The Great Midseason TV Cram: 9 Shows to Catch Up On for 2014

This week pretty much marks the end of new TV for 2013. We've still got a monumental Doctor Who Christmas special to look forward to, and poor Nikita and Treme will quietly say goodbye between Christmas and New Year's, but other than that, most shows have already gone home to Hiatusville for the holidays. As such, we can only assume that you've got a lot of free evenings ahead of you—it's not like you've got plans to spend time with your family, right?! And that means now's the perfect time to get started on your midseason prep. The TV schedule will be packed again before you know it, so it's very important that you start catching up on any returning shows NOW, before the January onslaught. Below, we've highlighted a handful of relatively young series you might've missed in 2013, all of which we think are worth your time. Pile up a plate of holiday desserts, ignore your loved one's requests to hang out (or just invite them to join you), and dig in!


Note: You won't find Archer, Girls, Justified, Portlandia, Pretty Little Liars, Being Human, Downton Abbey, or Shameless on this list, simply because they've appeared on it in the past and we wanted to highlight different—and for the most part, younger—shows. But you should totally catch up on many of those, too.


The Americans

Season 2 premieres in February (exact date TBD) on FX


COMMITMENT: One season of 13 blood-pressure-raising one-hour episodes that you'll plow through in no time. 

WHY YOU SHOULD CATCH UP NOW: My fellow Comrades, The Americans is about so much more than wigs. The series was one of the load-bearing columns of the Great TV Winter of 2013 (along with a few other shows on this list), thanks to a confident first season that achieved something freshman shows almost always struggle with: consistency. From the opening beats of the pilot to the thrilling finale, the quality of The Americans never dipped during its debut run. Why? Because the series is so well layered that it can don any one of its convincing disguises at will, without ever losing its stride. It's a Cold War spy thriller set during the early '80s, it's a story about an arranged marriage that may be more than that, and it's a family drama about parents keeping secrets from their children (and those children are some of the best on television, btw; Paige is AWESOME). Ask three people why they love the show and you'll get three different answers. The Americans is one of the smartest series on television because it knows how to use its setting perfectly: The limited-but-developing technology of the decade made '80s spy games the best spy games. Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell are incredible in the lead roles, and Margo Martindale and Noah Emmerich are great as supporting players. Add one of the year's best soundtracks (TUSK!), and the result is required viewing. Get the vodka out of the freezer and start cramming now.

CHEAT SHEET: This is a heavily serialized drama, so skipping even one episode would be an offense to the television gods worthy of fiery retribution. But if you must be a heathen, watch "Pilot," "Trust Me," "Safe House," "The Oath," and "The Colonel." Just don't complain when you sit down to watch Season 2 and you have no idea what's going on. —Tim Surette


Banshee

Season 2 premieres Friday, January 10 at 10pm on Cinemax


COMMITMENT: One season/10 hours of thrilling, graphic (both violently and sexually) action. Make it through the first couple episodes and you won't be able to stop. 

WHY YOU SHOULD CATCH UP NOW: Well, first of all, so you can understand why the show's diehard fans are prone to yelling BANSHEEEEEEE in comments sections around these parts. But secondly, because Banshee was one of 2013's biggest surprises and by the end of the season, one of its best new shows. The Cinemax drama knows exactly what it is: the TV version of a great old pulp novel you find at a used bookstore. While the central premise (a criminal arrives in a small town in search of his former flame, then takes on the identity of a just-murdered sheriff) and some of the set pieces are absolutely ridiculous, they're so well-executed, with such earnest vigor—particularly the awesomely choreographed fights—that the appeal is hard to deny. Similarly, though the cast is full of quasi-unknowns and typical supporting players, they really bring their weird characters to life. Antony Starr is a stable lead who looks good when thrusting his fist against another dude's face or his pelvis against any number of female co-stars, Ivana Milličević does the best work of her career here, and Ulrich Thomsen's Kai Proctor, the banished Amish criminal kingpin, is one of the most novel characters on TV. 

CHEAT SHEET: Really, all 10 hours are worth your time. But if you absolutely can't commit in full, you're probably best off watching the pilot and then jumping to Episode 6, "Wicks." That one offers some some good information on the lead character's history and jumpstarts the very, very strong back-half of the season. Episode 3, "Meet the New Boss" is worth watching for the insane fight sequence alone, though. —Cory Barker


Bates Motel

Season 2 premieres in March (exact date TBD) on A&E


COMMITMENT: A single season of 10 hour-long episodes that blend camp, horror, psychosexuality, teen angst, and insights into how Norman Bates becomes Norman Bates.

WHY YOU SHOULD CATCH UP NOW: Bates Motel has a bit of an issue with tone and emotion (the last half of "A Boy and His Dog" is ridiculously heavy-handed and crass), but if you can get past the whiplash-y mood swings, character swerves, and an at-times desperate need to be Twin Peaks-y (Bates lacks Twin Peaks' sense of fear), this is an odd, fun show about a weird mother and her weird son in a weird little town. If that's not grabbing you, sample it for Vera Farmiga's Emmy-nominated performance, which is camp-tactular and sympathetic in equal measure; it's the a sun around which the other plot shenanigans can orbit and survive.

CHEAT SHEET: Bates Motel is pretty heavily serialized, and there aren't really any filler episodes in Season 1; It's only 10 episodes long, after all. If you must skip about, I'd recommend watching the premiere and then Episodes 6 through 10. The "Previously On..." segments should give you the necessary highlights. —Noel Kirkpatrick


Hannibal

The first course of Season 2 will be served Friday, February 28 on NBC


COMMITMENT: 13 hour-long episodes filled with suffocating dread and nightmare-scape tableaux where the food is always people. Except for that one time when creator Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daises, Wonderfalls) said it wasn't.

WHY YOU SHOULD CATCH UP NOW: In a television season that was filled to the brim with serial killers, murders, and death, Hannibal had all those things and then some. The difference between this show and the other series in its vein was that Hannibal was less concerned with solving the crime than it was with exploring the psychological damage that so much murder and death were inflicting on its brilliant profiler, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). Will didn't bounce back from the murder-of-the-week at the end of each episode, ready to tackle the next case. Instead, the violence he experienced took an ever-mounting toll on him, a toll that Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) exploited to protect himself from being identified as a sought-after serial killer. Mix this mental trauma with Fuller's keen sense of peeking-between-your-fingers-because-it's-so-horrible-and-yet-so-pretty gore, and you have one of last season's best shows.

CHEAT SHEET: It's important not to rush through this meal, but if 13 courses is just too much for you, I'd recommend these seven to whet your appetite for Season 2: "Apéritif" (Episode 1), "Potage" (Episode 3), "Entrée" (Episode 6), "Fromage" (Episode 8), "Buffet Froid" (Episode 10), "Relevés" (Episode 12), and "Savoureux" (Episode 13). —Noel


Orphan Black

Season 2 premieres Saturday, April 19 on BBC America


COMMITMENT: 10 hour-long episode, seven clones, 1 Hot Paul, and some of the best drama you've ever seen.

WHY YOU SHOULD CATCH UP NOW: You don't want to be that friend, do you? Orphan Black quietly premiered on BBC America in March 2013, but word of its compelling narrative and Tatiana Maslany's thrilling performance quickly spread. The show ended its first season as one of the most talked-about new series of 2013, and with good reason. Maslany plays seven (so far!) different clones in the series, which is generally labeled as science-fiction, but don't let that scare you off. It's sci-fi in the way Battlestar Galactica was sci-fi, which is to say: It's not. Orphan Black is an intricate and suspenseful character drama that tackles big issues like identity and humanity, nature versus nurture, and emerging hot-glue-gun interrogation techniques. In the opening moments of the pilot, the series' main character, Sarah, witnesses another clone's suicide, and from that moment she's drawn into a world she doesn't quite understand. After assuming the dead woman's identity, she begins to uncover the truth about her mysterious background, including the fact that she's a clone. As the series progresses, she meets several other clones, all with wildly different personalities, and who sometimes mix and sometimes don't mix with a colorful and talented group of supporting characters that includes foster brother Felix (Jordan Gavaris), sometimes lover Paul (Dylan Bruce), daughter Kira (Skyler Wexler), and foster mother Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy). 

CHEAT SHEET: You really should try to watch all 10 episodes before Season 2 begins because each one builds on the last, but if you simply cannot get to all of them, the can't-miss entries are the pilot, "Natural Selection," and then "Instinct," "Conditions of Existence," "Entangled Bank," and "Endless Forms Most Beautiful." But seriously, there are only 10 episodes, just take a night off from sleeping. You'll thank me later. —Kaitlin Thomas


Rectify

Season 2 will be sprung sometime this spring


COMMITMENT: Six heavy-yet-beautiful hour-long tales about life outside of prison for a man who barely recalls what it's like.

WHY YOU SHOULD CATCH UP NOW: Usually the bait phrase "from the producers of [show you love]" is a load of bullhonky, but when Rectify tells you that it's "from the producers of Breaking Bad," it ain't no snake oil. There isn't any meth, there aren't any crazy Mexican drug lords, but there IS the same considerable attention to detail in the dialogue, the cinematography, and the pacing that elevated the story of Walter White to high art. Rectify is relentlessly beautiful, like a perfect summer day, even when it's exploring the tumultuous and dark dichotomy of life. Ostensibly about a man (Aden Young) who's released from Death Row nearly two decades after being accused of raping a teenage girl, Rectify is about the joy of breaking through, the pain of being held back, a family drawn together, and a community broken apart. The series was made for TV viewers with patience, but the rewards are bountiful.

CHEAT SHEET: What, you don't have time for six measly episodes? No cheating here. Just watch 'em. —Tim


Sherlock

Season 3 premieres Sunday, January 19 on PBS


COMMITMENT: Two seasons of three 90-minute episodes each, a.k.a. nine hours of Benedict Cumberbatch's flawless bone structure making you so jealous it hurts. 

WHY YOU SHOULD CATCH UP NOW: Did you see the part about Benedict Cumberbatch's cheekbones?! Sherlock is a brilliant, often funny, and wholly enjoyable adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic tales about consulting detective Sherlock Holmes (played here by Cumberbatch) and Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman)—his flatmate, partner in the detective-ing business and (eventual) best friend. Set in present-day London, each episode tackles a single story from the Sherlock Holmes vault in a new and updated fashion that freshens things up for fans of the original source material. Season 2 focuses pretty intently on the presence of Sherlock's nemesis Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott)—who tries his best to outsmart Sherlock at every turn—while still finding time to incorporate the popular character of Irene Adler (Lara Pulver). Sherlock's brilliance, arrogance, and intelligence make each episode's standalone mystery a suspenseful and fun ride, while carrying the overarching plots through to the next installment. The Season 2 finale pretty much sent the internet into overdrive with its OMGWTF-ery, so if you're just digging into this English delicacy, consider yourself lucky that you don't have to wait over a year to find out what happens next.

CHEAT SHEET: There are only three episodes in Season 2, and only six episodes in the entire series. Come on now, people. Watch them all. Make a nice Sunday afternoon of it. If you must limit yourself you can watch Season 2's "A Scandal in Belgravia" and "The Reichenbach Fall" and be reasonably prepared for Season 3, but you're really only hurting yourself in the end. —Kaitlin


Twisted

Season 1 returns with new episodes Tuesday, February 11 on ABC Family


COMMITMENT: One hot summer season of 11 WTF, highly entertaining episodes.

WHY YOU SHOULD CATCH UP NOW: Twisted is a bit of a guilty pleasure, but its premise is perhaps the edgiest thing ABC Family has ever dared to air: The dreamy Danny Dessai strangled his aunt with a jumprope when he was 11 years old, and now he's returning to high school at the age of 16. The NIGHT he comes back, another body drops. So as the hunky teen struggles to reconnect with his two former best friends (who are both girls, naturally!), the town concludes that he’s a serial murderer as his own mom (played to perfection by Denise Richards) tries to figure out whether he’s a straight-up sociopath. Plus there's a big-time love triangle amongst the three besties (the aggressively frizzy-haired Jo, popular fox Lacey, and confessed murderer Danny), plus there's making out in a graveyard, plus there's important jewelry and moms who smoke pot. Yes, all that. It’s like if DeGrassi High and a Lifetime movie had a baby and Mike Meyers ended up raising that baby. You will never get scared but you will STAY intrigued.

CHEAT SHEET: As a serialized drama allegedly inspired by Twin Peaks, Twisted makes an effort to incorporate every episode into the story. I’m not comfortable telling you to skip any of it, but if you’ve ever ironically watched a Lifetime drama-in-real-life thriller over a glass of wine, chances are you won’t want to miss anything anyway. PLEASE get caught up before the show returns in February, because I need to find people to talk about it with. —Lily Sparks


Veep

Season 3 starts its new term this spring, probably sometime in April


COMMITMENT: 18 half-hour episodes comprising two seasons full of biting dialogue, facepalm politics, and Emmy-winning performances

WHY YOU SHOULD CATCH UP NOW: This sharp political satire from The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci was somewhat uneven in Season 1, but really jelled in Season 2 as the stakes were raised for Vice President of the United States Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), the cast really honed in on their characters' tics, and some true villains emerged. Add in the "funny 'cause it's true" real-life governmental head-scratchers—seemingly everlasting PR pratfalls, awkward interactions with foreign heads of state, a congressional shutdown—and an amazingly talented and hilarious cast, and you've got a wonderfully cynical look at the spectacle of American politics through the (often delusional) eyes of a bunch of D.C. blowhards. 

CHEAT SHEET: Veep wasn't super serialized in Season 1, but it got way more so in Season 2, so while you do have the freedom to skip a few episodes here and there, you'll want to at least watch everything in order. Season 1 must-sees—either for quality or set-up purposes—include "Fundraiser" (the series premiere), "Frozen Yoghurt," "Chung," and "Tears" (the season finale); in Season 2, early highlights include "Midterms," "The Vic Allen Dinner," and "Helsinki," and then you should probably be sure catch everything from "Shutdown" onward (Episodes 7-10) to make sure you've got a handle on possible Season 3 talking points. —Jen Trolio


Which returning midseason series are you most looking forward to? What's on your personal "shows to catch up on" list?


Comments (442)
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Yes to all except TWISTED.
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Rectify

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Haniball is brilliant, one of my favorite series
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im so inlove with hannibal, it's so so good, such great acting *_*.
i recently cramed bates motel and it was a nice surprise it was entretaining and freddie did such good job i dont want him to go full crazy.
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Already seen Sherlock.
:)
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Hannibal is a beautiful surprise. I was not very excited about it at first because I can't seem to separate Hannibal from Anthony Hopkins but Mads is an amazing actor as well and he's done an awesome job here.
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Yes I had the same experience. In the beginning was not interested because of mr. Hopkins/Hannibal role. I mean silence of the lambs was/is "formidable", who can over top that??
But the tv show is not bad, great acting etc etc.
but still no Hopkins.
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Hannibal and Orphan Black! I positively cannot wait. But Sherlock is amazing too, but I didn't have to wait lol, already saw the first 2 out of three episodes of season 3. TT_TT

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I'm with you on the first two. I can't wrap my mind around "a sherlock homes show thats actually worth watching". It's simply unfathomable, even though people keep saying its really good. If Lucy Liu and Jordan Chase werent enough to keep me watching "Elementary", I see no point in tumbling down the other wormhole.
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Dude I'm laughing so hard over just how WRONG you are. Elementary is crap compared to Sherlock, and Sherlock is probably one of the top 5 shows on TV. Benedict C. alone makes the show worth watching.
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Did I mention I've never even watched it? Because I havent. Sherlock Holmes just ain't on my todo list. There's some more unintended humor for you.
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I tried to watch Elementary, but I didn't like that they made Watson into a woman. Sherlock is really good. In Elementary,I didn't feel that Sherlock and Watson had the same camaraderie and connection that they do in Sherlock. I feel that it took longer to get there. In Sherlock, by the end of the first episode, there is very strong connection. The other thing that I like about Sherlock is that the creators are staying true to Doyle's vision. Lastly , I like how they have Sherlock function in a modern world. Sherlock texts, Watson writes in a blog, etc. I hope you check it out!
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I logged in just to tell you to watch Sherlock. I know that when people tell you to watch something, that you don't want to watch it, but
in all seriousness watch the first episode at the least!
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I might check it out, but I hope Sherlie ain't wearing one of those stupid tweed hats.
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Umm, yeah, but he hates it. lol
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It's your loss. Elementary is a weekly procedural and has all the same things we've seen a thousand times. Sherlock is a tightly wound drama that really is better than most movies in the cinema. The two lead actors in Sherlock are amazing and the way they've updated Holmes to the 21st century will many times put a smile on your face. The way they integrate technology into the Sherlock Holmes story is really good.
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''It's your loss.'' No doubt, Be sure to cry for me during the next episode.
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I felt the same way about Sleepy Hollow. When I saw the trailer, I just chuckled and thought how cheesy it looked. My friend kept telling me I had to watch it. I ignored her of course (no woman tells me what to do. lol j/k )

Anyway, to humor her, I told her I would watch the first episode (this was a couple of months after it started airing). The first 15 minutes confirmed what I thought. Cheesy, predictable. Then the second half hour kicked in and I was hooked like a big-mouth bass.

I am very glad I decided to check it out and that I was brow-beat into doing so. Sherlock is good drama, but I would also suggest Luther if you haven't already seen it.
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No, seriously... I EASILY put Sherlock up there with Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, House of Cards.

The plot twists, the tone of the show, the superlative acting, the story arcs, the characters, the nuance and personality injected into every line, every performance, all the details... it's just a master crafted TV show where each episode feels like a feature length movie, except without all the excess establishing shots, exposition and boring filler scenes. It's just pure excellence...

At an hour and a half per episode, they have the time to develop the plot, storylines, tension, drama, little quirks and touches and unfold it all so beautifully that when they wrap it up at the end of the episode or give you a cliff hanger for the next, you're at the edge of your seat.

Trust me... This is like that food or dish that you were hesitant or uninterested in trying, then you wound up somehow taking a bite and now you can't live without it.

Download and watch JUST the first episode. If you're not hooked, no one will blame you.

But believe me, you won't be wasting your time...
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I never thought I would say this, but stop making quality television shows! I don't have time to catch up!
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Just started watching Sherlock, and I love it!
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I can't wait for Bates Motel, Hannibal & Twisted.
Sherlock & Rectify are OK - the rest I don't like.
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Hannibal and Orphan Black definitely deserve to be here. I'm almost compelled to pick up the Americans again, but really, no time. Good to know there's worthwhile television being produced amongst all the muck.
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Trying to get into Orphan Black, but the first episode drags on....

Please tell me it gets riveting and much better from episode 2 onwards...
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The Americans is the most anticipated in my book. Then comes Hannibal and OrpBLK. I may give Banshee another shot , but really the only episode that stood out in S1 was the MMA fight episode. IMHO
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3 words did not make it to the above list (no idea why)

House of Cards....

Clever dialogue and some great acting all delivered in a revolutionary manner on Friday,14th February 2014!
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Orphan Black, Veep, The Americans and two you for some reason didn't mention, Justified and Archer!
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So the first item on my to do list will be the Americans. I've started to watch Sherlock when it premiered but never really got hooked but I will give it another shot. Orange is the new Black is definitely missing on this list. I was very pleasant surprised by Banshee. Veep is fun to watch and Twisted is my guilty pleasure but a little bit slow. And for all of you who haven't seen it yet Orphan Black was definitely my favorite newcomer in 2013 and I can't wait for season 2 to start. Continuum and Elementary are also 2 good shows if you haven't seen yet you should start watching. So I'm looking forward to an exciting TV year 2014 and will also give a big two thumbs up for the writers and staff of tv.com ... keep up the good work boy and girls
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Season 3 airs tonight (January19)!!! Be sure to check it out!
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I look forward to Twisted, although it's a kinda slow series. But at least the mystery in the show is focused, and not throwing 8-10 plots/mysteries in the air each episode that's going nowhere, like 'Pretty Little Liars' does...
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Americans, Orphan Black, and Rectify are my favorite three new shows of 2013.

Will be picking back up with Sherlock and Banshee too.
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Well had already watched the Americans, Banshee and Veep and will be watching when they come back.

Caught up on Orphan Black, Twisted and Rectify. I'll have to psych myself up for round two of Rectify, but I can't wait Orphan Black and Twisted

I have started on Bates Motel (1 episode in) and I'm not sold, so might do Sherlock or Hannibal next and and swing back around if I have time.
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Or just watch The Americans 9 times.
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Orange is the new black was one of the surprise hits for me , continuum turned out to be my favourite new sci fi show of the year and broadchurch was fantastic as was house of cards and although you mentioned it but worth repeating 'rectify' is just beautiful. So much good television...so little time
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I was shocked when i found out GoT was not nominated for golden globe, even though its the best show to watch on TV. Very Upset

http://bit.ly/LetDownOfTheYear
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Can't wait until the return of Vikings, Hannibal, Bates Motel, and The Fall, will have to dive into The Americans, been putting that off far too long.
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The Americans is a great show that should not be missed. Another in that category is Orphan Black, if you haven't seen it already. They are two of the best shows on TV, both in my Top Ten list.
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Hannibal, The Americans and Orphan Black are all coming back just as Justified gets into The new season. TV is gonna be worth watching again. Those a-holes at fox can go to hell for making me wait 3 weeks for new episodes of Sleepy Hollow.
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Errrr...why is games of throne not mentioned?????
best show on tv.period.
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because everyone knows how great game of thrones is...these are shows you might not be aware of
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Ha! Well I guess they just think that if you're not already watching you aren't worth saving. But really it's probably about the whole 'new' show thing. Seriously though—if there is anyone in the world not watching Game of Thrones, I will be very upset. Be decent human beings, please.
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I can't wait for Orphan Black
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aaargh so many good shows, so little time!

Looking forward to Sherlock (obviously!), Orphan Black, The Americans, Veep, Shameless, and interested to catch up Hannibal and Banshee. Perhaps Twister.
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Hey, what are the differences between Sherlock and Elementary? From what I have read it seems Sherlock seems to be the same only in modern times whille Elementary seems to be more based off of the characters, taking place in modern times, having a female lead role and taking place mainly in America. Just wondering what some of the other small or large differences are. P.S. if you plan on telling how horrible one is compared to the other, get into the female role debate or engage in American bashing than please skip to the next comment.
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I disagree with Komboloi thoughts on the Watsons. I had a hard time watching Elementary, so I don't know much about her background. That said, the Watson in Sherlock is a better Watson and not a funny caricature. He is a war veteran and a serious character that is willing to kill someone to save his friend. Sherlock is true to the books, so the drug addiction is mentioned at least twice, but it is not a major part of the show.


Sherlock does 4.5 hours (three 1.5 hour shows) and not three hours in one year. Sherlock has a mystery/case and he solves it. I would call that procedural. I do like Sherlock better because the stories come from the books and the creators stay true to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
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Rectify, Banshee and Vikings
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Outside of Veep, I don't bother with any of the other shows. Veep is excellent, btw.

But I am curious - so everyone else in the world:

a. put up with the commercials on first run;
b. put up with fast-forwarding the commercials now that the cable channel bastards have inserted them in On Demand;
c. have DVRs (don't and won't) and delete the commercials?

I prefer Jeremy Brett to BC, and even though Freeman is an excellent actor, find the Kindergarten Sherlock from hunger.
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On demand sounds like your best option if you have no alternative sources to acquire said shows.
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Seems interesting! Hate it when people say that there are no more good shows... I will definitely continue watching: The Americans, Black Orphan and maybe Hannibal, though I can´t stomach it ;)
Sherlock I don´t like at all, even though I have english heritage^^
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I don't know about Bates Motel, it's really specific, dark and messy. I wouldn't recommend it but Farmiga really gave a performance here.

What about Top of the Lake, at least I planned on watching it. It's supposed to be good, isn't it?

Orange is the New Black is missing here! Watched Veep, The Americans and Orphan Black and they are great but very different shows. And if you haven't seen Sherlock yet you really missed out. It is truly perfect - Breaking Bad perfect, GOGOGO AND SEE FOR YOURSELF!
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Skip "Banshee", "Bates Motel" and "Twisted" and put in "The Fall" with Gillian Anderson and "Vikings" (not a supershow but better then the above). After that Im all out of suggestions, eight is enough anyway, NOW you got a list ;)

The show that will take up all my attention (besides "Justified") this spring (winter) will be "True Detective" anyway. We probably get the next years best new show very early 2014 with that one :)
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Good job selling the shows, tv.com staff, now I want to watch them all! I think I'll start with Twisted and Orphan Black, maybe Banshee if my kids fall asleep early these days.
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Started watching Orphan Black and really liked it but somehow stopped after a few episodes so ill be re-watching that.

Banshee; saw it, loved it, cant wait for next season!

Twisted; another show I stopped watching after a few eps even thou I liked it, not highest priority but ill try and finish it if I have time.

The show I'm looking forward to most is of course Sherlock, man how good isn't that show!

Haven't seen a single ep of The Americans but from what you wrote here ill looking forward to giving it a shot, thanks for the tip.

I might give Hannibal or Rectify a try if I get bored but most likely not.

And ill end with saying, Justified! If you haven't seen it I both feel sorry for you and envy you, so close this window now and start right this minute! :)
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Rectify is easily the best show on this list.

I've enjoyed most of the others for the popcorn/guilty pleasures they are but Rectify is of a calibre rarely seen on TV.

It's an absolute must see for those that enjoy more moody, thoughtful, and deeper fare like The Fall, The Killing, Broadchurch and especially Top of the Lake (another AMAZING show well worth checking out).

A few others of note:

Ripper Street
Copper
The Newsroom (for Sorkin fans)

Also looking forward to Californication's final season.
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Give Hannibal a try. I expected it to be shit but it really surprised me.
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Skip Twisted, it's awful!
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Did a one-day marathon of Banshee yesterday and LOVED it! A few points where it was indeed a little hard to believe (like him getting out of the handcuffs in the hotel room before the old man entered with Olek and Co.), but on the whole gritty and amazing.
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What about all the pointless sexscenes? EVERY girl wants to sleep with this guy, even the amish, ridiculous. And pointless because every sexscene feels unnecessary and doesnt add shit to the story, forced and cheap comes in mind. Yeah, and totally unbelievable. In EVERY episode it has got to be one, nevermind the story, just put the shit in there...

"Hey, I been amish and virgin in all of my eighteen year-life, hey! a stranger! lets spread me legs!" Stupid. The show also got its plenty share of god awful actors.

I might as well add that I usually got nothing against sexscenes or naked people in general, this includes both TV-series and movies, but c´mon...it has got to feel right, believable, add to the story, something! If I dont get that I might as well watch porn.

But this is Cinemax...a channel that also almost destroys Strike Back because of the same stupid, out of place and cheap reason. People that complains about the sexscenes, breasts etc. in HBO:s shows should take a look at Cinemax:s productions and then just shut the hell up...

"Banshee" is just stupid, watch a show like "Justified" instead, now THATS a show that does everything with style, got a cool attitude and really interesting characters AND actors.
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I guess it's called "skinemax" for a reason. I'd rather watch Justified, too. That is an AWESOME show.
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Not for a moment suggesting that Banshee isn't 100% gratuitous in far more ways than just the sex but you're entirely off base with this:

""Hey, I been amish and virgin in all of my eighteen year-life, hey! a stranger! lets spread me legs!" Stupid."

The character you're referring to was most certainly NOT a virgin and had been rebelling to the point of being on the verge of being shunned by her conservative community long before the main character rolled into town, and she's the only amish woman he beds.

I'm not drawn in by, or put off by, the parade of sex, fight choreography and gore of Banshee but none of that is what hooked me.

The writing, direction, and character development is well above par and only gets better as the season wears on. Thankfully multiple reviews mention that the show really takes off after the 3rd episode or I might not have stuck it out.

I agree that Justified is superb, but seriously? You're going to hold THAT up as a show that is more credible? I LOVE the dialogue and at it's best Justified has had runs where it's dramatically on par with the best HBO/AMC shows, but it's also features HUGE heaping helpings of the absurd and the utterly implausible just to fuel the witty banter and comedy.
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I believe Banshee is meant to be over the top and extreme also when has Cinemax not shown nudity? Still not no where near as bad as some of the sex shows on Cinemax. Can't say I disagree with your opinion on Justified as that's one of my favorite shows.
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There's no such thing as a 'pointless sex scene'! Alright, seriously, I admit there is a lot of gratuitous sex, but it's Cinemax after all -- something even Seinfeld joked about in the nineties. "You can't just bump into someone on the street and have sex. This isn't Cinemax." (something like that). Anyway, people have sex, and sometimes with strangers they meet in a bar (we don't know she was a virgin up to then, anyway), and couples have sex.

And yes, Justified is far better in every respect, but I still think Banshee deserves credit.
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No love for The Blacklist? Plowed through it and couldn't stop.
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It's not midseason
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"...is generally labeled as science-fiction, but don't let that scare you off. It's sci-fi in the way Battlestar Galactica was sci-fi, which is to say: It's not." IT IS science fiction. Science fiction stories can great or awful or anything in between. Just because you don't like the genre doesn't give you the right to dismiss it outright. Look, I don't care for crime dramas that glorify their subject matter, but I hear Breaking Bad was more or less watchable.
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I think you misunderstood me. I don't hate science fiction. Shit, I love science fiction. But the fact of the matter is that when most of the world sees the words science fiction as a description of a show or movie, they're quick to dismiss the work because to them sci-fi=weird aliens or crazy weird futuristic storylines and then they won't even venture near it. Orphan Black is sci-fi, but it's not the hard sci-fi that most people tend to think of when they hear those words. Which is the point I was making with BSG. It was a science fiction series that appealed to the masses with its attention to character drama and the topics of humanity and science. It's no doubt one of my top five favorite shows ever made, so don't go assuming that I don't like the genre. Orphan Black is similar in the way it dives deep into its characters and it has done so phenomenally. I don't want people to turn away from the series because they hear that it's sci-fi and think it's not for them. That was the point I was making.
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Twisted is indeed a bit of a guilty pleasure ;-) but highly enjoyable!

I cannot bring myself to go past half Ep 1 of Orphan Black, I really do not know what it is that is not working for me... :-( But I have not given up...

If you have never watched Sherlock you do not know what your are missing!!!
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Twisted sounds like something a 15 year old girl wrote one handed while masturbating furiously, awful.
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Hannibal!!! Will and his dogs, so cute, so mentally unestable
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Banshee and Bates Motel? I dont think so...
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I might checkout Twisted, I need another guilty pleasure show because The Vampire Diaries is starting to drown in its own bs.
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Why isn't Dallas on the list? Love the Ewings!
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ops.. just reiterating what was said above hehehe :D

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kindly note that for SHerlock there is no need for a cheat sheet....it would be cheating to NOT watch all episodes and bask in its awesomeness!! Happy New Year indeed :D
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I'm happy to say I've already watched most of these shows- a couple of which this site had turned me on to earlier this yr. These are excellent recommendations, especially Hannibal. I sometimes think that it (and Dancy) don't get the recognition they deserve.
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Great selections of Shows especially Sherlock, Banshee and Hannibal.
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What a great list. I'm just starting a Twisted marathon (Thank you On Demand!). But the show I can’t wait for is Teen Wolf. Go Alpha Pack!
Scott-
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Wow great Selection of Shows. I haven't seen The Americans, Rectify and Twisted and will give The Americans a try.
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I wouldn't think it was possible to describe "Banshee" to a person who doesn't know the show, without using the words "Michael Bay".

For the record, I absolutely loved the show. It has got the best fight scenes ever seen on TV hands down, and it's also better than most "action" movies produced to this day. Yes it's that good.
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