5. Quality over quantity
We hate breaks between seasons as much as anyone who shifts their schedule around their TV-viewing plans, but not every story needs to be fleshed out for 22, or even 12, episodes and extended for seasons. In fact, there are quite a few series we can think of that should've given up the ghost several episodes ago.
Rather than forcing us to watch something beloved collapse under the strain of an increasingly stretched plot, miniseries like BBC America's outstanding "Sherlock" or History's one-time-only "Hatfields and McCoys" offer only as many episodes as the story supports. And in doing so, the quality remains intact.
6. Don't be afraid to kill a character
As much as viewers may weep, showrunners everywhere should take note that virtually no one is safe on the most highly acclaimed dramas. "Game of Thrones," "Boardwalk Empire," "American Horror Story: Asylum," "Mad Men," "The Walking Dead" and "Homeland" have all been willing to sacrifice a character or three in the name of maintaining an unpredictable and affecting story.
7. Give good send-off
With many of our favorites headed into their series finales, including "30 Rock," "Fringe" and "Breaking Bad," we have to say we like where the road to the end is carrying us.
From Walter White's continued descent into darkness, to a final showdown with the Observers, to Liz Lemon's exploration of having it all -- complete with a Princess Leia costume to get married -- the creative teams are acknowledging that now's the time to raise the bar for excellence even higher. Here's to seeing both series, as well as others wrapping up in 2013, going out on top.