Hey kids. Dr. Morbid asked me to pick my Top Ten favorite new television shows that premiered in 2013. And, like anytime Dr. Morbid asks you to do something, I was excited and terrified to do so. Looking back at my year-or-so on the couch I am surprised to see that three of my Top Ten picks stem from FX, and even more surprised that a show from NBC (of all networks) made the cut. Some of these shows aren’t done their run yet in the US but hey, what the hell. Caveat listor – “Derek” has not yet Streamed yet in Region One, and I do love me some Ricky Gervais. Remember, Walter White, Don Draper and Dexter will all be dead soon, and you will be depending on these shows to blow off your family and responsibilities. Enjoy!
Honorable Mention: “Maron” (IFC): suitably caustic, “Maron” offers himself as an effigy to nihilism. He is full of enough loathing to fill the black shriveled hearts of his entire audience. You can’t help but love him and also maybe hate yourself a little less. “Extras” like cameos are fun, too. There are worse ideas than going to your Halloween party this year dressed as Maron, hitting on twentysomethings and complaining about your ex.
10. “The Bridge” (FX): Diane Kruger is a great many things; a bonhomie Texan she ain’t. But the message is searing, the subplots (somehow) remain relevant and the creators / showrunners have fully subscribed to the Sorkin idea that “television is all middle”. Who knew Matthew Lillard could act?
9. “Legit” (FX): Jim Jeffries’ slacker anti-hero is the un-Louie, authentically living the flip-flop and fuck-off life other (possibly better) comedians claim to live. The Dude with an agent.
8. “Broadchurch” (BBC America): “The Killing” across the pond had such a cultural impact in Britain that BCC America just had to give the show a shot here. So far, so realism. The acting and a dedication to a focus on its characters carries it past the thirty-nine CBS shows just like it.
7. “Hannibal” (NBC): Stylish to a fault but I listed this one because, hell, at least NBC is taking a risk on something.
6. “Low Winter Sun” (AMC): You know Lennie James as Sol in “Snatch”. Here he is the Best Supporting Actor on television (sorry, Vincent Kartheiser, Scott Wilson, David Morrissey, and Peter Dinklage & Sarsgaard).
5. “The Americans” (FX): The pilot is a career-best performance for Keri Russell, but the neatest trick pulled off by any show on any station was getting an American audience to root for Russian sleeper cell agents. Confused!
4. “Inside Amy Schumer” (Comedy Central): YouTube the dinner-date where Amy is told her boyfriend has AIDS. You’re welcome.
3. “Family Tree” (HBO): My. Favorite. Work. Christopher Guest. Has ever done. I would give my Blu-Ray collection to hang out with Nina Conti just once.
2. “Orphan Black” (BBC America): The greatest new sci-fi show on television follows Tatiana Maslany on a voyage to reconnect with her daughter, find a killer, kill a killer, obsconce with a bunch of money, run a clandestine organization, debunk a cult, and most terrifyingly, host a suburban pot luck. In the hunt to not be boring BBC got an Emmy-worthy performance out of Maslany and an excellent show out of its sprawling arcs as several Maslany clones punk about London acting like lovely Ninja Turtles.
1. “House of Cards” (Netflix): THE best teleplay this year. I’m looking at you, Matthew Weiner.