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The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season

by The Playlist Staff
June 24, 2014 3:09 PM
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The Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season

Bad news if you’re a member of the Television Academy: balloting for this year’s Emmys closed on June 20th, with the nominees to be announced a few weeks from now, on July 10th. That officially brings to an end the 2013/2014 TV season, and if anyone was worried that the string of quality TV was starting to come to an end as some of the most famous dramas and comedies of recent years wrapped up their runs, they were sorely mistaken: the medium is in as remarkably healthy a state as ever.

Every year, at about this time, we put together our list of the best television of the previous season, and for 2013/2014, there was such a wealth of goodness that we felt compelled to extend our line-up from fifteen to twenty for the first time. It’s not surprising: quality television now has more outlets than ever, from mainstream broadcast networks to basic cable and premium channels to online-only services like Netflix and Amazon. But from comedy to drama, it’s truly a remarkable time to be a TV watcher.

You can find our (entirely subjective, much argued-over) ranking below. Who'll succeed previous victors "Parks & Recreation," "Mad Men" and "Top Of The Lake" in the top slot? Debate the winners and losers in the comments section below. And note, some spoilers are ahead, but they're clearly marked.

Penny Dreadful

20. “Penny Dreadful”
There are a number of things wrong with “Penny Dreadful,” if we’re being honest. The pilot was a bit tepid, keeping its central characters enigmatic rather than intriguing (and actually not introducing a number of the regulars until the second installment). It’s had one of the more oddly structured seasons of television we can remember: at eight episodes, it feels like it’s wrapping up just as it’s getting started, especially as it’s taken more than one break from the central plot to focus episodes on extended flashbacks to fill out character backstories. And it’s about as silly as a show about Dracula, Frankenstein and Dorian Gray crossing paths in Victorian London sounds. But there’s a beautiful sincerity to its silliness: the cast, and creator/writer John Logan (who, as with several other shows on this list, was the sole writer on the project, having come up with the idea with “Skyfall” collaborator Sam Mendes) approach the material without winking at the audience, and with a real love of the horror genre, from the source materials of the title to classic '60s Hammer fare, ending up with a product that’s campy and operatic and enormously, enormously entertaining. The acting is superlative, with Timothy Dalton, Harry Treadaway and, above all else, Eva Green doing tremendous work (even Josh Hartnett’s pretty decent), and the craft throughout is impeccable: “The Orphanage” helmer J.A. Bayona did a stellar work at building the atmosphere, and the score, by “A Single Man” composer Abel Korzeniowski, might be the best on TV right now. At a time when certain other horror-focused shows (ones that are American Stories, if you catch our drift) are content with just flinging insanity at the screen and seeing what sticks, “Penny Dreadful” truly gets the richness of the genre: with psychology and sexuality and religion and, above anything else, a desire to stave off or defeat death underpinning everything. And, maybe most importantly, it features Timothy Dalton saying the word ‘chicanery.’
Best Episode: This past Sunday’s episode, “Possession,” might have been the best so far: a bottle-episode that manages to explore the characters while still moving the story forward, it was also the best showcase for Eva Green’s astonishing performance in a season that’s been full of them so far.

Bob's Burgers

19. "Bob's Burgers"
Occupying territory so well covered by the all-conquering pop culture juggernaut that is “The Simpsons” it’s remarkable that Loren Bouchard’s “Bob’s Burgers,” over the course of just four seasons, has managed to carve out such a distinctive identity. The sweet, loopy, often surreal tone springs from a deep love for its characters, the Belcher family, their customers, neighbors, friends and nemeses, and perhaps what makes it so compelling is just how active an interior life every single one of our principals can display in tiny, slider-sized 22-minute mouthfuls. In fact, it seems to be a characterizing element of the show; that everyone comes to it via their own connection to one specific character—for this writer the show is all about Linda, the perpetually good-humored matriarch who is refreshingly herself, as opposed to merely a foil for the wacky hijinks of her husband or children, from her tippling to her sudden enthusiasms (deciding she’s psychic because she predicted a telesales call) to her tendency to break into (often hysterical) musical numbers at the drop of a hat. The family derives so much of their manic energy from her, and yet the warmth and genuineness of her love for them, and their love for each other, renders them totally impervious to outside judgements, which allows “Bob’s Burgers” to venture to places of awkwardness that other shows might fear to tread, always knowing there’s a safety net of affection into which these beloved screw-ups can fall without harm. Season 4 has seen the show grow in confidence and characterization, mining musical moments more frequently, experimenting a little with format (the finale was an epic double episode; the closing credits are getting more surreal and brilliant, as in the spot-on Bond song parody) and generally joyously expanding the microcosmic universe of this New Jersey seaside town with seemingly limitless invention and affection.
Best Episode: The finale double episode is probably the season’s biggest gamble, and it pays off, but as a single standout our (tough) choice is either “Uncle Teddy” in which restaurant regular Teddy gets his moment as a babysitter to the kids while Bob and Linda attend a burger convention or “The Equestranauts” which takes aim at the soft target of “Brony” culture and yet ends up again showing the foibles of others in a sympathetic light: everyone, after all, is just striving for the kind of unconditional love and acceptance that comes as naturally to the Belchers as breathing.


18. “Review”
Comedy Central are on a hell of a roll at the moment: the network was for so long the house that “South Park” and “The Daily Show” built, but in the last few years, they’ve built up a slate of original programming that’s among the most exciting around right now. “Key & Peele,” “Kroll Show,” “Nathan For You,” “Inside Amy Schumer” and “Drunk History” are all stuffed with laughs (if sometimes being as hit-and-miss as the sketch show format tends to be), but the gem of the line-up is a show that aired with much less fanfare, and after being in a vault for almost a year: “Review,” or to give it its full title, “Review With Forrest MacNeil.”  Created by and starring longtime comedy scene-stealer Andy Daly (“Eastbound & Down”), and directed by “Spellbound” and “Rocket Science” helmer Jeffrey Blitz, the show is a loose remake of an Australian show that keeps up the same central conceit: Forrest (Daly) is a reviewer, who reviews life experiences suggested by his viewers, from the seemingly innocuous likes of ‘Having A Best Friend’ and ‘Hunting’ to ‘Divorce,’ ‘Revenge’ and ‘Space.’ The first episode is gloriously funny, as Forrest, as always in his deadpan, slightly harassed manner, gets hooked on coke and tries to take a teenager to prom, but you wonder how much mileage there can possibly be in the premise. But the show escalates beautifully week after week, finding more and more humiliating and disastrous ways for the review to go, but crucially, there’s a cumulative effect, the series turning into a bleakly funny character study as Forrest is pushed closer and closer to breaking point by the show, and his malevolent producer (James Urbaniak, doing stellar work). The show seemed to burn itself down in its final episode, but despite lowish ratings, a second season has happily been commissioned.
Best Episode: The third, “Pancakes, Divorce, Pancakes,” which gloriously sandwiches, as the title might suggest, Forrest being forced to ask his beloved wife for a divorce, with a challenge to eat first fifteen pancakes, and then thirty. Not just the high watermark of the show, but one of the funniest half-hours of the whole year.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

17. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
This year wasn't the finest as far as network sitcoms went: most fell flat, strong new arrivals like "Trophy Wife" were short-lived, one-time favorites like "New Girl" took a down turn, and long-running greats like “Parks & Recreation” and “Community” returned to form to some degree, without quite brushing against their former heights. But the undoubted standout among the debuting shows was “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which came straight out of the gate with a remarkable degree of confidence. Co-created by “Parks & Recreation”’s Michael Schur and Dan Goor, and with a pilot directed by “Lego Movie” duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller (continuing their remarkable recent run of success), it essentially takes that “Parks & Rec”/”The Office” workplace comedy and sets it inside the titular NYC police station. It’s hardly a new concept (“Barney Miller,” et al.), but Schur and Goor brought across the easy likability, gag density and strong world-building from Pawnee to Brooklyn, with the new show being consistently funny and eventually, even a little heartwarming too. It wasn’t totally firing on all cylinders from the first, we’ll concede: early episodes depend on your tolerance for Andy Samberg, the “SNL” veteran’s man-child detective, as the biggest name on the show, being more central than most in the early run. But the series showed a fine capacity for course-correction, and gradually became more and more of an ensemble piece. And few series around have a better ensemble, with Andre Braugher, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Stephanie Beatriz, Chelsea Peretti and Joe LoTruglio all doing stellar work, and maybe more importantly, gelling beautifully together, their enthusiasm for each other, and for the show in general, palpably coming off the screen. It’s not as furiously, gut-bustingly funny as some of the shows further up this list, but there’s such a warmth and generosity to the series that hanging out with the detectives became one of our greatest pleasures of the season just gone.
Best Episode: “Old School,” the eighth of the season, was where things really started to take off: pairing Samberg’s good-old-days-idolizing detective with Stacy Keach’s hardboiled crime reporter, who turns out to be a pretty unpleasant human being, Peralta’s reaction perhaps serving as the first real demonstration of the show’s great big heart.

Silicon Valley

16. “Silicon Valley”
Perhaps what’s most endearing about HBO’s new comedy “Silicon Valley” is just how traditional a sitcom it is really, featuring a small, enclosed community of people, sparsely populated at least initially, trapped in a “situation”: in this case a tiny tech startup in a town defined by the IT industry and dominated by Google surrogate Hooli. But the success of the show is down to two main factors: the sharp satirical eye for the excesses of that industry, with its flash-in-the-pan successes and delusions of grandeur (like the checkout guy convinced that his app for finding your car in the parking lot has a big future) and the surprising warmth of the characterization of even the show’s most self-unaware characters. From Thomas Middleditch’s archetypal geek/newly minted CEO, to TJ Miller’s self-styled would-be guru in a bathrobe, to the wonderful Zach Woods as baby-faced naif Jared, the show has constantly surprised us with how the relationships between these misfits develop so satisfyingly. But special MVP mention must go to Christopher Evan Welch, whose tragically early death just five episodes in was a real shock to discover just as we were starting to enjoy the show, and whose portrait of venture capitalist guru Peter Gregory is so indelible it’s hard to see how the show will reach its same heights next season. Though we are very glad that series creators Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky made the decision not to recast and reshoot, and instead let us enjoy Welch’s contribution, as sadly curtailed as it was. So we are a little worried that without him to spice things up the show could stray a little close to the middle of the road, but this first season has certainly earned our goodwill, so we’re rooting for it come next season.
Best Episode: Articles of Incorporation” (episode 3) had a terrific balance between A and B storyline in which Richard has to buy the name “Pied Piper” from an aging farmer who represents the apotheosis of old-school masculinity as contrasted with Richard’s fey nerdishness, all while Peter Gregory gets his finest moment: seemingly distracted from a conversation with some desperate supplicants begging for a bridging loan or layoffs will ensue, he is transfixed by the sesame seeds on a Burger King burger that pays off in clever and surprising ways. It’s an episode that points to everything we hope the show will become, and to everything about the Gregory character that we will miss.

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  • Steve | August 29, 2014 12:21 PMReply

    Truly SHAMELESS that SHAMELESS IS NOT MENTIONED.......yet Bob Burger's makes list wooooooooowwwwww!!!!!

  • ROBBINS | August 28, 2014 11:09 AMReply

    I'm not horribly disappointed with this list - I enjoyed the reviews and also learned of some shows that I now need to watch.

    The last season of True Blood was quite a let down (too much focus on the wrong characters throughout, loss of true plot, and just a very lame wind down leading to a lame finale) ... understandably not on the list for that reason, but up until this season the show had kept delivering a fun and original story with great acting that I thoroughly enjoyed. I disagree that it had long since descended into silliness.

    I liked the relation to Buffy the Vampire Slayer - certain episodes still make me cry every single time. The unexpected loss of Tara. The wonderful episode "The Body". The deaths of Anya (fast) and Spike (heroic) at the end. The second death of Buffy... the heartfelt grief felt by a soulless vampire. You might be able to guess that this show remains my favorite to this day.

    I think that shows like Continuum, Haven, and Defiance certainly deserved some notice at least. Continuum has improved on its earlier seasons. I don't recall if this list was to not include British TV, but if it could... Doctor Who remains as brilliant as ever. I suppose it could be said that the following shows are on a different level than those on this list... Revenge. Reign.
    The pilot season of The 100 was fascinating and well-done, in my opinion.

  • Matthew | August 28, 2014 11:03 AMReply

    I found the finale of the Americans to be just as disappointingly small-scale and tension-free as last season's finale. The buildup made you think it was going to be amazing, and then *SPOILERS* it's just some brief conflict that's easily resolved, with neither of the leads even sustaining as much as a scratch... and then some lame death scene confession that belonged on an episode of MacGyver circa 1988.

    The writers seem to need to pad each season with dead ends and pointless detours, and the overall plot dragged on and became overly complicated. That said, Lee Tergesen's character was brilliant and managed to save the last half by giving them someone to focus on. Killing him off was a mistake, if you ask me.

    And I can't understand what people even see in Hannibal. It's not much more than gore porn for people who don't think CSI isn't disgusting enough. The longer story arcs always feel shoehorned into the far far less engaging episodic plots that are as generic as they come, with a seemingly endless epidemic of serial killers, all of whom seem to be 'artists' interested in making statements, and at the same time leave extremely obvious clues as to who they are and where they can be found. Every single scene is scored with unsettling music and as great as he is as an actor, Mads Mikkelsen can't pronounce his lines and he ends up seeming like evil Elmer Fudd.

    I haven't seen all of these shows, but as far as I can tell, Breaking Bad, Game Of Thrones and True Detective belong in the top 3 in whatever order... putting Hannibal and the Americans ahead of GOT and BB just proves you're trying to be controversial-- and congrats, because it worked.

    And Rectify is at least top 5... the showrunners know exactly what they're doing and season 2 was great.

  • Joe | August 27, 2014 8:20 AMReply

    True Detective is overrated. I am a huge fan of Woody Harrelson and Matthew but this show is just slow and lacks umph. I watched the first 4 episodes and fell asleep halfway through each one. I find that the story drags on way too much and has too much unnecessary commentary. It's a shame they couldn't write anything more interesting for these 2 great actors.


  • Rose | August 25, 2014 5:45 PMReply

    Southland should have been on this list. It doesn't try to wrap everything up with a little bow and has great characters with messy lives. Very sad it's not been recommissioned.

  • Steve Bronfman | August 24, 2014 11:26 PMReply

    Two you didn't mention, "Hell On Wheels," and "Halt and Catch Fire." As good as any shows on your list.

  • Mark | August 23, 2014 9:39 PMReply

    I suppose I need to also add some praise. I like your list more than the other "popularity" polls I've found online thus far. I think your recommendations are well thought out and have a lot of merit. In fact, I was able to find and enjoy the "True Detectives" series thanks entirely to you. So thanks for the excellent recommendations!

    My only beef is that your rating standard doesn't seem to be consistent between main and role playing characters. It's as if the role players deserved to be raped, but heaven forbid a main character act in a way unbecoming. It just seems like you have some kind of moral agenda. I don't believe you do, but please treat role players with more consideration in the future. And please either delete all comments or none. I'd rather not have my thoughts arbitrarily filtered.

  • Mark | August 23, 2014 9:33 PMReply

    And while I'm at it, why not comment on the other series? I mean, surely having people drugged, tortured, raped, and killed should rapped should rank as "questionable" content.

    To be fair, I love that kind of thing. It's a real depiction of human nature. That's why I'm commenting. I find it offensive that you have some strange moral standard that docks points based on the main character's actions while you applaud shows that deal with the most based content from a moralistic standpoint.

    I'm also expecting all of my comments to be deleted. So +10 points if my comments aren't removed.

  • Mark | August 23, 2014 9:25 PMReply

    What a bunch of bs. You complain about the the "bad" scene with Jamie and Cersei, but don't worry about all the "badness" going on with the non-main characters. Does "'screw' them 'til their dead" ring a bell? Come on now. If you're going to rate a movie based on sensual content, then do it right. Otherwise your analysis is biased and void.

    PS - My words were edited because apparently all bad words are flagged as spam...

  • Mark | August 23, 2014 9:23 PMReply


  • roehl | August 23, 2014 2:33 PMReply

    CASTLE should be included on the 20 Best TV Shows

  • anon | August 22, 2014 10:32 PMReply

    I took two things from this list. One being that you are most likely a woman, and two this list is retarded.

  • Mark | August 23, 2014 9:27 PM

    I won't say this is retarded, only that's it's horribly biased and incomplete. They definitely have a bias for main characters and treat everybody else as non-essential filler content - despite all the terrible things that happen to non-mains. I call bs.

  • nubwaxer | August 22, 2014 12:03 PMReply

    no orphan black, leftovers, defiance, or longmire? bogus list.

  • Fuckboi69 | August 22, 2014 4:23 AMReply

    game of thrones 11? clearly an opinionated list this show is without a doubt top 3 among every other list

  • Me | August 21, 2014 9:05 PMReply

    Psych should really be on this list. Adventure time should not be an honorable mention

  • Matthew Sobel | August 21, 2014 4:52 PMReply

    Although its not an american series Utopia is possibly the best show in the past two years. (not the US show on FOX called utopia). Truly criminal its not included on this list, I'm sure when the David Fincher HBO version comes out you guys will fawn all over it.... Come on people get with it.

  • Lars | August 21, 2014 2:11 PMReply

    Wow, no Shameless???????? Not even in the honorable mention?
    It has its darkest season to date, but compelling storylines, and Mickey!

    The more I think about True Detective, the more its ranking drops on my list. The best thing about it is Woody Harrelson, overshadowed completely by McConaughey.

  • Fred | August 21, 2014 11:28 AMReply

    Wth happened to arrow? Why isn't that up here???

  • Alex | August 20, 2014 11:13 PMReply

    My top shows •14• (not in order):
    *Note that I'm not into really dark or intense, depressing shows like Breaking Bad, tried to watch it and didn't like it...*

    Most of these shows are Comedy, SyFy, and Crime Investigating.
    1. Castle (Crime investigating, later seasons have more drama)
    2. Once Upon a Time (top shows ever if you search on Google, and in my top 5)
    3. White Collar (Comedy, Crime Investigating)
    4. Doctor Who (stopped watching but still really good)
    5. Chuck (Drama, Crime, Spy)
    6. Haven (currently rewatching 2nd time before new season comes out!) (Syfy)
    7. Revolution (angry that it ended after 2 seasons, though season 1 was WAY better then season 2) (Syfy)
    8. Continuum (SYFY EPICNESS)
    9. Burn Notice (spy, explosions, plain awesome. Ended on 7 awesome seasons)
    11. Eureka (Drama/Syfy, just got done watching all of them)
    12. The Finder (If you like all or one of these, Psych, Bones, Chuck, you're going to love this. One of the main characters died in real life so there is only one season)
    13. Bones (gruesome deaths, crime investigating, drama, it's really awesome though earlier seasons are better before season 5)
    14. Lost (dark, crazy, intense... I stopped watching it but it's really good, I stopped because I got into Bones)

  • Ned Davis | August 20, 2014 10:08 PMReply

    It was definitely an oversight not to include "Suits" in the top 20.

  • Anthony | August 20, 2014 8:27 PMReply

    Orphan Black not on the list..r u fn kidding me

  • maham | August 20, 2014 6:18 PMReply

    Uh sons of Anarchy? Best show/character/acting/plot everything! Your mad and your list sucks! Also house of cards is brilliant! True detective gets very boring! I gave it a shot 4 times but I kept dozing off

  • Ramazzotti | August 19, 2014 11:07 PMReply

    In my view True Detective is deserving of top spot. G.O.T should be ranked higher.

    Dishonorable Mentions for the walking dead and house of cards is pathetic.

    Vikings would make my top 10.

    No mention of Ray Donovan is surprising.

  • Langston | August 18, 2014 11:03 PMReply

    My list:
    1. Breaking Bad (AMC)
    2. Rectify (Sundance)
    3. Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
    4. Fargo (FX)
    5. Bobs Burgers (FOX)
    6. True Detective (HBO)
    7. Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)
    8. The Returned (Sundance)
    9. Sherlock (PBS)
    10. The League (FXX)

    I just finished the first season of the Americans and have yet to watched the second but I'm sure it would be in my top ten. I love "Justified" just as much as the next guy but this season was incredibly lackluster, dull and completely forgettable. I only watched a handful episodes of "Parks and Rec" and was hugely dissapointed. I actually was about to quit watching "The Walking Dead" but I thought the last half of the fourth season was terrific. Haven't seen the new season of Louie yet or the series Broadchurch, Hannibal, House of Cards or Silicon Valley but can't wait to watch em! (Plus Halt and Catch Fire was enormously underrated and am I the only person on the planet who watches the League?)

    Honorable Mention:
    Regular Show (Cartoon Network)

  • Ned Davis | August 20, 2014 10:11 PM

    Have you watched "Suits"? The most overlooked show here , in my opinion.

  • Genster | August 18, 2014 10:19 PMReply

    1. Breaking Bad
    2. The Good Wife
    3. The Newsroom
    4. House of Cards
    5. Veep
    6. The Returned
    7. Hannibal
    8. Shameless
    9. Broadchurch
    10. Game of Thrones

    Honorable Mentions: 24: Live Another Day, The Americans, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, In The Flesh, Louie, Masters of Sex

    I haven't tried Boardwalk Empire but I want to.
    The sophomore seasons of Orphan Black and OITNB were weak.
    True Detective peaked halfway through the season and went downhill from there.
    The Walking Dead? No.
    James Spader? Yes. The Blacklist? No.

  • Eric | August 17, 2014 7:10 PMReply

    I don't care what order you put them in, but here are the only shows that I felt like I had to watch every week.
    *Game of Thrones
    *Breaking Bad
    *Boardwalk Empire
    *True Detective
    *The Walking Dead
    *Orange is the New Black
    The fact that Shameless is not mentioned anywhere in this article is absurd. It's definitely well written, and may be (from top to bottom) the best acting series of any of these. William H. Macy is brilliant. Anyone who's ever known white trash, knows this series belongs in the top 10.

  • ned davis | August 20, 2014 10:12 PM

    I like your taste, but you left off a biggie...."Suits".

  • DougW | August 16, 2014 1:47 AMReply

    "True Detective" Season One is amazing. Don't know how you could leave out "24: Live Another Day" which is a complete blast.

  • User | August 15, 2014 8:33 AMReply

    While clicking the link to this article I was wondering naively if this is a site by hipsters for hipsters. Guess I got my answer while comparing the reviews for Breaking Bad and True Detective.

  • Feyder | August 15, 2014 5:15 AMReply

    Best Drama:
    #1 Breaking Bad (best show of this millennium - so far)
    #2 Game Of Thrones (best season yet)
    #3 The Good Wife (best season yet - I'm glad I finally catched up on this one)
    #4 True Detective (although it kinda peaked with episode 4-5)
    #5 Justified (a very strong season)
    (still haven't seen the Americans season 2 and Mad Men season 7)

    #1 Orange is the New Black (though it's more drama than comedy)
    #2 Veep
    #3 The Big Bang Theory
    #4 Portlandia
    #5 Community

    Shows I dropped out of: (which doesn't mean that they're bad)
    #1 House Of Cards
    #2 Homeland
    #3 Masters of Sex
    #4 Downton Abbey

  • Marco | August 14, 2014 6:24 PMReply

    Where the hell is Homeland?

  • Ali | August 18, 2014 9:09 AM

    Homeland sucks. Nothing more than a propaganda show demonizing Iranians and praising the Zionist government of the U.S

  • Adam | August 13, 2014 12:25 AMReply

    Season two of house of cards was bad? WTF haha xD mate......that show is awesome, I love every ep of that show and tbh I can't believe that it ain't on this never went off track *spoilers* but the whole season two of house of cards, was all about Frank getting the presidents job and that was the focus of the whole season...they stayed on track, don't know where you get the idea where it went off track.

  • lucas | August 9, 2014 8:14 PMReply

    Hannibal as nr. 3? I really disagre with u on that one, I think it was a waste of time, eventho' it had potential, they somehow allowed the positive and catching aspects of the show to get raped

  • Adam | August 13, 2014 12:18 AM

    Mate are you serious!? lol Hannibal is one of the best shows on Tv, it sticks to the material of the books really well, while also putting its own little spin into it.......I know its your view but damn I think Hannibal is better than Breaking Bad by a long shot.......I know you didn't say anything about Breaking Bad....but I don't get what is so awesome about that show? seasons 1 -4 were so boring and dragged out. It was boring and the only season that seemed to work for me was the last season.

  • Nuj | August 9, 2014 11:11 AMReply

    "True Blood" long ago descended into silliness". You have got to be kidding. The show has always been "silly". That's why it's enjoyable. The fact that these bozos actually believed a show premised on vampires as ever being not "silly" is quite silly and says much about how smart they think they are compared to actuality.

  • Nuj | August 9, 2014 10:53 AMReply

    Damn, your taste is really ass-wipe awful. Would you be the same geniuses who rob BSG of an Emmy for best show because it's sci-fi and not a realist drama? Number 1 "Veep". Number 2 "Louie". Number 3 "G0T". Number 4 "Walking Dead". Number 5 "True Detective". I haven't seen The Americans yet but the premise is original and the show sounds very promising. Go back to binging your average snooze fest.

  • Nuj | August 9, 2014 11:04 AM

    Slight revision:
    1. Veep
    2. Louie
    3. The Arrow
    4. GoT
    5. Walking Dead

    Sorry "True Dectective", you're a bit too self-consciously smart and high-minded. It comes off as pretentious.

  • shawn | August 9, 2014 5:01 AMReply

    I think the ones who ranked all these shows forget the main purpose of what a show is supposed to do? like capture the audience like when on friends chandler announced his love for monica, or when they make you cringe at a main character is taken out like when game of thrones red wedding and starks beheading. my point is this. there are so few shows that do anything for anybody anymore nobody tries, take for instance the endless string of big tit jokes that are on 2 broke girls, or the science remarks out of a third grade textbook from big bang theory, ( which by the way both those shows suck so much that I cannot believe America would lower neigh the world would lower there iq to watch it. That's here nor there the point is that I think you don't need a rank of the shows but more of a suggestion of watch to watch when you hit the dead end of shows on Netflix or your golden girls dvd is so wore out that it will no longer play the theme song. you want so shows that will have you going were are you taking me and how long can the ride last I got a few in the category for you. but before I go I would just like to say if there is a writer or a producer and somebody who's job it is to come up with shit for us to watch on tv and take an hour out of our day because lets face it most of us watching these shows don't have a shit ton of time and our days require every last bit of energy out of us so I think Im gonna speak on the behalf of all of us blue collar workers, Please make and show for us to fall in love with again, give us a reason to take the time and make us tear up when friends did there last show, because you connected on a personal basis again. on behalf of all us concerned tv viewers, Give a shit again, care about what you put on tv. take pride in your work because I can speak for all of us when I say that 2 broke girls suck. please end big bang theory for all that is holy, and drop 2 and a half men ... now for some shows that you can enjoy , also the numbers have no rank to them
    1, Banshee, its on starz and is pretty good takes place when a con takes the identity of a cop who was killed and from there enjoy.
    2 Power new show on starz its also pretty enjoyable first season is still going but was renewed for a second already but its good
    3 black sails its a pirate show so if you want something that will keep you going and wanting more pick it
    4 de Vinci's demons its a damn good show so enjoy

  • Abita | August 15, 2014 7:56 PM

    I just had to give you kudos for your write-up. you capture the essence of watching and getting carried along with a television series. kudos once again, spot-on on Banshee and Power, but I think the best series of 2014 has to be True Detective, I don't know how they are going to follow that up in season two... any more recommendations from you as in what to watch?
    ps, my best ever tv series is House MD, what's yours.

  • VL | August 6, 2014 10:14 PMReply

    Breaking Bad definitely deserves to be in the top 5, and Orphan Black should totally be on this list.

  • Breaking Bad Deserves its spot in the list | August 13, 2014 12:21 AM

    I agree with Orphan Black but breaking bad? naaaa too boring, besides the last season which they actually did right......Breaking Bad sucks...period

  • Your mother | August 6, 2014 10:12 AMReply

    The Walking Dead boring and not even in top 20? It's easily #1. You guys are a bunch of f*cking moronic idiots. I hope you're not getting paid to do this stupid blog. Dumb motherf*ckers.

  • Your mother's wrong | August 6, 2014 9:03 PM

    This isn't S01, The Walking Dead sucks.

  • James | August 6, 2014 9:49 AMReply

    Am I being punked? The Blacklist is by far the most exciting thing I've seen since Game Of Thrones. Spader is back in what seems to be a more action based reprisal of his Alan Shore character, quips and all.
    It did not even get an honorable mention. And worst of all, only one person noticed that in the comments.

  • James | August 5, 2014 4:14 PMReply

    Seems like people who watch shows on TV all agree this list is a joke, whomever made it should be fired for it being so bad. No Sons of Anarchy, House of Cards, Sherlock, and Game of thrones not even in the top 5 lmao...

  • Justen | August 5, 2014 4:11 PMReply

    This site lost all credibility that it had Game of thrones at number 11, it is hands down one of the best shows I've ever seen. Not to mention the lack of other brillant shows such as House of cards, 13 grammy nominations, and it doesn't make the top 20 WOW. To top it all off most of these shows on this list I've never even heard of this site. Although I do like Orange is the new black its no where near top 2, better than Game of thrones and House of cards.... Respectfully this list is a joke.

  • Max | August 6, 2014 9:24 PM

    I think 13 Grammy nominations has got to be a record. And by a TV show? Wow.

  • Patrick D | August 5, 2014 12:39 PMReply

    True Detective, Fargo, Games of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Penny Dreadful, and Orphan Black were my must sees. Have not seen Orange is the New Black, Hannibal or The Americans. Mad Men is really sliding downhill. Masters of Sex is too soapy, gave up on it.

  • WORST LIST EVER | August 4, 2014 5:36 PMReply


    NUFFF SAIDDD!!!111!!111

  • Anonymous | August 4, 2014 1:06 PMReply

    Where the hell is the walking dead?

  • tornado | August 5, 2014 4:17 PM

    Look under dishonorable mentions. ;)

  • a. miller | August 4, 2014 12:33 PMReply

    Well, looks like I need to give true detectives another try. I watched the first 2 episodes and just didn't get it. Got lost. Maybe my mood at the time, I don't know. Obviously I missed something so I will try again. I did wonder why ray donovan didn't make the cut. I love that show.

  • maaser | August 21, 2014 4:05 AM

    i wont to lesson this audio...

  • wren | August 12, 2014 6:33 PM

    Get passed the first 3 episodes and holy moly it gets good. Episode 4 was some of the best TV I have seen.

  • castbound | August 3, 2014 6:40 PMReply

    This list sucks. Many good series are missing, and the order is bad.

  • lisa curry | August 2, 2014 11:06 PMReply

    BLACKLIST should be in this list. spader's tremendous, as well as the rest of the cast.
    an amazing series!

  • nick | July 31, 2014 1:19 PMReply

    this list is terrible

  • Mike | July 31, 2014 2:55 AMReply

    What more does Orphan Black have to do to be included on these lists?

  • Murphy | July 29, 2014 1:59 PMReply

    I really, honestly, sincerely, cannot fathom how House of Cards has been left off this list. Season 2 was just as powerful, stylish, intense, and intelligent as the previous season.

  • Tom | July 30, 2014 3:29 PM

    House of Cards is trash. Stylish and intense trash, but trash all the same.

    It has no place on this list.

  • STILL UNIMPRESSED | July 28, 2014 9:18 PMReply

    Not saying it's indiewire's fault, but this list is seriously lacking diversity. The only exception to the rule here is Orange Is the New Black, and when you consider the actual concept of that show's genesis, even it becomes slightly less appealing. So you can delete my comment if you'd's not like it's gonna change anything, anyway. Keep the stale saltines coming! Look through all 20 shows on this list and tell me I'm lying.

  • Brad | July 29, 2014 1:38 AM

    You are forgetting Brooklyn 99. That has a pretty diverse cast. The rest of the list is monochromatic, but Orange Is The New Black is not the only exception. Nice try though.

  • UNIMPRESSED | July 28, 2014 9:12 PMReply

    White people! White people everywhere.

  • St | August 19, 2014 8:24 PM


  • powerhouse | July 28, 2014 6:07 PMReply

    I can only assume that the list is not in any type of order. Clearly Game Of Thrones would be top followed by Breaking Bad. Why is Sons of Anarchy not on the list?

    Thanks for the list though, there's some shows I'll have to checkout I haven't seen yet like Hannibal and Penny Dreadful.

  • Hedgehog | July 28, 2014 1:56 PMReply

    house of cards was as gripping as in the previous season,i dunno what you are talking about.also,i do realise not everyone has to agree breaking bad is the best thing that ever aired on television,but to place OITNB,which i watch and like,but which is basically a lighter,more humane and less violent Oz with women(Oz is also the best thing ever on television),higher?to each their own,amen.

  • James | July 28, 2014 3:48 AMReply

    Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad not in the top five?!?! Yeah, damn your list.

  • MB | July 27, 2014 10:27 PMReply

    Also, American Horror Story and Sons of Anarchy never disappoint.

  • MB | July 27, 2014 10:24 PMReply

    Why is The Walking Dead always overlooked??

  • wynd | July 28, 2014 8:30 AM

    James mate, Walking Dead is the return to the values put forward by Romero in the original metaphorical society-exploring Living Dead series, it was never about the zombies, in fact a tv series just about zombies would be boring. Its the interpersonal relationships which make walking dead the great production it is. Tbh I love the zombies in walking dead, their hilarious. Walking dead does deserve to be on the list, I'd put it at 15, with "Justified" at 16. Great tv.

  • James | July 28, 2014 3:16 AM

    Because the Walking Dead is the most unscary, unrealistic (as far as zombies can be) Zombie movie/TV show since the late 70s. It's special effects are incredibly corny and anatomically impossible, almost taunting the intelligent members of the audience to turn away. The entire steam of the show rides on the drama and interpersonal relationships that develop among the surviving humans. Hmmm. A zombie show written by the author of Eat, Love, Pray? No, thanks.

  • MOVIETIME AND TV NEWS | July 27, 2014 10:27 AMReply

    America doesn't even watch or buy televisions anymore and hasn't steadily for over two generations. At best they watch this import junk FREE on their computers, NO NETFLIX REQUIRED. America doesn't watch or go to movies anymore and hasn't steadily for over three generations because there are no more movie theaters left save for a few in New York - Los Angeles. At best they download these import junk movie torrents FOR FREE. Why would America subject themselves to imported alien politics pretending to be American within America????!!!!???? Answer is... THEY DON'T AND THEY NEVER DID, AS EVERYONE KNOWS, NO BIG MYSTERY!!!!!!!!

  • You are wrong | August 9, 2014 8:39 PM

    For your information, there a still a lot of movie theaters. I pay for movies and television and I live in the middle of the country no in New York or Los Angeles. You are clearly not American if you think that everyone downloads torrents. You are cynical and you need to stop talking about Americans acting like you actually know the truth because you don't. Everything you said is just plain wrong.

  • VKane | July 25, 2014 9:09 PMReply

    The sad part about this list is that instead of making indiewire look like they're possessed of some alt-cool insight beyond the norm they've instead validated the taste of more mainstream media like EW & even Time.

    Different just to be different isn't what an alt publication should be doing. I suggest indiewire spends a couple of bucks and get some serious reviewers on board.

  • Nuj | August 9, 2014 10:58 AM


  • Gwarden | July 25, 2014 4:33 AMReply

    I'd swap out Good Wife for something new like The Red Road or Halt and Catch Fire, but otherwise, spot on picks.

  • Christy | July 25, 2014 12:16 AMReply

    I also wanted to mention that if Homeland isn't on your list then your credibility is nothing. If an award winning show with award winning actors doesn't make your list then your list is not worth much in my opinion.

  • Tom | July 30, 2014 3:31 PM

    Homeland hasn't been good since early Season 2.

  • Ha no | July 25, 2014 7:42 AM

    Lol, that show jumped the shark. Deservedly not on the list.

  • Christy | July 25, 2014 12:06 AMReply

    I'm sorry but if Shameless is not on this list I have to judge you pretty harshly. The acting is stellar on that show as observed by emmy nominations. It keeps you so entertained with everything that is going on you can't wait to watch the next episode. I was all in after the first episode. Also, Erik is right, Walking Dead deserves to be on here somewhere. It's astounding popularity did not come from being a shabby show let's be real.

  • Erik | July 24, 2014 7:20 PMReply

    Two glaring omissions here for me, Vikings and Falling Skies; the latter of which I find to be a much more interesting and better executed Walking Dead style show about human survival. Walking Dead should also be somewhere on here but "Skies" gets my number 1 spot.

  • samael | July 24, 2014 10:23 AMReply

    they missed a lot of great tv shows, I cant understand why bates motel and cosmos are not on this list. and why the hell is game of thrones not at least in the top 10? this is trbl terrible..

  • Joe | July 22, 2014 5:46 PMReply

    You missed suits.

  • Tyler | August 15, 2014 9:48 PM

    I second the call for Suits, it may not have started off with a dynamic first season, but it has been, over the last two seasons, one of the smartest and most brilliantly written shows on any channel. I think the USA network shows get shafted when it comes to "best-of" lists.

  • hssen | July 20, 2014 8:36 PMReply

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  • az | July 20, 2014 2:39 PMReply

    Think AHS is a little too Queer to be got by everyone, but it really should be on this list, I mean as if it doesn't know it's ridiculous! The crime is that Hannibal takes itself seriously.

  • Tad | July 19, 2014 3:28 PMReply

    Lol GoT is not one or two on the list? Boardwalk Empire not even on it? lol The URL/site explains the inexplicable...
    Being "anti" or different, just BECAUSE.

  • Brad Watson | July 18, 2014 3:23 PMReply

    How the HELL is House of Cards not on this list? Was it purely a Netflix exclusive show?

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