The New Yorker‘s Emily Nussbaum has made her antipathy for Top 10 lists plain in the past. But in 2013, she’s willing to crown a #1: Enlightened, which sits atop her ambivalently titled “Best Television of 2013 (Sort Of)” list. “The best TV shows of the year can’t be boiled down to numbers,” she writes,”and definitely not when the person writing about them is terrible at math.” Instead, she offers a fulsome list of her favorite shows in no order at all (not even alphabetical, which is the Top 10 coward’s way out).
Anyway, these are the other shows that I enjoyed the most in 2013: The Good Wife, Please Like Me, Orange Is the New Black, Bob’s Burgers, Top of the Lake, Behind the Candelabra, Girls, Scandal, Mad Men, 30 Rock (did that end this year?), The Middle, Raising Hope, Eastbound & Down, Orphan Black, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Key & Peele, Parks and Recreation, Inside Amy [Schumer], The Fosters, Children’s Hospital, Game of Thrones, Switched at Birth, Breaking Bad, American Horror Story, Treme, The Americans, Call the Midwife, Parenthood, The Returned, Broadchurch, and The Fall. They are not in any order, because that would be insane.
On the one hand, Top 10 lists have an undeniable force, and they’re easy to compare. But art doesn’t come in decimals packages, and it’s nice to a see a critic stand up for honoring every show she thought was great rather than just those that fit a pre-made form.