Saturday, June 1, 2013

TV Preview 2013/2014 – 25 Must-Watch Series, Part 4: 10-6

Rank: 10
Genre: Crime Drama/Mystery Thriller
Channel: Showtime
Current Season: Third
Season Premiere Date: September 29, 2013
Plot Summary: Carrie Mathison is an obsessed, driven CIA agent who believes missing Marine Segeant Nicholas Brody who has recently resurfaced in Iraq after eight years is not a returning hero but a sleeper agent for dangerous terrorist Abu Nazir.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Homeland’s first season was incredible, and while season two also played mostly to critical acclaim many where put off by certain aspects of the narrative (i.e. Carrie got annoying). Showrunners Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa seem to have received the message from fans and have promised that season three will see the series return to its critical status as one of televisions best dramas. They also have brought in a new writer James Yoshumura (in addition to shaking up the current staff). Yoshumura previously worked on Treme and Homicide: Life on the Streets.

Rank: 9
Genre: Drama
Creator(s): Aaron Sorkin
Channel: HBO
Current Season: Second
Season Premiere Date: July 14, 2013
Plot Summary: Network new anchor Will McAvoy fell into a rut, putting rating above integrity. But when executive producer MacKenzie McHale, a former girlfriend/love-of-his-life, returns, she lights a fire under Will reviving his tenacity and principles. Now, Will’s new goal is to make a real news show (regardless of ratings and resulting enemies).
Why It’s Worth Watching: The Newsroom is brilliant for multiple reasons. First, Aaron Sorkin’s writing is unmatched – the quick, witty interchanges between characters are delightful. Second, the cast is top-notch across the board, including great guests. And third, the show allows Sorkin to comment on American politics in a manner that is sorely missing from actual news programs (as ‘news’ programs in America are an embarrassing utter sham).

Rank: 8
Genre: Crime Drama
Creator(s): Graham Yost
Channel: FX
Current Season: Fifth
Season Premiere Date: January 2014
Plot Summary: As much as U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens tries to escape his connection to his small, poor rural coal-mining hometown in Eastern Kentucky, he just keeps getting drawn back in resulting in confrontations with dangerous characters.
Why It’s Worth Watching: Justified has walked the line between being a procedural and a serialized drama – and it works as either (and both) really due to Timothy Olyphant’s great performances as Raylan Givens (sort of an old-school cowboy stuck in the modern world) and the strong writing. The series also seems to get stronger with each season (which is rare these days it seems). HBO and FX lead this list with five shows each, and Justified is FX’s crown jewel.

Rank: 7
Genre: Crime Drama/Thriller
Creator(s): James Manos, Jr.
Channel: Showtime
Current Season: Eight, and final
Season Premiere Date: June 30, 2013
Plot Summary: Dexter Morgan is a blood splatter expert who works for the Miami Metro Police Department – he is also a serial killer (but he only kills bad people).
Why It’s Worth Watching: After a very disappointing sixth season, Dexter saw its return to its high standards with season seven – for its first three seasons, it was the best series on television. But, it is time for the show to end, and season eight will conclude the series. Yvonne Strahovski returns as Hannah and season eight welcomes an awesome guest star in Charlotte Rampling. As it is the end, I expect the season to be extreme and fearless in its storytelling.

Rank: 6
Genre: Political Drama
Creator(s): Beau Willimon
Channel: Netflix
Current Season: Second
Season Premiere Date: Spring 2014
Plot Summary: Majority Whip Francis Underwood expected to be a member of the President’s cabinet after helping him get elected into office, but he is politically dismissed. That betrayal will not go unpunished, as Underwood plots, schemes, and slithers his way back into a position of power – his goal: to destroy those that crossed him on his way to the White House.
Why It’s Worth Watching: With House of Cards and (season four of) Arrested Development, Netflix has given network television a friendly reminder that their time is over. The series is incredibly addictive and Kevin Spacey is brilliant in it. I cannot wait for season two’s release in another thirteen-episode chunk (which I will again be marathoning over one weekend). Netflix took a big step forward creating original content and hit a homerun (we have all forgotten about Lilyhammer right).

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