2013 in TV (Part Two)
By Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull.
Yesterday I counted down the first six greatest shows of 2013 and now I shall continue. Which programmes make the final five and will you agree with them all?
5. The Returned
If you were to look in your dictionary, skim through to ‘sexy’ then you’d find The Returned as a subtitle. Fabrice Gobert’s beautifully made drama gripped the nation for eight weeks and that’s all down to one thing: it’s quintessential Frenchness. The characters were intricate beings, nicely fleshed out and performed excellently by native actors (highlights are Yara Pilartz as Camille, Swann Nambotin as eerie child Victor and Pierre Perrier as Simon). What let The Returned down, sadly, was the resolution, which left things hanging in the air and disappointing a lot of viewers. But fret not as it shall be back next year for a second series and I just can’t wait to get stuck back in.
- See Adam James Cuthbert’s review of Camille
- See Adam James Cuthbert’s review of Simon
- See David Selby’s review of Julie and Victor
- See David Selby’s review of Serge & Toni
- See David Selby’s review of Lucy
- See David Selby’s review of Adèle
- See David Selby’s review of the finale
4. The Fall
2013 was a great year for TV but a bad year for women in TV. Programmes like What Remains, The Escape Artist and even soaps (albeit unnecessarily violent soaps) like EastEnders featured the grisly deaths of women. The Fall was the bottom layer of the cake, the show that started all the anti-female deaths (I am, of course, no way condoning any of this, merely pointing out the high death count in BBC programmes and that the victims are primarily women) and my, was it vicious. Mr. Grey himself Jamie Dornan was Paul Spector, the intensely scary Irish serial killer that Gillian Anderson’s DS Stella Gibson took on. Anderson was magnificent as was Dornan as he glided around Belfast, almost robotically, bumping off young women. It was unsettling viewing – I recommend not watching it alone – but masterfully done.
- See my review of Dark Descent
- See my review of Darkness Visible
- See my review of Insolence & Wine
- See my review of My Adventurous Song
- See my review of the finale.
3. Doctor Who
Of course Doctor Who had to be on the list somewhere. The Day of the Doctor, the show’s golden anniversary special was one of the most hyped TV shows of the year and definite event viewing. I know countless people who tuned in on Saturday the 23rd of November to watch it despite never having seen it before and they were impressed. The budget was through the roof, the acting was sublime (returning stars David Tennant and Billie Piper were just fantastic) and viewing figures skyrocketed. While the fiftieth anniversary was a hotly anticipated and highly gratifying piece of viewing the series that preceded it – Series 7B – was excellent as well. It had a fair share of duds but also some classics like The Bells of Saint John or the melodious The Rings of Akhaten. Other stories that appealed to people were Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS and The Name of the Doctor.
- See Adam James Cuthbert’s review of The Bells of Saint John
- See Adam James Cuthbert’s review of The Rings of Akhaten
- See Adam James Cuthbert’s review of Cold War
- See Adam James Cuthbert’s review of Hide
- See Adam James Cuthbert’s review of Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS
- See Adam James Cuthbert’s review of The Crimson Horror
- See Adam James Cuthbert’s review of Nightmare in Silver
- See Adam James Cuthbert’s review of The Name of the Doctor
- See John Hussey’s review of The Day of the Doctor
- See John Hussey’s review of The Time of the Doctor
2. What Remains
A surprising choice, you might think but Tony Basgallop’s What Remains was one of the most atmospheric and downright vicious shows I’ve seen in a very long time. The premise: the corpse of a lonely stout woman is found in a shared London townhouse and everyone presumes it was an accident, but Detective Len Harper thinks otherwise, he believes it was murder, was an intriguing one and Basgallop led us through weeks of nail-biting waiting before the ultimate revelation. Shameless actor David Threlfall was the investigator in charge of the case and he led the audience through a month of edge-of-your-seat tension and suspense. The last episode went a bit gung-ho for my liking but the reveal was satisfying and well, I never guessed whodunit.
Of course, it had to be Broadchurch. Chris Chibnall’s tour de force of a TV series brought the country together almost like a real murder would. Everything about it was fantastic (I’ll take this moment to beg forgiveness for scoring one episode seven out of ten unfairly): the performances, the writing, the setting, the music. David Tennant as ill-natured and curmudgeonly policeman Alec Hardy was a high point for me but Olivia Colman just stole the show entirely. Her sweetness was the antithesis of Hardy’s stubborn demeanour and they made for a wonderful pairing. Supporting them were Andrew Buchan and Jodie Whittaker as the parents of Danny Latimer, the murdered child that sparked the series off. Broadchurch is one of ITV’s biggest new shows and a masterclass in how to write drama. No wonder Chibnall’s latest venture, The Great Train Robbery, was magnificent, too.
Honourable mentions: Yonderland – a hybrid of Monty Python and Horrible Histories that was inventive and hilarious. Gogglebox – a more personal version of Harry Hill’s TV Burp, Gogglebox was a refreshing insight into the lives of telly-watching Brits and very, very amusing. Breaking Bad – I’m edging slowly through the second series, which is why I didn’t include this series on here but from what I can see it’s an absolute masterpiece: bleak and funny; seriously dark humour. Orange Is The New Black and House of Cards – two delights from the Netflix stable. Bates Motel – a fun but extreme look at Hitchcock’s famous killer Norman Bates’ teenage years.
2013 was one of the best years for TV in the past decade. ‘Binge-watching’ became a term so commonly used it should be in the dictionary, being a ‘Netflix junkie’ was a normal thing and event viewing happens ever week; 2013 was just a good time to be on the sofa. Now for 2014, let’s see what you’ve got for us.
Did your favourite show not make the cut? Do you agree/disagree with my list? Then please feel free to post your thoughts in the comments below.