Top TV of 2013 (5-1)
With Christmas well and truly over, it’s now time to see if any of the TV from the festive period managed to sneak into our top five at the last second. As seen in the previous five shows, 2013 has been a strong year for television, both home-grown and imported.
Networks continue to increase their production values, attracting bigger names from the world of movies, and TV is seemingly becoming the preferred medium for many. Even Marvel has expanded the cinematic universe by introducing S.H.I.E.L.D. to the small screen, opening endless possibilities for characters and crossovers. The future looks even brighter with a Netflix team-up to develop a number of series including Daredevil. These won’t be around until 2015, but it’s exciting to see such positive steps going forward.
So, what made our top five this year? It’s a real mix of old and new, offering emotional endings and exhilarating beginnings. We lost some of our favourite characters, and said hello to some fascinating new ones. Let us know your own personal favourites in the comments below, and we look forward to seeing what 2014 brings!
5: Doctor Who
This may be heating a little bit, as we are including all the various Doctor Who shows from this year – the 50th Anniversary episode, the Christmas special, and even the docu-drama An Adventure In Space And Time. It’s hard to separate them as they all played a massive part in this year’s festivities.
We attended the anniversary convention in London on the day that The Day Of The Doctor aired, and there was a real buzz in the air, and the BBC delivered something truly special. Yet could it ever live up to expectations? It did in some ways, and not in others. The same can be said for the Christmas special as we said goodbye to Matt Smith and welcomed Peter Capaldi on board the TARDIS.
Doctor Who has come under more scrutiny than ever over the past few years under Steven Moffat’s reign, yet the show is more popular worldwide than ever. How Capaldi fares remains to be seen – there is no doubting his acting ability, but he’s certainly a different type to the last couple of Doctors, and he may well alienate a section of the fanbase but bring in new fans. Only time will tell, but it’s a very interesting period to be a Whovian.
Special mentions have to go to John Hurt and David Bradley, both veteran actors who brought something unique and emotional to the Who celebrations in their respective roles. The same goes for Paul McGann and his well deserved return in the minisode, Tom Baker, and all of those that appeared in the comedy The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. We were truly spoiled in 2013!
Proving that there well and truly is life beyond Doctor Who, David Tennant starred in the immense hit Broadchurch on ITV early this year. Starring alongside the exceptional Olivia Colman, Tennant took a role far removed from his enthusiastic and wacky Doctor. Instead here he was troubled Detective Hardy, struggling with his own inner demons and past while trying to solve a murder and investigating the pasts of the locals.
There was something special and addictive about Broadchurch that captured the imaginations of the audience. The show became one of those water cooler programmes that warranted discussion and speculation, and had a strong social media presence along the way. It wasn’t just the mystery though, as the performances and writing were top notch and Broadchurch was one of those rare shows that was the complete package.
3. Orphan Black
The surprise hit of the year for us, Orphan Black deserves to be here if only for Tatiana Maslany’s performances as numerous clones throughout the series. To see one person pull off that many characters so convincingly, with individual characteristics so fully formed, was simply a pleasure to watch and a masterclass in acting.Having already picked up a number of awards this year for her roles, Maslany has also been nominated for a Golden Globe in 2014 and absolutely deserves to win.
More than anything, the show deserves a bigger audience, only airing on BBC America in the US, but hopefully word of mouth will help garner more attention for the second season in April. We won’t spoil the premise too much but if there’s one show you should try on faith alone, make it this one.
Adaptations of books are always a risky move, and adaptations of movies are just as risky, so when the idea of Hannibal as a television show came along we were presented with an idea that covered both bases. The stories originally come from Thomas Harris’ books, which in turn were transformed into a highly successful movie franchise starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as the notorious Hannibal Lecter. How do you tackle re-casting such an iconic character in movie history? After all, Hopkins won an Oscar for his role in The Silence Of The Lambs. That’s how good he was as Lecter, so anyone else approaching that role would have to be crazy, surely? Luckily it’s a role where being a little crazy helps a lot.
Mads Mikkelsen is everything that Hannibal needs to be – likeable, suave, dangerous, mysterious and the perfect foil for his opposite number Hugh Dancy. The tale of Hannibal and Will Graham is utterly compelling, presented in such a visceral fashion that you can’t look away. These are two men who breathe such energy into each and every scene that the show has an energy about it rarely seen on television.
Along with guest stars such as Eddie Izzard and Gillian Anderson, Bryan Fuller has delivered beyond all expectations here, and we truly hope he gets the chance to deliver on his multi-year plan. If it started this well, who knows just how good it will get once we delve into familiar territory in later seasons. We can’t wait.
1. Breaking Bad
Perhaps a sentimental choice for the top spot, but the final run of episodes of Breaking Bad thankfully delivered on everything that Dexter failed to do in its last season. Emotional, true to its characters to the last, and overall a satisfying conclusion, Breaking Bad’s ending proudly sits up there amongst the best in television history. There was very little room for dissatisfaction as the final season neatly wrapped up loose ends and gave everyone a resolution where possible. We were left with a sense of relief that the show went out on top and that they were blessed with the opportunity many simply do not receive: a chance to end properly. We will miss the adventures of Walt and Jesse greatly, and surely Breaking Bad can now take its place as one of the highest quality dramas of all time. Thanks for the memories, Heisenberg.
What were your favourite TV shows of 2013? Let us know in the comments below!