Best And Worst Television of 2013

Best New Show of the (2012-2013) Season: Bates Motel: Engrossing at every turn, Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin’s eerie mystery series, is anchored by flawed protagonists that are easy to root for and sublimely original. Dark and twisty, it’s a tale we know the ending to and still can’t help trying to figure out, anyway. "Bates" premiered at a time, where the debate on mental illness was launched into the national spotlight and what it has to say, is crucial and socially relevant, now more than ever.

Best New Show of the (2013-2014) Season: The Blacklist: James Spader is kicking tail and naming names as Red, the anti-hero/villain of this highly entertaining, thrill ride that has been leaving audiences intrinsically riveted and their jaws dropped, in the process. 

TV Show Gone Too Soon: The Borgias: As legions of fan have agreed, things were left on a sour note, when after 3 amazing seasons of TV’s sinful drama, "The Borgias" drew to a creatively abrupt conclusion. Short of giving closure, the finale left audiences on the precipice of something more. While, the content of the planned “movie” finale that was released via ebook, fell short of personal expectations, it would be nice for the show to be given a fair goodbye.

Most Overrated New Show: Under the Dome: Promised as a mini-series and dragged out by greed, “the dome” encapsulated a populace devoid of personality and a plot lacking in urgency. Its biggest sin was getting too comfortable, as one of summer’s only new series and boring audiences due to the lack of competition. You can read more about Eclectic Pop’s thoughts on Under the Dome, here.

Worst New Show: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: An acid trip that kept on giving, one episode was enough to call it quits. Perhaps the greatest mystery plaguing fall television, was how this made it on the air. You can read a full review of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, here.

Most Improved Show: Beauty and the Beast: Goodbye procedural! Hello satisfying sci-fi drama! After a rocky first season, it seemed a dim hope but this is a series finally worthy of its stellar leading lady, Kristin Kreuk. 

Show(s) Most in Need of Improving: The Vampire Diaries – tie – Teen Wolf: As has been well-documented on Eclectic Pop with "Let's Talk About...The Vampire Diaries" and "Let's Talk About...Teen Wolf" both shows were tied down by one convoluted supernatural twist after another. Getting a PHD in paranormal studies has become a must, to understand the ever-growing mythos that has cramped these series. More focus on the stars they possess (i.e. Stiles on Teen Wolf) would go a long way in turning things around.

Most Impressive Fan Base: The Borgias:  When the Showtime series was cancelled in June, fans of "The Borgias" got busy. They launched a social media blitz, demanding a fourth season and closure for the series. The most important element to any piece of entertainment’s success is fans.

The series' devoted fanbase went the distance and got creative, hiring a sky writer to express their wishes at a TCA event, held at the Beverly Hilton. It’s a huge compliment to the show that it has elicited so much passion and it should take great pride in being fortunate enough to have such amazing fans. If nothing else, Showtime should seriously consider employing them in the advertising department of the network. Click here for the latest on the campaign. 

Best Performance by an Ensemble in a Series: The Cast of Bates Motel: Anchored by the spellbinding tenacity of series’ lead Vera Farmiga, Bates is a master class in acting, in its most nuanced and innate form. The cast (Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot) seemed to put all of their emotive cards on the table, as the eccentric Bates family and yet they held enough back, to still shock viewers. Along with Olivia Cooke, there isn’t a weak link in this ensemble. It’s simply casting at its best. 

Best Performance by an Ensemble in a Mini-Series: The Cast of The White Queen: Watching series lead Rebecca Ferguson, you would expect to find she has led countless productions as, her stirring performance as Elizabeth Woodville in the BBC/Starz simulcast series, was the work of a refined veteran. Whether she was turning up the heat as a temptress or doing her work as a calculating maternal strategist, Ferguson was riveting, equal parts fierce and vulnerable.

With phenomenal support from acting titan, Janet McTeer as Woodville’s omnipotent mother, Ferguson rang out an emotional torrent of grief during the series’ closing chapters, indelibly searing her performance into the minds of viewers.

Also of note, the performance of rising star Aneurin Barnard as Richard III, who received a historical re-treatment in this telling, as a kind-hearted soul, caught up in outer political machinations. His performance was a landmark portrayal of a historical figure mired in negative Tudor-era rhetoric and Barnard sold it, imbuing the battered image of Richard with a heart and compassionate confliction. 

Breakout TV Actor: Luke Mitchell, The Tomorrow People: With each new episode, Mitchell has burst onto the series, carving out one of the most distinct characterizations on the CW line-up and solidifying himself as a talent to watch. As, John, the leader of “The Tomorrow People”, Mitchell has brought a sense of mature leadership, caring determination and genuine integrity. On a network that trends towards boyishness, Mitchell has stood out as a grown-up and the breakout star of the fall season.

Breakout TV Actress: Katheryn Winnick, Vikings: They say behind every great man is a great woman and on this History Channel series, nowhere is that more apparent than with Ragnar, who wouldn’t be half as compelling without his warrior bride by his side.

As the Viking wife, Lagertha; Winnick emits a maternal wave of female strength. Her standout performance is enriched with a quiet reserve and an even more tenacious spirit. When Winnick portrays Lagertha, she doesn’t just look the part, she is the part.
[Image by HBO]
Best Episode of a Cable Show: “Red Wedding”, Game of Thrones: The realization of an inevitable horror has never been this painfully brutal or theatrically expressed on a TV series, groundbreaking on every level, "Thrones" continues to reign supreme.

Best Mid-Season Finale: The Blacklist: The freshman series signed out of 2013 with a bang, as its two-part episode event, "Anslo Garrick", played with the urgency of a theatrical film. Effectively telling a completed story arc and blowing another one, wide open.

Best Episode of a Network Show: “The Quarterback”, Glee: Before the season began it was the question looming over the production of "Glee". How will they deal with losing their leading actor, Cory Monteith and mega-star character Finn Hudson? The answer to that question would be, with a major amount of class. To read a full commentary on the episode, click here.

Best TV Duo: Madeleine Stowe and Henry Czerny, Revenge: Biting repartee, brutal verbal daggers and a passionate love/hate relationship have never been this deliciously sumptuous or vibrantly executed.

Most Entertaining Historical Mini-Series: The White Queen: Grand, stylistic and scintillatingly sensual; writer Emma Frost boiled Philippa Gregory’s best-selling series into a 10 episode epic that kept passions aflame and a larger than life story moving along, at a brilliant pace. 

Best TV (Sort of) Couple: Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Oliver (Stephen Amell), Arrow:  Will they or won’t they? Felicity adorably wears her crush on Oliver, right on her sleeve through a series of ill-timed; double entrendres. She’s the awkward and beautiful computer nerd, who has captured the hearts of "Arrow" fans and for good reason. Emily Bett Rickards is endearing at every turn, a breakout star for the series. Oliver’s fall for her should prove, unavoidable.

[Featured Image by A&E]


  1. I agree wholeheartedly about The Borgias. That show was too amazing to go out so suddenly.


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