My Top 5 shows of 2013

By David Knox on December 10, 2013 / Filed Under News 30

2013-12-07_1601Well here we are again…

It’s that time of year when media begin ranking their best and worst of the year.

In this supposedly “golden age of television” (and I don’t necessarily disagree with that), it’s very hard to choose the best of the best. So I’ll stick with my tradition of choosing from the best new shows of the year.

In no particular order I am giving honourable mentions to: Wentworth, Orange is the New Black, A Place to Call Home,
The Time of our Lives, Borgen and Please Like Me.

But my Top 5 (+1) are as follows:

5. Top of the Lake (UKTV) / The Returned (STUDIO) tie
4. Better Man SBS
3. Broadchurch ABC
2. Ray Donovan Showcase
1. House of Cards Showcase


For my money House of Cards was the most powerful mix of story, performance and direction, but being produced by Netflix it also represents 2013’s legacy -the growing shift to binge television. Hence its top place. Broadcast television is now on notice to find ways of dealing with it.

That said, if I was to award a prize for the best single episode of television this year it would go to Breaking Bad‘s “Ozymandias” S5E14.

Tomorrow voting will open in the annual TV Tonight Awards -your chance to choose the best and worst on screen in 2013.


  1. Pertinax December 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm -

    I don’t think Orphan Black has aired in this country yet. SyFy have it for sometime next year after they launch.

    I have heard good things about it.

  2. Pertinax December 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm -

    People tend to record their favourite dramas and watch them when they have the free time to concentrate on them anyway. I’ve been doing that since VHS arrived.

    The networks stuffing them around to make way for shows people will watch live just increases it,

    Dramas that everyone in the household will sit around and watch live like Downton Abbey and A Place To Call Home people will do well.

  3. Sifter December 12, 2013 at 8:51 am -

    I guess you could argue it is the golden age of television, but it’s really due to so much stuff being made that something good has to emerge just by the law of averages. There are some good shows around for sure, but there are infinitely more that are complete rubbish. TV networks of today are awful, burying gold behind unimaginative reality TV.

  4. Paul007 December 11, 2013 at 4:40 pm -

    In no particular order my top 5 are

    House of Cards
    Game of Thrones
    Ray Donovan
    Better Man
    Breaking Bad

    Other great shows were Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, Girls, Homeland, Masters of Sex and The Americans

  5. maxxdude December 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm -

    American Horror Story Coven
    Better Man
    Survivor Blood vs Water (Best Survivor season ever for me)

  6. FKlein December 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm -


    How good is Siberia? Can’t believe that Under The Dome had like triple the ratings, I’m pretty they are making a second season.

  7. MS December 11, 2013 at 9:32 am -

    1. Breaking Bad
    2. Game of Thrones
    3. Sons of Anarchy
    4. Boardwalk Empire
    5. House of Cards

  8. poshreany December 11, 2013 at 9:03 am -

    1. American horror story: coven
    2. House of cards
    3. Bates motel
    4. Siberia
    5. Hostages

  9. Loz December 10, 2013 at 10:47 pm -

    1. Please like me
    2. Time of our lives
    3. The Crazy Ones
    4. Bunheads
    5. Wonderland

    Honourable mentions – Sean saves the world, Mr & Mrs Murder

  10. FKlein December 10, 2013 at 9:55 pm -

    My list is not my best new shows of the year but my favourite shows of the year

    1. Masters Of Sex
    3.Orphan Black
    4. The Americans

  11. David Knox December 10, 2013 at 9:20 pm -

    Running shows on time in a consistent timeslot would be a bloody good start. Viewers are tired of networks stuffing them around, so they record them then watch in their own time, sometimes as binge, and skipping ads as a result. Foxtel and SBS already offered binge experiments this year and ABC is set to do the same. Monetising it is a big challenge for commercial networks. I look to the music industry which answered Napster with iTunes. People will pay for good content that’s readily accessible.

  12. Anthony December 10, 2013 at 8:19 pm -

    David, you say ‘binge watching’ is on the rise – obviously! :P

    How do you suggest networks deal with this rise?

  13. Mac December 10, 2013 at 7:07 pm -

    Nagdabbit – I submitted my top 5 for the magazine I write for a couple of weeks ago and clean forgot about Wentworth which should be my #1!

  14. Guy December 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm -

    My 5 for 2013.

    1: Broadchurch
    2: Les Revenants
    3: Breaking Bad
    4: Southcliffe
    5: Orphan Black

    Best episode of the year was either ‘Ozymandias’ (Breaking Bad) or ‘The Rains of Castamere’ (Game of Thrones)

  15. randwick December 10, 2013 at 4:39 pm -

    and the beauty about this list? no reality programs …..

  16. stevie g December 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm -

    David, is there a link to previous years articles like this? As i’d be interested to see what the pics were there?

  17. Hebblew December 10, 2013 at 4:13 pm -

    ohhh should add also

    Borgen and Please like me.

  18. MuchoTB December 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm -

    My top five are

    The Walking Dead
    The Originals
    Trophy Wife
    The Newsroom

    Yes I enjoy CW series and genre shows

  19. Chris December 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm -

    David’s list is about new shows this year, not just shows that have aired this year.

    My new shows list would be

    1. House of Cards
    2. Ray Donovan
    3. The Americans
    4. The Returned (would be third if only counting the first half of the season)
    5. Mmmmm nothing else stands out

  20. Hebblew December 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm -

    My top 5

    1. Orange is the New Black
    2. VEEP
    3. Elementary
    5. Hit and Miss(think this is 2012 but only just watching it on Netflix)

  21. FinnM December 10, 2013 at 2:17 pm -

    Yay for Broadchurch – superbly directed, written and acted. Incredibly emotional and addictive series.

  22. Guy December 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm -

    In no particular order my favourites for 2013 are The Blacklist, The X Factor, A Place to Call Home, Sleepy Hollow, Downton Abbey and Scandal.

    Honourable mentions goes to The Newsroom, Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Packed to the Rafters, Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, Continuum and American Horror Story. Personally i think this year has produced some great shows and has had a lot of standouts but as always there have been a lot of disasters too.

  23. Pertinax December 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm -

    1. The Fall (it’s all about the procedure)
    2. Vikings
    3. Orange Is The New Black
    4. Les Revenants
    5. Masters Of Sex

    My +1 would be A Place To Call Home, set a new standard for local productions.

    My favourite episode was the pilot for The Americans.

  24. Dayman December 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm -

    Breaking Bad
    House of Cards
    Arrested Development
    Game of Thrones
    Walking Dead

  25. poshreany December 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm -

    House of cards best choice. Amazing.

  26. stevie g December 10, 2013 at 12:01 pm -

    My top 5 for this year are

    A Place to Call Home
    Time of our Lives
    Please Like Me.

    With special mentions to Young James Herriott,
    (from way back at the start of the year), Wonderland and Masters of Sex.

  27. sokyratis December 10, 2013 at 11:21 am -

    easiest way to deal with it. play tv shows week-by-week same timeslot. less breaks, more tv.

  28. Dr_Rudi December 10, 2013 at 11:20 am -

    You see, I’m not sure how this is a ‘golden age of television’ (in fact, I didn’t know anyone was claiming that) when the best program in 2013 is a copy of something that was made in 1990.

  29. carolemorrissey December 10, 2013 at 9:33 am -

    I’d have to say my 5 favourite new shows from this year would be Elementary, The Blacklist, The Following, Hostages & A Place To Call Home. It is too hard to just pick 5 though. I also loved Time Of Our Lives, Wonderland & Mr & Mrs Murder. Yeah I know a lot of people slagged off at Wonderland & Mr & Mrs Murder & they didn’t rate very well but I enjoyed them. I’ve probably forgotten a few too.

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