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2013 – The Year in TV
December 26, 2013  | By Eric Gould  | 1 comment

We had some unforgettable pictures cross our TV screens in 2013 that should burn on long after 2014 arrives.

There were the five days in April following the Boston Marathon bombings that held a national audience until one suspect was shot dead and another apprehended. In Boston, the day after the arrest, the Red Sox kicked off their annnual Opening Day with a tribute to the victims and slugger David Ortiz giving a message about courage. His from-the-heart speech from the field in Fenway Park had the crowd wild with an unplanned F-bomb.

Later in the year, we marked the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination with a month-long string of documentaries, and saw footage from another period when the country gathered around their screens to follow a shocking news story of cold-blooded violence.

In October, Ortiz and the Red Sox would return to national TV, going worst to first and winning the World Series – after finishing last in their division the season before.

Earlier in the year, the 2013 Superbowl became infamous for a power failure that stopped the worldwide sports broadcast for 15 minutes while players and fans waited in the twilight gloom of the New Orleans Superdome. Later that night, Craig Ferguson of The Late Late Show had his own hilarious backstage clip showing his version of, and reasons for, the blackout.

In May, on the eve of his return to Earth after nearly five months on board the International Space Station, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded his own version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity." Here’s the edited version, that includes lyrics changed to Hadfield’s “lock your Soyuz hatch and put your helmet on.”

CNN premiered a new series with Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown, and another with Morgan Spurlock, Inside Man. Both brought more vital, and more hip, content to the cable news channel, but CNN ratings continued to drop.

In scripted TV, 2013 may be remembered for popularizing the term “binge-watching,” as Netflix dumped House of Cards and Orange is the New Black online in same-day full-season releases, making us bleary-eyed after nights of devouring the shows in 3-4 hour chunks.

2013 also delivered some of the best single episodes of some of the best shows of the decade. Mad Men gave us a regrettable childhood moment for Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka ) that may live on as one of the most poignant installments from that series. The Good Wife upturned its entire storyline for the 2013 season, particularly in October’s “Hitting the Fan” episode.

Likewise, The Walking Dead’s “Too Far Gone” face-off at the prison was a stunning and emotional blockbuster for the series that remains wildly unpredictable. Similarly, in the Game of Thrones' “The Rains of Castamere” episode, that series had its own storyline upheaval that became quickly known, in appreciative social-media shorthand, as simply the “Red Wedding” episode.

American Horror Story had its own signature moment in the “Burn, Witch, Burn!” episode, when angelic Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) weilded a chainsaw to eliminate an army of zombies, and finished, Carrie-style, spattered in blood. The series remains as one of the most gruesome, yet beautiful, series on televison.

2013 had its share of memorable imports with BBC America’s Broadchurch and PBS’s Last Tango in Halifax, and there were the quiet, but superb indie-like Sundance series Rectify, and the French import The Returned.

Scripted TV also saw some cancellations of very good shows that suffered from insufficiently large audiences, including HBO’s Enlightened, ABC’s Happy Endings and TNT’s Southland.

In comedy, HBO released the hilarious Louis C.K. special Oh My God, and Saturday Night Live said goodbye to Bill Hader’s “Stefon” character with an inventive signoff that had the character finally finding wedded bliss.

Stephen Colbert had arguably the best of the Vince Gilligan interviews after Breaking Bad signed off, and he certainly had one of the most hilarious bits – of all year – about fans not wanting to let go after the finish of that unforgettable series.

As with any year, 2013 saw the departure of many beloved celebrities, including Jonathan Winters and, most notably, James Gandolfini. For those of us at TVWW, loss struck way too close to home as our Managing Editor, Christy Slewinski, died suddenly and unexpectedly.  While much of 2013 will eventually fade, the support and expertise that Christy brought to TVWW never will.

She continues to be missed.

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What about Doc Martin?
Jan 6, 2014   |  Reply
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