The Sun Always Shines on TV: 2013's Most Promising New Television Series
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 , 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.
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 , 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.
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.
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.
"King of the Nerds," TBS
We all promise not to watch this "competition series," right? RIGHT?