As we head into fall and winter and begin the transition from barbecues and long summer evenings outdoors, those who don’t get excited over endless hours of football need something else to look forward to. It’s either sex or television, and for the rest of you married folk, you know what that means. (Those who can’t do…watch?) But never fear, it ain’t all “Are You Smarter Than the Average Moron” or “The Bitchelorette;” there are some bright spots on the boob tube horizon. There are a few good women and men ready to take us beyond the bland, to pretend worlds where so we can escape whatever fate November will have brought.
5. “Masters of Sex” (Showtime). Based on Thomas Maier’s Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, The Couple Who Taught America How to Love, this show is Welsh actor Michael Sheen’s first “regular series role for television.” The series stars Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as famed sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson.
Co-starring Margo “Mags” Martingdale, Beau Bridges and Teddy Sears, the show will “chronicle the lives and unique relationship between Masters and Johnson;” the two began their investigation into human sexuality together, and ended up in bed. Premieres early 2013.
4. “Low Winter Sun” (AMC). Chris Mundy’s (“Criminal Minds, Cold Case”) remake of the British series, sinks us into the dark world of corrupt cop Frank Agnew—played by the original series star, Mark Strong—who murders a fellow police officer.
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson (“The Wire, Treme, Dexter, The Walking Dead”) and with a great cast: David Costabile (“Suits, Breaking Bad, Damages, The Wire”), Lennie James (Line of Duty, Hung, Human Target, The Prisoner”), Sprague Grayden (“24, Sons of Anarchy, Jericho, Weeds”), James Ransone (“Treme, Generation Kill, The Wire”), Michael McGrady (“Southland, The Riches”), the show follows Agnew’s descent after his seemingly clean getaway. The murder triggers a chain of events that draw him into the criminal underworld he had fought to take down. Expected to air early to mid 2013.
3. “The Following” (Fox). From Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries, Dawson’s Creek”); Kevin Bacon stars as an FBI profiler who returns to field duty to track an escaped serial killer (James Purefoy).
Joe Carroll isn’t satisfied with just breaking out of jail though, he recruits and trains more killers and sends them out to do his bidding; Bacon tries to catch up. Comic-Con reviews were all positive. Also stars Annie Parisse, Maggie Grace and Natalie Zea. Premieres Midseason 2013.
2. “The Americans” (FX). Joseph Weisberg (“Damages, Falling Skies”) and Graham Yost (“Justified”) take us into the lives of a pair of undercover Soviet spies—Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell)—posing as an American married couple who just happen to live next door to an FBI agent (Noah Emmerich).
Set during the Reagan era, complications arise when the arranged pair develop feelings for each other, and Phillip starts to actually like his new home country—even as they operate a network of informants who send information back to Mother Russia. The pilot was directed by Gavin O’Connor (Warrior, Pride and Glory), and this thirteen episode series begins sometime in October 2012.
1. “Hannibal” (NBC). Bryan Fuller’s (“Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies, Heroes, Mockingbird Lane”) television adaptation stars Hugh Dancy as Special Agent Will Graham, Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Lawrence Fishburne as Agent Jack Crawford.
The series is set before Lecter was jailed and will focus on the relationship between Graham and the good doctor. Fuller envisions a seven season story arc, with the third season delving into Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon territory. The modern update also has two characters—Dr. Alan Bloom and journalist Freddy Lounds—with their genders changed; they’ll be portrayed by Caroline Dhavernas (“Wonderfalls”) and Lara Jean Chorostecki (“Copper, Camelot”), respectively. NBC has “Hannibal” listed on its schedule as Midseason 2012/2013.
Cindy Davis is dreaming of a cozy evening with Mads.