Torture! Clones! Betrayal! Sexting! And just sex! From touching series finales (farewell, 30 Rock and The Office!) to Game of Thrones' brutal Red Wedding, 2013 was brimming with fantastic hours of television. TVGuide.com has compiled the top 25 episodes. Which ones made the cut? Tune in all week to see the full list.
What were the best TV shows of 2013?
Mad Men's sixth season finale raises the idea that a broken Don Draper has finally learned his lesson. After delivering a winning pitch to Hershey executives about his childhood love of candy bars, he then shockingly reveals that it's all a lie. For the first time ever, he tells the truth about his troubled, whorehouse upbringing. By the episode's end, he even takes his children to see said whorehouse. Don may have made many mistakes, but at least he seems to no longer be running from them.8. "Chapter 1," House of CardsThe David Fincher-helmed pilot of the Netflix drama introduces viewers to TV's most manipulative political couple, Congressman Frank Underwood and his wife Claire (Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright), as well as to the technique, maintained throughout the series, of having smooth-talking Southerner Frank break the fourth wall and directly address the audience. Buoyed by strong supporting performances from Kate Mara as a hungry reporter and Corey Stoll as a politically ambitious alcoholic, the pilot puts all the pieces in place for the season's Shakespearean tragedy of an ending.
The best performances of 2013
7. "You've Got Sext," The Mindy Project
While we're used to seeing Mindy immersed in rom-com homages, it's a true delight to see Morgan and Peter get in on the action, playing matchmaker for Dr. L and Cliff (Glenn Howerton). In a nod to You've Got Mail, the boys flirt with Cliff on Mindy's behalf via texts, growing exceedingly — and adorably — proud of their ability seduce another man. Who knew a breast cancer awareness pin could be so hot? Meanwhile, Mindy and Danny are forced to play house, giving us a much-wanted glimpse of what their lives will be like when they eventually get together (because they are going to get together, right?!) Having to pick between these two dueling story lines is like a sitcom Sophie's Choice. And for a show that has struggled so much with focus, it's great to see all the plotlines working in tandem.
6. "Finale," The Office
The Office bows out after nine seasons with a finale that is equal parts humor and heart, punctuated by the return of original star Steve Carell. Picking up a year after the penultimate episode and tied to the premiere of the documentary that formed the basis of the show's narrative, the finale neatly and heartwarmingly wraps up the story lines of its most beloved characters (Dwight and Angela's wedding! Andy's viral video! Erin meets her birth parents!) and also provides ample opportunity for reflection for the stars and fans alike. It's incredibly challenging to put together an ideal series-ender (cough, Dexter), but to Dunder Mifflin's send-off, we say: "Thanks for having us!" (That's what she said. Wait, what?)
Check back Tuesday to see the top five!