Spoilers ahead, if you're bothered by that sort of thing.
The key word for television in 2013: death. In a superb year marked by some of the best seasons yet from several of TV's biggest shows, there were plenty of casualties. Let us give one final "Rest in Peace" shout-out to Walter White, Richard Harrow, Clay Morrow, Robb Stark, Catelyn Stark, The Governor, and Hershel Greene. Fans of Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, and The Walking Dead are still in mourning. Those endless glasses of champagne on New Year's Eve can't arrive soon enough.
It wasn't all doom and gloom, though. Amidst the bloodshed and sadness, a significant number of freshman shows muscled their way into the hearts of viewers and critics alike, and, for the most part, they're all upbeat. That's right, in the dark TV days of Heisenberg, fun times are still in vogue, whether it's legitimately funny new sitcoms like Brooklyn Nine-Nine or raucous comedy-dramas like Sleepy Hollow. Another cause for celebration in 2013? The rise of Netflix, which brought forth the year's best new reason to laugh (and sometimes cry) in front of a small screen: Orange is the New Black.
Indeed, it's been a dynamite year for television, one that, with Breaking Bad's final hour leading into the same for Mad Men and Sons of Anarchy in 2014, could signal the end of TV's "Golden Age." That question has been on the minds of small-screen critics lately, namely Grantland's Andy Greenwald, who went so far as to call this TV's "zombie age." If that's the case, then the last 12 months gave people some wonderful corpses. And here are the best of the best, The Best TV Shows of 2013.