With the vast majority of TV shows that I'm interested in if not all of them that are new and hitting in 2013, I thought I'd run down the list of my top five favourite TV shows that debuted this year.
Firstly, I'd like to apologise for the lack of consistent updates. Ever since the Tomb Raider review I've been unable to get on Wordpress for the past six days. If you want to view the site you can click here, to find updates on various different links. As a result of this I’ll be making a few changes – first of all, I’ll no longer be doing reviews per episode. Instead of this I’ll be switching over to reviews per season or first half of a season. I was only doing reviews per episode for Arrow and Doctor Who and pilot episodes anyway so there isn’t really that much difference. Maybe someday in the future it’ll change. You’ll still get game, film and maybe the occasional comic review as well but this is going to be a primarily TV centric site – hence the change from Bane of Kings’ Writing Blog to The Fictional Hangout.
And to apologise for everything that’s been happening over the past few days – which doesn’t appear to be my fault but a general problem that Wordpress has been having, I've decided to make a list of the Top 5 TV shows of 2013 so far, mainly because I believe that even if I do get invested in a new show it will not have enough time between now and 2014 to have enough episodes out of the way to motivate me into replacing one of the titles on this list, because these Top 5 shows are seriously good. They're all new series - so don't expect stuff like Breaking Bad (of which I have only seen the first episode) Game of Thrones (of which I'm on Season 2) or Doctor Who (of which I'm up to date) on this list of shows - but expect five awesome ones.
First off however, before we get into the Top 5, let’s list the HONOURABLE MENTION: The Escape Artist, a BBC One legal drama that’s a three-part mini-series starring David Tennant as Will Burton, a lawyer who can get any client out of any situation. It was originally on this list but didn’t make it because it was only a mini-series. However – it is certainly the best mini-series that I’ve seen so far this year. It’s currently available on DVD.
Stars: Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, Minka Kelly, Mackenzie Crook, Lili Taylor | Episodes Aired (30/11/13): 3 | Network/Channel: Fox (USA) | Genre: Science Fiction: For Fans Of: I, Robot, Dredd, Robocop, Terminator, Any Robot-related film ever| Renewed For Season 2? Not Yet |
The show with the least amount of catching up to do on this list, Almost Human is a show that whilst is pretty much the same as every single robot film that you've ever seen before with an added dash of buddy cop dramas thrown into the mix, Almost Human star's Dredd's fantastic Karl Urban in the role of Detective John Kennex in the year 2048. Following an mission involving an android that took the life of his partner and his leg, Kennex develops a deep distrust of robots but is forced to work with Michael Ealy's Dorian, an older model when it is required that all Detectives must work with an android partner. Almost Human is a show made entertaining by the great chemistry between Urban and Ealy and above all the fact that out of the shows on this list, it's arguably the most fun. Science Fiction fans should love this, but just be wary - it's not been renewed for a second season just yet - but I for one, really hope that it does. I'm looking forward to Episode 4 next Monday - it's been a terrific show so far.
Stars: James Spader, Megan Boone, Harry Lennix, Diego Klattenhoff, Ryan Eggold | Episodes Aired (30/11)13: 9 | Network/Channel: NBC (USA) | Genre: Crime Drama | For Fans of: Castle, Crime Dramas, | Renewed For Season 2? Not Yet
James Spader. He's playing Ultron in Avengers 2 and based on his performance here I'm really looking forward to seeing what he can do. Spader steals the spotlight of The Blacklist and delivers some great performances in the nine episodes that we've seen so far. The show focuses around Spader's criminal mastermind Raymond "Red" Reddington handing himself over to the FBI offering to help them catch Ranko Zamani, a terrorist. However - Red's only condition is that he'll work with Megan Boone's profiler Elizabeth Keen, who's on her first day of the job. Why Red wants her is a mystery - but Spader intends to forge an ongoing working relationship with the FBI as he works with Keen to track down targets on the "Blacklist", containing criminals unknown to the FBI. The result is a very entertaining show with some great chemistry between Spader and Boone and is certainly worth checking out. The Blacklist is one of those shows that you can binge-watch in order to catch up on and that's what I've been spending the past three weeks doing. Whilst it's finale of the first half of Season 1 airs on Monday and it's not yet been confirmed for a season 2, it has been given a full season order so I highly recommend that you get up to date on this series ASAP. Like all the other shows on the list it's compulsory viewing. It's a good balance of procedural stories and ongoing mysteries and although the trailer is basically the best bits of the first episode - you should certainly check this show out regardless. It's superb.
Like Orphan Black below, Peaky Blinders has already finished its season with a total of six hour long episodes. However, it couldn't be anymore different than the science fiction show - it's a historical fiction drama focusing on the adventures of the real life gang the Peaky Blinders, with the A-List talent of Cillian Murphy who fans will recognise from The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception. He plays gangster Tommy Shelby, whilst Annabelle Wallis plays Grace Burgess, a double agent sent to find out missing guns that the Shelby family accidentally stole at the request of Sam Neil's Inspector Campbell, who's acting under direct orders from Winston Churchill himself. Whilst this show isn't normally my thing, Peaky Blinders weaves a compelling tale that is one of the best BBC dramas to hit the network. It hasn't aired yet in the USA but when it does it's certainly something that should be checked out.
Stars: Tatiana Maslany. Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany and even more Tatiana Maslany. Also: Jordan Gavaris, Dylan Bruce, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kevin Hanchard | Episodes Aired (30/11/13): 10 | Network/Channel: BBC America (US) / BBC Three (UK) | Genre: Science Fiction | For Fans of: Dollhouse, Inception, Doctor Who | Renewed For Season 2? Yes.
Out of all five shows, Orphan Black is probably my favourite new show of 2013 so far. I've been raving about it consistently both on the internet and in real life and if you're not watching this show then you're really missing out on something special. This is as good as some of the best already established series like Game of Thrones and in some cases I'd argue even better. Tatiana Maslany here is the main star of the show and we first see her as a streetwise hustler named Sarah Manning, who finds herself pulled into a conspiracy when she witnesses somebody who looks exactly like her commit suicide. It's an absolutely compelling show that leaves no prisoners and is essential viewing. Seriously - stop whatever you're doing right now and go and watch the first episode of this show. And then the next nine.
Stars: Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Orlando Jones | Episodes Aired (30/11/13): 9 | Network/Channel: FOX (US) | Genre: Horror, Fantasy | For Fans of: Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer | Renewed For Season 2? Yes
During the revolutionary war, Tom Mison's Ichabod Crane - an Englishman turned Revolutionary fighter finds himself in a battle with a Mercenary. After failing to kill the Mercenary with a gunshot, Crane chops off his head, before collapsing due to his injuries. However - Crane wakes up in the present day following the War, and finds himself working with Lieutenant Abbie Mills as they attempt to track down the Mercenary, who turns out to be Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Whilst this drama is a risky move by Fox it seems to have been pulled off, having been renewed for a Season 2 already. The show itself has been an amazing success so far and whilst the script may not always be strong the chemistry between Mison and Beharie is great - with some amusing moments as well as a dark, horror-filled storyline. Each week, Sleepy Hollow brings something fresh and engaging to the table and with the next episode like Almost Human airing on Monday, I can't wait for it.