In this age of hook-laden, high-concept summer TV shows, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. “Fargo” (FX) maintained its momentum all the way through its first season, culminating in Tom Hanks’ son satisfyingly blowing away Billy Bob Thornton’s almost parodically vile Lorne Malvo. And it looks like “The Strain” (9 p.m. Central Sundays, FX) is in the process of solidifying its spot as a horror classic.
There are several grim and violent shows on TV, especially the cable networks, but “The Bridge” (9 p.m. Central Wednesdays on FX) started its second season with an hour so incredibly bleak that 1) it confirms that it’s still a top-10 show, and 2) I almost want to cancel it from my DVR queue.
These were my 10 favorite shows of 2013:
1. “Bunheads” (Season 1, ABC Family) — I know “Bunheads” was the best show on TV in 2013 because it appealed to both the heart and the mind. And also because — with its dance numbers that attempted to illustrate the mood of the story — it was a daring work of art unlike anything else. Even Amy-Sherman Palladino’s trademark show, “Gilmore Girls” — to which “Bunheads’ ” quirky small town and obscure references owe a debt — wasn’t this ambitious. I also know “Bunheads” was the best show of the year because it hurts like hell that we aren’t getting new episodes or even a DVD release.
While it’s not quite as good as the current season of “The Killing” (my favorite show at the moment), “The Bridge” (9 p.m. Central Wednesdays on FX) has a lot of the same elements that make that Seattle-based murder mystery great. In particular, the 90-minute premiere showcased a great sense of place. I’ve never been to the Texas-Mexico border, but this episode brought me there in a lot of ways.