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?
Here are Episodes 20-16. (Catch up with Episodes 25-21.)
20. "Graduation," The Vampire Diaries
Full of shockers, romance and intrigue, The Vampire Diaries' season finale delivers its most game-changing closer yet. We get two swoon-worthy declarations of love: A New Orleans-bound (for The Originals) Klaus tells Caroline that he plans to be her last love, and Elena movingly tells Damon that even in death, he made her feel alive. Following a confrontation with Katherine, Elena force-feeds the cure, which reverses immortality, to her doppelganger, making Katherine human. But the episode's biggest twist comes in its final scene, when we learn that Stefan is the doppelganger of powerful villain Silas, who locks Stefan in a safe and chucks it into a lake, laying the groundwork for a compelling Season 5.
19. "The Day of the Doctor," Doctor Who
The only thing cooler than bowties is watching the three Doctors interact on the 50th anniversary episode, especially the amazing double act of Matt Smith and David Tennant as they do their best to impress the War Doctor (Timey-wimey? "I have no idea where he picks that stuff up," Ten lies). But underneath the novelty of having three Time Lord incarnations together and the countless Easter eggs, "The Day of the Doctor" poses a dark question at its core: Was the War Doctor right to commit genocide to end the Time War? While executive producer Steven Moffat gift-wraps the answer a little too neatly, the episode is such a fun celebration of Doctor Who's past and sets the course for a very different future that we can't wait to see.
18. "Entrée," Hannibal
An homage to The Silence of the Lambs, this episode features Eddie Izzard doing his best Anthony Hopkins impression as Dr. Abel Gideon, a committed psychopath at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. When he kills a nurse and claims to be the Chesapeake Ripper, Jack Crawford sends in his protégée (and Clarice Starling stand-in) Miriam (Anna Chlumsky) to investigate the Ripper case. While all the familiar details are nice, this episode stands out mostly because it finally shows Hannibal getting his hands dirty. Although prior to this episode the show had winked at Hannibal's dark side through his culinary treats, this hour climaxes with Hannibal killing Miriam when she deduces that he, not Dr. Gideon, is the Chesapeake Ripper. Paying tribute to the source material while also reinventing it is a tricky proposition, but "Entrée" pulls it off flawlessly.
The best performances of 2013
17. "All Together Now," Masters of Sex
Showtime's freshman drama hits its emotional stride in an episode that explores the confusion and anguish of sex. University provost Barton Scully (Beau Bridges) is tormented trying to reconcile his homosexuality with his love for his wife (the always-amazing Allison Janney). But it's when sex researchers Masters and Johnson (the simmering Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan) discover that they can't quite untangle their feelings from their "lab work," after they give each other simultaneous orgasms, that it becomes evident that sex is more than just mechanics. Their various struggles are alternately funny and heartbreaking, but mostly all-too familiar.
16. "The Love Spell Potential," The Big Bang Theory
Big Bang manages to exceed fans' expectations with its long-awaited Dungeons & Dragons episode when the role-playing game takes an unexpected turn. In between the riotous fun and games — featuring Dungeon Master Wolowitz's impeccable Nicolas Cage impression — the show finds a creative, organic and hilarious way to address Sheldon and Amy's lack of intimacy and slowly advance their quirky relationship after Penny jokes about their D&D characters having sex since it "won't happen any time soon" in real life. "Before I met you, I never had any interest in being intimate with anyone," Sheldon says. "[And now] I have not ruled it out. ... For me, what we have is extremely intimate." When Amy asks her socially awkward beau for "more," he gets intimate in the only way he knows how and can right now: simulating sex via their D&D characters. Nerdy has never looked so sexy.
Check back all week to see the rest of the list!