1. The Americans
This drama about married Soviet spies (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) targeted the point at which two blood-red lines – love of country, love for spouse – intersect and part. That it’s set near the Cold War’s end gives it all a sort of funny, if fatalistic, irony.
An addictive British murder mystery that exposed the underbelly of a small town, then dug deeper and found its bruised heart. Olivia Colman and David Tennant (he’ll star in FOX’s American reboot) were superb as mismatched detectives.
3. Masters of Sex
This dual portrait of sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson in the late ’50s is elegantly smart and sharp. It’s like being seduced in an Eames chair.
4. Breaking Bad
If the finale didn’t fully come to grips with the sins of Walter White, at least TV now has a myth to equal the fall of Adam. Only he’s bald.
5. The Good Wife
Five seasons on, Julianna Margulies’s legal drama still sets the platinum standard. Nolo contendere.
6. Hannibal (NBC)
Psychiatrist and cannibal Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) agrees to counsel a troubled FBI profiler of serial killers. This is a diabolical thriller, a vision of hellish anguish – also the sickest buddy comedy ever.
7. Behind the Candelabra
Michael Douglas glittered like a rhinestone as Liberace, a dazzling showman with a tin heart.
8. Orange Is the New Black
This grim comedy-drama about a women’s prison unexpectedly flowers into a touching study of bad choices and bad karma.
9. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Sitcom of the year. As a cop who loves his job, Andy Samberg is as giddily happy as a kid larcenist in a candy store.
10. The Returned
France gave us both this eerie, stiller-than-night zombie series and the word for its elusive, exquisite chill: frisson.