Unlike his New York colleague David Edelstein, TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz kept his year-end list to an even 10, but that's still plenty of room for surprises. His #1, Arrested Development, got ample critical love for its Netflix return, and no 2013 list would be complete without Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. But Hannibal, which he calls a "dreamspace horror drama," is distinctive choice, one Seitz, who's uncommonly attentive to formal issues, attributes as much to the show's style as its substance. Here's his complete list.
Matt Zoller Seitz's Best TV of 2013
1. Arrested Development. "When critics write that the streaming model of scripted TV offers new creative opportunities for writers, it’s this kind of storytelling that they're talking about: a comic epic made of intricately crafted mosaic tiles that reveal a big picture as you binge-watch."
2. Hannibal. "[T]he most visually and atmospherically striking network series since Twin Peaks, maybe since Miami Vice."
3. Breaking Bad. "Not since the final season of The Sopranos has a cable drama been scrutinized so closely, deservedly so."
4. Boardwalk Empire
5. Game of Thrones
6. Orange Is the New Black. "A structural triumph in the same vein as season four of Arrested Development, this white-collar prison comedy from Jenji Kohan (Weeds) was also one of the most forward-thinking shows of recent years, presenting a complex gallery of characters whose stories cut across racial, class, gender, and national lines, revealing a shared humanity."
8. Justified. "This Kentucky-set crime drama is one of the greatest adaptations of the work of Elmore Leonard -- who died this year at 87 -- because it so effortlessly captures the master's tone of wry amusement at how people deceive each other and themselves."
10. The Americans