Shalom Life | October 30, 2014

Jewish Top 10s: Television Shows of the Year

Continuing with our Best of 2013 Lists, Shalom Life is proud to present the best television shows to have graced your screens in the year 2013

By: Daniel Koren & Zak Edwards

Published: December 20th, 2013 in Culture » TV » News

Jewish Top 10s: Television Shows of the Year

Welcome to Jewish Top 10s, where we compile lists that highlight the best and the brightest of everything yehudi, from delicious recipes to funniest actors, to most obnoxious Jewish wedding songs.

With weeks away from the year 2014, naturally, tis the season for end of the years lists. Besides Rob Ford, Edward Snowden and Miley Cyrus headlines, this year has also brought us an abundance of amazing music, television, literature and film, and also, several developments in the world of business and technology.

Both Jewish men and women have contributed significantly to these various industries, and subsequently, we at Shalom Life feel inclined to list the very best of 2013; last week we brought to you the Best Albums of 2013 to have graced the proverbial stage.

This week, we present to you the Best Television Shows.

Jewish actors, actresses, directors, writers, producers and the like have contributed to the edgiest, most hilarious, intelligent and thought-provoking television programs to have come out in 2013 - save for Breaking Bad, unfortunately - and we are delighted to celebrate them all in listing Shalom Life's Top Ten Television Shows for the year 2013.

Whether it's on the couch at home watching the big screen, or viewing some shows you downloaded on your iPad, television has always been there to cheer us up, to inspire dialogue, and to offer relatable, insightful content.


Without further adieu, the list:

TOP TEN

10.


GLEE

Fans of the internationally acclaimed Glee were met with heartache this year at the loss of Cory Monteith, a star of the show who dated fellow co-star Lea Michele both on, and off the set. The show dedicated an episode called ‘The Quarterback’ in honor of Monteith, and have since announced that the forthcoming season will be the show’s last. Meanwhile, Season 5 has continued to win fans with their musical renditions of pop songs, whether contemporary or classic.

9.


NEW GIRL

New Girl is the epitome of a show that needed time to figure itself out. Watching the early episodes, which rely more on Zooey Deschanel being embarrassingly quirky, can be almost painful compared to the better episodes in its amazing second season. Most shows experience growing pains and New Girl has blossomed in 2013, taking the ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl moves in with three guys’ premise to dazzling heights. With episodes like “Virgins,” which uses the great characters the show has developed to tell the hilarious stories of how they lost their virginity, New Girl is one of the funniest and sweetest shows that aired in 2013.

While the show may star Deschanel, Max Greenfield’s hilarious Schmidt is easily the breakout character. Once a fat kid who lost a bunch of weight and got cocky about it, Schmidt is the source of tons of hilarity on the show, and Greenfield is a gifted comedic actor, especially with his physical comedy. I burst out laughing every time I see this:


New Girl is part of TV’s brightening, as I call it, as shows like this and Parks and Recreation move away from the cynicism of shows like The Office, and tell funny, heartwarming stories with strong emotional cores. Episodes like this season’s “Double Date” also show the creators aren’t afraid of great dramatic moments either, delving into the insecurities that Schmidt’s weight loss has had on his fragile self-esteem. On the surface, New Girl may seem like hipster crap, but its actually one of the best written and acted comedies of the year.

8.

GIRLS

Lena Dunham is a wonder, really. At not even thirty, the writer has two seasons of an HBO show under her belt and has the Emmys to prove it. Comparisons to Sex and the City abound, but Girls really is its own little niche, telling stories with a humour and tone that isn’t really anywhere else. The second season may not have been as fresh as the first, but the episodes are wonderful short vignettes that aren’t as precious about the character as fans of the show are. Scenes like Marnie’s embarrassing singing at Charlie’s office party and Hannah’s adventures with q-tips made us cringe, but there are moments that prove Lena Dunham is a brilliant writer with a great career ahead of her.


Many detractors roll their eyes at the show’s “down-and-out, twenty-somethings in New York” premise, but Girls is a serious look at what it’s like to grow up and live in a world that won’t pay, expects you to work constantly, and isn’t really into giving anyone a break, despite constant promises. Girls, at its heart, is an honest show about characters who aren’t honest with themselves in a world equally so.

Oh, and it’s funny. Like, OMG, really, really funny (to quote Shoshanna).

7.

THE BIG BANG THEORY

Is there a more obnoxious Jewish stereotype presented in television than that which is Howard Wolowitz, a nerdy engineer who has an excessively intimate relationship with his mother, and mentions the distinctiveness of his mother's brisket as often he awkwardly hits on women? That is, of course until he marries his shiksa girlfriend Bernadette. Besides Howard, the creator of the Big Bang Theory, notable Jewish producer/Charlie Sheen antagonist Chuck Lorre, has had a very successful stint with running television shows, with Big Bang being one of the most popular.


With Sheldon's zany antics, Raj's relationships with women, or a lackthereof, and Penny and Leonard's on again/off again relationship, the show continues to thrive, crossing the threshold past the 20 million viewer mark during its sixth season. Season 7 has continued with this trajectory, with a bigger focus on Sheldon's relationship with Amy Farrah Fowler (played by Mayim Bialik) and seeing Leonard and Penny getting even closer to one another.

6.

BROOKLYN NINE-NINE

You’ll notice that most of the shows on this list are older shows, there aren't a lot of new programs here and, to be honest, the fall of 2013 didn’t really have that much to offer. That is, until you watched an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

When news came out that Andy Samberg was doing a television show, the jokes that his career had failed before it ended rang amuck, particularly if you saw the roast of James Franco. But Samberg proved us all wrong with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a surprisingly charming and hilarious sitcom set in a fictional police district in Brooklyn.


With a cast of colorful characters, lead by Samberg’s Jake Peralta, who despite being childish and outlandish is actually somewhat believable as a detective if you let your imagination wash over you, and fantastic performances form Joe Lo Truglio and Terry Crews, if there’s any new regularly broadcast television show we recommend you watching this year, it will definitely be found at the Nine-Nine.

Continue reading for the Top 5 Television Shows of 2013

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