Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

The 10 Best TV Episodes of 2013


We’ve been spoiled for quality TV this year, with everything from sprawling fantasies to nerve-shredding political dramas. Here are our top ten episodes of 2013 (we’d have mentioned the episode of X Factor where Dermot O’Leary danced to ‘What the Fox Say’, but there just wasn’t room).

Needless to say, spoilers abound from here on in.

Luther: season 3, episode 1

This comeback episode is so rich with lazily increasing terror that you find yourself wanting to turn off the TV but unable to tear your eyes from the screen. There’s an exceedingly creepy murder, a slightly melodramatic internal investigator on John Luther’s (Idris Elba) tail, and apparently a new interior decorator, as Luther’s flat is now all rundown vintage chic.


Arrested Development: season 4, episode 14: Off the Hook

A brilliant, but deeply worrying, insight into the psyche of mother’s boy Buster Bluth (Tony Hale). In this amazing episode, he cuts the apron strings, goes on a juice binge with Liza Minnelli, joins the army and becomes sort of polyamorous. And it’s hilarious – the series reboot was worth this episode alone.


The Returned: season 1, episode 4: Victor

One main question in this atmospheric series about a troop of pouty French undead people returning to their hometown is this: who is creepy little Victor (Swann Nambotin)? Why won’t he speak? Does he have magical powers? How come he was in front of the school coach when it crashed? This episode doesn’t answer even half of those questions, but it’s a gripping watch nevertheless.


The Fall: season 1, episode 2: Darkness Visible

We watch Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan, whom we’ll soon see in Fifty Shades of Grey) linger almost lovingly over the corpse of his most recent murder victim, while detective Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson), wanders almost laconically ever closer to his discovery. Just like the series, this episode is cold as ice, and gripping.


Orange is the New Black: season 1, episode 1: I Wasn’t Ready

This Netflix original drama about a nice middle-class lady who ends up in jail isn’t the zany, fish-out-of-water comedy you might expect. From the moment the protagonist (Taylor Schilling) has to fashion slippers from sanitary towels to the first bite of a very unsavoury sandwich Star Trek: Voyager’s Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) serves her, you realise you’re in for something a little different.


The Walking Dead: season 4, episode 5: Internment

Poor Herschel (Scott Wilson) is taking care of everyone in the prison, where flu is ravaging through the population quicker than any zombie crisis. This riveting mid-season finale does a great job of ratcheting up the tension, and makes sure viewers will wait out the long winter for more.


Game of Thrones: season 3, episode 9: The Rains of Castamere

Even for those who'd already read the books, the 'Red Wedding' episode was the most traumatic of Game of Thrones' entire run thus far. Everyone knows that this is a show in which nobody is safe from George R.R. Martin's bloodlust, but the final minutes that saw Catelyn Stark, her eldest son Rob, plus his wife and their unborn child all viciously murdered was...no, sorry, we still can't talk about it.


House of Cards: season 1, episode 1

No one was sure whether Netflix’s reimagining of the BBC’s political drama was going to be a blunter, anodyne version. But we learn better when, just after the opening titles, Congressman Frank Underwood (a dead-eyed Kevin Spacey) calmly strangles a dog while expounding on his Machiavellian ideologies. It’s genius.


Homeland: season 3, episode 7: Gerontion

With entire episodes where either nothing happens, or Dana Brody (Morgan Saylor) throws a teenage strop, fans have wondered whether Homeland was playing a long game with season 3, or just losing its edge. But when Saul (Mandy Patinkin) locks the testy Senator Lockhart in a conference room, then turns off the lights – just because he fancies a chat – we’re back on awesome TV territory again. Phew.


Breaking Bad: season 5, episode 14: Ozymandias

When empires fall there’s always some admin to do afterwards. But when you’re science teacher turned meth cook Walter White (Bryan Cranston), that admin involves death, betrayal, and nostalgia. This is one of the strongest episodes that lead up to the supernaturally satisfying Breaking Bad season finale.

(Images: AllStar, Channel 4, BBC, Netflix)



Misheard lyrics of 2013


Best video game characters of 2013


The best movie twists of the year



Everything you can expect from Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror

What you need to know for Season 3

21 Oct 2016

Tom Cruise acted out his entire career with James Corden

A few good men who have all the right moves

by Tom Fordy
20 Oct 2016

This is the episode The Simpsons became shit

A scientific investigation into the slow, gradual death of a TV institution

by David Cornish
18 Oct 2016

'The One Where Chandler Dies' is the darkest Friends recut yet

Could this supercut BE any more existential?

by Joe Ellison
17 Oct 2016

League of Gentlemen could be making a 'Brexity' return

Mark Gatiss thinks Britain has become a "local country for local people"

by Tom Fordy
13 Oct 2016

Marvel meets the Wire: why everyone's talking about Luke Cage

Marvel's latest is breaking the internet

04 Oct 2016

Everything you need to know about Netflix’s Amanda Knox

The new Making A Murderer is here

29 Sep 2016

Awesome data breakdown of Simpsons characters by word count

Every Simpsons supporting character, ranked by words spoken

29 Sep 2016

Watch James Corden and Owen Wilson take on Usain Bolt in the 100m

Pretty much the race of the century

28 Sep 2016

Matt LeBlanc confirmed for two more series of Top Gear

Joey's taking the wheel for a while longer

by Paddy Maddison
26 Sep 2016