The Sun Always Shines on TV: 2013's Most Promising New Television Series
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The Sun Always Shines on TV: 2013's Most Promising New Television Series

By Cindy Davis | Guides | January 3, 2013 | Comments ()


It's cold out there, people. Time to hunker down with comfort food, Netflix and a few extra pounds, courtesy failed resolutions: 2013. And in between films, you may wonder which of the new series are worth a gander, so I've prepared a handy list of the most promising (so far) new shows headed our way. Please note, "The Americans" is not among them. Bitch all you want, but I'm not buying what Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are selling. Russian spies, my ass.

"Continuum," Syfy

Television desperately needs more science fiction and more time travel; "Continuum" will serve up both. This is actually an import of the popular Canadian series (originally developed for US television), which stars Rachel Nichols (Star Trek [2009], Alex Cross) as a cop who is flung into the past with a group of time traveling terrorists who run from 2077 back to 2012. I'm not sure how she quickly gets hired on by current law enforcement, but she does, and begins working with a tech-geek to stop the bad guys from changing the future--both theirs and hers. Co-stars Victor Webster ("Castle," Surrogates), Erik Knudsen (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Youth in Revolt), and Stephen Lobo ("Smallville, Little Mosque on the Prairie," Fathers and Sons). Premieres January 14th.

"Low Winter Sun," AMC

(Trailer for the 2006 BBC Miniseries)

Though usually an American remake of a British show is cause to run in the other direction, AMC could be just the network mold-breaker we've been waiting for. This ten-episode order, spawned from a two-part miniseries, follows detective Frank Agnew's (Mark Strong Zero Dark Thirty, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Sherlock Holmes) descent into crime and corruption after he helps murder a fellow cop. Strong, who starred as Agnew in the original, is joined by another fine British actor: Lennie James ("The Walking Dead, Line of Duty" Snatch, Lockout, 24 Hour Party People), as well as Alon Aboutboul ("Homeland," The Dark Knight Rises, Munich) and David Costabile ("Breaking Bad, Damages, The Wire," Lincoln,). Premiere date TBA.

"Banshee," Cinemax

This new series, created by newbies David Schickler and Jonathan Tropper and executive produced by Alan Ball ("Six Feet Under, True Blood") may be out in the network boonies, but sometimes those far away lands harbor great treasure. Set in the Amish town of Banshee, Pennsylvania, this series is headed up by a sheriff Lucas Hood (Antony Starr, "Lowdown, Outrageous Fortune"), who is actually a con man, thief and martial arts expert who has assumed the identity of a murdered lawman. Hood wields his newfound power over the townspeople, while simultaneously furthering his personal (criminal) goals, and hiding out from fellow Bad Guys. "Banshee" also stars Demetrius Grosse ("Justified, Heroes, ER"), Ulrich Thomsen (The Thing [2011], Hitman), Trieste Kelly Dunn ("Mind of the Married Man," United 93, Enemy of the State) and Hoon Lee (Premium Rush, We Own the Night, The Oranges). Premieres January 11th.

"Orphan Black," BBC America

We have clones. I repeat, we have clones. Sarah (Tatiana Maslany, The Vow, Eastern Promises, Violet & Daisy) is an orphan who's grown up on the streets, fending for herself. After she witnesses the suicide of a woman who looks just like her, Sarah assumes the woman's identity, and discovers she and the woman are clones. And there are more of them/her! Cue all the DUM DUM DUMs. But seriously, couldn't we all use a good clone mystery? Co-stars Kevin Hanchard (Four Brothers, Hendrix) and Dylan Bruce ("The Bay," Unstoppable) and premieres March 30th.

"The Following," Fox

Unless you've been sleeping away the winter, you've likely heard something about this new Fox entry starring Kevin Bacon. He's a disgraced (seems like all the ex-cops are) former FBI agent called back to duty, when a previously nabbed serial killer, Joe Carroll (James Purefoy,"Rome, Episodes," John Carter, Resident Evil) somehow escapes from jail. Adding to the mix are a group of disciples who, after Carroll is recaptured, carry on with their leader's gruesome work. "The Following" also stars Natalie Zea ("Justified, Californication") and Shawn Ashmore (X-Men, X-Men: The Last Stand, X2). Premieres January 21st.

"Newsreaders," Adult Swim

There's nothing I can say that would adequately entice you; watch the trailer, and it'll either entice you...or not. Now. Stars Mather Zickel ("Children's Hospital, The Cape," Wanderlust, Rachel Getting Married), Beth Dover ("Children's Hospital") and Kumail Nanjiani ("Portlandia," The Five Year Engagement). Guest stars include Ed Begley Jr., Lizzy Caplan, Garret Dillahunt, Dave Foley, Dennis Haysbert, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Brandon Routh, Jane Seymour and Dan Rather. Premieres January 17th.

"Hannibal," NBC




I know, I know...NBC--but this one really looks like it could float (like a boat, not a dead body). Bryan Fuller, Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen and Lawrence Fishburne make it at least worth a test ride. This prequel-ish series takes a look at the early years of the relationship between Special Agent Will Graham (Dancy) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mikkelsen) when the two are brought together to investigate a multitude of missing college girls. Fishburne plays Graham's boss, Special Agent Jack Crawford. Premiere date TBA.

"S.H.I.E.L.D.," ABC


Again, the ABC business makes us skeptical about longevity, but what choice do we have? Whedon, Gregg and the Marvel pedigree make this impossible not to watch. Ming-Na stars as Melinda May, Elizabeth Henstridge as Gemma Simmons, Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz and Brett Dalton as Grant Ward--members of the espionage and law enforcement agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Pull up a chair this fall.

Dishonorable Mention:

"King of the Nerds," TBS

We all promise not to watch this "competition series," right? RIGHT?

Cindy Davis, (Twitter) is always cold.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Nicolae

    The Following is the first show I've been excited about in a while. It really reminds me of the feel of Millennium. Counting down.

  • jollies

    I don't know where to post this, but I am confused by the lack of any Pajiba discussion on the Doctor Who Christmas special. Snowmen with teeth!! I really wanted to read about people's reactions. Did I dream the episode?

  • kilmo

    Woo! Love seeing the Canadiana represented! 'Continuum' and 'Orphan Black' feature ridiculous amounts of Canadian actors. Love it, it's probably because everything sci fi films in Vancouver these days!

  • Three_nineteen

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, some of these look good...but I just found out that Jennifer Hudson joined Smash, so that's what I am looking forward to now, even if I just fast forward through all the episodes to get to her musical numbers.

    Still, Coulson 4evah, but you probably already knew that.

  • duckandcover

    Low Winter Sun and Orphan Black are what I'd make an effort to see in real-time. The rest I'll catch on Netflix or whatever is their appropriate streaming channel.

  • Nicole_OCTV

    Well, I'm most looking forward to The Americans, so there.

    After that, Newsreaders and Hannibal. Everything else looks too 'dark streets, wet sewers' for my taste. I don't like watching shows that are so (literally) dark that I feel like they're giving me a vitamin D deficiency.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    The Americans is the only new show I've heard of that piques my interest.

    Hannibal has a great cast - but bleah, serial killers. enough, enough, enough. How come all the people who bitch about excessive zombies look forward to yet another serial killer show?

  • Sara_Tonin00

    (I'll adjust slightly - I hadn't heard of Newsreaders before, and I'll set my tivo for it. Sounds like perfect got-home-slightly-drunk late night tv.)

  • googergieger

    "Set in the Amish town"

    You had me up until there. Then it all got too complicated for my tastes. Guess it is up to me to write the great American Amish Soap Opera.

  • Drake

    Was really disappointed to see George Takei in that "King of the Nerds" trailer.

  • Steph

    He is in literally everything though.

  • Steve Baker

    Continuum by both because its excellent and by default will be the best sci fi on TV in 2013


  • lowercase_ryan

    You think Continuum has more staying power than Ray Donovan? Let's bet on it :)

  • Suz

    For one horrible moment I thought that Avril Lavigne had made the jump to TV.

  • kirbyjay

    Let me know when Avril Lavigne makes the even more horrible jump to music

  • e jerry powell

    I'm thinking that it's good to see that such a large percentage of the stars here aren't the traditional retreads who jump from pilot season to pilot season. NEW BLOOD IS GOOD for television.

  • John W

    Cops are always disgraced.
    Lawyers never play by the rules.
    Women are always feisty.
    Teachers are always "cool".
    Black people are always sassy.
    Elderly people are always wise, horny, foul mouthed, take your pick.
    Children are always precocious.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Doctors always follow intuition, no matter how many years of training they have in finding actual evidence for diagnoses.

  • plastic_cups

    I'll watch anything with Mark Strong in it.

  • Gumbercules

    I'm sorry, but isn't Continuum a remake of Time Trax?

  • yocean

    That pink haired nerd chick is really tempting me to the dark side....

  • BWeaves

    King of the Nerds ran as a VERY LONG ad before the Hobbit, and burnt me out instead of teased me. I now no longer even want to watch an ad for that show.

    Low Winter Sun, I've never heard of, but I love Mark "Cheekbones" Strong. Is it really a remake if he stars as the same character in both? Maybe a Reborkquel?

    Continuum. I don't know. I like time travel better when they don't magically end up in OUR TIME, and say things like "You use a scalpel? How medieval."

  • Blake

    +1 for Hannibal but you missed the Number 1 reason (other than its a Fuller show)... Caroline Dhavernas.

    I'm also looking forward to Jane Campion's Top of the Lake (mostly for Elisabeth Moss).


  • Mikkelsen is a close second. He had a great 2012 in both A Royal Affair and The Hunt (which I don't think has a US release date yet?). And then you have Pusher II and Casino Royale...

  • Blake

    Plus while it premiered to little fan fare in 2012, hopefully Magic City's second season will garner greater attention in 2013.

  • Looking forward to that too--it's a miniseries. The BBC also has Ripper Street (miniseries).

  • lowercase_ryan

    Good list but I'm really looking forward to Ray Donovan too.

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