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Check out the series that were a cut above last year

Shaun Harrison
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The Goldbergs (ABC)

Metascore: 52 Merely calling The Goldbergs a loud ode to the '80s ignores the show's true virtues. In an age of cynicism, Adam F. Goldberg's semi-autobiographical show has made sentimentality cool again, mixing in sweetness and warmth with the insults and laughs. Plus: It's given us our new favorite rapper: Big Tasty.
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Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Metascore: 77 No show on television excels at pulling together a season's disparate stories like Boardwalk. In Season 4, however, the show trimmed the narrative bonsai, focusing on only the most potent threads. The rise and fall of Michael K. Williams' Chalky White — featuring a knockout guest performance by Jeffrey Wright as his nemesis Dr. Valentin Narcisse — highlighted just how few people you can trust in the world of gangsters, a theme that echoed throughout Al Capone's continued climb to power in Cicero and the jealousy that perhaps ripped brothers Nucky and Eli apart for good. In a season that had plenty of casualties (RIP, Richard and Eddie!), the show seemed to find invigorating new life.
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Homeland (Showtime)

Metascore: 77 Though the Showtime thriller's third season once again chose hairpin (and sometimes illogical) plot twists over the deeper character study of the show's glory days, the show remained anchored by the undeniable performances at its center. Claire Danes' Carrie was as vulnerable and volatile as ever as she struggled to clear Brody's name (all while carrying his baby). Mandy Patinkin found new depths to Saul's resolve as he fought to keep his job at the helm of the CIA. Damian Lewis made his minimal screen time count as he took Brody from being a drugged-out fugitive to this season's hero in the course of just a few intense action sequences. It's hard to ever know the show's destination, but we're still along for the ride.
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17.The Blacklist (NBC)

Metascore: 74 It's about time that network television was able to mount a modern thriller series. By incorporating a case of the week that feeds into the show's overarching mystery, the freshman NBC drama keeps loyal fans paying close attention to every episode. Although James Spader's awesomely creepy Red Reddington is yet another sympathetic antihero, he's enigmatic enough — and so invested in Megan Boone's Elizabeth — that sometimes we wonder if he's really a bad guy.
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Justified (FX)

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30 Rock (NBC)

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The Mindy Project (Fox)

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Parenthood (NBC)

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Orphan Black (BBC America)

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Scandal (ABC)

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House of Cards (Netflix)

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Hannibal (NBC)

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The Americans (FX)

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Masters of Sex (Showtime)

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Veep (HBO)

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Mad Men (AMC)

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Game of Thrones (HBO)

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The Good Wife (CBS)

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Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)

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Breaking Bad

Metascore: 99 Tread lightly? Please. Breaking Bad capped off its five-season run the same way it started: flawlessly. Subverting expectations and doling out intricate, frenetic twists, the final octet of episodes was as audacious and gripping as Walter White's demise was inevitable. But for all its shocks, gut punches (RIP, Hank!) and moral ambiguity, the drama's greatness lies in the clarity in Vince Gilligan's singular vision: turning Mr. Chips into Scarface. Breaking Bad wasn't afraid of change, and it saw it through. In the end — a neat, satisfying series finale — Walt finally had his moment of clarity, admitting what we've all known: "I did it for me." Yes, Walt, you were good at it. And we liked it.