Friday, August 10, 2012

TV Preview 2012/2013 – 25 Must-See Series, Part 3: 15-11

Rank: 15
Genre: Horror/Romance/Drama
Creator(s): Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec
Current Season: Fourth
Channel: The CW
Return Date: October 11, 2012
Plot Summary: Elena Gilbert, a typical high school girl, finds her life plunged into a world of monsters when she falls in love with a pair of vampire brothers who are both drawn to her as she is identical to their long lost sire.
Why It Made the List: The Vampire Diaries started out as a poorly done vampire love-triangle teen soap, drenched in fanciful overly dramatic romance and clunky plotlines about vampires trying to pass as high school students, but about halfway through season one the tone of the series changed to more of an action and adventure romance drama and the show has been brilliant and very compelling ever since. Yes, some of the romance beats are still overly dramatic, but the whole show is stylized to be that way (at its core, it is really a show for teenage girls like most stuff on the CW). However, the series has become very much like a reimagining of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and has much of the same feel (though, considerably less silly and funny – this is much more serious tonally, which makes it different). As a huge fan of Buffy, I have grown to count this among my favorite TV series right now as each season get better and better thanks to very engrossing drama/storylines and great characters.

Rank: 14
Genre: Drama/Music
Creator(s): Eric Overmyer and David Simon
Current Season: Third
Channel: HBO
Return Date: September 23, 2012
Plot Summary: Following Hurricane Katrina, the people of New Orleans pick up their lives and carry on.
Why It Made the List: Treme is firstly a great drama (from David Simon, who gave us The Wire and Generation Kill), but the show can also be appreciated and loved for its dedication and passionate enamor for the music of New Orleans. Every episode is full of music and performances. The characters are also fantastic and drawn across the spectrum of the city, so viewers really get a sense of the different parts of the city and separate yet connected lives of its citizens. While not very flashy, it is consistently very good and well worth checking out for both drama and music fans.

Rank: 13
Genre: Horror/Drama
Creator(s): Eric Kripke
Current Season: Eighth
Channel: The CW
Return Date: October 3, 2012
Plot Summary: Sam and Dean Winchester, trained as hunters by their father, battle monsters, ghosts and any other supernatural evil that threatens our world.
Why It Made the List: Eric Kripke originally had a five-season story arc for Supernatural, and stepped down as showrunner after season five. I wondered if the show could continue its excellence when Sera Gamble took over for a two-season story arc. Seasons six and seven were just as good as the first five. However having finished the arc, Gamble is stepping down and new showrunner Jeremy Carver is taking over for season eight. Carver has written for the show since 2007 and also brought Being Human to America. Much like The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural is sort of the heir apparent to style and genre championed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (The Vampire Diaries is like Buffy, and this is like Angel in a way). For fans of Horror, this is a wonderful action drama that is not afraid to be quirky and aesthetically interesting and tackle moral and deep questions about humanity, all while being very entertaining.

Rank: 12
Genre: Crime Drama
Creator(s): Kurt Sutter
Current Season: Fifth
Channel: FX
Return Date: September 11, 2012
Plot Summary: The series follows the exploits of the SAMCRO motorcycle gang as they try to hold onto their territory and keep the gang together amidst threats both externally and internally.
Why It Made the List: Sons of Anarchy, much like The Shield (which Kurt Sutter also worked on), is a show that one would imagine being filled with adult language, and yet it is so well written that the viewer never notices or even questions the way the characters speak (being in a PG-13 or less manner). There are a lot of good crime dramas on TV right now (this, Breaking Bad, Justified, Dexter to name a few) but this has different, more rugged feel to it. The characters on this series are not afraid of being complex and having a duality to them, and in many cases being unlikable at times. A drama about a motorcycle gang may not seem like something that would appeal to everyone, but I highly recommend it. This series is gritty and dirty and utter compelling.

Rank: 11
Genre: Crime Drama
Creator(s): James Manos, Jr.
Current Season: Seventh
Channel: Showtime
Return Date: September 30, 2012
Plot Summary: Dexter Morgan is a serial killer, but he only kills criminals that have slipped through the system and avoided justice. To hide his true self, Dexter tries to assimilate into normal society with a family and friends, but his dark secret slowly begins to seep to the surface.
Why It Made the List: Usually, Dexter would be higher on this list. Seasons one through three saw it as probably the best show on TV, but with seasons four and five, while still very good, the show has become reparative with each season arc sort of being the same. Season six was easily the weakest, and rumbling started that the show had outstayed its useful life. That said, season seven will be the second to last, as all involved have stated that the series will end after season eight in 2013. Season seven looks a lot better than six, based on the preview trailers I have seen, and I am excited for the guest stars this season being Ray Stevenson and Yvonne Stranhovski. Plus, the story has finally come to a very interesting and different place than the past seasons.

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