Dave’s Top Stuff 2013: TV (Drama)

Right, I’ve dragged this out long enough. Here’s the final part of my 2013 review:

best tv drama 2013

Every year, TV simply gets better and better and more substantial than its big screen big brother. Prime quality, original storytelling is making the google box its primary residence. Where cinema and even games are still churning out reboots and sequels by the bucketload, TV (particularly international TV) is still throwing up awesome content regularly.

The UK gave us some insanely fresh shows, with In The Flesh – a brilliant counterbalance to zombie oversaturation, and Utopia – a conspiracy thriller/graphic novel brought to life in beautiful wide-shot technicolour. They also gave us a tense, oppressive and beautiful show in Broadchurch, featuring the best detective duo since Martin Rohde and Saga Noren, Malmo County Police (I so wish I could add The Bridge Season 2 to this list – get on it if you haven’t already).

Big shout out to the French for The Returned – as far as I can remember, the only show from France that I’ve ever watched. So… the best French show I’ve ever watched. Genuinely atmospheric, creepy and wonderful, so it was. Speaking of wonderful, watch Orphan Black and straight up marvel at Tatiana Maslany transforming herself into five different people.

Despite a great year of international television (I almost wrote terrorism there, that would have been embarrasing), it was American TV that topped my list. I don’t think I need to tell anyone how good Game of Thrones was, because it seems like the whole world watched (or apparently, illegally downloaded) it.

Masters of Sex came very close to topping this list, which is a testament to how straight-up amazing it is. The writing on this show is so unbelievably tight, while the acting all round is powerful and subtle. It’s instantly comfortable in its own skin and feels as accomplished as a show in its 4th or 5th season.

Now, to Breaking Bad. Like Game of Thrones, there’s little I can add to the conversation that hasn’t already been said. It’s rare that a common entertainment experience can transcend its medium and becoming a cultural milestone and event. It’s rare that a show can inspire such rabid fandom and devotion. It’s rare that human beings will physically shun other human beings for not watching a TV show. But word of mouth and five straight seasons of quality brought all these elements together to create the storm that was Breaking Bad. Whether you were Team Walter or Team Jessie was a question that mattered. It became some bold statement about who you were. I got in a heated argument with a co-worker about it.

Breaking Bad was a beautiful phenomenon and one that has earned its place in the hallowed halls of pop culture memory. It couldn’t have ended more beautifully and long may it be remembered…


  • 20% of these shows are centred around zombies
  • 100% of those zombie shows are not The Walking Dead
  • Both of them are brilliant twists on the zombie genre
  • 50% of these shows could be described as sci-fi/fantasy/horror (long live the genres)
  • 40% of them are hooked around a massive central mystery (global conspiracy/murder mystery/sci-fi thriller/where all these dead people coming from?)
  • Only 10% of these shows feature a man named Heisenberg

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