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‘Please Like Me’ on New Yorker’s List of Best TV Shows of 2013

December 6, 2013
I Really Do Hate Top-Ten Lists
Posted by Emily Nussbaum

For the past two years at this magazine, I have resisted the editorial demand to produce a top-ten list, having endured much numerical violence in my writing past.

The first year, I simply explained that I hate top-ten lists. The second year, I explained once again that I hate top-ten lists, and then I proceeded to tap-dance my way through some diversionary sentences about trends. Let’s hope that there is a third technique, because, once again, for the record, I would like to state my enduring emotional and philosophical opposition to top-ten lists, which are simultaneously reductive and boring.  The best TV shows of the year can’t be boiled down to numbers—and definitely not when the person writing about them is terrible at math. Plus, like many TV critics, I haven’t seen every show. If I have but one rule, it’s that critics shouldn’t opine on subjects they know nothing about, or use the word “opine.”

As some evidence that I have no great gift for math, to my mind the best series of 2013 is Mike White’s anxiety-provoking, weirdly humane dark comedy “Enlightened,” which was cancelled in March. If I was a TV executive, maybe I’d have cancelled it, too, since the ratings stunk. But when you’re as numbers-blind as I am, you can see that it was actually a huge success, in the only way that matters: it shook up old ideas about what is possible on television.

Anyway, these are the other shows that I enjoyed the most in 2013: “The Good Wife,” “Please Like Me,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Top of the Lake,” “Behind the Candelabra,” “Girls,” “Scandal,” “Mad Men,” “30 Rock” (did that end this year?), “The Middle,” “Raising Hope,” “Eastbound & Down,” “Veep,” “Orphan Black,” “Always Sunny In Philadelphia,” “Key & Peele,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Inside Amy,” “The Fosters,” “Children’s Hospital,” “Game of Thrones,” “Switched at Birth,” “Breaking Bad,” “American Horror Story,” “Treme,” “The Americans,” “Call the Midwife,” “Parenthood,” “The Returned,” “Broadchurch,” and “The Fall.” They are not in any order, because that would be insane. (“Breaking Bad” versus “Behind the Candelabra.” Meth versus rhinestone. Two different forms of mano a mano.) Some of these shows are better than others, but so what? They’re all good.

Read the full article here