12 OF THE BEST. Our favourite TV Shows from 2013 - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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12 OF THE BEST. Our favourite TV Shows from 2013

We've already taken a retrospective look back at our favourite films from 2013, you can find January to June here, and July to December here, but now we're turning our attention to the small screen. Here, in no particular order, are our 12 favourite TV shows from the last year.

Spoiler light throughout.

Breaking Bad

I know we said this list is in no particular order but if it was this would be number 1! Not only is Breaking Bad one of the best shows of 2013 but it's one of the very best television shows of all time.
The second half of season 5 never took a rest. It's was head and shoulders above anything else on US television this year, with the episode Ozymandias being the cream of the crop. That was the kind of 60 minutes that stay with you for a long time. We also give credit to Breaking Bad for finishing when it did and not outstaying it's welcome. The spectacular final episode, Felina, wrapped everything up. We went on a journey with Walt and the story feels complete.

We will be re-watching the box set for years to come.
Orphan Black

We have BBC America to thank for picking up this fantastic Canadian produced science fiction series. Newcomer Tatiana Maslany deserves all the accolade and praise she has received. Her character, or characters, hold the show together and she will no doubt go on to be a household name. This was tucked away on BBC3 in the UK and didn't get as much exposure as it deserved. If you've not caught it yet, find a way to see it. Do not be put off by the cheesy acting of a couple of the supporting cast (especially in the earlier episodes), because if you stick with it there is a brilliant story of human cloning and it's ethical implications awaiting you.

It's not our favourite new show of 2013, that goes to...

The Americans

Premiering all the way back in January is this gripping 1980s set spy thriller. Set during the latter days of the cold war and starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings, two Russian spies living deep undercover in Washington DC, posing as married travel agents. Even their two (legitimate) children do not know the truth! The story picks up as an FBI agent moves into the house over the street. Underneath it all, it's essentially a story about marriage. It's tense, there's some excellent plot twists, Margo Martindale is superb as their KGB handler and it'll have you rooting for the Russians! Not your average US TV show.
If you enjoyed Homeland, you'll like The Americans.
Season 2 is coming to FX Stateside in Feb 2014 and later in the year on ITV1.
Arrested Development

We love Netflix and their approach towards television. Some day all TV will be broadcast this way, but for now we're content with the gems they give us. When all 15 episodes of the new season of Arrested Development were made available, 7 years after the show was cancelled by Fox, critical reception was mixed. We admit that during the first episode we thought 'this really isn't charring my tree', but by episode 4 the show really hit it's stride, from there the show just got funnier and funnier. Re-watching the early episodes now you can appreciate a lot more of the jokes. Overall, Season 4 of Arrested Development is the work of very clever TV geniuses who fully took advantage of the new Netflix format. We're holding out for another installment of Bluth dysfunctional. Ninja please!


ITV broadcast a lot of run of the mill dramas.
This was not one of them.
To tell the truth we only decided to watch it because of all the Doctor Who connections. But we're certainly glad we did.
It was wonderfully scripted by Chris Chibnall and starred David Tennant and Olivia Colman in a whodunnit tale of a young boys murder. The show focused on the tragedy of murder, the various secrets the members of the community hold and the media frenzy which threatens to tear the small coastal town apart. We've high hopes for the US version that will be coming our way in 2015, especially as David Tennant is reprising his role. We know there's a season 2 of the UK version planned but we're not sure what that will involve as the 8 episodes really did feel complete.

An Adventure In Space And Time

Think back a few months and you'll remember there were a lot of complaints about the lack of Doctor Who during it's 50th year. But now, after all the amazing treats we fans were given I doubt anyone is complaining! Mark Gatiss' dramatic retelling of the creation of Doctor Who was full of beautiful little details that only a true Doctor Who fan could've included. He called it his love letter to Doctor Who, and he was not wrong.
As a viewer, it was as entertaining as it was moving. David Bradley was an inspired choice as William Hartnell, and we hope one day he can be lured back into the role for a potential episode in the main series.

Downton Abbey

Whilst it hasn't been pitching at quite the same level as the first season, there is something about Downton Abbey that makes it so compelling to watch. Just spending time below stairs, watching Mrs. Patmore come to terms with an electric whisk is enough to make our Sunday night. Witnessing Lady Edith and her continuing troubles finding love never feels re-hashed. It's all credit to Julian Fellowes who continues to strike the right balance and gives everyone the screen time they need.
This season things turned rather nasty, no spoilers if by chance you've not seen it (Season 4 premiers January 5 in the USA), and events happened that we certainly did not expect, not in our Sunday night comfort show that's for sure! But we applaud Downton for not shying away from such topics, and the actors involved for their work portraying the effects.

30 Rock

Finishing it's 7 year run with one of it's strongest seasons ever, 30 Rock continued to make us laugh right up until the last second. Tina Fey's hysterical tale about the cast and crew of a fictional TV show has won numerous awards during it's run, all of them well deserved. We're still not sure how they managed to get away with taking the piss out of NBC so much, but they did and we loved them for it. So many classic moments and characters, Rural Juror, Hogcock!, Dr Leo Spaceman, Bitch Hunter, MILF Island, Kenneth Parcell, Kim Jong il, we could go on for ages.
Goodbye 30 Rock we will miss you, but in your honour we will go forth and live every week like it's Shark Week.

The Walking Dead

Who would've thought a show about the apocalypse would be the biggest watched drama in America?
In most shows we know the main cast are safe week to week, with the 'red shirt' contingency usually the ones who get killed off. With The Walking Dead nobody is safe, and they've proved that by repeatedly killing off many of the main stars of the show.
It's this attitude that keeps a show about Zombies very much alive. We particularly loved the season 3 episode 'Clear', where Rick, Carl and Michonne headed back to Rick's hometown and caught up with Morgan Jones. The first half of season 4 left us with many questions, so we'll be there in February to hopefully find out some answers.
Game Of Thrones

When we first discovered Game Of Thrones we hadn't read the George RR Martin novels. We still haven't caught up with the show and that meant we got quite a shock this year.
Watching the notorious red wedding scene in The Rains Of Castamere was, er, shocking. We didn't see (all of) that coming, that's for sure. (It also starred David Bradley, making his third appearance in this list. He had a good year.)
And that was just one episode in an overall excellent third season of the hit HBO show. It's a little like Downton Abbey (stay with us here), the writers manage to keep the balance between characters correct, juggling a huge cast and giving just the right air time to them all.
And there's dragons. So yeah, just like Downton!

The Middle

Wednesday night on ABC is the home to one of the most consistent comedies of the last 4 years. Not Modern Family, although that is great, we're talking about The Middle.
Set in middle America, The Middle is a working class sit-com depicting the daily mishaps of Frankie Heck and her semi-dysfunctional family as they attempt to survive life in general in the city of Orson, Indiana.
We love The Middle because it's just funny. It's not trying to be anything more than an entertaining 30 minutes. It's not pretentious. It's easy to relate to and there are guaranteed laughs every single episode.
Unlike shows like Community or Parks & Recreation, it's not hit or miss. Try it, we think you'll like it.

Doctor Who

Let's face it, there was no way this was not making the list!
Forget The Day Of The Doctor (don't, it was awesome, figure of speech that's all), 2013 was The Year Of The Doctor. There are multiple episodes that set this series on a pedal stool this year. From the WTF moment at the end of The Name Of The Doctor, through the brilliant Night Of The Doctor mini-sode, into the spectacular 50th anniversary special The Day Of The Doctor and culminating in last weeks The Time Of The Doctor, us Who fans have never been treated so well. We will miss Matt Smith who somehow managed to be more Doctor-ish than any Who had gone before him, but at the same time we can't wait to see Peter Capaldi in action.
Praise to for The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot which gave us a reason to press the red button.

What were you favourite TV shows from 2013? Let us know in the comments below.

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