The Best of 2013: Television

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Who doesn’t love lists?

We here at Pop-Break were raised on lists. We love them like we love bears, Keanu Reeves’ surfer movies and all things pop culture.

So as we do every year, we present to you our personal favorites in film, music (albums and songs) and television.

Here’s Who is Contributing to this Year’s List:

Luke Kalamar (Television Editor, Columnist — The Following, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Saturday Night Live):

1. Breaking Bad: Surprise surprise right? Who would have ever thought that this show, which is widely considered to have had a near perfect final season, would have been at the top of my list? That’s all sarcasm obviously. Breaking Bad unquestionably takes my top honors for 2013 and will likely do the same for many other lists out there. Breaking Bad has always been a great show, but the final eight episodes that aired last summer are the pinnacle of excellence. Everything, from the acting to the ramped up drama, was beyond phenomenal. Even characters like Walter Jr. (RJ Mitte) got their Emmy worthy moments. Breaking Bad also succeeded where many shows failed by ending in the best way imaginable. Bottom line, expect Breaking Bad to sweep every category at next year’s Primetime Emmy Awards. It absolutely deserves to.

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2. Game of Thrones: 2013 was basically my Game of Thrones discovery year. I got Season 1 for Christmas last year and completely caught up by the time Season 3 aired. Holy shit, look at what I was missing. Game of Thrones is a spectacular show on all counts, getting better with each new season. Season 3 was no exception. The acting was better all around, with standout performances by Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), and the story flowed beautifully despite the massive cast. The episode “The Rains of Castamere” with the infamous Red Wedding is permanently etched in my mind, setting the new standard for what a show can do when it’s not constrained by who can live or die. No one is safe and that’s the best kind of program. Game of Thrones would have easily been my number one show if Breaking Bad wasn’t so damn awesome.

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3. The Walking Dead: The Walking Dead may have its problems but I still love this show. A lot. 2013 saw us watching the end of Season 3 and the first half of Season 4. Both of them had disappointing moments like a relatively pointless virus arc in Season 4 and a completely bumbled Season 3 finale, but the show is still exciting overall. 2013 also saw the reunion Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Merle (Michael Rooker), a growing relationship between Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl (Chandler Riggs), and Hershel (Scott Wilson) using his unending moral values to become the definitive hero. The show may have gotten off track a bit, but the mid-season finale of “Too Far Gone” opens a huge door for a much better future. The Walking Dead still stood out to me more than many other shows and I’m still a big fan.

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4. Arrested Development: I’m one of the millions that missed when Arrested Development was first on television. It wasn’t until my senior year of college, before a fourth season was even announced, that I became a huge fan of the show. Lucky for me it was only about a year and a half later that the Bluth’s made their grand return to TV on Netflix. My girlfriend and I, along with some close friends, got together to commemorate the occasion with some Arrested Development-themed food (including the Skip’s Scramble!) and completely binge watched the entire fourth season. We were all exhausted and full at the end, but I for one enjoyed every minute. Not even a weird episode format could have stopped this show from being as hilarious as ever. After a seven year hiatus, that’s saying a lot.

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5. South Park: While some people may believe that South Park is losing steam, Season 17 is proof enough that Matt Stone and Trey Parker still have a lot up their sleeves. This past season was easily one of the best I’ve seen in quite sometime. The trio of Game of Thrones/Black Friday centered episodes were outstanding, and episodes like “World War Zimmerman,” “The Hobbit,” and “Ginger Cow” made me laugh so hard it hurt. Even the generally subpar episodes of “Taming Strange” and “Informative Murder Porn” had some truly spectacular moments. South Park may not be what it used to be, but it’s still one of the best and current comedies on television.

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Matt Agosta (Staff Writer): 1. Breaking Bad, 2. Game of Thrones, 3. The Walking Dead, 4. Boardwalk Empire, 5. Homeland

Erica Batchelor (Staff Writer): 1. Game of Thrones, 2. American Horror Story, 3. True Blood

Bill Bodkin (Co-Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Columnist – Mad Men, The Americans, Monday Night RAW, Boardwalk Empire, Homeland): 1. Game of Thrones, 2. The Walking Dead, 3. American Horror Story: Coven, 4. Ray Donovan, 5. (3-way tie): Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Happy Endings, Monday Night RAW

Sue Bodkin (Editor-At-Large): 1. The Killing, 2. New Girl, 3. Master Chef: Junior, 4. Hannibal, 5. Veep

The kids on Master Chef: Junior were amazing to watch. Not only did they create things that, at their age, I didn’t even know existed. They also accepted defeat like champions (for the most part) and walked away still excited to have just been able to compete. While it is completely gutting to see a child cry because his dish got him the boot, you know he’ll be OK because in 10 seconds we see him smiling again. Not to mention how absolutely adorable it is to see Gordon Ramsay talk a tween girl off the ledge because her cake isn’t quite right…and then help her do it all over again from scratch. This show is chefs AND judges at their finest.

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Daniel Cohen (Film Editor, Columnist – Community): 1. Breaking Bad, 2. Parks and Rec, 3. The League, 4. South Park

Mallory Delchamp (Staff Writer): 1. Scandal, 2. Masters of Sex, 3. Orange is the New Black, 4. House of Cards, 5. Breaking Bad

Laura Dengrove (Staff Writer): 1. American Horror Story: Coven, 2. Behind the Candelabra (TV Movie), 3. Masters of Sex, 4. Rick and Morty, 5. Girls

Kelly Duncan (Staff Writer, Columnist – Pretty Little Liars): 1. The Walking Dead, 2. Raising Hope, 3. The Mindy Project, 4. Witches of East End, 5. Hannibal

Michael Dworkis (Senior Editor, Columnist – Monday Night RAW): 1. Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters, 2. Dr. Who, 3. Pawn Stars, 4. Broadchurch, 5. Big Bang Theory

Kimberlee Rossi-Fuchs (Senior Editor, Columnist – Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire): 1. Game of Thrones, 2. Boardwalk Empire, 3. Girls, 4. Key and Peele, 5. (Tie) RuPaul’s Drag Race, 5. Awkward.

Eric Gallegos (Video Game Writer): 1. Breaking Bad, 2. Arrow, 3. The Blacklist, 4. Brooklyn Nine Nine, 5. Parks and Recreation

Ann Hale (Horror Editor, Columnist – American Horror Story: Coven): 1. American Horror Story, 2. Breaking Bad, 3. The Walking Dead, 4. Sons of Anarchy, 5.
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Matt Haviland (Staff Writer): 1. Mad Men, 2. Enlightened, 3. Rectify, 4. Orange is the New Black, 5. Breaking Bad

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Mike Heyliger (Staff Writer, Editor-in-Chief of Popblerd!): 1. Scandal, 2. Drunk History, 3. Key & Peele, 4. The Michael J. Fox Show, 5. Happy Endings (R.I.P.)

Brendan Hourican (Staff Writer): 1. Breaking Bad, 2. The Walking Dead, 3. Arrested Development

Jason Kundrath (Senior Editor, Columnist – Girls):

1. Game of Thrones: I feel very lucky to be alive to experience this once-in-a-lifetime, epic fantasy, with enough murder, sex, magic, and vengeance to rival anything else on screen, big or small.

2. Girls: So very rewatchable in all of its gut-wrenching, awkward, and true-to-life glory.

3. Homeland: If you bowed out after season 2, you lose. It’s not perfect, but when it gets its motor running, you simply cannot beat it.

Al Mannarino (Staff Writer): 1. Breaking Bad, 2. House of Cards, 3. Doctor Who, 4. Orange is the New Black, 5. Arrested Development

Asia Martin (Staff Writer): 1. Sleepy Hollow, 2. Scandal, 3. The Walking Dead, 4. Elementary

Justin Matchick (Staff Writer): 1. Mad Men, 2. Breaking Bad, 3. Venture Bros, 4. Bob’s Burgers, 5. Hannibal

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Marla Pacther (Senior Editor, Columnist – True Blood, Scandal):

Comedies: 1. Parks and Recreation, 2. Happy Endings (RIP), 3. Cougar Town, 4. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, 5. SuburgatoryHonorable Mentions: Trophy Wife and Ground Floor.

Dramas: 1. Orange is the New Black, 2. Orphan Black, 3. Scandal, 4. The Vampire Diaries, 5. HannibalHonorable Mentions: Teen Wolf and The Originals

Lisa Pikaard (Senior Writer/Interviewer): 1. Sleepy Hollow, 2. NCIS: LA, 3. Once Upon a Time 4. Castle, 5. Mob City

Kelly Spoer (Copy Editor, Senior Editor): 1. Downton Abbey, 2. Sherlock, 3. Doctor Who

Lauren Stern (Assignment Editor, Columnist – Dexter, The News Room, Law & Order: SVU): 1. Breaking Bad, 2. Orange is the New Black, 3. Arrested Development,
4. GIRLS, 5. The Crazy Ones

Jason Stives (Music Editor, Columnist – Dr. Who, The Americans, Mad Men, South Park, New Girl, Michael J. Fox Show): 1. Masters of Sex, 2. Orange is the New Black, 3. Orphan Black, 4. Veep, 5. The Americans

Joe Zorzi (Senior Editor, Photographer): 1. Breaking Bad, 2. Orange is the New Black, 3. New Girl

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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