ScreenAnarchy's Best Of 2013 - Best TV Show/Event

U.S. Editor; Los Angeles, California (@benumstead)
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The year that was 2013 has almost run its course, so the time has come for Team ScreenAnarchy to pool its ever-growing troupe of contributors from the four corners of the planet, gather its collective thoughts and pay special tribute to those films that have made a particularly strong impact over the past twelve months.

Switching exclusively to the small screen for a moment, we find quite a lot to be excited about. 2013 proved to be a formidable year in serial storytelling on the ol' boobtube (or laptop), with shocks and twists aplenty. One thing to note, of course, is the very changing notion of what constitutes as TV. Case in point, one of our entries isn't even an episode or show itself, but an online content provider. But whenever and wherever we may have found them, here is our Best TV of 2013. 

Todd Brown, Peter Martin, Ryland Aldrich, James Marsh, Brian Clark, Ben Umstead, Ben Croll, Jaime Grijalba Gomez, Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Ard Vijn, Joshua Chaplinsky, Pierce Conran, Jason Gorber, Ernesto Zelaya Miñano and Kwenton Bellette contributed to this story.

Breaking Bad

Peter Martin - Managing Editor
The brilliant culmination of everything that came before it, with a finale that got better the more I thought about it.

James Marsh - Asian Editor
I watch very little TV, and Breaking Bad may be the first TV series I have ever seen in its entirely during its original airing. Just a brilliant piece of writing, direction and acting from beginning to end. There have been a few rumbles of complaint about how the series ended, but honestly, the outcome was pretty much obvious and inevitable right from the start, but the way Vince Gilligan and his team handled it was impeccable. Almost makes me want to watch something else.

Ben Umstead - East Coast Editor
While not everyone may feel appeased with Vince Gilligan's conclusion to the chronicles of Walter White, I was thoroughly satisfied with the final 8 episodes. A fitting extended epilogue to some fine serial TV.

Pierce Conran - Contributing writer
I was terribly sad to say goodbye to Breaking Bad this year, my favorite show since The Wire, but I was very happy with it's sendoff. Bristling with adrenalin, the final 8-episode stretch offered some of the series' very best moments.

Eric Ortiz Garcia - Contributing writer
Let's be honest here: Breaking Bad was the only TV series I watched this year (right from the first season), but it is dope and I loved it. I intend to start watching Treme next year, by the way.

Ernesto Zelaya Miñano - Contributing writer
I watched the entire series in two months and was riveted to the screen, and I normally don't watch TV. Bryan Cranston was amazing as Walter White, the man you love to hate. Witnessing his inevitable final fate was a joy.

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More about ScreenAnarchy's Best of 2013

ZetoDecember 19, 2013 10:56 PM

Best of... US TV.

Jason GorberDecember 19, 2013 11:21 PM

Name a better show anywhere in the world better than TREME, I'd love to watch it. So would the rest of the world.

Ben UmsteadDecember 20, 2013 12:27 AM

12 out of the 15 contributors for this one aren't based in the US. That must mean something.

Todd BrownDecember 20, 2013 9:54 AM

Yup. That and we were only able to give one answer each. If I had been able to list more then Borgen would have ranked for sure. Series three was typically excellent. UK three parter Ambassadors was quite good as well, and the last block of Luther was EXCELLENT. Closer to home, I think Orange Is The New Black would make my list as well. And I thoroughly expect Sherlock, Moone Boy and the Danish / Swedish second season of The Bridge to rank next year (I know The Bridge has already aired but not with subtitles until next year when the BBC runs it).

arturoDecember 21, 2013 7:22 AM

I need to check out Beaking Bad, considering getting all 5 seasons on blu-ray?

ZetoDecember 21, 2013 3:38 PM

You can try with Downton Abbey.

ZetoDecember 21, 2013 3:39 PM

But everyone voted for US shows. Maybe they don't see enough foreign TV.

Eric OrtizDecember 21, 2013 3:51 PM

US shows are "foreign TV" for me.

Todd BrownDecember 21, 2013 3:55 PM

Or maybe they watch plenty of foreign TV (as I do) and the single high point of what they saw in the year happened to be US.

ZetoDecember 21, 2013 7:39 PM

Somehow, US shows are the norm everywhere. ;-)

ZetoDecember 21, 2013 7:41 PM

If the list is only about US shows.... OK. But the title is deceiving.

Todd BrownDecember 21, 2013 7:56 PM

No, it's not at all. We were asked to pick the one best moment of everything we watched, whether from US or abroad. We mostly picked US things because we mostly thought that the US stuff was the BEST. As the title states. It doesn't say 'The Best US TV' or The Best Non-US TV', it says 'The Best TV' and that's what we picked.

And Top Of The Lake is not US. That it happens to be the only non-US show that was the number one favorite of any of our writers says more about the state of international television production than anything else.

Again, though, that said, if I were to write out my Top Five TV shows from the last year, two or three would probably be non-US with Luther, The Bridge (though I think that was actually produced in 2012) and Moone Boy (ditto) all making it. Maybe. The Bridge would probably be number two, behind Game Of Thrones and before Boardwalk Empire. There's a good case to make for Borgen as well. And Dag. And The Fall. Which, in retrospect, means pretty clearly that my Top Ten would skew strongly towards international, if that's what this list was. But that's not what this list is, not what the headline implies, and not what the introduction promises. At all.

Jason GorberDecember 21, 2013 8:31 PM

Oy vey...

Ben UmsteadDecember 22, 2013 12:01 AM

Just backing Todd up on this. It was one answer from us all. We also had a lot of people sit this one out.

Now if you ask me on January 1st what my favorite/best show/event what have you is... my answer might be different AND a foreign language show... The Returned. The real issue here is where and when stuff plays. It affects people in the US, in Mexico, in the UK, HK. For a lot of shows (Doctor Who excluded) it may be months or even a year before folks see something locally and legally.

ZetoDecember 22, 2013 10:35 AM

I understand your position, but please understand mine. You may see TV from a lot of countries, but probably not from everyone. Do you see japanese TV? European TV? African TV? South-american TV? It is impossible to see it all. So the answer is 'no'. Correct me is I'm wrong.

Todd BrownDecember 22, 2013 10:44 AM

You're wrong. We polled the entire writer's group on this, which includes people based in England, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia, France, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Chile, the Slovak Republic, Argentina, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Indonesia and Vietnam. American writers are in the minority at Twitch. This was already pointed out in the very first response to your comment. These were chosen because these are the ones most people thought were best, not because these are all people saw.

ZetoDecember 22, 2013 10:56 AM

I don't know the method you use. You have a person in Japan looking japanese series and he couldn't find a good japanese series so he chose an american show? The person in Japan is japanese or an american living there? I'm asking because I can not believe that Hanzawa Naoki, best japanese series of the year, isn't here.

Todd BrownDecember 22, 2013 10:58 AM

We've said repeatedly what we did: We asked each writer to name the single best moment / show they experienced on television in the previous year. Period. I'm not sure what's unclear about that.

ZetoDecember 22, 2013 11:17 AM

Pretty clear. But not very just to world television. You have a contributor in Japan that doesn't like/see japanese TV.

Todd BrownDecember 22, 2013 11:27 AM

So 'justice' in your world would involve people giving preferential treatment to the things you happen to like?

ZetoDecember 22, 2013 7:42 PM

You get me wrong, Todd. If you have contributors specialized in differents corners of the world, it would be cool to get more varied recommendations. Like sections. "Best TV of 2013: from the US, from Europe, and from Asia". If not, you'll be the ones giving preferential treatment... ;-)

Todd BrownDecember 22, 2013 7:50 PM

If by 'preferential treatment' you include people stating which things they like best when asked which things they like best, then sure. We're being preferential. That is, in fact, THE WHOLE POINT of listing our favorite things and I fail to see how that's any sort of valid criticism.

We're working on a non- US list as well, but that's an entirely different topic with entirely different criteria.

ZetoDecember 22, 2013 8:23 PM

There are two types of listings. Based purely on personal tastes, or based on proper investigation. If you're doing a listing only based in what you saw or like, obviously the result will be all wrong. For example, If you never see an iranian TV series, you never will vote to include one in any list. No matter how good they are. No list is ever perfect. But we can try not to be very impartial.