Winner
The Americans – FX

In the age of Showtime’s “Homeland,” it has never been more challenging to pull off a spy thriller that can impress modern audiences. So FX did us one better and created one set during the 1980s when Americans were far more worried about nuclear annihilation by the Soviets then they were about terrorism. This series, which tracks a KGB couple posing as a suburban American family, does just about everything right—from the tension we feel between the husband and wife (played beautifully by Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) to the dread that hits us right in the gut every time the incredible Margo Martindale appears on screen as the cold and calculating KGB station chief. It’s comforting to know that Vladimir Putin is in charge of Russia rather than a KGB spy from the 1980s… Uh, nevermind…

Honorable Mentions

American Horror Story: Asylum – FX – How could you take something as nice as an Asylum and make it scary? Wait a sec: Asylums have always been scary. FX just made it worse!

Bates Motel – A&E – A&E has been hitting it out of the park since entering scripted, and Bates Motel is no exception. This could be the re-imagining to end all re-imaginings.

Breaking Bad – AMC – It’s still one of the best things to hit TV since the invention of TV. And with its final season upon us, we tip our hats to this gem one more time.

The Hour – BBC America – Stars Dominic West and Romola Garai help take this period drama to a higher level. But it’s the writing and directing that puts it in the clouds.

Suits – USA Network – The “blue skies” network isn’t known for its darkness or edge, but Suits manages to create a broad tapestry that includes just enough overcast skies to keep us coming back.

Vikings – History – We’re anxious for a 2nd season of this thick historical drama, which immediately put History on the map for stellar scripted programming.

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