And now, for something different… Favorite TV Shows of 2013

I can hear you, my dear reader, saying, “Sarah, I’m not sure if you are drunk or stupid, or maybe both, but this is a BOOK WEBSITE…. and not only that, but a Speculative Fiction BOOK WEBSITE. What’s with the TV?”

Honestly, there’s no real agenda here. I don’t watch much TV and usually the best way to get suggestions on TV shows I should be watching is by sharing some of my favorite shows and wait for the comments to roll in with people saying, “OH YOU SO NEED TO BE WATCHING (insert show here).” Also, lists. What good is January unless I make a list?

So here you go. Not all shows (or even most of them) are SpecFic related, but that’s okay. Here is my top 10 favorite shows of 2013. Let me know what I should be watching (please).

10. Once Upon A Time

This is one of those shows that I love but hate at the same time. I enjoy the twist on fairy tales. The plot is always rather light and easy, so it can scratch my itch if I need a mental vacation. Bonus: The graphics are so unbelievable that no matter how scary the plot gets, it will never scare my kid. So Once Upon A Time – Perfect family friendly mental candy show.

9. Downton Abbey

Admittedly, this one is getting a little old. However, after the slam-bang ending of the last season, I’m anxiously waiting to see what the next season has in store. This is another one of those shows that I can watch with the WHOLE family (even the two-year-old portion of it) because it has basically no swearing, no violence, and nothing that she either cares about, or will haunt her dreams. The drama is fantastically done, the characters are amazing, but it is the cultural and class dynamics that really do it for me. It is absolutely fascinating to see how society is changing, how the rich live and the poor live, and how all of the drama on the top and bottom floors of the house mirrors each other. Very well done drama that is absolutely captivating in every sense of the word.

8. Game of Thrones

Now I know what you are saying, dear reader, “I can’t believe this isn’t closer to number 1!” Okay, the whole reason why this show isn’t closer to the first slot is because some of the casting choices just don’t work for me (Sorry, Catelyn Stark). Also, I have to take something else into consideration. My husband hasn’t read the books, and neither have a few other people I know of who watches the show, and these people find the show very hard to follow. I’m always filling in details and saying, “So that happened a while ago which is why this scene is happening right now.” However, I’ve read the books, and except for some unfortunate casting issues and some softcore porn scenes that had no real place in the show early on, this is a huge hit and I absolutely love seeing how the books I read appear visually.

7. Mad Men

If there is one show I never thought I’d enjoy, it is Mad Men. I mean, come on. A show about a bunch of womanizing advertising executives set in NYC in the sixties? Puhleeeze. Honestly, though, this show is addictive. The characters are fascinatingly deep, and shockingly real despite their surreal surroundings and situations. Furthermore, it’s really neat to see how realistic this show is. The time period is fascinating, and the creators of the show don’t shy away from showing a lot of the more uncomfortable aspects of the time period, or the “mad men” culture these characters are part of. Complete with a woman in a high-profile position, and interracial relationships, divorce, and so much more, this is one of those office drama shows that just does it for me. Every episode is fascinating for so many reasons, full of characters I love, despite how easy it is to hate them.

6. House of Cards

I watched this show when I was quarantined during my cancer treatment. I devoured it. If you haven’t noticed by now, I tend to go toward dramas with TV, and this is no exception. The lead character is a deplorable, morally bankrupt politician, and that’s probably why I love him so much. The dialogue is very well done, and the show itself is full of suspense and plenty of drama. By the time things really get rolling, viewers will be far too invested to stop watching. The character development is slow and delicious, and the plot is amazing. This is one of those shows that makes me wonder what life for politicians in DC is really like. People are bought and paid for, cajoled and bribed, and in all of this are some very chaotic, relationships and some dark personal undertones. Love this one. Love. It.

5. Homeland

Another political drama. Yeah, I like these things, but Homeland is its own animal. This show plays a lot with terrorism, some sanity/insanity, and relationships. Everything mixes really well together to create this sort of psychological-drama stew that has me absolutely hooked. Not only is this show telling a story about terrorism and who-done-it type things, but there are some intimate relationship dynamics and some health issues thrown in for good measure. Homeland is one of those shows that really explores just how far reaching the consequences are, and doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable issues like PTSD, bipolar disorder, and so much  more. Very excellent cast, and amazing dialogue.

4. Sons of Anarchy

There are a lot of reasons I watch this show. One of them is because the guy who plays Jackson is fantastic to look at (Yeah, I’m shallow. Get over it.) The main reason I watch this show is because I never knew a California bike club could be this damn interesting, and the cast is superb. Probably my favorite cast on a show in the history of ever. They are all so amazing and so believable within their roles. Sons of Anarchy is a great mix of illegal operations, complex (understatement of the year) family issues, and business. Instead of things evening out as each season passes, things just seem to get more complex. However, rather than becoming overwhelming or unbelievable, the power struggles and the plot dynamics make it all seem so natural. Fantastic show that you shouldn’t ever watch in front of two-year-olds.

3. Blacklist

Okay, so this show isn’t even done with the first season yet, but I am loving it. First of all, I never knew a show this interesting could be aired on national TV, one of the regular channels everyone can get with an antenna. Secondly, I didn’t know that a show anyone could get could be this… well, raw. There’s more violence than I expected, and there’s more tension and cranked up emotions than I anticipated. Honestly, I thought this one would show on TV, have an interesting first show, and then turn off. While things are getting a bit too predictable, and I’m getting a little sick of the “Bad Man of the Week” type plot each episode follows, the reason this gets such a high spot on the list is because of James Spader and how absolutely amazing he is in the role he plays. He sells this show and makes it a joy to watch.

2. Orange is the New Black

This is the first show I’ve ever watched where I literally got pissed off at the end of the first (and only) season for the simple fact that it had the audacity to be over. This is another show that you should NEVER watch with kids, but it is absolutely addictive. Corny, without being over-the-top, with a lovable (if challenged) cast, and plenty of dark prison drama, this show is the one that you didn’t expect to love but ended up loving. Honestly, I’d tell you to get Netflix just so you can watch this show. Excellent cast, and unexpected setting, violence and drama abounds, the character development is absolutely amazing. Yes, this show wins.

And, my FAVORITE show of 2013 is…. 

ORPHAN BLACK

You know, I started watching this show because someone at my work told me that I’d love it. She said it had to do with clones and knowing what I read, I should really check it out. I have to admit, my brain kind of turned off at the word “clones” and even my husband scoffed a little when I told him about it, but we found it. Caught up on it, and I was just as pissed off when I got totally caught up (because they aren’t making seasons fast enough!) as I was with Orange is the New Black. This show came out of nowhere and before I knew it, I was watching hours of it each day because I couldn’t get enough. Full of drama, and an interesting exploration of what makes us all individual, and how science and business impact each of our lives, Orphan Black is the show that might seem corny on the surface, but is anything but. Addictive, deep, and fascinating on every level, this is my dark horse winner – the show I think everyone should watch right now.

Shows that should have been on the list but aren’t because I didn’t think of them until right now and I wanted it to be a “Top Ten” list are…. 

1. Newsroom

Honestly, who would think that a show about how the news is made could be this damn interesting, drama filled, and captivating? Not I. In fact, this is another show that, like Orphan Black, came out of nowhere, hooked me, and wouldn’t let go. Absolutely riviting, filled with a cast you care about (and sometimes hate), Newsroom is a show you won’t expect, and you’ll love it more than you think you will. Drama in every sense of the word, but also ver interesting because it’s more of a behind-the-scenes show than a news show. I cannot wait for the next season to air.

2. Breaking Bad

It is over. Perfect ending. Best. Show. Ever.

Watch it.

Enough said.

Show my husband loves but I don’t: 

The Walking Dead

I turn off with zombies. I tried to care about this show. I cared enough to pull myself kicking and screaming through the first two seasons, but I just can’t do it. I really, honestly, don’t give one hot damn about zombies. However, my husband loves this show, and so does everyone else on the planet, so I figured I’d mention it. He seems to think that this seasons isn’t as good as previous seasons, and last night he said he’d give the show a 3/5 star rating. He says it is more about interesting characters than zombies, but I still don’t care. He still religiously watches it and so does everyone but me, so it gets a mention.

Best Comic/Graphic Novel: 

This is another award my husband is giving because I don’t read graphic novels. Anyway, someone told me that my husband should read the Locke and Key books by Joe Hill & co. I gave him the first one and he devoured it. Then he read the entire series in record time. Now, to give you an idea of how groundbreaking that is, I don’t think the guy has read a book the whole way through since he was in high school and forced to do it for a grade. That’s not a bad thing, but that’s how he is. He’s the gamer, and I’m the reader. Anyway, he read the whole series in record time and had a sort of book hangover that I thought was hilarious (because now he knows what it is like to get pulled out of a world that is so intense and amazing). He wants me to give the books a try because he says that the story is so interesting I’ll forget that I can’t stand graphic novels, and I just might. I’ve never seen him this excited about books, and that thrills me. I’m currently looking for more for him to test out and I figured that they deserved a mention because I don’t read this kind of stuff, and he loved it so….

 

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