Top Ten TV 2013


As it’s December and as I watch a lot of television and since I have ten fingers, it only makes sense that I post my Top Ten List for television in 2013.

You will note that there are more than ten shows. That’s because basing everything on multiples of ten is silly. I have listed the shows I thought were great this year as well as the shows I thought were merely very good and then other shows I enjoyed. Since I don’t watch much network television, I have only listed cable shows (and Netflix).

Don’t forget to also check out my post on Top Ten TV Odds and Ends.

The list is in chronological order of when they premiered in 2013. I enjoyed all these shows and I think you should watch them all. Most likely, you already have.

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Masters of Sex Manhigh

Credit: Showtime

My first thought after the end of “Manhigh”, the first season finale, was “I don’t believe Bill.” The best thing about Masters of Sex has been the dramatization of the power asymmetry between men and women. After Bill’s presentation is not received as he thought it would be, and after it costs Bill his job, he shows up at Virginia’s house to tell her that she’s the only thing he can’t live without. It’s nice for Bill that he has the luxury of telling that to Virginia. And I don’t believe him.

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Homeland The Star

Credit: Showtime

Well, it only took an extra season and a half (or possibly two seasons) but the writers of Homeland finally did what needed to be done and killed Nicholas Brody. The most satisfying part for me is that everyone but Carrie seemed to realize that killing Brody was best, including Brody. Sure he would love to believe in the dream of sitting on a beach with Carrie and their daughter, but you will grab anything to stop yourself from falling. There was no future for Brody and I’m glad Homeland finally realized that.

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Bill Masters Antihero

Credit: Showtime

Last Friday, Tricia Romano at Slate posited that people are not “as enamored with Masters of Sex as they otherwise would be” because the writers chose to make Bill Masters an unsympathetic antihero. Naturally, this begs the question about people not being enamored with the show, but the bigger issue is that Romano misses an important point about Masters of Sex; Virginia Johnson is the main character of the series.

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Sons of Anarchy A Mother’s Work

0 Credit: FX

Although it didn’t always move smoothly towards its conclusion, full credit to Sons of Anarchy Season Six for being the most satisfying season of the show since its great second season. While it was clear that Tara was never going to take the boys out of Charming, it was still powerful when Jax told her to take care of their sons and when Jax saw the final consequence of his actions.

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Sons of Anarchy You Are My Sunshine

0 Credit: FX

Going into the final two episodes of this season of Sons of Anarchy, there were a lot of questions that needed to be answered. In the penultimate episode of the season, the only questions that were answered were the ones that I care least about; how the Sons are going to make the move out of guns. Everything else felt like it was being needlessly drawn out so that it could be dealt with in the finale.

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Top Ten TV 2013 Odds and Ends


First of all, there is no Top Ten List because I don’t believe in them and because I can do what I want. I do have a Top Ten TV 2013 post coming later this month but until then I have some leftover thoughts that didn’t make it into that post.

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Masters of Sex Phallic Victories

Credit: Showtime

Lame episode titles aside, Masters of Sex has been a very good, almost great new series. The latest high point was at the end of the previous episode in which Virginia realizes that Bill wanted to participate in the study with her because he had feelings for her. The aftermath in “Phallic Victories” is predictable; Bill is lost without Virginia and Virginia is as helpful to Dr. Lillian DePaul as she was to Bill.

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Homeland Big Man in Tehran

Credit: Showtime

It is my belief that no final episode of a series can change my opinion of everything that came before it, for better or worse. Greatness in television is an accumulation of hundreds (thousands?) of small moments along with a number of big moments that add up to something amazing. It’s important for a show to make the most out of those big moments because those are the ones we remember best, but its all the satisfying smaller moments that predispose us to thinking that what we are watching may be great. A series like Homeland, which did almost everything right in its first season, is a show that finds ways to waste both big and small moments.

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Homeland Good Night

Credit: Showtime

I don’t know if there is any way that Homeland could have lived up to its near perfect first season but “Good Night” makes me think it would have been fine if it focused on various operations hatched by Saul and Carrie. I’m not making a case for the plausibility of Saul’s plan, rather making the case that “Good Night” was a tense, entertaining hour. There weren’t any surprises; we knew the team would run into adversity and we knew that somehow Brody would find a way to finish the mission, but it was still satisfying.

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