'Breaking Bad,' Orphan' among year's best shows.

AuthorWiegand, David

Byline: David Wiegand

  1. "Breaking Bad,'' AMC: Vince Gilligan not only masterminded a perfect conclusion to a perfect show, but brilliantly assembled a walk-up to the finale that was both filled with surprise and entirely faithful to the series and its themes. One of the greatest TV series ever.

  2. "Orange Is the New Black,'' Netflix: The streaming platform became a major player this year with several superb series, and this one, about a classy New York woman who learns a lot about life and herself in a women's prison, is one of the best. Taylor Schilling heads a terrific cast that includes Kate Mulgrew, Pablo Schreiber and the amazing Natasha Lyonne.

  3. "Broadchurch,'' BBC America: A riveting murder mystery set in a small seaside town that was as much about the secrets of the townfolk as it was about who killed a small boy and left his body on the beach. Wrenching performances by Jodie Whittaker, David Tennant and Olivia Colman.

  4. "The Good Wife,'' CBS: The drama about a lawyer who refuses to be a victim of her husband's philandering has always been good, but it stepped things up big time this year, with agonizing breakups, both personal and professional, at Lockhart Gardner. Textbook example on how a great show can get better several seasons in without jumping any sharks.

  5. "Arrested Development,'' Netflix: A few longtime fans were upset the series didn't just follow the format familiar from the show's Fox days. But the brilliance of the new season is that it's tailored to every type of TV watching: real time, time shifting and binge-watching.

  6. "Veep,'' HBO: Julia Louis-Dreyfus became even nuttier and more self-absorbed this year as Vice President Selina Meyer. If only real politics were half this funny, we might put up with its oppressive inefficiency. Another great show that got even better.

  7. "Please Like Me,'' Pivot TV: Australian comic Josh Thomas stars in this autobiographical sit-com about a giggly, gangly goofball whose realization that he's probably gay gives him no more direction...

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