This isn't hyperbole—the first half of 2013 was one for television's history books. Mark our words: Decades from now, pop culture experts will talk about that shocking "Red Wedding" on Game of Thrones, and about how the legacy of Mad Men changed once Don Draper officially began his moral and emotional descents in season six. Moreover, 2013's front half introduced the world to a whole new form of episodic consumption via Netflix's ambitious, and ultimately triumphant, slate of original programming (House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, Arrested Development).

Yes, it's been an exceptional half-a-year on the small-screen, with old favorites reaching their highest points of excellence yet, a couple of beloved sitcoms ending their runs (30 Rock, The Office) and several new shows defying this-will-suck expectations (see: Bates Motel). Because of that, the following list of the best TV shows of 2013 (so far) was quite difficult to finalize, but we stand by every inclusion and each ranking. See if you agree.

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