NGN’s Best of 2013: TV Moments

I hope all of you who celebrate it had a wonderful Christmas and are now looking forward to plenty of great New Year’s festivities. This is one of my favorites times of the year because it gives us a chance to look back on the year that was and remember all of the great things that happened during the last 365 days.

Here at NGN, that means looking back on the last year in the world of film and television, so in the days leading up to January 1, I will be posting some lists of what I consider the best of the TV shows and movies I watched in 2013. I hope you chime in with your own picks in the comments, and, for even more “Best of 2013” fun, go check out frequent NGN Contributor Heather’s lists, too.

Today’s “Best of” post features the 10 most memorable moments that leapt off my TV screen and into my heart this year. Some made me unbelievably happy, some broke my heart, and others made me feel awestruck by the incredible writing or performances that brought them to life.

Source: eonline.com

Source: eonline.com

1. Leslie and Ben Get Married (Parks and Recreation: “Leslie and Ben”)
Everyone loves a wedding, and the people at Parks and Recreation do weddings like no one else on television. Leslie and Ben are my favorite couple on television right now, so I was going to love their wedding no matter what. But the fact that their wedding was filled with so many little nods to their relationship and the show’s history made it even more special. Nothing I saw on TV in 2013 made me happier than this wedding, and it definitely wins my award for most-replayed moment of 2013, too. Oh Parks and Rec, I love you and I like you.

2. Nick and Jess Kiss (New Girl: “Cooler”)
It was the kiss heard ‘round the television world—and for good reason. It’s rare that a moment that was telegraphed for basically an entire episode still manages to surprise me, but that’s exactly what happened with this kiss. I was surprised that it happened after the moment seemed to have passed, but what really surprised me was just how incredible the kiss turned out to be. It was passionate, it was romantic, and, above all else, it was HOT. It was a kiss Jess could never forget, and I think the same could be said for all of us who watched it happen.

3. Dracarys (Game of Thrones: “And Now His Watch Is Ended”)
On a show that prides itself on its cinematic moments, Daenerys freeing the Unsullied stands heads and shoulders above the rest. This moment was one of pure triumph. After watching this young woman who has grown so much claim her full power as the Mother of Dragons, you couldn’t help but cheer for her. Everything about this moment was designed to give audiences the best kind of chills: from Emilia Clarke speaking Valyrian to the pounding of the Unsullied’s spears.

4. Will Finds Out (The Good Wife: “Hitting the Fan”)
No discussion of great TV in 2013 can happen without talking about the reinvention of The Good Wife. After nearly 100 episodes, the game was forever changed when Alicia and Cary decided to start their own firm—and it was changed in even better ways when Diane and Will finally found out about it. Seasons of shifting dynamics, changing loyalties, and complicated relationships exploded in what was one of the most compelling hours of television I’ve seen in a long time. And it started with a bang—this deliciously raw confrontation between Will and Alicia that felt like the brilliant payoff from the years of tension between these two characters.

5. “You Forgot Something…” (Once Upon a Time: “Going Home”)
If you need a reminder that Once Upon a Time can rip hearts out with the ease of the Evil Queen, look no further than the penultimate scene of this year’s midseason finale. As the beautiful score built and the purple cloud of magic engulfed familiar sights—from the clock tower to Henry’s beloved storybook—Emma and Henry’s family and the rest of Storybrooke’s denizens went back to being stories, transported to the Enchanted Forest while mother and son lost their memories of their time spent in the town. The way the heartbreak of that scene changed to bittersweet beauty as Emma’s false memories of keeping Henry took hold was gorgeous. And the way that bittersweet feeling changed to happiness and hope when Hook appeared at their door one year later was unexpected in the best possible way. The shifting emotions I felt during those final few minutes were the most potent I experienced while watching television all year, with both the sadness and the final burst of joy feeling earned in a very honest way.

6. Michael Scott Returns (The Office: “Finale”)
With a glowing smile and a perfect “That’s what she said” joke, Michael Scott came back to Scranton one final time to be Dwight’s best man when he finally married Angela. Although he wasn’t on screen for very long, Steve Carrell made the most of his appearance with a warmth and subtlety that showed how much both Michael and the show itself had grown since the early days of Dunder Mifflin. I don’t know anyone who loved The Office who didn’t cry while watching Michael and Dwight reunite with Jim looking on.

7. Castle Proposes (Castle: “Watershed”/“Valkyrie”)
Want to throw your show’s fandom into an emotional tizzy of epic proportions that leaves them breathless for months? Follow Andrew Marlowe’s lead, and have your season end with a proposal so surprising that it felt like a breakup scene until the final moments. No matter your feelings on the tone of the initial proposal, you can’t deny that it accomplished its purpose—it definitely got people talking about Castle. And the way the cliffhanger was resolved in this season’s premiere was full of the humor and heart that have defined Castle and Beckett’s relationship for six seasons, a relationship that has only gotten stronger since that proposal scene.

8. Mellie Gets Drunk (Scandal: “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington”)
After this scene, I wanted to run out into the streets singing the praises of Bellamy Young. I love Mellie Grant, and this show-stopping monologue is the perfect example of why: She is an expert at playing the hand she’s been dealt. There’s something so refreshing about this woman who could so easily be a victim but instead chooses to find power in situations that should render her powerless. The complexities of Mellie Grant are laid before us in this scene, and they’re a joy to behold. Yes, Mellie, you are spectacular.

9. The Perfect Secret Santa Gift (The Mindy Project: “Christmas Party Sex Trap”)
Danny Castellano’s character growth was one of my favorite things about television in 2013. And it culminated with his choreographed dance for Mindy to “Try Again.” From Chris Messina’s smooth moves to Danny’s sentimental streak when it comes to Mindy, this scene was full of surprises, like the best kind of Christmas gift for fans of this show.

10. Harvey Vs. Stephen (Suits: “She’s Mine”)
I’m not a violent person at all, but there’s something about a man fighting for what matters to him that is unbelievably appealing to me. The buildup to Harvey and Stephen’s fight was perfect—from the shocking revelation about Stephen’s true role to Donna’s tearful apology sending Harvey over the edge. Gabriel Macht’s controlled fury in that adrenaline-fueled final scene was incredible. From the direction to the music, this scene proved that Suits, like Harvey, somehow manages to stay cool and stylish even in the midst of a bathroom brawl.

What were your favorite TV moments of the year?

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10 thoughts on “NGN’s Best of 2013: TV Moments

  1. I’m so glad you did this! I had gotten rid of my post about best moments because there was so much overlap with the others. I completely agree about your choice of moments for all the shows we both watch. To single one out, THAT MELLIE MONOLOGUE WAS PERFECT. Bellamy Young is fantastic and I don’t understand how she’s not getting more attention than she is.

    Some of my other favorite moments of the year:
    Booth and Brennan’s vows (Bones: “The Woman in White”)
    Bill Master’s crying over his wife’s miscarriage (Masters of Sex: “Catherine”)
    Margaret Scully’s study interview (Masters of Sex: “Brave New World”)
    The adult characters of the Trophy Wife singing and dancing to The Sign by Ace of Base (“Twas the Night Before Christmas…Or Twas It?”; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcU83XNS9OU)

    • I knew you’d love my Mellie choice! Bellamy Young deserves to be in the conversation for major Best Supporting Actress nominations, but all I can hope is that her presence on a lot of “Best Performances of 2013” lists means that she’s finally starting to get the recognition she deserves for playing such a complicated character so well.

  2. Great Choices! You know if I was making this list there would probably be at least half full of Once Upon a Time, haha. So, that said, runner up OUAT moment for me would have to be Neal/Mr. Gold/Henry discovering their family ties in ‘Manhattan’ (can you believe this aired in Feb? It seems like ages ago!). Even though you could see it coming, that scene was just so well acted, and one of those huge payoff moments that made me 100% re-invested in the show. And honorable mention to the Hook/Emma kiss, because despite a part of me always enjoying seeing the two of them together since ‘Tallahassee’, I didnt realize just how much I shipped them until that moment when Hook sighed and you knew he was a total goner.

    Everything on Parks and Rec is perfect and the wedding was no exception (although I thought their engagement moment from 2012 was a tad better).

    I also loved the Nick/Jess kiss (super hot!), although at this point I am just sad that its mostly gone downhill from there. I think I have about 5 unwatched episodes on the DVR at this point. There are only so many episodes I can watch Nick refuse to accept any adult responsibility.

    I am trying to remember my fav ‘Game of Thrones’ moment from this season but my memory is a bit fuzzy. I did love your pick, but I also love the bath scene with Brianne and Jamie where he confesses to her how (and more importantly why) he became the Kingslayer. Season 3 was definitely my favorite, but thats not a surprise considering Book 3 is by far my favorite of the series so far. I cant wait for the rest of the big moments to come in Season 4 of the show!

    And while its not technically “TV” and I know you havent seen it, the kiss between Lizzie and Darcy in ‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ was amazing. To have so much setup, and so much hype, I thought for sure that moment could never live up to what I was expecting, and not only were my expectations met, I was floored by how perfect it was. I dont think I have ever felt so happy for two fictional characters to finally be together. You really need to watch this, cause I know you will love it. While the romance might be the most swoon worthy part of the series, its really more about Lizzie’s relationships with her sisters and best friend, and navigating through your 20s trying to figure out where you want to go in life, and I know that is something you will appreciate as much as I did.

    • I’m so looking forward to watching the Lizzie Bennet Diaries! And your runner-up choice for best Once Upon a Time moment is mine as well—it was actually a very hard decision for me to make between the scenes in “Going Home” and “Manhattan.” That scene in Neal’s apartment is still the best-acted scene the show has had so far. It was so tense, but it never veered into overwrought dramatics. Every emotion from every character felt real and human and beautifully flawed.

      I also love your Game of Thrones pick because my love for Jaime and Brienne’s dynamic (and Jaime’s character arc) knows no bounds. It was such a faithful adaptation of such a pivotal scene in the books, and it made me fall more in love with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as an actor than ever before.

  3. Ohhh, this is tough. I do like your pics of course. I would be hard pressed to argue with any of them, but for good of the order. I am going to offer a few alternatives and add a couple of my own.

    Castle – There is no arguing that the proposal is ‘the’ moment of 2013 for our favorite ying yang couple. And as is well documented on this blog, I loved the ending in May. That said, I have to throw in Castle’s moment in “Target” when he discovers the clue in Alexis’ video blog. That entire scene from the desperately helpless father watching her blog to his conversation with Beckett and stopping her when she starts to make him a promise she might not be able to keep is wonderfully paced, tense and heartbreaking. Fillion’s range is on full display and it is one of the most devastating and real moments of show and it managed to be surprising while completely appropriate for where the characters were.

    The Good Wife — This one is like picking among children. Hitting the Fan has multiple choices alone. For me, the phone call between Peter and Will was the very definition of how sharply toned this show is. More venom and emotional disdain was shown in a phone conversation than some shows get in an entire episode. However, I have to say one of my absolute favorite moments was Josh Charles and Dallas Roberts scene when we finally see the side of Will that has been deeply wounded and dumbfounded by Alicia’s betrayal.

    Once Upon a Time –Hook and Pan’s conversation post Emma kiss was a verbal sparring that emphasized such a great tone when it came to Pan and ultimately his reveal as Rumple’s father by far was the most jaw dropping moment of the season for me.

    Game of Thrones – Michelle Fairley + Red Wedding = DONE.

    Orphan Black — I will try to be coy here because I know you are in the midst of it. But in a series that had many many amazing scenes (a great deal of them between Allison and Felix), there was one scene that made me scream out loud and that I absolutely didn’t see coming. It is a scene that runs from fear to heartwarming to heart stopping in the span of about three and a half minutes. It is the very essence of why Orphan Black is a great series.

    Broadchurch — Yes the ending was mind-blowing and the killer reveal astonishing. But one of the singular best moments of this show was at the very beginning. I don’t think I will ever get the image of watching a father apologize and say goodbye to his son over his corpse in a morgue. We didn’t know this family, we don’t yet know these characters and yet in that one sequence the viewer is immediately drawn into their pain, agony and disbelief. It is the type of scene that makes you want to look away because you feel as though you are intruding on a private moment. It set the tone for the series and the bar for all the acting that was to come through the spectacular 10 episodes.

    Downton Abbey — For all the flack and backlash the show took for killing off Matthew Crawley I enjoyed the season a great deal. The handling of Mary and Matthew’s love marriage and happiness was a nice gift to fans independent of its end. However, the single best moment of the show last year was Maggie Smith’s arrival to Downton Abbey after Sybil has died. The complete destruction she feels over the loss and her ability to steel herself in order to remain strong for her family is a moment of silent mastery. Maggie Smith conveyed a lifetime of remorse by merely holding onto the wall to steady her balance. Her entire body caved into grief. I had been doing fine until that moment and in the series of that sequence I became a blubbering mess. It was exquisite and probably my favorite single TV moment of 2013.

    • I love all of your choices! Your selections for Castle, Once Upon a Time, and Game of Thrones are actually going to show up in some of my upcoming Best of 2013 posts for episodes and performances, so once again we have very similar taste. 😉

      And your very coy choice for Orphan Black has me even more excited for the rest of my viewing! (Just finished Episode 4 now—I’m trying to savor rather than binge, but it’s so hard!)

  4. Pingback: NGN’s Best of 2013: TV Relationships | Nerdy Girl Notes

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