Another fabulous year for small screen productions, and we have certainly been treated with a variety of clever and creative plots. It’s never easy to pick a top 10 TV series list, and this year has been no different. Shows such as Chicago Fire, Continuum, Deception, Defiance, Hemlock Grove, Motive, Orphan Black and Rogue would have easily made this list in previous years. 2013 has simply seen a plethora of quality offerings and to create this list some great shows were always going to miss out.
In case you missed any of these ‘debut’ TV series this year, they all come highly recommended, each offering something different from a variety of genres. There’s action, horror, history and drama a plenty, plus clever twisting plots to keep the viewer guessing. Here are our favourites (in alphabetical order) for 2013 so far:
1. Arrow – Season One (23 Episodes)
Millionaire playboy Oliver Queen was shipwrecked on a remote island somewhere in the vicinity of the South China Sea. For five years he had only one goal, survive! Rescued and evolved from the boy he once was, Oliver must now fulfil his father’s dying wish. He must use a list of names left by his father in a secret notebook to bring down those people who are poisoning his city. To do this he must become someone else. He must become something else!
Arrow is the modern day telling of the adventures of DC comic book hero the Green Arrow. Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg are the writers and executive producers behind the TV series.
2. Bates Motel – Season One (11 Episodes)
Having premiered in March 2013, Bates Motel is essentially a contemporary prequel to the genre-defining classic movie, Psycho. It delivers on the promise to give viewers an intimate look at how a young Norman Bates psyche begins to unravel. The series begins with Norman still at school in his mid teens. Viewers are treated to the dark and twisted back story and discover first hand how deeply connected he was to his mother Norma, and how she helped forge the evolution of one of the most famous serial killers of all time.
The studios of Universal Television have produced Bates Motel for the A&E Network. Carlton Cuse (of Lost fame) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights) are the executive producers for the TV series first season.
3. Da Vinci’s Demons – Season One (9 Episodes)
Set in a time where belief and faith are governed, a lone individual struggles to set science and wisdom free. Leonardo Da Vinci struggles with a gift of untold brilliance. He finds himself in a contest between truth and lies, faith and intellect, past and future. Conflicting forces lure him into a game of seduction where those who loathe him most, need him and use his ambition against him. His constant thirst for knowledge nearly becomes his undoing, but Da Vinci’s genius is triumphant and he emerges relentless and with the power to lift an entire era out of darkness.
The series premiered in April 2013. No confirmation at time of writing that a second series has been commissioned.
4. Elementary – Season One (25 Episodes)
A modern-day take on the Sherlock Holmes story starring Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson. The pair work closely with the NYPD to solve their most difficult cases. The back-story follows Sherlock’s fall from grace in London after a stint in rehab due to drug addiction problems. An extremely eccentric Holmes escapes to New York where his wealthy father forces him to engage – to his distain – a ‘sober companion’, Dr. Watson. Battling her own demons after losing a patient and her medical license, Watson sees her new job as an alternative way to help people.
Sherlock’s previous experience working with Scotland Yard and his brilliance in closing case ensures he is welcomed by the NYPD. As a part of his self-devised post addiction regime he adopts the role of consultant investigator.
5. Hannibal – Season One (13 Episodes)
Hannibal features characters drawn from Thomas Harris’ novel “Red Dragon” including FBI agent Will Graham and Dr Hannibal Lecter. Agent Graham is a “special agent” or consultant agent who lectures to students at the FBI academy. Living with his own personal issues, his sanity is constantly in question and he consults Dr Lecter for therapy. Unknown to anyone at the FBI, including Graham, Dr. Lecter is manipulating and scheming behind the scenes by immersing himself into the cases being investigated. He studies the crimes and copycats the acts in order to satisfy his own thirst for violence and death.
6. House of Cards (2013) – Season One (13 Episodes)
House of Cards (US) is a modern-day-look at US electoral politics as a mirror image of the ruthless underside of British politics at the end of the Thatcher era. The series follows Kevin Spacey’s character, an ambitious politician with his eye firmly planted on securing the top job. With one goal in mind, he will do whatever is required to get what he wants. Manipulation and calculated subversion, Spacey works tirelessly through the entire series to secure his path to the White House.
The House of Cards TV series premiered on Netflix (webcast) in February 2013.
7. Red Widow – Season One (8 Episodes)
Radha Mitchell is “the widow”, her husband is mistakenly killed after a botched theft from a local crime lord and she is forced to work for the crime syndicate in order to protect her family. Born to the criminal life, her father is a Russian mob boss and her dead husband and brother smuggle pot through their charter boat business. A mother of three, all she wants is to clear her debts to the syndicate and escape the life of crime. Events that occur will ensure this is much more difficult to achieve than anticipated and she will do anything to protect her children.
Based on an original Dutch production, Dexter’s Melissa Rosenberg is writer and executive producer.
8. Revolution – Season One (21 Episodes)
A seemingly regular American family struggles to reunite in a future landscape where every known type of technology – computers, cars, planes, TV’s, phones and lights, essentially anything requiring power – has blacked out under mysterious circumstances. Set in a time 15 years after the “Blackout”, the series is billed as a “swashbuckling” journey of hope and re-birth.
Together with her estranged uncle and a rogue band of survivors, a young girl sets out to rescue her brother, kidnapped by Militia leaders with a dark purpose. They must work to survive and overthrow the Militia to ultimately re-establish the United States of America. Throughout their struggle the underlying question remains of why the power mysteriously failed.
Revolution is yet another epic adventure from the unstoppable forces of J.J. Abrams’ ‘Bad Robot’ Productions. Also along for the ride on this TV series is Eric Kripke from “Supernatural”.
9. The Following – Season One (16 Episodes)
Fox Studio’s latest offering, “The Following” combines murder, kidnapping and cultism to great effect. With the massive star power of Kevin Bacon and a clever twisting plot line, there is no wonder this series drew impressive viewer numbers from the very first episode.
The FBI estimates there are currently over 300 serial killers active in the United States. The premise of the series is to suggest a “what if” scenario of the chance of these murderers communicating and connecting with one another. What if they were able to work together and form alliances across the country? What if one brilliant, highly educated professor (and serial killer himself) was able to bring them all together and create a “following”?