Friday, May 31, 2013

TV Preview 2013/2014 – 25 Must-Watch Series, Part 3: 15-11

Rank: 15
Genre: Period Drama
Creator(s): Julian Fellows
Channel: Masterpiece Theatre on PBS
Current Season: Fourth
Season Premiere Date: January 5, 2014
Plot Summary: The series looks into the lives of a wealthy English family the Crawleys and their servants in the early twentieth century.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Downton Abbey is addictive, dramatically engrossing, and wonderfully well written. It features many of television’s best characters as well. Two of the most beloved characters were written off the show in season three due to actors asking to leave the series, causing creator Julian Fellows to alter his plans somewhat (and massive fan outrage), but there is no doubt that Fellows will continue to create new stories that will continue to entice and captivate his audience.

Rank: 14
Genre: Horror/Drama
Creator(s): Eric Kripke
Channel: The CW
Current Season: Ninth
Season Premiere Date: Fall 2013
Plot Summary: Sam and Dean Winchester hunt and kill all manner of demons, monsters, and supernatural creatures, following in their father’s footsteps.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Supernatural has a ten season plan. Originally, creator Eric Kripke planned the story to be told over five seasons, and after season five he left to pursue his new series Revolution. Sera Gamble took over as the showrunner for seasons six and seven telling a great two season arc. Now new showrunner Jeremy Carver has taken over and has been able to keep the show fresh and just as good as it has ever been.  Fans of fantasy/horror drama need to be watching this show.

Rank: 13
Genre: Crime Drama
Creator(s): Kurt Sutter
Channel: FX
Current Season: Sixth
Season Premiere Date: Fall 2013
Plot Summary: Jax Teller and Clay Morrow are locked in a deadly power struggle for control of the SAMCRO motorcycle club.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Sons of Anarchy is a great gritty crime drama. In many ways it resembles The Shield (which Kurt Sutter wrote on) in its style, tone, and storytelling. Creator Sutter takes risks with his characters and is not afraid to make them complex and even unlikable in moments, but he does it all to enrich the overall narrative (the characters and drama). The series gets its hands dirty, exploring the darker corners of humanity – and it is utterly compelling.

Rank: 12
Genre: Crime Drama/Mystery Thriller
Creator(s): Neil Cross
Channel: BBC America
Current Season: Third
Season Premiere Date: September 2013
Plot Summary: DCI John Luther is a brilliant but troubled police detective in London.  His inner darkness makes him particularly equipped to take on the most ruthless killers, but it also often leads him down a path towards self-destruction. 
Why It’s Worth Watching: There are too many procedural cop series on television right now – far too many. Yet, Luther (and Sherlock) feels totally fresh. This is due to Neil Cross’s stellar writing and Idris Elba’s fantastic performance as Luther. The dynamic between Luther and meticulous killer/friend Alice Morgan is one of the best and most interesting on television (and yes, she returns for season three). After a hiatus Luther is finally back.

Rank: 11
Genre: Horror/Drama
Creator(s): Frank Darabont
Channel: AMC
Current Season: Fourth
Season Premiere Date: October 2013
Plot Summary: Zombies have overrun the world. Lead by police officer Rick Grimes, a small group tries to survive as they seek shelter.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Original showrunner Frank Darabont (who developed the graphic novel for TV) was fired by AMC after season one due to creative differences – but in all honesty, season one was very disappointing. Glen Mazzara took over for seasons two and three and the show became one of the best series on television, but Mazzara is leaving the show now too due to creative differences with AMC regarding where to take the series. Scott Gimple has been promoted to take over running the series. Will The Walking Dead remain brilliant or will it fall back to being the lessor series it was during season one? We shall see. Gimple wrote many of the great episodes of the series, so my hopes are high.

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