I've got in the habit of doing a Power Rankings post, where I list the best shows I've watched in the past month - but since we're half way through the year already, I figured why not do a half-yearly edition of the rankings*?
Here are the 13 best shows I've seen so far this year ...
Honourable mentions: Boardwalk Empire (SoHo) only aired two episodes back in early January, while Dexter (SoHo) has aired the Season 7 finale and the Season 8 premiere; Banshee (SoHo) was a blast and a showcase for Antony Starr; Sunny Skies (TV3) was a delight in its first season; and Hannibal, Broadchurch, House of Cards, Orphan Black and Defiance all deserve mention for being the five most talked about shows of the year that haven't yet aired in this country.
13. Wilfred (Four):
Elijah Wood and Jason Gann (in a fluffy dog costume) star as the most unlikely pair of best friends imaginable - and it is so ridiculous that it makes for one of the most surreal half-hours of television you'll find this side of animated comedy.
12. Sons of Anarchy (TV3):
The fifth season of Sons took the show to another level, and that season finale was a game-changer. Brilliant performances from Charlie Hunnam and Katey Sagal only added to the drama unfolding onscreen, while Ron Perlman did his best work on the show to date, playing Clay as a deteriorating old man to perfection.
11. The Syndicate (UKTV):
Kay Mellor's wonderful series about a quintet of supermarket workers sharing first division lottery winnings was expertly written, and benefited from the performances of its core cast, including Timothy Spall, Joanna Page and Matthew McNulty.
10. Fringe (TV2):
It's most risky season, at least creatively, took Fringe out in style, ensuring that the show will be remember as one of the better sci-fi shows in recent memory. Now, if only John Noble could get an Emmy nomination ...
09. Harry (TV3):
Oscar Kightley wasn't perfect as troubled South Auckland cop Harry Anglesea, but the show built around him was one of the finest this country has ever produced. A top-notch drama to rival the best from around the world.
07. The Walking Dead (TV2):
My game of The Last of Us came to a close two nights ago, and I think it's made me appreciate The Walking Dead even more in hindsight - as good as shooting an arrow into a clicker's head felt, it was the character moments, the sheer desperation and loss of hope, that made Last of Us so good. The Walking Dead does that well, too.
06. New Girl (Four):
Zooey Deschanel beats her sister for Best Show Starring a Deschanel by a landslide. New Girl is another show to take a leap this year, improving in nearly every way possible on its first season. The funniest comedy on television, hands down.
05. The Americans (TV3):
Who knew that Cold War-era espionage could make for such a fantastic show? Aside from our top ranked show, this was my most anticipated drama each week - great performances, an engrossing story, and a unique setting. Brilliant.
04. Mad Men (SoHo):
The Don Draper Show had something of a down year ... but even at its worst, Mad Men is still better than most other shows. Besides, those final two episodes were something special. I can't wait for the seventh (and final) season of this amazing drama.
03. Jono & Ben at Ten (TV3):
I'm as surprised as you are - but make no mistake: JABAT has been one of the funniest things on television. It probably could have landed this high just on the basis of Guy Williams re-enacting famous movie scenes.
02. Breaking Bad (SoHo):
It might not be at the top of this list, but I would be very surprised if Bad isn't in first place when my end of year list comes out in December. I'm starting to think this might be the greatest drama show of all time. Yes, all time.
01. Game of Thrones (SoHo):
The best season of Game of Thrones to date, featuring one of the most memorable/most talked about scenes in television history, and setting the bar in terms of sheer scale of production. I wish it was March 2014 already.
What are the best shows you've seen in 2013 (so far)?
(*) In case you're wondering, my top six faves from June: 1) Game of Thrones, 2) Breaking Bad, 3) Jono & Ben At Ten, 4) Mad Men, 5) Go On, 6) Wentworth
Thrones will survive shocking scene (spoiler)