Here's my Top Television picks for 2013. I must admit that I didn't see every show on tv this year, but I saw more than any living person should have. I've included many foreign imports to C&L's list, but all of them are available to you.
Game Of Thrones: (HBO) Score another knockout year for GOT (and why not when you have such vivid material being supplied by George RR Martin), but HBO has adapted it to the small screen with perfection. 'The Rains of Castamere' or 'The Red Wedding' sent shockwaves throughout its fan base and the Inter-tubes and was the best single TV episode of the year.
Orphan Black (BBC America) This might be my favorite show of 2013, but Tatiana Maslany's dazzling performance as the multi-cloned Sarah Manning is my winner for best actress. And if you haven't seen it yet, beware of Helena. It’s rare that a sci-fi show can surprise me like this one did in such a convincing way. I never knew where it was headed. I'm looking forward to season two.
Justified: (FX) You can catch it also on Amazon. After a solid season one, Justified has turned into a juggernaut of greatness. Its well-defined characters, led by Timothy Olyphant and Walter Goggins, spark to life in this Elmore Leonard-inspired romp as lifelong friends on opposite sides of the law. This show makes sure even the smallest characters are fleshed out and treated with care. The BBC has nothing on Justified.
The Fall: (Netflix) Gillian Anderson is magnificent as the Ice Queen Detective Detective Superintendent in charge of reviewing a sex murder case. She faces off with a perverted sex-killer as the show is pretty much a two-character study with Jamie Dornan from Once Upon A Time as the sex murderer. The first season was pretty brilliant.
Sleepy Hollow: (FOX) Of all the new shows that premiered on network television in 2013, Sleepy Hollow was by far the most fun for me. It's chock full of ancient biblical evils mixing with George Washington, the Brits and the American revolution. And for some odd reason, it works. The Blacklist could use a dose of what makes Sleepy Hollow so much fun.
Broadchurch: (Amazon) is a miniseries that featured my favorite Doctor Who of all time, David Tennant, as a DCI investigating a child murder in a picturesque Scottish coastal town. it was a huge hit in the UK and translated just as well in America on BBC America. The ending isn't as important as the time it spends getting there although you will try to figure out who the killer is.
The Escape Artist: David Tennant scored another knockout as a barrister named Will Burton, who defends a man charged with a torture/murder of a girl in this three-part series. He’s just been voted the top lawyer under forty in England because he always wiggles out of tight spots but this time, wiggling out of a tight spot has severe repercussions. The chemistry between all the actors (which includes a terrific Ashley Jensen) helped propel it towards an ending that doesn’t disappoint.
Borgen: The title means ‘The Castle’ which is the nickname of Christiansborg Palace, which houses all three of Denmark's branches of government. It’s another brilliant Nordic Noir series that was carried on Link TV in the U.S. I’ve been watching it via DVD purchases from Amazon UK ever since it began. Simply put, if you liked West Wing, you’ll enjoy this Danish treat. Birgitte Nyborg, played wonderfully by Sidse Babett Knudsen, becomes the first female PM after a whirlwind election.
Orange Is the New Black is another original series put out by Netflix and I must admit I liked much better than House Of Cards. It reminds me of Weeds a little, but the series takes place almost entirely in a women's prison and follows the prison experiences of upper-class white woman Piper Chapman.
The Returned is a brilliant French supernatural series that ran on the Sundance channel during Halloween this year and it’s simply fantastic. A small mountain town in France is slowly being turned inside out when family members and loved ones start coming back from the dead and trying to rejoin the community, unaware that they had ever died. They're not your Walking Dead zombie types, and much of the fun is trying to figure out what they are and why they are here.
The Good Wife has been one of my favorite shows since CBS gave it the green light in 2009 and although it had a very rocky fourth season, they got it back on track with a brilliant 5th season that focused on Alisha's own betrayal and backstabbing of her employers at Lockhart and Garner. Mrs. Floreck’s new career choice was far more interesting than her desire to screw her old boss, Will. I also love the terrific character actors they cast in recurring roles. My favorite is Carrie Preston, who won an Emmy for her role. You might recognize her from True Blood, too.
Continuum: ScyFy’s Canadian time shifting import was better than the much more expensive alien invasion Defiance series that premiered this year for Syfy. Rachel Nichols has been wonderful as the displaced cop of 2077 and although season one was better than season two, it’s still worth your viewing time and it even makes you forget it's being shot in Canada.
Suits: I know I know, it’s another silly series about lawyers from USA. Yes, that’s true, but instead of criminal law, this series focuses on the boring world of corporate law and makes it compelling viewing - thanks to a great cast, great dialogue and smart story arcs. Don't let the title fool you.
The Americans: I didn’t think I could get into a show about Russian secret agents living in America during the Reagan years, but I was wrong. At times it was a little funky, but the acting performances by the two leads is terrific and help carry the show along.
Masters Of Sex: Did you know there are four stages of human sexual response?
Excitement phase (initial arousal)
Plateau phase (at full arousal, but not yet at orgasm)
Resolution phase (after orgasm
If you loved Lizzy Caplan in Party Down then you won’t be disappointed with this new HBO series. Michael Sheen is always impressive in everything he does and he plays the cold and obsessed Dr. William Masters to the tee. While not all the character arcs shine, the relationship between Barton Scully and his wife Margaret, was the clearcut winner.
Doctor Who: The Day of The Doctor was a terrific romp for Who's 50th anniversary and the end of 2013 brought Matt Smith's Doctor to a close. Who's Christmas special, The Time of the Doctor broke all the viewing records fin the U.K for Christmas. I can't wait to see how Peter Capaldi handles the role.
Burn Notice wrapped up its TV life with another excellent season for Michael Weston and his crew. Even after seven seasons, the show never slowed down or lost its focus.
Supernatural: I'm sorry, but the Winchester boys are still at the top of their game fighting monsters, demons, Lucifer, angels and everyone else. I've been waiting for it to get stale, but instead it keeps reinventing itself. Originally it worked more like a Buffy ripoff, but now it's got its own mythology to hang its hat on.
OK, these are mine in no discernible order. Please add yours to my list because I'm only one man. (Oh, I so wanted to be able to put Dexter on the list for 2013, but the writers simply blew it.)