's a fun show and highly interactive with its viewers.

25. Brooklyn 99 (Fox)
Andy Samberg is the last reason to watch this show, don't let that factor into whether or not you give it a shot. It's filled with great people in front of and behind the camera. I hope this show finds an audience, but I suspect it will suffer like the other Michael Schur show (Parks and Recreation) and struggle for renewal every year.

24. Enjoy It (Comedy Central)
Aptly described as "the first drama of Comedy Central." Steven Brody Stevens is a magnetic personality.

23. The League (FXX)
I wrote it last year, but it bears repeating: MORE RAFI!

22. Damages (Net Flix)
No idea why this show isn't incredibly popular. Glen Close and Rose Byrne in the only show that allows women to play the antihero role that's made television in the 21st century amazing? It's at a level Sons of Anarchy wishes it could reach.

21. Homeland (Showtime)
Do better. Way to follow in 24's footsteps in both good and awful ways.

20. Happy Endings (ABC)
Pour one out for a show that ended too soon. I fully expect a Party Down level of postmortem love from others.

19. The Bridge (FX)
Great, thrilling, chilling debut season. A hidden gem for those that watched.

18. Top of the Lake (Sundance)
It's a mini-series. It won't take you long to watch it all. It's worth it... I'll wait here.

17. Girls (HBO)
Girls is the Arcade Fire of television: those that don't like it will never like it and those that like it are appreciative of the talent that others have shared.

16. Hello Ladies (HBO)
It takes the hilariously awkward moment levels of early season (and BBC's) The Office and takes it to awesome new heights. That's not a literal pun joke on Stephen Merchant's height.

15. Parenthood (NBC)
The best show that I refuse to watch the night it airs. I prefer to watch Parenthood on early Saturday mornings while the sun comes up on the day. Wrap yourself in the warmth of a Braverman blanket and take an hour to not worry.

14. Orphan Black (BBC America)
Ya kinda have to watch this show to believe it. Keep an eye out for when BBC America marathons it (I'm sure they will before it's second season starts).

13. Hannibal (NBC)
This show is good enough to be on HBO, which makes me can't believe it's on NBC. Deeply dark done the right way: where bad men acting bad is not cool.

12. House of Cards (Net Flix)
If not for a tragic misstep near the end of the season, I would've placed HoC in the top 5.

11. Orange is the New Black (Net Flix)
Oddly the inspiration for the most popular Halloween costume I saw this year. It took me a while to get into it (at least, not as quick as others), but once I was caught I was sentenced (pun!). Winner of the best, most vulgar, line of the year.

10. Parks and Recreation (NBC)
Its doppelganger episode featuring Sam Elliot as the opposite Ron Swanson should win them both Emmys (and of course it will not).

9. Enlightened (HBO)
We messed up everybody. Or at least me. I didn't appreciate and support this show when it was on and now it's gone. FX should pick up this show and air it paired with Louie.

8. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX)
The gang stays true while the world around continues to evolve. Its 100th episode featuring an Up style Charlie fantasy proves the have more than enough creative fuel left in their tank.

Felicity the Spy

7. The Americans (FX)
My favorite new show of 2013. As many of my friends know, I've loved Keri Russell since my freshman year (mine at Marquette / her's as Felicity), but I'm not playing favorites here. I have been critical in the past: my disapproval of Running Wilde, which I wrote three years ago mentioning my wish for her to star in an hour long drama.

6. Eastbound and Down (HBO)
My favorite comedy of 2013. It's also my favorite season of the show. Bonus points for the ability to end well. Television finales are increasingly important. In my opinion the greatest season finale was Six Feet Under - it might also be Danny McBride's favorite, for the show's ending was a hilarious homage to it.

5. Justified (FX)
When others ask me to recommend a show - I direct them towards Harlan County. Every season has a new flavor that always keeps the show fresh. The show has always included a good dark sense of humor, but this most recent season was its most fun in that area thanks to the reoccurring role played by Patton Oswalt.

4. Game of Thrones (HBO)
Last year I ranked GoT #14 as I was disappointed with the drop off from it's debut season. Friends who have read the books assured me they were setting up for something amazing. They were not wrong. The season was filled with gigantic moments that each could have served as a season finale boom.

3. Mad Men (AMC)
In the past, I've been quick to let superfans know the faults of Mad Men. I can't deny the show's brilliance anymore - its past season was in my opinion its best. With the end very near, the entire arc of the show is apparent. I've thought the show's most important character was Peggy, not Don. I'm finally on board with this show being about Women in the 60s: the rise of Peggy juxtaposed with the fall of Don.

2: Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
I never know where this show is going, but I'm always glad where ever it takes me. Now with Breaking Bad gone, I trust no other show more.

ASAC Schrader enjoyed my IG Vid.
1: Breaking Bad (AMC)
* slow clap *

The finale was actually it's third to last episode, which left us all in a blood stupor that we needed two extra episodes as an epilogue. Vince Gilligan gave us all such a gift. The only question left to answer: how long is the spoiler embargo for this show? How much time do we need to patiently wait in spoiler-free purgatory?

AMC marathon aired all its episodes leading up to New Year's Day. I sincerely hope they make it an annual tradition. I literally asked a bartender last night to put BrBa on instead of a useless Bowl Game.  A guy can dream.

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