According to the kind of people who are prone to make such pronouncements, the Golden Age of Television ended this year with the series finale of Breaking Bad. But with more quality television on the air today than is humanly possible to watch, I don’t see how that could possibly be true.  The one big observation about the TV landscape this year that I’d like to make is that there finally seems to be a preponderance of shows about women, a much-needed correction to the masculinity-obsessed, anti-hero shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad. I love and admire all of those shows, but I’m glad to see that the new opportunities for original programming that the proliferation of cable and now Netflix and Amazon offers has resulted in more stories about women. Without further ado, my picks for the 13 best shows of 2013:


Lisa Kudrow in Scandal

Scandal is in a junior-year slump. Last season, ABC’s political soap was one of the best series on television, the writers expertly shoving characters together and wrenching them apart for maximum delicious conflict. Showrunner Shonda Rhimes achieved a kind of baroque storytelling that was grotesquely convoluted, yet stunning to behold. The season didn’t culminate in a single and-then-the-earth-stopped-spinning revelation, but four or five.  (Spoilers ahead.) The president had the election rigged for him — and didn’t know it. When he discovered the truth, the POTUS killed one of the people who got him his gig in retaliation: a dying Supreme Court justice. The First Lady threatened to expose her Republican husband’s interracial affair on live TV and use the sympathy vote to get herself elected to office. As a pre-emptive measure, the president’s gay chief of staff counter-threatened to “out” the FLOTUS as a lesbian. Oh, and he also used his assassin connections to order his baby-crazy husband dead.


Hillary Clinton Texting

It’s getting increasingly hard to keep track of the competing Hillary projects. The movies got to the former Secretary of State first with Rodham, the 2012 Black Lister that features a 26-year-old HRC showing lackluster interest in her on-again, off-again boyfriend Bill (and helping ex-Secretary of Labor Robert Reich with his law school homework). Then came the announcements for a CNN documentary and an NBC miniseries about the self-described “pantsuit aficionado,” both slated for 2014. Like The Good Wife, the NBC miniseries would begin with public humiliation. Played by Diane Lane, NBC’s Clinton would remake her life after the Lewinsky scandal and eventually clinch the position of Secretary of State after losing the Democratic primary. The CNN and NBC projects recently gained scrutiny, though not traction, when Republican Party leader Reince Priebus cried foul, threatening to ban both networks from the GOP primary debates if they gave what he considered an unfair advantage to Clinton in 2016. (Because Clinton presumably won’t be appearing in either the doc or the miniseries, neither program would trigger the equal-time law that mandates networks give candidates the same amount of airtime.) Then, on the heels of the GOP controversy came news that CBS was interested in its own Hillary-inspired show, wherein a “maverick” Secretary of State balances her domestic life with foreign policy. It seems everyone is hungry for her story. Since leaving the Cabinet earlier this year, Clinton’s kept a low profile; her biggest media splash since has been signing up for Twitter. So what’s feeding the Hillary-mania now? Below […]


Continuing with our on-going coverage of all things TV for the next few days, NBC has made yet another pick up announcement for four more series orders. The four pilots that have been picked up to series are “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, starring Laura Prepon, Free Agents, starring Hank Azaria, Bent, starring Amanda Peet, and BFF (formerly Best Friends Forever)” according to TV By The Numbers. The astute reader will notice that all of these series are comedies. Could NBC be planning another day worth of prime time comedy in addition to their already stacked Thursday night comedy block? It’s looking very likely. As for the cancellations? The peacock has decided to finally pull the plug on the god awful demon spawn that is The Event. The show has been an absolute mess since day one with a forcefully, and annoyingly convoluted plot. Let this failed show be a sign to all other networks, just because one sci-fi show is successful (LOST), doesn’t mean all of them will be. Of course, that’s not all that got cut.

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published: 12.19.2014
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