Paul & AJ’s Top 10 New & Returning TV Series of 2013

Last week, we brought you our favorite movies of last year (finally saw Inside Llewyn Davis, by the way, and yes, it would have made the cut). This week, we change channels to focus on TV. We’re doing things a little differently this time out, with separate top 10 lists for new shows and returning favorites. Though there were a lot of new shows I enjoyed over the past year, I’ll admit I couldn’t stretch them to 10; instead, I’ve got 8, while Paul’s just crazy enough to have a full 10.

As always, there are shows we couldn’t get around to: I haven’t seen Rectify, Top of the Lake, Broadchurch, or The Wrong Mans, all of which I’d hoped to see in time for this list. Oh, and to absolve him of all guilt, I should mention that Paul has never seen Breaking Bad. Wait, I don’t think that absolves him.

NEW SERIES

PAUL: 10. HANNIBAL (NBC)

hannibal

I wasn’t particularly interested in a television adaptation of the Thomas Harris characters. But names like Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, and Bryan Fuller pulled me in. It’s one of the most visually stunning and hauntingly…haunting shows ever to make it to network television. It’s also one of the most shockingly violent and grotesque. All positives in my book. But I can’t put it any higher on my list because it’s crushingly depressing.

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Listen to Episode 132, “Bang & Twang (feat. Rench from Gangstagrass)”

Rench from Gangstagrass

Gobbledygeek episode 132, “Bang & Twang (feat. Rench from Gangstagrass),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Hip hop? Bluegrass? The two genres might not be as different as you think, which Paul and AJ learn this week by talkng to Gangstagrass mastermind Rench. Rench discusses his attempt to bridge the gap and of how the fusion came about. Along the way, there’s talk of Whedon, Axe Cop, and of course, Justified. Plus, AJ raves about Enlightened, Paul chats about the new comic Helheim, and there’s more (yes, really!) Americans talk.

Next: the boys are joined by Jason Tabrys of The BastardCast.

(Show notes for “Bang & Twang.”)

Paul & AJ’s Top 10 TV Series of 2012

On this, the eve of 2013, Paul and I begin to look back at some of our favorite things of 2012. First up, our ten favorite TV series.

Also, let’s give a slow clap to Paul, who struggled through severe illness just to get these words to you, dear reader. A speedy recovery to you, sir!

– AJ

PAUL: 10. PARKS AND RECREATION (NBC)

Adam Scott, Amy Poehler, and Rashida Jones in 'Parks and Recreation'

Season 5 gets out of the office a little bit, with Ben and April in Washington D.C. (with an evil robot congressman). Ron gets a new love interest (the always lovely Lucy Lawless). Tom starts a new business. And Andy finds a new career.

AJ: 10. GAME OF THRONES (HBO)

Peter Dinklage in 'Game of Thrones'

What Game of Thrones did in its first season was nothing short of exceptional, a 10-episode narrative that goes down as one of the finest accomplishments the medium has seen thus far. And while the second season struggled at times to recapture that majesty, it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. The scope and breadth of George R.R. Martin’s world remains impressive; the cast, especially Peter Dinklage as the kind of noble imp Tyrion Lannister, continues to knock out high fantasy material that would crush lesser actors; and thrilling hours like “Blackwater” remind us that this is the closest thing we have to a Lord of the Rings on TV. And it’s a whole lot nastier and sexier, too.

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Four-Color Flashback: ‘Preacher: Vol. 9 – Alamo’

Welcome to the final week in our discussion of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher. For more, read weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Paul: It ends here.

Nine volumes. 66 issues. Five one-shot specials. A four-issue tie-in miniseries. And a tanker truck full of blood and guts. Our pissed-off preacher, gun-toting girl Friday, and blood-drinking BFF all converge, where else? Texas. The Alamo, to be precise. And things get both big and small, epic and very, very personal.

Oh, and one poorly written report gets taken out behind the woodshed and shot the fuck up.

So AJ, mi compadre, what did you think of the grand finale?

AJ: Where to begin? Perhaps it’s best to start with my one sizable complaint before moving on to everything that worked so, so well here. Last week, we talked about the watering-down of Herr Starr, of how even though he’s the series’ ostensible antagonist, his misadventures have often been treated as comic relief. Maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention, but I completely failed to realize that taking revenge on Jesse had supplanted bringing about Armageddon as his goal in life. So when he announced his plans to the Elite Council, I was just as confused as they were (luckily, I didn’t get murdered right after). I feel like a discussion of Starr as the series’ Big Bad could take up its own post, so I’ll just say that though I loved the vast majority of what we ended up getting, I can’t imagine what an epic ending Armageddon could have provided.

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Listen to Gobbledygeek’s Lost Episode, “True Swan/Black Grit”

The lost episode of Gobbledygeek, “True Swan/Black Grit,” is available for listening or download right here.

Recorded way back on January 8, this was initially conceived as a test episode for the show’s new format. We then thought, “Hey. Because we’re lazy bastards, this might also make a really convenient filler episode.” And now, ladies and gentleturkeys, the time has come: half of the Gobbledyteam is away (on business, we’re told), so we’re unearthing this oft-mentioned chestnut in which Paul and AJ review the then-current films True Grit (harmony!) and Black Swan (dischord!). And we thought last week’s episode was about time travel! Plus: outdated news, AJ reviewing The Fighter and Never Let Me Go, Paul reviewing Justified, and possibly more!

Next: we take a week off for Memorial Day, and we return June 4, on which date you best be prepared for a Geek Challenge.

Download Episode 41, “Saturday Morning Gobbledygeek”

Gobbledygeek episode 41, “Saturday Morning Gobbledygeek,” is available for download right here. This week, Paul and myself travel back to the days of yore for our memories of two very different eras of Saturday morning programming. From Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; from Superfriends to Batman: The Animated Series; and more. After that, we’ve got upcoming DVD releases, another exciting segment of “Reel Picks” (reviewed are Nowhere BoyRestrepo, and Dogtooth), and then Paul reviews the new episodes of Glee and Justified before capping things off with a discussion of the Lissie concert he attended. Lots of show there, hope you enjoy all of it.

Next: something, somehow relating to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

(Show notes for “Saturday Morning Gobbledygeek.”)