Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Best Episodes of 2013 - Part One

This was originally going to be a simple top ten list, with maybe a few honorable mentions. But then I looked at all the great stuff that aired in 2013, and I realized I couldn't whittle it down to merely ten. I knew from the start that there were two episodes of Breaking Bad that simply had to make it, and two episodes of Enlightened as well. That would have been almost half the list right there. So no, that wouldn't work, and I elected to expand it to 20. And still I found myself making hard choices. If you'd have told me in the spring that New Girl's "Cooler" or the pilot episode of The Americans wouldn't make the cut, I'd have had serious trouble believing it. Yet here we are. And what's so remarkable about this embarrassment of televisual riches is that it doesn't include such premium cable dramas as Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Homeland (yeah, yeah, I've heard lots of gripes about season three, but I'll be the judge of that when I see it), and Treme. Can you imagine if I had been able to see the most recent seasons of those shows? I might have had to go to a top 40 (at least).

But in the end, 20 worked. In the interest of spreading the wealth (I could easily have filled 10 slots or more with Breaking Bad and Enlightened episodes alone), I decided to allow two episodes maximum from any one series. And since there was just so much to choose from (all of it pretty much equally great), I wound up electing to go with as many different shows as possible, with the result being that only three shows—the aforementioned pair and Parks and Rec—actually even landed multiple episodes on the list.

Behold the fruit of my labor (well, the first half it) after the jump: