Best of 2013: ‘The Blacklist,’ ‘Bates Motel,’ and ‘Sleepy Hollow’ compete for Best New Show (vote!)

Best New Show -2013 as a whole was a great one for television, and not just because we had titans like “Breaking Bad,” “Homeland,” or “Mad Men” on the air. This may be one of the best years for new programs (especially dramas) in over a decade. Were there crowd-pleasers? Definitely, but there was also some artful fare, a great new reality concept, and a deeper exploration into the suspense and horror genres than we have seen in some time. TV is becoming more and more the modern indie cinema, with the exception that you don’t have to pay $15 plus popcorn to watch two or three hours of it.

The nine shows below in our CarterMatt Best of 2013 series are the ones that we feel best characterize how awesome 2013 really was, and have us excited that 2014 will hopefully bring more of them. With the exception of two shows whose fate is still to be decided (in “Whodunnit?” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), the rest are returning for more.

The Americans (FX) -This was the sort of drama that some loved, others just liked, and very few hated. It’s probably going to be hurt when it comes to landing a spot on many year-end lists just by coming on a little early on in the year, but what it did do, it did very well in telling an intense story of espionage and relationships in America at a very dangerous time.

Bates Motel (A&E) – While we don’t have a “Most Underrated Actor” category on this list, we’d give it to Freddie Highmore. Vera Farmiga was great on the show, but to us Highmore was the star here in turning Norman Bates into this terrifying creation who was on the cusp of becoming a killer for most of the first season. Then, you saw what happened to him in the finale. Forget “American Horror Story”; this was the best “scary” show on TV in 2013.

The Blacklist (NBC) – It is not that often that you get the opportunity to say that a show starts off as a smash straight out of the gate, and then manages to maintain it. Like “Under the Dome,” NBC’s hit really pulled that off. James Spader led off a great cast, and the story has only grown more intricate and exciting since the pilot. This is a show that has become so polished so early on, NBC has already ordered a second season.

The Bridge (FX) – This show and “The Americans” have a ton in common even going beyond the networks that they air on. They are both very good shows that didn’t draw big ratings, and probably need a little time for viewers to figure out what they are and watch them online. But this show was a slightly more exciting, if unrealistic at times, version of “The Killing.”

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox) – Basically, Mike Schur and Dan Goor took what worked in “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation,” and then put it in a police station. You have great actors, quirky characters, and a workplace setting where you can find a ton of humor. 2013 has not been a good year for comedy, and while “Trophy Wife” in particular is improving, this show has consistently been the year’s best.

Masters of Sex (Showtime) – Pound for pound one of the best-acted shows on TV period, Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan should be locks at the Golden Globes and the Emmys. The subject matter may not be for everyone, but this is a show that is really about more than just sex; it’s about the reactions that come when someone becomes completely lost in their work.

Orphan Black (BBC America) – BBC may still be new to producing new shows on this side of the pond, but they clearly delivered here with a weird, intense, and well-acted show that is about way more than just clones. “Orphan Black” is original, and completely different than anything on TV.

Sleepy Hollow (Fox) – Creepy, intense, and action-packed. This was the perfect new series for Fox, and some of its twists and mythology are just enough to knock “The Following” off of this list. “Sleepy Hollow” also has one of our favorite new ships on television in Ichabod and Abbie.

Under the Dome (CBS) – It was exciting, drew huge ratings, and proved that there can still be Stephen King adaptations in the television medium that draw a huge audience. Even though the middle of season 1 sagged at times, the beginning and the end were some of the best summer programming on TV. Hats off for CBS for taking the risk; the fact that it worked is really just a plus.

Whodunnit? (ABC) – The best new reality show of the year, and one of the best reality shows period. It borrowed some elements from “The Mole” in that there was someone within the contestant group acting against them (as a “Killer” in this case), and it also featured fun challenges and then Giles the Butler, one of the most delightful hosts / characters out there. Even if “Whodunnit?” does not return here, we hope that this may have at least launched an international property that could draw attention.

Share your pick to win in the poll below, and be sure to click here if you want to see some of our other categories and vote in them.

 

 

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