Wednesday, May 29, 2013

TV Preview 2013/2014 – 25 Must-Watch Series, Part 1: 25-21

Rank: 25
Genre: Period Family Drama/Political Thriller
Creator(s): Joseph Weisberg
Channel: FX
Current Season: Second
Season Premiere Date: January 2014
Plot Summary: Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings seem like the typical 1980s American family, but they have a secret. They are deep-cover Russian spies.
Why It's Worth Watching: The Americans is a fantastic cold war thriller that explores both its characters as a family drama and the politics of the 1980s (the tension of the cold war). Keri Russell is brilliant on the series (and should be up for an Emmy). What is interesting about the series and what makes its different than Homeland is that it is about KGB agents – the heroes of this series are really villains. This is a must-see series for fans of spy dramas.

Rank: 24
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Creator(s): Paul Abbott
Channel: Showtime
Current Season: Fourth
Season Premiere Date: January 2014
Plot Summary: The Gallagher clan lives in Chicago, doing whatever they must to stay together even though their mother has left, their father is an alcoholic, and they are dirt broke. So, they must scheme and cheat, but family is the most important.
Why It's Worth Watching: Shameless is wonderfully funny and dramatically engaging due to its superb ensemble cast, lead by Emmy Rossum and William H. Macy. At its heart, it is a family sitcom, but without many of the tired troupes that usually infect the genre. Instead, it succeeds on its great characters and strong writing. And, being that it is on Showtime – it can take its characters to very raw and outrageous places, which is very fun to watch.

Rank: 23
Genre: Crime Drama/Horror
Creator(s): Bryan Fuller
Channel: NBC
Current Season: Second
Season Premiere Date: Spring 2014
Plot Summary: Serving as a prequel to the Hannibal Lecture films, the series explores the relationship between a young FBI profiler Will Graham and his psychoanalyst Dr. Hannibal Lecter (who begins helping out on cases, and more).
Why It's Worth Watching: While NBC has yet to decide whether or not Hannibal will return for a second season, the show is too brilliant to leave off this list of the twenty-five best series on television for the 2013/2014 season. Bryan Fuller is one of TV’s most imaginative writers (with past series including: Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, and Pushing Daisies). He brings such a rich texture to this crime drama (when it easily could have just been a slight twist on the boring procedural formula). The cast, especially Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen, is phenomenal as well. Hannibal is one of the bright spots for drama on Network television (and the only non-cable drama to make this list). UPDATE: NBC has picked up Hannibal for a second season.

Rank: 22
Genre: Comedy
Creator(s): Dan Harmon
Channel: NBC
Current Season: Fifth
Season Premiere Date: 2014
Plot Summary: Six friends (formally seven) make their way through Greendale Community College – attending odd classes, making dioramas, and going on adventures.
Why It's Worth Watching: The fourth season of Community was very disappointing (which is why it has fallen out of the top five all the way back to twenty-two). It lost its creative soul when Sony/NBC fired creator Dan Harmon. But, the cast is still the best among any sitcom and it still has its moments of sheer joyful and hysterical bliss. Somehow, despite its perpetual low ratings, it is back for a fifth season (and like season four, it will only have thirteen episodes). Season four showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port simply tried so hard to copy Dan Harmon’s version (and failed) instead of making the show their own. Sony and NBC are looking for a new creative head. Surprisingly, there is a rumor Harmon might be returning. Also, Chevy Chase has left the series (but if Harmon returns, will Chase return too?!?). UPDATE: Dan Harmon is returning!!!!

Rank: 21
Genre: Horror/Romance/Drama
Creator(s): Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec
Channel: The CW
Current Season: Fifth
Season Premiere Date: October 2013
Plot Summary: Elena Gilbert was seemingly just a typical high school girl until her life became filled with vampires, werewolves, and witches. Now she finds herself torn between two vampire brothers Stefan and Damon, both of whom she loves.
Why It's Worth Watching: The Vampire Diaries is at times overly melodramatic (after all it is targeted at teenagers and is on The CW), but mostly it is a very engaging fantasy drama, which often features wonderful story and character arcs (and to some extent fills the void left by Buffy the Vampire Slayer). With Klaus and his siblings finally leaving Mystic Falls (for their own spin-off The Originals), the series can explore much-needed new stories and villains (I feel that Klaus narratively overstayed his welcome by about two seasons, which impaired the storytelling progression).

No comments:

Post a Comment