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TV Shows To Watch Out For In 2014

2013 brought grand, stylish and clever storytelling to the small screen, from the finale of one of the most celebrated shows of all time, Breaking Bad, to Frank Darabont’s long awaited return to TV in Mob City, and to pleasant surprises such as Hannibal and Bates Motel. Most of those shows will return for another season, but what about the new shows trying to gain some attention in the packed year of 2014? Let’s take a look at five TV shows that could catch one’s eye in the year ahead.

1.      Wayward Pines

Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrives in the bucolic town of Wayward Pines on a mission to find two missing Federal agents. But instead of answers, Ethan’s investigation only turns up more questions. What’s wrong with Wayward Pines? Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the life he knew, from the husband and father he was, until he must face the terrifying reality that he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive.

Based on the novel by Blake Crouch, Wayward Pines is adapted for the screen by Chad Hodge (All About Us) and stars Matt Dillon, Charlie Tahan and Terrence Howard. The pilot is directed by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense) which may be a turn-off for some, after a run of turkeys like The Happening, The Last Airbender and 2013’s After Earth. However, there is talent in Shyamalan somewhere, maybe just sticking to directing instead of writing may be a perfect opportunity for a return to form. Especially in an eerie tale like Wayward Pines which suits the style of The Sixth Sense. Here is what he had to say on what attracted him to Wayward Pines: It struck me as having a Twin Peaks-y vibe. David Lynch’s achievement with that show — especially in the pilot — was some super audacious filming. It’s the kind of thing where you have these quirky over-the-top performances that are still resonant. He balanced that line in a way only he could do. So when I read Wayward Pines, I found that same mix of humor I’ve been dying to do.”

If you love a bit of mystery, check this one out when it airs on Fox sometime this year.

2.      True Detective 

Already three episodes in, True Detective follows the lives of two detectives, Rust Cohle and Martin Hart, who become entangled in a 17-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana which begins in an eerie corn field in 1995.

Starring two well known movie actors, Mathew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, True Detective is written by crime novelist Nic Pizzolatto (The Killing) and directed by Cary Fukunaga (Jane Eyre) who recently spoke on why he chose to direct all eight episodes of True Detective “The material is probably the best material I’ve read in a long time and is the reason I did it. Nic Pizzolatto is the writer and we’ve the same management company and I read the script, really liked it, we got together and then I got Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson to join the cast and then we sold it to HBO.”

With a tense atmosphere, the exceptionally dark story drives the two characters to their limits, creating a memorable character study set in two separate time-frames, seamlessly swinging between the two. Luckily we won’t have to wait years for an ending to the story as True Detective is an anthology series, so a conclusion will be made in the eight episodes.

If you love rich storytelling and a bleak, horror atmosphere in a world stripped of all morality, but with colorful dialogue, check out True Detective which is airing right now on HBO. Also take a look at the True Detective website here:

3.      The Leftovers 

Based on the novel of the same name, The Leftovers revolves around the Rapture and follows a group of people who are left behind in the suburban community of Mapleton. They must begin to rebuild their lives after the sudden and mysterious disappearance of more than 100 million people. With Mapleton in disarray, the small town looks to Sheriff Kevin Garvey to solve what is going on, but as time wears on even Garvey, who is seen as strong and unwavering, begins to crumble.

For those who are familiar with the TV series Lost, then you’ll know to expect weird and imaginative occurrences as Damon Lindelof (Lost creator) is the show runner in the 10-episode season. With the pilot directed by Peter Berg who’s fresh off his box-office smash Lone Survivor, The Leftovers brings good on-screen talent as Justin Theroux takes the lead, with series regulars Christopher Eccleston, Amy Brenneman, and Carrie Coon all playing supporting roles, but as Lindelof stated recently: “All the characters will have some kind of impact on the story.”

Here is what Lindelof had to say on the tone of the show “This is going to be a show about sudden and abrupt loss and more importantly, what will at least in its initial presentation seem to be one that you can’t receive closure from. If someone dies, that’s a horrible thing and they must be mourned. But in this instance, you don’t even know if you’re supposed to mourn who’s been departed because they could be walking through your door tomorrow, or you could be zapped up or down or sideways to wherever they are. So this lack of understanding as to what just occurred is the most pervasive feeling, not just in the moment that it happens but certainly three years later when the story starts.”

The series will begin its run on HBO sometime in 2014; if you love supernatural mystery stories, you’ll fall in love with The Leftovers.

4.      Fargo 

Ah yes, in 1996, the Coen brothers delivered the wonderfully off-beat crime/thriller Fargo. The film version was about Jerry Lundegaard’s inept crime falling apart due to his and his henchmen’s bungling and the persistent police work of the pregnant Marge Gunderson. Fargo reached such critical acclaim that it was quoted as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress.

Announced in 2012, a Fargo TV series, based on the film, will focus on new characters with the main plot revolving around a drifter named Lorne Malvo who arrives in small-town Minnesota and influences the population with his malice and violence, including put-upon insurance salesman Lester Nygaard.

The Coen Brothers will act as executive producers for the show, while the series is believed to be directed by Adam Bernstien (Breaking Bad) and Scott Winant (Californication). With a landmark film like Fargo, if a TV series was going to work it needed top actors to fill the boots of Frances Mcdormand and William. H. Macy. So far the line up for the show will include: Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Colin Hanks, Kate Walsh, and Bob Odenkirk. With those names it sounds to be shaping up nicely, while no release date has been set, Fargo will enjoy a 10-episode run on FX.

If offbeat dark comedy set in snow-covered countryside is your cup of tea, then check Fargo out.  After all, do the Coen brothers mess many projects up?

5.      Babylon 

Where would TV be without a good, solid comedy? If you enjoy watching political mishaps and the London Metropolitan Police messing up every decision they make, then Babylon might be for you. The show casts a satirical eye on looking at the people in charge and on the front lines of a contemporary police force.

Believe it or not, it must be half decent if Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) has taken the reins to direct the pilot episode; with Jesse Armstrong (Four Lions) and Sam Bain (Peep Show) writing the six part series in a documentary style format. The cast includes James Nesbitt, Brit Marling, Paterson Joseph, and James Robinson. Although Babylon will be partly a comedy, the two writers were quick to stress that it was indeed a drama too, and that viewers should expect a balance between the two genres.

If you fancy having a good laugh at the London police force, and if you enjoy dark comedy, check out Babylon, which airs the pilot on Channel 4 (UK) on Sunday the 9th of February with another five parts to follow (but not yet announced as to when we will see them.)

I’m sure the year ahead will hold many more surprising TV hits; so let me know in the comment section below what you think we should be looking out for this year.