2013 - the year in review: The best TV of the Year
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Saturday 28 December 2013
Breaking Bad, Netflix
2013 was the year internet TV went mainstream. Netflix original series such as House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black both made for addictive viewing, but it was Breaking Bad’s pitch-perfect finale that finally convinced the last stragglers to subscribe.
Gogglebox, Channel 4
It shouldn’t work, but it does. Watching other people watch telly turns out to be not only fantastic entertainment, but also a timely reminder of telly’s power to bring us together, even in the age of personal devices and multiple channels.
Toast of London, Channel 4
Toast of London is co-written by Father Ted’s Arthur Mathews and stars Matt Berry as the fruity-voiced actor Stephen Toast. We need only list a few character names to convince you of its genius: Clem Fandango, Kikini Bamalam, Yvonne Wryly, Hamilton Meathouse and Dinky Frinkbuster.
Top of the Lake, BBC2
There are a lot of TV detective shows about missing girls, but there’s nothing else like Top of the Lake. Set in rural New Zealand, it combined breathtaking scenery with eerie atmosphere and a heart-rending central performance from Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss.
Yonderland, Sky One
In the year that Monty Python announced their reunion, we also discovered their true heirs. The team behind Horrible Histories made this supremely silly fantasy adventure in which “the chosen mum” Debbie must save the puppet-populated world of Yonderland.
Discovery of the Year
TLC, Launched 30 April
Besides sharing a name with the 90s girl group, the new freeview channel TLC provides a valuable public service. Not with prestige drama, or powerful current affairs programming, but with the kind of gloriously trashy reality TV that hangovers were made for. Highlights include Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Mob Wives and Breaking Amish.
Turkey of the Year
The X Factor, ITV
The ratings are in terminal decline, the judges have run out of things to say and, after 10 years, it appears the country has also run out of singing talent. This series, even lovely Dermot looked like he’d rather be somewhere – anywhere – else: So why, oh why has ITV signed The X Factor up for another three years?
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits record low as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Germany sees 'visible rise' in support for far-right extremism in response to perceived 'Islamisation' of the West