The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season

The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season

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Update 12/23: This feature was written in June, 2014 as TV seasons go from September to September based on the Emmys schedule. For slightly more updated TV Features check out our Best TV Episodes Of 2014 and all our Best Of 2014 coverage which includes commentaries on best performances, soundtracks and more. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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15. “Broad City”
You could make an argument that we still haven’t had the breakout web series that has made the kind of pop culture impact as the kind of TV series on this list (assuming we’re qualifying Netflix and Amazon’s output as more traditional television shows), but “Broad City” might be the next best thing, the web series that graduated to more traditional broadcast airwaves, and proved itself to be entirely worthy of the transition. Created by and starring Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, “Broad City” debuted on YouTube back in 2009, and eventually came to the attention of Amy Poehler, who shepherded a TV version, which was initially passed on by FX, before finally landing a home on Comedy Central, and proving the high point of their output this year. On paper, it’s another show in the “Girls”/”2 Broke Girls” mold—young twentysomething women in NYC, dealing with the sort of thing that young twentysomethings deal with. But “Broad City” is a very different show: looser, rawer, with an improv-y spirit that places it more in the mold of Tina Fey than Lena Dunham. Separated from the voice-of-her-generation hype that the latter had to deal with, “Broad City” manages to feel just as revolutionary, with two protagonists (Glazer and Jacobson, who are both hysterical) who smoke weed, chase the opposite sex, and do the sort of thing that would go unremarked if this was a male stoner-com, but feels like something very different here, in part thanks to their frank, don’t-give-a-shit approach to sexuality, which obsesses the pair, but will still always come second to their friendship. It’s not quite totally consistent, but at it’s best, it’s uproariously funny, and if nothing else, serves as a handy flip of the coin to “Girls,” with a more racially diverse, scraping-to-get-by approach to twentysomething life that’s equally as rewarding as Dunham’s show, in a very different way.
Best Episode: We were especially fond of episode eight, “Destination Wedding,” which sets the pair’s relationship into a new kind of context as they head to everyone’s worst nightmare, the out-of-town wedding.

14. “Girls”
No longer the new kid on the block (indeed, with fresh competition on the horizon in the form of the aforementioned “Broad City”), “Girls” moved into its (expanded, twelve-episode) third season no longer quite being on the tip of everyone’s pop culture tongues in the way that it did over the first couple of seasons. But for the most part, that was for the better: rather than being a figurehead for millennial angst, or lightning rod debates between the show’s defenders and people who don’t like Lena Dunham because they don’t find her attractive, the series could just quietly get on with the blend of sharp comedy and unexpectedly bruising drama that made its name, and proved to do so as well as ever. It wasn’t as stellar and unexpected as the first season, but the longer run somehow made it much more even and cohesive than the second (which was written before the first had aired), even if it didn’t entirely do all the characters justice—Shoshanna got rather short shrift this time around, and was much missed as a result. For the most part, though, it continued to dig further into its protagonists, making them as selfish and unappealing and yet strangely empathetic as ever. From the unexpected affair between Marnie (Alison Williams) and Ray (Alex Karpovsky) to Hannah’s (Dunham) flirtation with the corporate world and GQ, there wasn’t a duff storyline in the bunch, and as with last season, the show really begins to excel when it breaks into little stand-alone mini-movies or odd digressions (the addition of Gaby Hoffman as the unstable sister of Adam Driver’s character was an unexpected boon, as was her romance with Jon Glaser’s odd downstairs neighbor). Those aside, the show’s settled into a kind of rock-solid consistency, but that consistency certainly shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Best Episode: “Beach House” was a beautifully savage little away-day, but it was the season’s other major formula-breaker, “Flo,” which sees Hannah meet up with the other women in her extended family to visit her dying grandmother (“Nebraska” Oscar-nominee June Squibb) that lingers in the memory. Squibb, Becky Ann Baker, Dierdre Lovejoy and Amy Morton were all so good together that it actually made you long for a spin-off of sorts.

13. “Veep”
The runaway winner of this year’s “most improved” trophy, “Veep” had, over its first two seasons, been a show that was always worth a watch, but still felt like it was finding its feet, and rarely made a case for being appointment viewing. But season three was something else: creator Armando Iannucci and his team had raised their game exponentially this time around for a run of episodes that felt as tight, purposeful and gloriously sweary as his great “The Thick Of It,” rather than a slightly watered down imitator as it had sometimes felt before. Given new drive by a focused plotline that saw Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ frustrated, semi-incompetent Vice President running for President (and *SPOILER* eventually attaining, though only after the Commander-In-Chief resigns while she’s still third in the polls *END SPOILER*), the series proved faster and funnier than ever before, the fuck-ups and colorful insults flying at a lightning pace where early seasons had sometimes felt a bit turgid. And with real plot to get their teeth into, the cast excelled like never before: Anna Chlumsky, Reid Scott, Matt Walsh, Gary Cole, Kevin Dunn, Sufe Bradshaw, Tony Hale and especially Timothy Simons all finding new notes to play in their support team, and Dreyfus building on her exceptional work in “Enough Said” last year to give what may be seen in years to come as her most defining performance, one in which she’s capable of being borderline monstrous, then redeeming herself a few moments later. In places, you feel the show start to threaten the suspension of disbelief somewhat, and then you realize the ridiculous reality of politics and remember that the show has a long way to go before it tips over the edge. Plus, like “The Thick Of It” before it, it’s by some way the most quotable show on television, you unstable piece of human scaffolding.
Best Episode: Local bias might tip this U.K. resident towards episode seven, “Special Relationship,” which sees Selina on a state trip to the U.K., complete with tabloid skulduggery, breaking the Queen’s china, a scene-stealing turn from Christopher Meloni as a dim-witted personal trainer, the always-welcome Darren Boyd as an acerbic Deputy Prime Minister, and campaign manager Dan having an absolute melt down.

12. “Louie”
After an extended sabbatical (nearly two years passed between the third and fourth season), Louis C.K. returned with the latest batch of his much-acclaimed auteurist semi-sitcom. True to form, it was more distinctive, idiosyncratic and experimental than ever: after increasing experiments away from formula and towards a kind of serialization in the last batch of episodes, the new season was something else entirely: three-to-four feature length movies all adding up to a sort of predominant theme about masculinity, romance, fatherhood, childhood, and relationships between men and women. Ultimately, it added up to a season that courted controversy in a way that the show hadn’t before: Louie’s encounter with Yvonne Strahovski’s model, with Sarah Baker’s self-described fat girl, and his non-consensual grappling with Pamela Adlon, seemed to be planned directly with the intention of instigating the dozens of think pieces that followed in their wake; as some have suggested, C.K essentially trolling his viewers and the press. It also added up to something more uneven: structurally wonky, dominated by the 6-part “Elevator” run, less concerned with making you laugh (even by comparison to what came before), and a little more sentimental even (the ending to the “Pamela” three-parter never quite sat right with us). But a bold and playful season of “Louie” that doesn’t work 100% of the time is still going to be more interesting, thought-provoking, and better made than most of what’s on television. And every episode had something beautiful, unexpected or hilarious in it, from the refuse collectors invading Louie’s apartment in the season opener, to Ellen Burstyn’s performance and the extended motel-room flashback to Louie’s near-collapse of his marriage, to Pamela throwing out all of Louie’s furniture and the glorious, glorious return of Charles Grodin. Problematic? Yes. Uneven? Certainly. Like nothing else? Of course. One gets the instinct that C.K. is itching to head back to the big screen sooner rather than later, but as long as FX are giving him carte blanche, we’ll be tuning in to “Louie.”
Best Episode: It divided Playlisters, but we mostly adored the “In The Woods” two-parter, a “Freaks & Geeks”-ish coming-of-age flashback about young Louie’s flirtation with pot, and his betrayal of a beloved science teacher in favor of a skeezy drug dealer (Jeremy Renner, giving his best performance since “The Hurt Locker.” (YOU ARE INSANE THESE WERE THE WORST – ed.) Told you it was divisive…

11. “Game Of Thrones”
Near the end of season three, “Game Of Thrones” unveiled The Red Wedding, a brutal shocker that killed off a number of the show’s most prominent character, and instantly stepped into the annals of TV history. It seemed like a moment that the series would find difficult to top, even after shocking from the pilot, and one wondered if season four would just end up a long series of comedowns after that event. But instead, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss didn’t miss a beat, with a (mostly) eventful collection of ten episodes that shook up the status quo on the series in a big way, and, inevitably, left some of the most, and least, beloved characters dead by the end. On the one hand, giving a verdict on “Game Of Thrones” each season is a fool’s errand: the show’s reached a remarkable level of consistency, with Benioff and Weiss continuing to doing a remarkable job of adapting George R.R. Martin’s texts to screen while often improving on them, production values that can’t be beaten on TV (the fight for the wall in the penultimate episode had as much spectacle as most blockbusters this year), and a phenomenal cast who continue to be hugely pleasurable to watch, particularly with such fine writing. The series continues to serve some characters better than others—we’re yet to find much about Jon Snow interesting beyond the battle scenes, and Daenerys didn’t have much to do all season. And the show made its first major, major misstep in *SPOILER* the deeply problematic sex/rape scene between Cersei and Jaimie *END SPOILER*, something clearly botched on both the writing and filmmaking level, if the baffled response by the people behind it was anything to go by. But while misfired, it did also illustrate something that’s become one of the show’s greatest strengths: an unwillingness to let a character become entirely sympathetic or entirely villainous, testing your love for your favorites and reminding you of the humanity of the most hissable. It’s in this moral grey area that the show swims, and it’s that that makes it transcend pure genre and become what’s sure to be, by the time it’s done, one of TV’s most monumental achievements.
Best Episode:
Finale “The Children” was a stunner, the most satisfying, thrilling and even moving season-ender that the show’s had to date.

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10. “Fargo”
One of the dicier propositions on paper, the Coen Brothers’ involvement (as Executive Producers) with the TV show version of their beloved, peerless 1996 film meant that we were always going to hope for the best with “Fargo.” Certainly more so than with the Edie Falco-starring version that the Coens did not endorse back in 1997 that never made it beyond pilot stage. But “Fargo” exceeded our cautious expectations, and after a rather tentative first few episodes which we mostly spent getting a bead on how much/how little relation to the story of the film this storyline had (answer: none really, bar some recurring motifs), it settled into its own thing, with a whole new slew of characters to fall for almost as hard as we fell for Frances McDormand’s Marge Gunderson. Featuring a breakout performance from Allison Tolman, and the best showcase that either Colin Hanks or Billy Bob Thornton have had in ages, it has the same recognizable affable noir tone of the film, and makes the brave and correct decision to round off the story by the end of the season, making season one feel like a self-contained entity. But we must say a lot of our joy, as “Fargo”-the-movie junkies, came from picking up on the sly ways the show referred to the film. From buried money, to pregnant policewomen, to DLR plates it nodded frequently to its precursor, but in Thornton’s implacable shapeshifting bogeyman hitman, and in Martin Freeman’s despicable, self-justifying protagonist, even more craven than William H Macy’s character in the film, the show also brought totally new elements that allowed it go both darker and broader when it needed.
Best Episode: All the latter episodes are pretty solid, but we’ll go with the one that really turned us on to the show properly: episode 4, “Eating the Blame” which tells the story of how Stavros Milos (and we love us some Oliver Platt) got his fortune: sheer dumb luck (or divine intervention, as he believes) saw him dig up a case of money buried by a fence in the snow with only a certain red ice-scraper for a marker…

9. “Rick & Morty”
Probably much to his relief at this point, Dan Harmon had a pretty great year. The iconoclastic and outspoken writer/producer’s “Harmontown” live show and podcast went from strength to strength, even spawning an acclaimed documentary, while he returned to “Community,” the show that made his name, and oversaw a creative comeback after the mediocre Harmon-free season four (the show looks to have come to an end after NBC cancelled it, but at least it was on the creator’s own terms). But his greatest triumph came with his latest show, “Rick & Morty,” which proved to be a legitimate hit, outperforming not just “Community,” but most of what the mainstream networks had to air against it, despite airing on the relatively small Adult Swim. It was also, when all’s said and done, our favorite comedy of the entire season. Co-created with Justin Roiland (based on a series of shorts by the latter), the show seems like it’s going to be something of a one-joke concept: essentially, what if Doc Brown from “Back To The Future” was an amoral son-of-a-bitch who used and abused his awkward, sex-obsessed Marty-ish grandson on a series of adventures across space and time. But the result was just tremendous: an endlessly inventive, gut-busting series of sci-fi comedy adventures that brushed with jaw-dropping wrongness in places (an exploding giant alcoholic Santa, Marty being molested by a jelly-bean in a fantasy tavern), and yet often finding unexpected heart underneath the insanity. Roiland’s freewheeling, semi-improvised comic style is a perfect fit with Harmon’s famous circular storytelling nous, leaving each episode as a deeply satisfying adventure that grapples with big, lovingly realized science fiction concepts, like a sick, drunken version of “Futurama” that appeals to people other than computer science majors. It’s Harmon without the stabilizers, and that it proved such a creative and commercial triumph must feel like an enormous vindication for him.
Best Episode: “Meeseeks & Destroy” gave us the most inspired comic creations of the year with the existentially-despairing genie creatures, but the more freewheeling and inventive “Rixty Minutes” was still unmatched.

8. “Mad Men”
There’s a weird narrative that’s set in recently among some that “Mad Men” has been on a downslide: season six wasn’t greeted with the same adulation as previous ones, and viewership’s been down for the first half of the final season, which wrapped up a few weeks ago. Nikki Finke went as far as to plead publicly for the show to be denied Emmys this year. To which we can only say: when you’re on the same side as Finke, it’s a pretty good indicator that you’re holding the wrong kind of opinion. Matthew Weiner’s show has never been one of instant gratification: it’s a novelistic slow-burn that might seem aimless or plot-free in places, but gradually and carefully shows its hand in unexpected and powerful ways, digging into its rich characters in ways that few others can compete with. And so was the case with Season 7A. The series picked up with Don Draper at a new low, essentially jobless and with his former partners looking to push him out completely of the company he built, while his wife was a continent away forging a new life in Los Angeles. His gradual semi-redemption wasn’t easily won, but he’s far from escaping into the light: there was a new darkness to the show, an ever-increasing sense that Don, Roger, and even their younger counterparts like Pete and Peggy, are running out of time, the era that they were comfortable with coming to an end as the 1970s fast approaches (best represented by the computer that instigated Ginsberg’s mental breakdown). And yet that comes with victories too: the series has never just been about Don, and Weiner and his team (which included, this season, “Chinatown” scribe Robert Towne) are more and more focused on the women, with Don’s daughter Sally and secretary Dawn getting particularly well-deserved showcases. Yes, the start was as slow as ever, but the show built and built until it peaked in a pair of episodes that are among the finest the series has ever had. And that series is one with a rhythm and tone that marks it apart from all the other great shows of the golden age of cable drama: one less immediately rewarding, perhaps, but just as nourishing once it all pays off.
Best Episode: Of those last two, it was finale “Waterloo” that once again showed off the genius of Weiner’s storytelling structure, as the characters reach a fork in the road while saying goodbye to one of their own, and watching mankind take a small step onto the moon.

7. “Masters of Sex”
So we don’t think there has been a single TV feature we’ve run recently in which we haven’t sung the praises of the brilliant but underseen “Masters of Sex,” and well, we’re just going to keep on doing it until everyone in the world is watching it. The exquisitely mounted (its period detailing rivals anything “Mad Men” has to offer) and impeccably played drama, based on real-life sexology pioneers Dr Virginia Johnson and Dr Bill Masters is everything you could hope for from sex-and-science drama: it’s perceptive about gender roles at the time (and now), especially with regards attitudes to sex and sexual freedom, it’s witty and insightful about sexual, scientific and academic hubris, and it’s totally on the money about relationships, be they budding, tentative romances or long, stale repressive marriages. Featuring a welcome weekly showcase for two of our very favorite actors in Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, we can see how the deliberate unlikeability, the un-heroism of Sheen’s character might have contributed to less than “Mad Men” numbers, but the uncompromising nature of his portrayal of his deeply fucked-up character (physician, heal thyself!) is actually one of the show’s best gifts–he becomes more fascinating as his attraction to Virginia peels away layers of stiffness and propriety that even he is not aware of. And beyond Sheen and Caplan is one of the very best broad ensembles on TV, with Beau Bridges, Allison Janney, Julianne Nicholson and Ann Dowd all reliably excellent, while Caitlin Fitzgerald as Master’s wife Libby, ex-soap star Teddy Sears as a philandering doctor and “Heroes”‘ Nicholas D’Agosto all have small breakouts in supporting roles. The show returns in July–please watch it, or we’re going to fill up the internet with more articles telling you why you should.
Best Episode: “Brave New World.” Midway through a season we’d already been beguiled and deeply impressed by, came episode 6, which broke our hearts to boot, with its depictions of the personal toll of two very different but equally dysfunctional marriages: Libby Masters (Fitzgerald) gets drunk with a pair of swingers in a Miami hotel and blithely makes up a false story about a dead husband and a pair of living children, while Margaret Scully, played by Janney, who deserves a(nother) Emmy for this moment alone, suffers the catastrophic humiliation of being turned away from the sex study when she reveals, without knowing how sad it is, that no, she has never had an orgasm.

6. “Breaking Bad”
Every year, we put this list together, and every year, someone yells at us for not placing “Breaking Bad” higher (yes, even when it ranked second two years ago). Unfortunately, the show’s final run, the second half of season five that aired last summer, wasn’t quite enough to make us put it atop the list and save ourselves the grief this time around. Ultimately, the conclusion somewhat backed up our major misgiving about the series: that it was ultimately borderline comic-booky in its focus on plot, and that it had somewhat peaked in terms of finding new things to say about its characters: neither half of season five saw us learning much more about either Walt and Jessie (the latter in particular was borderline absent for the final eight episodes). But all of that is not to say that the show wasn’t absolutely tremendous entertainment, as well made and acted as anything else on television, and that we weren’t absolutely gripped through each of the last eight episodes. Vince Gilligan & co put their foot to the floor from the first episode, taking the Walter/Hank confrontation teased in the previous season finale and putting it into play almost immediately, and there was an electric excitement to this final run as everything finally blows up, culminating in a desert showdown that’s almost unmatched in television history in its sheer level of tension, only to follow it up with a sudden time-jump (instigated in part by a terrific Robert Forster cameo: we’d much rather see a spin-off focused on him than on Bob Odenkirk’s Saul, much as we love the latter). Yes, we had issues with the series that some didn’t, right up to the end–the neo-Nazis felt like a rather generic and anonymous final adversary, especially after Gus, for instance. But who couldn’t find something to love about the writing, the directing, and more than anything, that gigantic central performance from the astonishing Bryan Cranston, who’ll be spoken of in hushed tones for a century because of the work he did here.
Best Episode: The sixth episode of the half-season, “Ozymandias,” was a definite highpoint of the entire series. Directed by “Brick,” “Looper” and future “Star Wars Episode VIII” helmer Rian Johnson, it opened *SPOILER* with the wrenching murder of Hank *END SPOILER*, and finally blows everything up in a relentless hour that feels both like it rushes by in fifteen minutes, and lasts an eternity.

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5. “The Good Wife”
It’s rare for a show to peak in its first season: the creators and writers are generally still figuring out the show and their characters. Instead, the majority of shows tend to hit their heights before going off the rails somewhat by the time it reaches four, five or six, should they last that long. So it’s incredibly uncommon to find a series that improves every time, just as it’s incredibly uncommon to find a drama on network TV that remains consistently excellent across a twenty-two episode season. And yet: “The Good Wife.” We’ve always liked, nay loved the show, an uncommonly smart and well-written procedural, and yet could never quite find a place for it in this list in years past. But even before the fifth season wrapped, we knew it was headed for a top-five placing: from the off, it took the already rock-solid building blocks and improved everything exponentially, remixing the show entirely by, *SPOILER* only a few episodes in, seeing title character Alicia (Julianna Marguiles, who gets better and better every year) and young pal Cary defect from the law firm that the show called home for four seasons to set up show on their own, much to the disgust of Alicia’s friend and one-time lover Will (Josh Charles). Then, it shook up the status quo again two-thirds of the way through the season by killing off Will: what could have been a soapy development (Charles had asked to be written out) felt like a true shock in the way that sudden death actually does in real life, and led to the most powerful and truthful treatment of grief on television since “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” (that sounds like a backhanded compliment, but anyone who knows the latter show will understand that that’s not the case). *END SPOILER* This was already an almost unfathomably smart, witty and sexy show, but by taking enormous storytelling risks, creators Robert and Michelle King turned what was already a very, very good show into a truly great one.
Best Episode: Almost too many to choose from (at twenty-two episodes, this is almost double the length of almost any other series on this list), but the honor goes to “Hitting The Fan,” which sees Alicia and Cary leave Lockhart Gardner: one of the most furiously paced and dramatically charged hours of television we’ve ever seen.

4. “The Americans”
Last year, FX’s “The Americans” was one of the most promising new dramas as well, taking an ingenious conceit (of a pair of long-embedded Soviet spies disguised as the perfect nuclear family in Washington D.C, who find after over a decade of marriage that they’re really falling for each other, just as an FBI counter-intelligence expert moves across the street) and making something gripping, sensual and rich from it. This year, for its second season, it build on its confident start and improved exponentially, coming up with a more focused, and yet wider-ranging second run of episodes that suggested that this will be one that’ll join the TV drama canon by the time it’s through. That central idea remains amazingly potent in its ability to tackle marriage (the central couple, played by the phenomenal Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, are on solid footing now, which doesn’t mean there aren’t speed-bumps), parenthood, double-lives and American values, but the show’s scope has expanded further: FBI neighbor Stan (Noah Emmerich), his Soviet lover (Annet Mahendru) and her colleagues at the embassy are all equally vital pieces of the puzzle. The show even successfully tackled the bete noire of many cable dramas and found a way to make the teenage child of the protagonists engaging and important to the whole. And it also raised its game as a thriller, the episode one murder of a couple in a similar position to our central duo setting the scene for a beautifully-plotted season-long arc that culminated in one of the most emotionally devastating, and thematically resonant wrap-ups we can remember, and felt so much more satisfying as a whole season than the first as a result. The series engages on a pulp level, but it’s also remarkably adult in the way it tackles its themes: this is deeply pleasurable, intellectually satisfying drama for grown-ups that can stand up against anything else that’s on right now.
Best Episode: That finale was a stunner, but we might just prefer episode nine, “Martial Eagle,” which mixes a brutally violent mission at a contra training base (only one other show here deals as well with the consquences and aftermath of violent, but we’ll get to that in a second), with the Jennings’s daughter Paige’s ongoing flirtations with religion, a plotline that should spell disaster, but is beautifully executed.

3. “Hannibal”
There is nothing—nothing—on television remotely like “Hannibal.” In fact, there’s never been anything on television like “Hannibal.” Which is all the more remarkable, because 1) it’s on network TV, and 2) because it’s yet another bloody serial killer show, and one that stars the already overused man-eating creation of Thomas Harris popularized by “Manhunter” and “Silence Of The Lambs.” But the small-screen “Hannibal” roared out of the gate last year, and became even more fascinating and individual in season two, ripping up the expectations of anyone expecting the show to retell the story we’d already seen, or indeed, stories that anyone had already seen. The season-one cliffhanger had, in an ingenious role-reversal, left the nominally heroic Will Graham behind bars, suspected of serial murders, with Lecter still free, and the duo’s uneasy love/kill relationship remains the beating heart of the show, even as they openly plot each other’s destruction, and it’s a pairing that’s quite unique for the genre, one that pushes right up against making them even Graham irredeemable. It’s a totally absorbing and psychologically complex examination of the seductive power of evil and what it is to kill, with everyone within the two’s orbit, even those who survive, being polluted and corrupted. And yet it never feels like a wallow: it’s leavened with a bone-dry gallows humor, and even when the show’s at its grisliest (and somehow, it finds a new way to horrify–and this is horror in the truest sense of the word–every week), there’s a curious beauty in it, one that it manages without losing sight of the consequences of the killings. But the beauty is important: this is the most formally daring and innovative show on television right now, directors like David Slade and Vincenzo Natali turning in work that’s borderline expressionistic in approach, a stunning fever nightmare, like an unholy meld of Antonioni, Argento and Goya. The acting is just as artful: Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen continue to astonish week on week. But it’s the imagery that we couldn’t forget even if we wanted to.
Best Episode: Undoubtedly the finale, “Mizumono,” a bloodletting so unspeakably tense (despite the fact that much of it had been revealed, boldly, in the season opener) that we only recall drawing breath once or twice across the full forty minutes.

2. “Orange is the New Black”
We’d hardly have credited the idea that season 2 of Jenji Kohan’s Netflix sensation could possibly have improved on the first, until we watched it. Layered, complex storytelling, that seemed designed this time out to be devoured in multi-episode sittings (though still rich enough that we weren’t manically racing to the end as we were with the disappointing “House of Cards” season 2, for example), the show impressed us even further this season with its refusal to rest on its laurels, introducing new characters and new notes into the environment when it could justifiably have gone back and revisited last season’s breakouts like Sophia or Pennsatucky without anyone feeling cheated. But instead Kohan and her increasingly confident, dazzlingly creative writers chose to fill out those roles which hadn’t had as much backstory last time out: cancer sufferer Rosa; chirpy romantic Morello; jokey, good-natured Poussey. And of course, we hit the new-character jackpot the form of the calculating personification of maternal malevolence Vee (Lorraine Toussant) whose power struggle and personal history with Red (Kate Mulgrew, also goddamn amazing this season) and corrupting, divisive influence over the other black women, especially Taystee, form the main arc this time out. And yet so many other balls remain in the air too: the meta-story of the prison administration; the return of Pornstache and the surprising twist that contrasts his passionate declarations of love for Diaz with Bennett’s cautious, secretive approach; not to mention the whole first Jodie-Foster-directed episode which is like a self-contained season in one single show. Fulfilling, meaty, frequently hilarious, often heartbreaking, sometimes vicious storytelling: “Orange is the New Black” is just superlative TV.
Best Episode: We’re tempted to opt for the very last one as only a show this good could get away with the enormous coincidence of the end and actually sell it as one of the most perversely hilarious/horrible moments. And the episode *SPOILER* with the revelation that Morello was in fact a stalker also vies for second place *END SPOILER*. But we’re going to give the the ribbon to the penultimate episode “It Was The Change“, in which a storm and the prison’s dodgy plumbing forces everyone to endure Lisa Loeb sing-songs in the canteen and in flashback we see Vee deal with both the onset of menopause and potential disloyalty in her ranks in astoundingly ruthless, Vee-esque fashion.

1. “True Detective”
Was there ever any doubt? (Well, yes, there was, as it happens: some bad-tempered arguments resulted in Playlist HQ over who would get the top slot, and the top five or six were in a very different order at one stage or another). But ultimately, we settled on HBO’s searing police procedural/character study, and it’s undoubtedly a worthy winner: even with other shows grabbing bigger ratings, nothing dominated the pop culture conversation in the way that “True Detective” did back in January, February and March of this year. With movie stars Matthew McConaughey (who won an Oscar while the show was on the air) and Woody Harrelson signing up, and Playlist favorite Cary Fukunaga at the helm, this always looked promising on paper, but even we were surprised by how hugely achieved the series felt from the first: a hugely atmospheric slice of Southern Gothic murder mystery that from the first, was as much about the people doing the investigation as the crime(s) itself. The dual-time structure allowed us to explore the contradictions and puzzles of Marty and Rust as they told their bleak, increasingly involving tale, and Nic Pizzolatto’s writing didn’t waste a syllable (those who criticize some of Rust’s monologues as being over-written don’t seem to have realized that this was entirely deliberate: that’s how he spoke, but notably not how anyone else on the series did), showing itself to be beautifully and carefully structured, and wrapping up in an entirely satisfying manner, even if it didn’t deliver the big twist that some were predicting–something that, we reckon, would only have cheapened the show. TV is famously seen as a writer’s medium, but “True Detective” felt like something else, Pizzolatto’s scripts melding with Fukunaga’s deeply atmospheric, gloriously cinematic work to create something better than the sum of its parts: everyone will remember that episode four one-take sequence, but the helmer never put a foot wrong at any point. And then, finally, the performances. This was a two-man show, no doubt, but what two men: McConaughey topping even his stunning recent big-screen renaissance, and Harrelson quieter and less showy, but just as rich and complex. We can think of no greater compliment for the series than to say one of our ideal approaches for Season Two would be a shot-for-shot remake, but with the two stars swapping over roles…
Best Episode: Episode Four, “Who Goes There,” had that remarkable closing sequence, but for us, the show peaked with episode five, “The Secret Fate Of All Life,” which featured both the confrontation with prime suspect Reggie Ledoux (brilliantly told through contradictory narration by Rust and Marty), and that beautiful jump through time to 2002.

Honorable Mentions: The show that perhaps came the closest to cracking the Top 20 without quite getting there was “Boardwalk Empire” — the series had some fierce advocates on staff, but some found the just-wrapped-up fourth season to be the weakest, despite the welcome addition of Jeffrey Wright to the ensemble. Reliable favorites that continued to be strong without quite making a case for cracking the list included “Community” (on welcome return to form), “Parks & Recreation” (also on an upswing this year), “Archer,” “Inside Amy Schumer” and “Key & Peele.” Dropping off our list for the first time was “Justified,” which continued to be solidly entertaining, but had a messier and less focused fifth run: here’s hoping next year’s final season sees it back on top form. “New Girl” similarly dipped down this time around, though we still enjoyed it, and “Scandal” also tipped over the edge into sheer ridiculousness in a less satisfying way than it had before. Across the pond, “Luther” disappointed slightly with its third season, but “Sherlock” had a solid return outing, although we didn’t quite love it enough to crack the final list.

We enjoyed debuting shows “Sleepy Hollow,” “Trophy Wife” and “Mom” without feeling compelled to shout them out, while “Looking” was a show we admired enormously without ever quite coming to love, and we never quite learned to love “Orphan Black” as a whole, though Tatiana Maslany remains astonishing in it. “Hello Ladies” had some advocates, but quieter ones, and AMC‘s “Turn” was thoroughly decent without ever quite hitting that next level. “Halt & Catch Fire” and the second season of “Rectify” were too early in their runs to make the grade this time: look out next year to see if they make the cut then. And keep an eye out for UK exports “Inside No. 9” and “Southcliffe,” as and when they make it to the U.S, both are definite contenders for the next time around. We’ve heard good things about “Person Of Interest,” “Bates Motel,” “Adventure Time,” “Vikings” and Sundance’s “The Returned,” but no one strongly vouched for them to make the grade this time around.

Dishonorable Mentions: Just to shoot down some of the inevitable ‘but what about…’ questions, there were a few shows that we definitively ruled out of the list this time around. “True Blood” long ago descended into silliness, and “American Horror Story” started off in that gear and has only continued that way. Still silly is better than boring, and “The Walking Dead,” while fitfully interesting, has mostly stayed in that gear since the beginning. Although it at least doesn’t make us want to shower, which is the result every time we tune into “Sons Of Anarchy,” a series that seems determined to claim the title of ‘The Favorite Show Of People Who’s Favorite Movie Is ‘The Boondock Saints” And finally, we were most disappointed with the return of “House Of Cards,” which made our list last year, and started strongly with its first episode, but which soon went wildly off the rails.

We’re sure we’re forgetting other shows, but you can argue the case for your own favorites in the comments section below.

– Oliver Lyttelton, Jessica Kiang

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Comments

ShamelessAnyone

Shameless had a stellar season this year!

Rob

Are you f***ing kidding me with this Masters of Sex nonsense? That show is a pale, shameless imitation of Mad Men that doesn't come close to approaching that show's depth of characterization and attention to detail.

Crushed

Have you not watched Orphan Black? Easily in the top five, if not top three.

Rdk

Vikings and Peaky Blinders should be on top of this list.

River

You're missing the point of Sons of Anarchy if you think it's intended for "People Who's Favorite Movie Is 'The Boondock Saints'"

And it's whose not who's.

Nick

Yep. I'll say it: Breaking Bad belongs on the top of the list. I'll have to thoroughly disagree with the assessment of the last 8 episodes. I think "Ozymandias" and "Felina" were two of the best episodes of the series as a whole. The only thing I agree with you on? Jesse's absence was notable, but considering the way the story wrapped up, I wouldn't have it any other way.

I also honestly think Fargo should be higher, and Community should definitely have cracked the list. The Walking Dead doesn't get enough credit, either, for being a character driven show.

dan

House of Cards wasn't that bad? I don't think it went off the rails, it was pretty good stuff. Better than some of the shows on this list for sure.

bohmer

Good list except the omission of Inside Amy Schumer. And a weird swap of places between Breaking Bad and Orange ITNB.

Heather

Give me Orphan Black, and In The Flesh over Game of Thrones and and any of those other gory and ridulously mean shows. I'll take Bates Motel, Person of Interest and most of the other shows that didn't quite make the list over GOT also… and I'm so tired of how the Good Wife gone. So many start out so strong but just need to stop, unfortunately, Fargo ended that way for me and I liked it a lot and American Horror Story…so much gore is a cop out and does not a good story make… well, at least not for me and that's why I stopped watching most premium cable shows though it's slipped into regular cable shows also. I'll take Bates Motel, Person of Interest and most of the other shows that didn't quite make the list over GOT also…and OITNB, amazing!

Obviously, we're looking for different things in shows and luckily we have enough to please us all. I'm truly amazed at the number of shows I haven't watched on this list but not for lack of trying as I watch ridiculous amounts of TV without even going to cable shows :) Thanks for possibly further feeding my addiction as I have to go and check out some of these other shows now.

Benxpete

Pretty darn good list. House of Cards was bogus this season. Sure, Spacey is chewing scenery left and right, but the show was derailed from the beginning and no one came to help. Orphan Black…exact same story in my opinion. Great season one, but the second had nowhere to go and it got there really, really fast.

Nikk

I definitely will not be following you guys anymore. Putting ANYTHING above Game of Thrones is a travesty, and not even acknowledging Orphan Black for its low-budget brilliance is beyond my realm of comprehension.

Sanker from India

Some of you thought Boardwalk empire's fourth season was the weakest?! What?! That's insane!! It finally came close to having a season that wouldn't be embarrassed to compare itself with a season on the wire or the sopranos.
You guys are always awesome with these lists! Though I personally would place hannibal, the Americans and fargo above true detective. I honestly feel the Americans is better directed than most people give it credit for. Matt zoller seitz keeps talking about its 70s American thriller influences which is what makes the direction so brilliant yet unshowy in a way true detective wasn't. Thank you for solidifying my viewpoint to make me desperately wanna watch the good wife, orange is the new black, masters of sex and penny dreadful.

Silvr

Your list sucked b****

Xavier

You have to be kidding me with Penny Dreadful? That show was awful, I dropped it after 2 episodes, 2-dimensional characters and groan worthy, unimaginative nods to public domain horror characters. Also, an incredibly sophomoric attempt at being edgy, just resulting in over the top violence and sex scenes apropos of nothing.

simon

wait until you see "happy valley" from across the pond!!

Mitchell

Isn't Penny Dreadful part of the 2014/2015 season? It wasn't on the nominating ballot of shows eligible for this year's Emmys.

Katy

Hannibal is one of the best shows out there on network television. Orange is the New Black is also such a good show.

READING 101

If you put the "spoiler alert" directly adjacent to the actual spoiler, people will automatically read it- thats how reading works.

Rick

Lots of good stuff. For the life of me I can't get into Good Wife and Americans.

Tony B.

Seriously, this list does NOT include THE BLACKLIST? It is for sure a joke, as this show, with JAMES SPADER is the best show on TV.Check the ratings………….

Dirk Diggler

Fargo at 10? Wtf. It's like the best show after breaking bad. This list is all messed up.

tino

Your list sucks! You forgot "its always sunny in Philadelphia" , "the walking dead", "kroll show", "Grimm", "south park"!!!!!

Karen Wasylowski

I continue to be amazed at the triumph of True Detective. To me Matthew Mcconaughey was too hammy and he mumbled. He reminded me of Al Pacino always looking off into the horizon as he dropped those pearls of wisdom. Some of the others I never head of before, but agree with Veep, Mad Men, Fargo (which should have been #1) and The Good Wife. I had no idea Comedy Central was running any series – now I have to watch for them, and I have to get Netflix. Someone remind me…

lee

Fargo feels overpraised to me, like it's getting goodwill off of the beloved movie, when I'm not sure the folksy vibe of the film carries well over ten hours. I often found it deadly boring, slow, but too implausible and tricksy to pull off any kind of real character or community study to compensate. Not sure how or why this is better than HOC.

Claud

True Detective was almost ruined for me by the last couple of episodes when it descended into procedural monster/killer-chase cliches. During the very last scene I think a little bit of sick came up my throat (Rust's born-again death experience and the light/dark dialogue). I would still have it in the top ten though.

Fargo is hugely overrated. Even though there were some good moments overall it's contrived and full of itself. It tries pathetically hard to capture the tone of the film, but is also clearly and poorly imitating Breaking Bad. The characters are all boring and unlikable (except maybe Molly, but Colin Hanks's character is a massive tool).

Game of Thrones had probably it's strongest season so far, so it's a shame to see it so low. I can only assume that the staff are sick of having it take up the top spots because it consistently outshines almost everything else on TV.

Boardwalk Empire should get a top 10 spot for production value alone, and a top 5 spot for all its other qualities.

Of course, it's all subjective opinion, but the reason I like The Playlist so much is that a lot of the opinions I read seem to sync with mine, so it's a shame to see this list is very different to what mine would be.

roshni

What theyhave written for Hannibal is right i have never ever watched anything that Ah-Mazing

lilychrystie

BROADCHURCH? LONGMIRE?

Mark

I wholeheartedly agree with you inclusion of "The Good Wife," which, in my estimation, is the best show on network or cable television. It is a mix of incredible acting, masterful writing and great direction. Your assessment here is dead-on perfect!

guyguyguy

I dont really like Game of Thrones but man that should be way more up on the list.
Also True Detective is boring, I dont like that show.
Breaking Bad should be higher up as well.
Orange is the new black should be abit longer down, I mean dont get me wrong I like it, but 2, really?
And alot more that is missing and added tv shows that really sucks :|

(I now declare this list BAD!) xd

Weez

Very good list, thought I definitely think there are some glaring omissions. Namely, HBO's "Getting On" (the fourth season of "Eastbound & Down" could definitely have gotten an honorable mention, as well), and the final (shortened) season of "Treme". FX's, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" probably deserved a spot, as did Showtime's "Shameless".

Also, I definitely would have found room for "Boardwalk Empire" somewhere on the list, because the fourth season was simply spectacular. Its methodical approach to story-telling and character development can be off-putting to some, but when the pay-offs are so fantastic (and earned), the film-making is so top-notch, the ensemble is so expertly assembled, and the production values are so great… Yeah, definitely should have been on there.

Oh, and "Gravity Falls" should have been given a shout-out, at least. So yeah, while I don't necessarily agree with all of the choices and/or placements, this is a damn solid list, and just goes to show how much quality programming there currently is on television.

billy edge

its a joke that boardwalk empire isn't high on this list let alone in it

Cherchez

American Horror Story, Orphan Black and Wilfred are not on the list and are absolutely great. Silliness is what makes American Horror Story so great. If it took its subject matter seriously it would be so horrifying it would be unwatchable by most normal people.

What American Horror Story, Orphan Black, Orange is the New Black and Homeland make ludicriously obvious is that stories with violence, salty language and great dramatic tension can be centralized around women and still be entertaining, engrossing and hits for both sexes. Sad as it is to say, that in itself is a historic and mind-blowing achievement.

Pat

Wow, you seriously just boiled down all over Lena Dunhams detractors because "they don't find her attractive."

Stopped reading the obvious femnazi material here.

Who ever let you publish this should fire you.

montyHD

Really hard to make a list like this and not offend a few fanboys. The last few years have really become the renaissance of television. There are so many shows worthy of a top ten it is impossible to come up with a top fifty much less a top twenty. GOT knocked it out of the park this year but the Americans was fantastic. I am a bit miffed of the total omission of Justified but like I said there is so much quality out there. If only I could get my wife off of real housewives. Looking ahead it looks only to get better this coming fall. A lot of the networks are starting to up there game.

gabby

bates motel is fab. vera farmiga and freddie highmore are wonderful. my favourite show this year. American horror story, orange is the new black and hannibal are all up there.

Daniele

I disagree with the winner !! I think the best show this year was definetly Fargo! True detective it was really amazing the first four episodes, but then it became very…. ordinary!!! there was no anxiety of knowing what was going on, there was no twists. Only a cloud of mistery we didn't understand why happened. Kind of… boring finale :)
On the other hand I am very happy to see Rick and Morty on the list! It's really amazing!!

Rick

U forgot the walking dead

john

Game of Thrones rules over all man! They need to release the next season asap!

Ryan W

Don't know how GOT is not at least in the top 5. The show beholds near perfectly done elements of film making- the writing, the acting, the cinematography, etc. The Americans…really, along with most of the other stuff in the top 5! Overall, breaking bad should be #1 on the list.

gooch

How did SOA not make this list

king

o come on game of thrones isn't top 5 atleast? it deserves the number 1 spot and breaking bad number 2

Henny

What a horrible list.

#1 Breaking Bad
#2 Homeland
#3 Walking Dead
#4 Game of Thrones
#5 Hell on Wheels
#6 The Blacklist
#6 Boardwalk Empire
#7 True Detective
#9 Halt and Catch Fire (don't care how many episodes there are, I love it).
#10 The Following
#11 Mad Men

Vk

Any list that leaves Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones out of the top five for 2014 makes the authors ability to judge good television suspect.

Jeff

The top two broadcast shows are not on the list? NCIS and Big Bang Theory. So nearly 20 millions people a week are wrong. Oh wait this is the liberal media speaking here so a patriotic show like NCIS would not be allowed to make the list. My bad.

lee

Okay, so based on the cultish buzz I've just watched episode one of Hannibal, and barely made it through, it felt like generic TV and I just didn't care about any one on it. The stylised visuals mentioned recalled, to my mind anyway, CSI, ditto the banal investigative formula. Bearing in mind just how much fantastic TV is out there and how little time we have, please can someone let me know whether it develops into that fantastic show I'm missing out on or whether it's just not for me.

Nicky Saint

Where is Suits ? Very bad list .

critic

No Suits, no Person of Interest, no Big Bang Theory? Breaking Bad not number one? House of Cards despite having a less stellar season 2 not here? Glad to see Silicon Valley here. A very refreshing show.

ffoodz

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Santiago

No "Utopia"? no "Peaky Blinders"? no "Black Mirror"? How about "Shameless" or "Sons of Anarchy"? No but seriously, no Utopia??

Kenny

Overall, pretty good list! I definitely agree with the high rankings of True Detective and OITNB. I would have hoped to see Fargo a little higher on the list (at least top 5). Still think Sherlock, Orphan Black, and The Returned should've made the list. Also, where is Ray Donovan? Not even a mention? Hmm…

Jeff Gordon

Dishonourable mentions: House of Cards? The show that just snagged 13 Emmy nominations. RIGHT, it must be really sucky. These people don't know what they're on about. Easily one of the best shows of the year.

Jeff Gordon

Dishonourable mentions: House of Cards? The show that just snagged 13 Emmy nominations. RIGHT, it must be really sucky. These people don't know what they're on about. Easily one of the best shows of the year.

jfreaksss

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Brad Watson

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

Tad

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

az

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.

hssen

wdu,,l ivoot gbos kgikfb njllhvhbh

Joe

You missed suits.

samael

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..

Erik

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.

Christy

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.

Christy

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.

Gwarden

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

VKane

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.

MOVIETIME AND TV NEWS

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!!!!!!!!

MB

Why is The Walking Dead always overlooked??

MB

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

James

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

Hedgehog

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.

powerhouse

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.

UNIMPRESSED

White people! White people everywhere.

STILL UNIMPRESSED

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 like…it'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.

Murphy

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.

Mike

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

nick

this list is terrible

lisa curry

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

castbound

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

a. miller

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.

Anonymous

Where the hell is the walking dead?

WORST LIST EVER

GAME OF THRONES IS NUMBER 11!!!
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK IS NUMBER 2!!!!!

NUFFF SAIDDD!!!111!!111

Patrick D

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.

Justen

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.

James

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…

James

What!!!!!
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.

Your mother

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.

VL

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

shawn

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

Nuj

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

"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.

lucas

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

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 list…..it 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.

Marco

Where the hell is Homeland?

Feyder

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)

Comedy:
#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

User

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.

DougW

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

Eric

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
*Shameless
*True Detective
*Justified
*The Walking Dead
*Orange is the New Black
*Copper
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.

Genster

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.

Langston

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)

Ramazzotti

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.

maham

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

Anthony

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

Ned Davis

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

Alex

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)
10. Psych (BEST COMEDY/CRIME INVESTIGATING TV SHOW EVER! 8 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)

Fred

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

Lars

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.

Matthew Sobel

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.

Me

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

Fuckboi69

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

nubwaxer

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

anon

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

roehl

CASTLE should be included on the 20 Best TV Shows

Mark

Testing…

Mark

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

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

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.

Steve Bronfman

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

Rose

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.

Joe

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.

Joe

Matthew

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.

ROBBINS

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.

Steve

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

xid

Kidding me? All that boring soapey crap, pathetic pseudo-nihilistic True Detective on top and NO "the leftovers"? haha, you're funny.

jess

man! where's Shameless? you know that shit's really good, the actors are really carrying it and the characters are relatable (most of them). plot is interesting, dialogues are the shit, and the problems the show tackles are very much real. it is a comedy show like no other.

Courtney

REALLY WHERE THE HELL IS THE WALKING DEAD??? It should have been number one! Who cares about TRUE DETECTIVE?

Critic Keeps It Real

You guys are completely wrong about American Horror Story and House of Cards… It makes me question the credibility of your reviews.

JusiJg

1. Breaking Bad.
2. Prision Break
3.Finding Carter
4. Orphan Black.
5. Orange is the new Black.
6.Satisfaction !!
7. Person of Interest.
I know I have tasteee in tv shows :P

keb

Agreed, this list is written by a woman. Orange ITNB just isnt that good, its minor league salacious entertainment and it also stretches credulity ESPECIALLY if you read the book.
Hannibal and The Americans is incredibly derivative and repetitive in writing style. They just dont deserve those high ratings.
And anyone that doesnt put Breaking Bad in first place is just a bloodyminded contrarian. My God just that last scene with Walt and Skylar in the garage is just a facking masterpiece in acting, the editing of the last episode is as good as it gets and Vince Gilligan has single handedly brought back the monday morning water cooler moments for hundreds and thousands of rabid TV watchers. No easy feat…..
Game of Thrones is really a literary phenomena not a visual arts treatment, it shouldnt be on this list ….anyone that reads the books and then abandons the series needs euthanasia . The HBO sex and bloodfest insults the books.

Jordan

There are a few shows on this list which I have never seen: But some of my favorites are( in no particular order):
Hannibal (Best show! just watch it)
The walking dead (just because I like zombies, definitely has flaws such as season 3 :P)
Breaking Bad (way over-rated but still good)
Game of Thrones (As much as I love GOT it is over-rated and I feel as though it has been declining since the end season 2)
Luther( wish the series was longer, season 1 was my favorite)
Hell on wheels ( I find the Swede is comical in a kind of sadistic and unpredictable way, definitely one of the most interesting characters I have seen on tv)
Orphan Black( I really enjoyed season 1 and Tatiana does a very good job of playing multiple characters, however I really did not enjoy most of season 2.)
Person of Interest(Okay but I am biased since I am not a fan of shows which go by a "case of the week" format for 80% of the season.)
The Mentalist(Really fun show, but again I wish it was a little more focused on a progressing story rather than "case of the week", season 6 was wonderful!)
Sherlock( I just started Sherlock so not much to say other than I enjoy the show, I especially like the episode length.)
Homeland(Good pacing for the story)
Lost( I know its finished but I think it is worth making a note of especially since it was mostly story focused even though it had 20 episode seasons.)
Supernatural(meh, not the best for the most part, but I find it fun to watch and there are some episodes which I found to be pretty funny. I wish it stuck with its original theme, but the story is progressing a little at least.)

I must say though that Sons of Anarchy is in my opinion one of the worst shows I have ever watched, it has been getting better very slowly with every season and there were some okay parts from time to time. Most of the time the problem the characters must face is caused by one stupid character making a stupid mistake which I think is really amateur writing. Only interesting character in the show is Clay, and sometimes Tig can be entertaining, but Jax is my least favorite character. I could go on and on about why I dislike the show's writing, but I would rather not. On a side note I am up to date on the show and plan to keep watching, but it is not good.

So that's what I think, there are probably a lot of other shows I have seen which I am forgetting about but oh well, the most important ones are likely all on this list. I still have a lot more to watch though.

Foxcomesrunning

Was there ever any doubt..Yea, Breaking bad is the best Tv program ever. I would have Breaking Bad -1. Hannibal (2) True Detective 3. Orange is the New Black is light entertainment and it is beyond my ken how you could rank it so high.

damla tan

Pharrel williams

Andrew

My Faves of last 12 months or so…I could have gone 20 but I think this is a solid top 10
1.Breaking Bad-best tv show ever PERIOD
2.House of Cards
3.True Detective
4.The Fall (UK)
5.Broadchurch (UK)
6.Game of Thrones
7.Ray Donovan
8.Homeland
9.Fargo
10.Elementary

Dan Bringhurst

I fully expected True Detective to win 1st place. That series was so well built that nobody had any choice but to elect it they greatest show of the last decade. I am especially excited to see what they do with the next season. Supposedly, Brad Pitt and a female counterpart are set to play in season 2.

Adam Jones

Thank you for putting True Detective as #1!!! I'm glad i'm not the only one who thinks so!
I would put Breaking Bad higher – c'mon.
My Top Five:
1. True Detective
2. Breaking Bad
3. House of Cards
4. Game of Thrones
5. Fargo

Jim King

You're way off on Game of Thrones. I can see how maybe people who haven't read the books might be impressed by the TV version of the Red Wedding but really it had the same problem as the show generally does – it doesn't have the budget so everything feels just too *small*.

Dylan

Abed sums up Hannibal in the 'Seven' episode of Community season 5:
"I see a man… using a social disorder as a procedural device. Wait, wait I see another man mildly autistic, super detectives everywhere … Pain… painful writing. It hurts"

The dialogue is dense but it isn't SAYING anything. Absolutely painful. It's a real shame because Mikkelson is perfect for the role of Lecter and the cast is brilliant. The dark genius of the books and (some of) the movies is treated with a heavy handed clumsiness. Ambiguity and 'mysteriousness' shouldn't be used for their own sake, you still need to be saying something.
The characters, cast and story deserve more.

10

any new comedy show referals

evan

Orange at #2… yeah right. I'm glad Rick and Morty was mentioned. It's truly a great show! Shameless should be mentioned as well as House of Cards. I really liked the first season of Hannibal, but as others had pointed out the writing isn't as good as the actors/characters/story. Sherlock is great and I also like Rectify. Does anyone know if Outlander is good? or Utopia?

As for best shows of all time; since others are making that list, I would choose (not in any kind of order):
I, Claudius
Berserk (Manga Best)
Rome
OZ
Twin Peaks
Buffy (idc what haters will say)
Firefly
Sopranos
Breaking Bad
GOT
The Wire…

Jamahl

WHY WASN'T THE WALKING DEAD ON THE LIST?? IT'S BETTER THAN MOST OF THESE SHOWS.

Kate

I've only seen about a quarter on the shows on this list but it's good enough. I'm disappointed Parks & Rec, Sleepy Hollow and Sherlock weren't included though.

My personal top shows (in no particular order) would be:

Parks & Rec
Sherlock
Arrow
Community
Game of Thrones
Brooklyn 99
Elementary
Sleepy Hollow
Doctor Who

hanna

WHYTF was SHERLOCK NOT MENTIONED!!!! IT IS THE WORLD'S INGENIOUS MASTERPIECE GODDAMN

Daenerys

true detective IS WAY OVER RATED

BreakingBad Addicted

Sorry, Am I the only one who don't have interest to watch True Dedective?!

I started to watch it 15 minutes, just becouse peoplee only talk about it, and i stopped.
Anyone who join me? xP

Aryan

HOW THE IS GOOD WIFE OVER BREAKING BAD? HOW WAS ANYTHING?! Not some kind of fanatic or anything BUT DAMN IT , THAT FINAL SEASON WAS PURE GENIUS! WALTER WHITE FTW!

Martino

oh wow thank you for the spoiler on Silicon Valley! come on, it's not difficult to put on a spoiler alert; I suppose the target for this article is people who are searching for something to watch (like me) so why the hell would you do such spoilers?

Anna

How come I have never seen the Mentalist on any top rated list? It is so far the only series next to Lie to Me (which I've also never seen on any list) that really made me keep watching. Even after 6 seasons I want it to go on.
Once you start watching it you fall in love with the characters and you like how weird Jane is in the Mentalist and how a bit mad Cal is in Lie to Me.
Both of those series are funny and exciting, but at the same time they include love and other complications. It's the entire package all you actually need, but still I've never seen them on any list. Sad to see.

simba

Any list that doesn't have game of thrones in at least its top 3,doesn't have breaking bad or the walking dead in its top 5 and no mention of house of cards,vikings and suits needs to be disregarded immediately, here is a better top 10

1. Game of thrones
2.The walking dead
3. Suits
4.Breaking bad
5. House of cards
6.Vikings
7.Elementary
8.The good wife
9.The mentalist
10.The leftovers( maybe a bit early for a top 10 but anyone who has seen it agrees it has the potential to be a number 1 rated show someday)

Lastly, I saw an episode of true detective,an hour of my life I will never get back, lastly(for real this time) any fans of the vampire diaries around? The show has dropped from a number 1 show till season 5 which wouldn't even make a top 100

TV sacrilege

Orange Is The New Black….please what a joke. I agree with previous comments . OTNB number 2 on your list discredits your compass for good judgement. There are so many flaws to this tv show. It is like if the creators of the Golden Girls decided to make a tv show about inmates and criminals. The show is ok but lacks toughness or street credibility. OTNB is not raw it is too polished. Where are the thugs, the racial tension, the patois, etc? The creators should have created a comedy instead of a drama tv series . Obviously this tv enthusiast has never watched a series like The Wire. By the way where is Treme? The characters, the script, the acting in Breaking Bad is light years ahead of the competition. It is no wonder that the creator and writers of the show Game of Thrones as named Breaking Bad as the most consistently great show in history. My top 10 shows years 2000-.

1. Breaking Bad (script and acting)
2.The Wire (believable characters, real thugs)
3.Game of Thrones (epic)
4.Sopranos (great mobster series)
5.Shameless ( William H Macy is brilliant)
6.Vikings (not historically accurate entertaining nonetheless)
7.Treme (great music, glimpse of New Orleans history and culture)
8,Fargo (Billy Bob Thornton amazing as a cold blooded killer with no conscience)
9.Big Bang Theory ( the geek in me)
10. Band of Brothers ( war genre)
I have not followed enough of the new tv shows to create a list within these guidelines.

O'jay

Anyone ever watch the series Rome? Thoughts on where that show stands.

Jimmy

Some of the posters here have gone full retard. They bash True Detective and OITNB but they praise Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy and Arrow? Really? LOL

CMCForum

You could tell that some of the posters here have very little knowledge regarding quality TV. They only watch extremely popular shows (Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, and the Walking Dead) and assume that they are automatically the best because of popularity.

Popularity isn't everything. The Wire was nowhere near as popular as any of those shows yet any person with an IQ above 80 would tell you that it easily beats all three. In fact, sometimes the less popular shows are actually far superior in quality.

The Americans, despite being unknown compared to say GoT, is a vastly superior show. It's better written, more ambitious and actually relevant to human society today. GoT is just trash fantasy porn. It appeals to casual viewers who just want to see blood and tits. The Americans is a historical survey on a very important period in American history, the Cold War Era. It successfully tells a fictional story about a very important period US history and it does so with great acting and writing. There are plenty more examples. Boardwalk Empire beats the shit outta Walking Dead and True Detective makes Sons of Anarchy look laughable.

Also, Mad Men has far more substance than Breaking Bad. While BrBa is a great show in it's own right, it's far too limited in scope. This is why laugh hysterically whenever anyone dares mention in the same sentence as the Sopranos or the Wire, the real GOAT TV shows. Breaking Bad is nowhere near those two ; it's not even better than Mad Men! The show is essentially about one man's descent into darkness. Mad Men is a cultural survey on American history. It depicts social mores in the 1960s: corporate culture, alcoholism, domestic life, infidelity, etc. But of course, the average TV viewer has no appreciation for subtlety or nuance. They'd rather see zombies or shit getting blown up.

CMCFORUM

:::WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD::::

The writer is spot on in regards to House of Cards. HoC season 2 was laughably bad. What started off with great promise turned into a cartoon. Season 2 was pretty much all shock value from the ridiculous Zoey at the train scene to the Threechum. It was just plain EFFING bad!

Frank Underwood is a cartoon character, he's about as believable as Peter Griffin. In regards to the Zoey scene, he's about to be sworn in as VP and he decides to personally assassinate someone at a train station? Really? You mean to tell me that a man who holds that kind of power and leverage couldn't have utilized a more successful and less risky way of eliminating a threat? He had access to military personnel and secret service agents, yet he decides to take the risk of personally offing someone at a public place where he could be potentially recognized by thousands of people. LOL if that's not shitty writing then I don't know what is.

And the Threechum scene! Yeah it happened, yes it was shocking. Okay, now what? Beau Willimon apparently has no issues with leaving loose ends untied. There was very little buildup prior to the scene and no elaboration afterwards. Again, another example of shitty writing.

Not to mention President Walker is by far the dumbest and most unbelievable fictional President in the history of TV. Hell, AJ Soprano or Ziggy Sobotka could probably do a better job than that doofus. Funny thing is Underwood isn't even that big of a genius. He's just an above average man surrounded by a bunch of painfully stupid morons.

HoC season 2 deserves a D+ at best. Other than star power and great acting, it was a giant pile of crap. The characters and writing were both ridiculously over the top. By the end of the season, I was more convinced of South Park or the Simpsons's realism and believability than HoC.

anonymous

I liked House of Cards Season 2. The writing wasn't the best, but nevertheless I really enjoy seeing Frank going his way and doing his thing.

True Detective had 7 really great episodes, but the final one was a huge nosedive. It had hardly anything of which made the previous 7 episodes special, because its task was simply to find an ending for the season and solve the case. The whole part of capturing Childress and especially the depiction of Carcosa was one of the most cringeworthy things I've ever seen on TV and didn't fit nowhere into the show at all.

All in all IMHO there aren't enough foreign shows to be found in this list.

Raul

This features a really comprehensive take on each show, however the fact that Portlandia wasn't even mentioned and that Breaking Bad was only number 6 made me wonder if this is some kind of gag list and the real one is yet to be released. Just guessing here.

Sambam

I think it is rude and kind of idiotic to exclude true blood, sons of anarchy, house of cards (which I do not watch), the walking dead, and american horror story (which I do). A lot of people like these shows so they're OBVIOUSLY worth mentioning. They did not "long ago decend into silliness". While you might not like the genre other people do. For example…I personally think house of cards is extremely boring and silly, but I would have put it on this list anyway as it is a POPULAR show. So a lot of people think it is one of the best I'm assuming this whole list is completely biased, and the first show probably sucks considering I, nor anyone else I know at my university, has heard of it and it refuses to load on project free tv. Bye now.

Rashan

I'm a huge fan of "Justified"
Mainly because it keeps character consistency and has a ton of great actors/performances.
FYI I'm rootin' for Boyd in the showdown against Raylan; I find Raylan interesting as a character, and of course you couldn't have the show without him, but Raylan's character has crossed the line into @#%hole territory a few times too many for my liking. At least Boyd is honest about what he's doing, and he is oh so more charming than Raylan.
I used to think that Raylan had charm, but after season 3 on, I realized that it was nothing more than a shiny glean to cover up how much of an @#$hole he really is.
Any chance of redemption for Raylan was lost for me when he threatened to charge a teenage boy in an adult court (40+ years in an adult prison probably is the threat).
You can only go so low before you smell like a piece of #@$% permanently. Raylan wins that prize hands down.
Boyd also feels less heartless as a character – GO BOYD!!!
I'm predicting that they will both end up dead or at least Raylan dead and Boyd in prison by the end of the season.
It just does not make sense for Raylan to survive the last episode, considering the kind of character he is. Besides, he got that kind of 'Lonesome Cowboy/Tragic Hero' feel to him, makes sense for him to die.

Amir

Once upon a time should've been listed here. My favourite tv show. Ever.

Eric

What about Rectify ???

There is something really special about that show, which takes it to a whole different level than the TV series you listed. Actually it makes almost every show listed here look like commercial entertainment – nothing bad, most of the content listed in the article is very good or even brilliant, but compared to Rectify it's just not in the same league.

Anyway I will scan some of the series you mention, so thanks for the list.

Ashley

Good to see someone mention Rian Johnson's "Brick". It's a great movie that everyone should see at least once, but one that no one seems to know about.

shug

GoT is the BEST Television Series of ALL TIME!

Smelly Cat

Orange is the New Black….ummm that’s insanity come to life. The first season was amazing, truly, the second season was nothing short of a generic, horribly written, utterly not funny pile of horse s@#t.
Silly just plain silly

Andrada

Rectify should be in that top. Everybody forgets about Rectify.

b.n

Sons of anarchy is pure genius and I resent you implying otherwise…. So was boondock saints for that matter

phantlers

Not a very objective list imo, more a catalogue of what’s down with the cool kids.

mata

your list it’s shitty.

john

The vampire diaries is #1.

Zach Zeeman

Not to sound like a fan geek but, what about Dr. WHO, I feel that the show has made leaps and bounds over the last few seasons and gearing up for a great run with a *new* doctor.

Victor

Did you guys even watched THE LEFTOVERS?! Clearly the best show of the year and on of the best of the decade so far.

yossi

shameless was great and no mention?
orphan was wonderful!
rectify on my top 10
as well as the last season of the killing

Sociopath

"Didn’t quite love it"? Really? SHERLOCK is the most amazing series out there besides Game of thrones. Orphan black too deserved a place in this list.

Blah

What’s with all these idiotic ‘critics’ giving such good praise to lousy shows? Out of the bunch listed, Game of Thrones should have been first. And the fact that The Walking Dead isn’t on there is adsurd.

Oh Please

Game of Thrones is in the guiness book of records for having the most pirated tv show downloads ever, and its at no. 11. Yea right.

Ann

Have I missed it or was Black Sails completely ignored?

LOLOL

No American Horror Story?

Anthony

Are you high? How did Orange is the New black or House of cards not make this list?!

Rod

Yeah, I am sure all of the people that don’t like Lena Dunham only dislike her because they don’t find her attractive. Get real.

Israel F

You have HORRIBLE taste!

Leonie

I agree with most of your choices, nice list. But not even MENTIONING Gillian Anderson in the description of Hannibal is… I don’t know what to say. The storytelling is great, but it’s the acting by Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Gillian Anderson and even Anna Chlumsky that makes this series shine.
And the top slot only got the top slot because the show has a recent Oscar winner.
If Jennifer Lawrence had a show on TV next year everybody would make it the best new show, impartial to the question if the series is actually good (writing/directing/acting/…).

jerry

NO Da Vincis Demons?

RMackenna

I don’t see The Knick in one of the 3 best shows. What happened?

The Playlist

@RMACKENNA

Look at the date. Was written in June. It’s for the 2013-2014 season per the way the Emmy calendar works. The Knick didn’t start until September, but yes, it rules and will likely be very high on here next year.

jade

Where is American horror story??????!!!!!

Atuhaire Faith

SHAMELESS

your sexiness

I had quit smoking �� but after watching true detective I remembered why I always smoked.

Did a moron write this?

Pretty much one of the worst lists I’ve ever seen.

Like 5 or 6 awesome shows on here and a whole lot of garbage. Immediately regret wasting my time reading this list.

palagio

I Guess everyone is entitle to their opinion but its ‘hahahah’ to that list.

ric

I knew it…Once I saw began reading, it was a woman that mostly wrote this, calling Walking Dead "silly" and not even respecting House of Cards…the show was nominated for 36 emmy’s!! WTF… Breaking Bad #6??? This is a joke.

Carson

I can not believe that The Good Wife found a place in this ranking and The Walking Dead did not. The main character in The Good Wife is so "good" that I am bored to death. What an embarrassment to create such female roles in the 21st century. It is just horrible!

SeanFalloy

Almost all the shows listed in the comment section are better than the ones in the article.

Jeff

This list was made by a very limited range of varying interests. Most of these shows are just boring, and the list is clearly native advertising pandering to all the most popular shows. After reading this I feel bored with both tv shows, and entertainment journalism. And next time try not to jump on the band wagon of being so gender sensitive. The thing that no one wants to admit is all this pseudo controversy about the incest rape on Game of Thrones, and the constant heterophobia that people have for Sons of Anarchy is just media driven nonsense.

Scorpi

Really? Breaking Bad on 6!? shame on this blog..

MAR

Oliver Lyttelton, Jessica Kiang, Are you on CRACK? AHS was, is one of the best show on tv… Just check how many awards it have received.
The Walking Dead, had few down moments, but the whole show was amazing. On your crack list didn’t have much space for SciFi category, and the reason is the same of all critics, you don’t appreciate this kind of show or movies and you don’t care to try to understand it. "20th" for Penny Dreadful, your comments were offensive to the artistes and disrespectful to the audience. In that show every intimate scene was poetic and emotional. I checked this article to know if I’m missing a good show. I can keep going on and on, as I won’t keep wasting my time here, my last comment is "what a crime, you should have watched Shameless, you’d like, I strongly recommend."

Chanchal soni

Where is House Of Cards ?

GBJ

Noticed this list was published the same day "Tyrant" started. You will be talking a lot about it on the next list. Some people will hate it, and for a variety of reasons. I’m not even sure I like it, but I have rarely been so driven to watch the next episode of a series. Season two could go either way, but fingers crossed they can take it where it needs to go. Mercifully it doesn’t seem to have fallen victim to political correctness or barrow-pushing. Heaps of potential, and so far no "OMG that just stupid, nobody would do that" moments.

GBJ

…and yeah Suits is very good. Far better than you would expect. If you explained the plot to me I would tell you that I would definately hate it. Thankfully my brother just made me watch the first few episodes. Yes I watch and enjoy Spader in The Blacklist, it deserves a mention, but the writing is slightly lightweight and pulpy, never going to be an all time great… and finally: YES you rednecks, for anyone who isn’t secretly fantasizing that they had the energy to put down their beer and go build a bunker in the back yard, ‘cos woonit be freekin’ orsum… The Walking Dead really is RUBBISH. Oh and I still watch Sons of Anarchy, I’m embarassed to admit, but after the first couple of seasons it’s really just cheap, lightweight fantasy porn for would-be bad girls with boring lives.

Melanie

Enlightened and Men of a certain age. Great Great shows…that should have been renewed

francois

No love for BoJack Horseman? By far my fave show of the year! (on Netflix)

shameless is garbage

die shameless fans

Louie

I am truly interested in reading your argument regarding season 2 of House of Cards being "weak".

prince

Where de hell is blacklist n suits..

Michael Z.

Breaking Bad, which had the greatest season in the history of television, only at number 6? You’re having a bloody laugh…

Brian

Banshee on cinemax is the best show on tv. Hands down

Daniel

1.Breaking bad
2.Game of thrones
3.The walking dead
4.The originals

Wooza

Black sails, Vikings both great shows not on the list. Hannibal too lame for words, it not funny, not scary and the action well what action……

Nnyan

Are we watching the same shows? You don’t even list Walking Dead over the Americans and Masters of Sex??? I won’t get some of your other choices.

TeJay

Where the hell is the walking dead?! Thats the top movie. Smh shame on u!

vany

everyone listing the big bang theory or the walking dead should not complain, these shows suck on so many levels it hurts

LG

Peaky Blinders is the future!!

Bad Taste

Yeah American Horror Story is great. All three seasons were addicting. Makes me question your taste and this list.

Hayden

Where is Suits???

Gabi

How the f*** is Game of Thrones at #11?

Unimpressed

Quite possible the most disappointing list I’ve read to date. It’s almost like the writer doesn’t even own a television. Oh well, better to have seen this well after the emotional involvement wore off. I know where I WON’T be looking for well founded information for my research from now on.

Harpo

this is the dumbest most inaccurate list i’ve ever seeb

RM

ummm, The Walking Dead Finale alone averaged about 20 million views, and it didnt make your list??

Amna

Can’t Believe Scandal didn’t make your top 20 list

sanker from india

House of cards started strong?! The ending of the first episode was the dumbest plot point in a show that has many!!

Amel

Scandal is better than all of these!

Quinten

i think this list is pretty bad, with poor explanations and the worst part is you guys put SOA, Walking Dead and AHS was on the dishonorable mentions. maybe they aren’t your kind of show, but then again why are you posting a "20 best TV shows this season" list? If you are doing something like this you should watch shows with a open mind. Some of the shows you listed are boring and just wander. You show maybe watch the shows and under stand them rather than skimming. And walking dead is not over rated it is a very good show and earns its place on this list. may not be the best however it is one of the best. I understand this is your opinion, but it is a vey bad opinion.

LLH

This should have the walking dead like for real that’s the best show ever

Jello

I know these rankings are tough, but seriously, ‘broad city’ and ‘Masters of sex’ in there when Sherlock is not, no way

Scoota

I find this completely opposite I what I think. I agree with the above comments!!! I think this site needs a new reviewer this is shite reviewing!!!

James

What a horrible and dreadfully biased review. Consider changing professions… seriously!

Teamomo

WHERE IS THE WALKING DEAD?

FSLOLAGIRL

stupi
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S
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!

dollydol

this is so not true these are all rubbish!!

Epic

How is the Supernatural NOT even on this list???

Epic

How is the Supernatural NOT even on this list???

The Boi

Person of Interest? Disgraceful Omission.

Kanye West

PERFECT LIST. God’s work. No one blog should have all this power.

salena

SUPERNATURAL? easily in the top 3

Jer-El

I can’t read the article because of the giant goddamned advert. Not coming back to this page.

Jdawg

Sons of Anarchy makes you want to shower? Really? Wow. This list is BS, especially Orange is the new Black in second place, that’s just hilarious. Get a grip, people :)

zarka

where the f*** is the walking dead , supernatural and alot more that have not been listed , this list is a bunch of bullsh*t with all do respect .

Chase Gallagher

I’m sad to Orange Is The New Black at #2 that was a terrible show.

Xaarith

I am seeing a whole lot of hate in this comments section and all I have to say is that EVERYONE should stop bashing the maker of this list and go watch rick and Morty. It is the funniest show I have ever watched, animated or love action. Even better than community and made by the same creator too!

xaarith

*I meant live action, not love action in the above comment, stupid auto correct

O

Shameless really is awesome.

Michael Cook

All of your Dishonorable Mentions are the best shows. Maybe what you consider silliness is entertainment. Your list is full of crappy shows that don’t even have half of the ratings on all your Dishonorable Mentions. It’s gotta be pretty clear, that if most of the ratings on TV are for shows in your Dishonorable Mentions (especially The Walking Dead which is constantly breaking records), that you have some pretty weaksauce critics that need to retire. Not everyone wants to watch the corny crap YOU recommend.

Martin

You don’t even put Walking Dead in the top 20 instead putting them in dishonrable mentions. Bobs Burgers Are you joking thats a horrible show. Adeventure time in honrable mentions. Thats sad. Nothing would irritate me more if you added Big Bang theory in the top 5 shows. I can’t stand that show.

hologam

I am puzzled about some of the choices and maybe I am a bit off date wise,….. but I cannot understand the hype of orange n b which bored me and my daughter after a few episodes ,yes true detective is substantial, but rectify is better and jumping field game of thrones does take a lot more biscuits and despite your snobbishness so does the walking dead. Me being not a fan of horror

hologram

I am back forgot to mention I agree with the superb Americans and Hannibal.We just have to disagree on the Walking dead ….I might revisit Orange…maybe

wow

your list is complete and utter shit
you did this on purpose too
i hope you die tonight

You're The Worst FFS !

You’re the worst is one of the best new TV Shows. Should’ve been in the Top 10 imo.

Zish

well even though my fav The walking dead isn’t in your list. I’m most pissed about the position of Breaking Bad only an anti "Breaking Badder" would list it anywhere rather than 1. its the best show in the history of TV period.

TWDFan

TWD should be in this list. Espicially top 5. It isn’t just killing characters and zombies it focuses on character devlopment like Carol and Beth and many others. Stupid list.

Omg

The Blacklist

errantknight

where the hell is the walking dead?!

Johanka

House of Cards should be on the list, but you forgot The Knick!

We did not forget The Knick

"June 24, 2014 " The Knick had not yet aired. Come back near the end of the year. :)

SHERLOCKIAN

Why do I not see Sherlock anywhere on this list?

craig

The walking dead. How I met your mother. Should of been up there

David

Where the f@ck is peaky blinders?

jmart

Peaky Blinders!

Sonya Lieb

Dude.. Your really high on crack.. None of those shows mentioned are not even close

Sonya Lieb

I meant.. They aren’t even close. Where is supernatural for instance.. You don’t have a solid fan base and go ten seasons for nothing

Sam

Again with the incomprehensible lack of acknowledgement for Justified, which is one of the most well-rounded shows.

almeidan

peaky blinders defenatly and homeland

almeidan

hell on wheels could be there 2

M!

True Detective went the ENTIRE SEASON without passing the Bechdel Test.
I really want to love the show, but am so tired of the unlevel playing field that I cannot look past this glaring faux pas.
Is it really so much to ask…?!

Nick

You kidding right? Walking dead is by far the best series going around, not even in top 20.

Anthony

Yeah…Rick and Morty isn’t better than American Horror Tory.

hahaha

I agree with RDK peaky blinders should be on top with vikings and also true detective which imo was the best show last year after got

Meredith

I like good writing and I am amazed at the offhand remarks about Sons Of Anarchy. It is the best tv series writing I have seen in America. Since I am a Raku viewer I paused momentarily on it certain I would only give it 10 minutes. Don’t like motorcycles, tattoos and the general appearance of the characters. I was hooked. The consistency, the depth, the incredible transitions and the absolutely authentic human beings just made me think of Shakespeare. The main characters are tragic and intensely human. I give it 5 stars !

Brandon P

Vikings should not be overlooked! Very good show. Also Hannibal is deserving of 1st or 2nd in my mind but this list was pretty spot on.

gregor

This is a joke. Sons of anarchy should be atleast in the top 5! Shocking

Unniclub

Homeland?

Henriette

I hereby strongly vouch for Adventure Time!

STFU AND LISTEN

Hi. Please cull the list. You have just put everything on their. Gomorrah was better than bloody The Americans. PS I am no longer facebook following you as you have zero taste. Thanks

STFU AND LISTEN

Yes I failed to spell their. 10 points

Elvin

Um.. THE KNICK?!?!?!?!? Srsly. I don’t really agree with how anything is placed on the list and that’s okay, but omitting The Knick just seems weird.

A

ARE YOU FORGETTING PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, TEEN WOLF, THE FOSTERS,FINDING CARTER??????????????????

PEOPLE REALLY DON’T HAVE TASTE THESE DAYS

STUPIDLIST

This is absolutely the stupidest and most retarded list in the world. How can you not have HOUSE OF CARDS? and instead of you have some worthless dumbs shows.
This list was created by a dumbass living under a rock

Mandy

This list is not so good. The Knick, Boardwalk, Walking Dead, Peaky Blinders, Game of Thrones and Orphan Black all had great seasons this year. Why even put in True Detective if you weren’t going to consider other shows on a similar level?

morgainick

Suits?

Rena

And it is with your comment about Sons of Anarchy that I was certain this list is garbage. SOA is the best tv show!

LOL

This site has some of the worst, most irritating top something lists I’ve ever seen on the Internet. I get it that not everyone can be knowledgeable about art but still… OITNB is higher than Breaking Bad? Please choose your stuff more wisely.

Mark

"people who don’t like Lena Dunham because they don’t find her attractive" Oh, ok. I see. Another person who thinks that Dunham is above any and all criticism, regardless of how valid or objective it might be. Nope, cant criticize Dunham, and anyone who does just hates her because she’s fat.

Pathetic.

malcolm smith

Why is it the so-called TV critics hoos programs that only other TV critics would like? Do you dreally think these are the best TV shows? Have you looked at the viewers viewers who tune in to these shows? Obviously not. NBC had the higest rated TV ishow n Longmire in their listing of shows, but I bet you have never wached one of the shows. You intellectuals piss me off with your reviews becsue your picks are not in tune with what Americans watch.

maocolm smith

Based on your ridiculous, assine picks, that only a fraction of Americans watch, why didn’t you pick Duck Dynasty"
That would be more in line with your rankings!

Gsus

Breaking bad not number 1? Wtf

Hoozy Wunter

"Bob’s Burger’s"? Seriously? You’re cred is blown.

Anon

This list is compiled by girls and little bitches……i hope they paid you well for this bs

SPLUKE

Z-Nation. The antidote to everything that’s wrong with The Walking Dead.

Chris

"Sons Of Anarchy," a series that seems determined to claim the title of ‘The Favorite Show Of People Who’s Favorite Movie Is ‘The Boondock Saints” — that description makes me very happy. Boondock Saints is awful. +1

Justwondering

I was thinking How I Met Your Mother would be on here since so many people are obsessed with that show

Joselito

"New Girl" is one appalling show and I will never understand why it deserved an honourable mention.

Doctor

Agh WHAT ABOUT DOCTOR WHO
Some of these shows are so idiotic and all of this is written by someone who has a crappy opinion

Henry

Rob, Masters of Sex is a great show. Its a series about sexology, not just porn like you’ve expected. Etherway i think there are some shows left out (House of Cards for example), but again there are so many tv series that you cant pick them all.

Ibod Catooga

Negroes are scary!

stud

Arrow is incredible, Gotham, and first should have been GAME OF THRONES

Poop

This list sucks!

Jerry

the people who made this list were obviously prodominantly women or some sort of lgbt not likely a very diverse group how can a small group hope to rate these shows anyway waste of time

MarlowMonday

Orphan Black ain’t on the list??? Why???

azazel

where the fk is the 100, and vikings, what happened with you peoples???

azazel

and gotham :O???

Daria

Exactly what I keep saying about The Good Wife for the past two seasons: this show was good to begin with, it’s almost incredible how much better they made it, while most shows lose their spirit by the 4th or 5th season. Great job!!

amagdy

House of Cards went wildly off the rails?! that’s the most absurd thing I ever heard.

Mark

No Modern Family???

Dan

To Rob… I think you have a problem with the subject of this series(Masters of sex) for whatever reason. Otherwise you would not use that kind of language. I’ve seen almost every tv series in this list. Mad Men was great, really great. But Masters of Sex is equally a jewel!! What you say there is NOT TRUE. This series is based on a true story and is well written. A shameless imitation??? By that statement you prove your ignorance. The acting is astonishing. Michael Sheen proves himself one of the greatest actors of this time in Masters of Sex along with Lizzy Caplan. To all people who liked Mad Men… You’ll LOVE Masters of Sex!!!

futures

Peaky Blinders??? Should have at least been mentioned… Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy are fantastic.

Tman

What? No love for "Homeland"? This past season was the best yet!

Top Spot... Spot On

I don’t want to get involved in all the theatrics regarding the entire list. What I will say is, although there were MANY good/great shows, you simply could NOT go past ‘True Detective!’ Outstanding in every way, shape and form!! So from that, you definitely got the top spot, spot on!!

POI

Person of Interest is a surprisingly awesome series, and gets better over time. A show for the philosophic in a technical age.

Gary Timmerhans

True Detective like watching grass grow BORING

supreno

The Affair

K.S.

I would like to personally vouch for Bates Motel, season 2! Hot damn, what a show!!

Jose Sinclair

Not sure why DOWNTON ABBEY doesn’t count here, it’s a good as tv gets.. SHAMELESS is shamelessly ignored.. kudos on True Detective & Breaking Bad placement.. cannot fathom the painfully slow Game of Thrones – do costumes & sets make a show riveting? then Reign should be here (around 20th), despite it’s "90210"-ness.. as for big network tv, who can watch, other than The Blacklist.. 5 minutes of show, then 3 min of commercials.. argh!

Jose Sinclair

ps- Agree with PEAKY BLINDERS – it belongs here (for me, better filmed then Boardwalk Empire, and excellent throughout).. and FARGO is very good, in spite of the film being better.. Marco Polo deserves a mention, it looks like Chinese cinema, a good thing, even though historical evidence shows Polo to be a "romantic adventure fiction" with no basis in fact

Downton Abbey jumped the shark

Downton Abbey jumped the shark in season 3, are you kidding? Plotting was ridiculous with the same issues over and over again.

Bscott

You put house of cards on dishonorable mentions. Wow.

Leanne La Chapellle

this list sucks have of these shows I have never even heard of …….the walking dead is amazing show and acting is incredible but I guess we are all entitled to our opinion

james woodrow

What about Arrows? Okay forget it. Why is Blacklist not featured?

oogle monster

Genuinely curious why you guys hate Sons of Anarchy? At the very least – the first four seasons are on par with ANY of the shows listed here. It’s kind of bizarre that of all places, The Playlist turns their nose up at a show that is out of the box and pulpy, and pays homage to Hamlet.

Maggie

Interesting choices, mostly reasonable. However, I would have pushed for Halt and Catch Fire. Great writing, great acting. And even though it’s fictional, it tells a fascinating story that hardly anyone knows: how a band of (techie) pirates catapulted the personal computer into our lives. Sure, it could have been boring, but it wasn’t; it was smart and funny and sexy and suspenseful. And shouldn’t it get bonus points for NOT being about doctors, lawyers, police, or criminals? Also, Homeland was worthy of a spot this year. As a mega-fan of Season 1, I’d be the first to admit it tanked for Seasons 2 and 3, but it was definitely back this year. When Claire Danes is at her best, she is next level (like McConaughey in True Detective). Lastly: Bates Motel is pretty stellar, pitch perfect when it comes to the three central characters (though there are some shaky moments involving the peripheral cast). I literally can’t believe that you couldn’t find anyone to vouch for it. If that’s true, you oughta expand your ranks.

Cchhaa

Are you fareal???? Scandel #1

Thackery

Was The Knick even mentioned? Its absence makes it very hard to take this list seriously.

Flabba

Thackery, try reading the FIRST sentence.

Bob

The fact that you spoil game of thrones for anyone who hasn’t watched it with the picture and then followed by what you’ve written makes youre opinion irrelevant. Terrible list. You are out of your mind. Breaking bad #1 if not got. you stink. Get a new job.

Jim King

I’d like to know how you think Game of Thrones improved on the books. The budget is too small to really capture things properly (the Red Wedding, among other things, was too small). Add to that the miscasting and accents that are all over the place (and, really, why do they have to be British?) and you’ve got a product vastly inferior to the books and something whose popularity I can’t fathom.

john

homeland is one of best shows I’ve ever watched. Well written, well acted and not afraid to kill off main characters. Great show!

defilord

Fargo n.10 and Orphan Black totally missing… please.

benjamin

How about the british "Broadchurch", or the french "Le petit Quinquin" or Jane Campion’s "Top of the lake"?

Larry

What the hell is wrong with this list? Banshee!!! You will not be disappointed. Let me say it again… "BANSHEE!!!"

Santiago

Every show you put between Breaking Bad and Orange is hilariously bad in comparison to those two.

MD

This is possibly the worst article I have ever come across about the top TV shows. CLEARLY, this is "your" opinion on what are the best TV shows. You should have carried out a survey or checked out the ratings. What an absolute joke. Half of these shows are barely interesting, or worth a watch. And frankly, more than 80% of my friends haven’t even heard of some of the ones you mentioned, including me. WHERE’S THE DISLIKE BUTTON?

jdfvszfz

THIS IS A F**** JOKE. THIS IS JUST YOUR STUPID F****G OPINION. NEXT TIME REMEMBER TO LABEL YOUR F***NG STUPID ASS ARTICLE "THE 20 BEST TV SHOWS ACCORDING TO MY AND ONLY MY OWN F*****G OPINION" YOU DUMBF*CK. NOT GENERALIZE THE F***KING LIST LIKE THIS BECAUSE THESE SHOWS ARE A LOAD OF BULL CRAP AND CLEARLY SOME OF THE LOWEST RATED. OITNB HANNIBAL AND GOT ARE THE ONLY ONES YOU GOT RIGHT. WHERE THE F**CK IS THE WALKING DEAD, SUITS, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER,ETC ETC? GET A NEW JOB BECAUSE YOU F***** SUCK AT THIS SH*T omgggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg

Larry

Banshee. Just watch season 1, episode 1. I promise you’ll get hooked.

#big_bangp_theory

BIG BANG THEORY IS THE BEST SHOW EVER

Alex

Have you heard of Bates Motel? The Walking Dead? The Fall? At least Hannibal has a respected place on your list.

Jen S

Transparent should be #1 and it’s not even on the list at a all…

Harry

Where is "The Flash", "Arrow", and "Gotham"??

Outrageous

Truly shamefulthat the good-wife makes it to the near top of this list, while suits is ignored entirely. I guess it makes sense though considering girls and broad city beat out workaholics. You should hide your gender biases better.

Eric

Peaky Blinders was on my top five list.

Jose Reese De La Cruz

Spanish

Rick

Season 1 of Masters of Sex was great. Season 2 was terrible. I’m done with that show. And Orphan Black became almost unwatchable

PaulineHeath

I totally agree with this. True Detective tops the list. I am really hooked with the series, this TV series also offers a kind of entertainment that will leave you at the edge of your seat and eager for the next half-hour episode.SEE: auditions2015

jovin

master of sex!!!stop kiding me???

Don

As to ‘The Americans’,I wholeheartedly agree that the novelty of a soviet trained perfectly American couple posing as KGB agents is unlike anything attempted before,and, that the central protagonists must continue-but,pleeeeze,the contrived way these two constantly get out of trouble during tight scenes is beyond lucky,bordering on ludicrous .After all,NO one is that good!
Almost puts me in mind of the old movie serial cliffhangers where the hero is certainly killed and miraculously escaped in the next episode .
Almost certainly cheapens the dram.
Having sais this however,Weisberg seems to have his shit togethet.

isaac luther

Add your voice to the conversation…

MT

What? No love for “Homeland”, “The Leftovers”, or “Gotham”?

MT

My bad…I see it’s 2013-2014 season…

Afshin.J

true Dtective was the worst show of the year…

Reha

Penny Dreadful was having quite interesting story line.

nicki

great list – thank you.
Besides the overall mix I espacially like your opinion on true detectives, masters of sex & sons of anarchy.

Robin

Where was suits ??????

Jacob Zekveld

Already mentioned. But not having Orphan Black on the list really makes this list null and void.

Jocko

I like how you immediately shut down any debate about Lena Dunham by claiming that people who dislike her do so simply because they find her unattractive. Saying that is insulting to both her as a person, and to the audience.

Must

Game of thrones 11 place are you joking… Who is responsible for this nonsense? It should have been at the least 3rd place

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