1/12Watch this:Beloved stars returning to TV, presumed-dead characters returning to life and a little bit of 16th-century France: Zap2it's pick... Show More »Beloved stars returning to TV, presumed-dead characters returning to life and a little bit of 16th-century France: Zap2it's picks for the top new series of fall 2013 promise a little bit of everything. Hope springs eternal at the start of every season, so here's hoping these 10 shows live up to their potential as must-see series.
PICS: All the new shows for 2013-14
Zap2it's Fall TV Preview « Less
2/12'The Blacklist' (NBC):Premieres: 10 p.m. ET Monday, Sept. 23
The premise of "The Blacklist" is simple: A former intelligence bigwig -- ... Show More »Premieres: 10 p.m. ET Monday, Sept. 23
The premise of "The Blacklist" is simple: A former intelligence bigwig -- now an FBI-most-wanted arms dealer -- turns himself in. He wants to catch other bad guys now. Just one catch: This criminal, "Red" Reddington (James Spader), will only work with one agent, a brand-new analyst named Liz Keen (Megan Boone). What follows is a fun and action-packed show more reminiscent of a heist film than a TV drama. Spader is the ultimate in gleeful villainy -- he has no remorse for his crimes but is awfully pleasant in stopping the crimes of others. Boone, meanwhile, excels at the unenviable task of holding her own opposite James Spader. She does so brilliantly, making Liz both likable and tough enough to be believed. If it can keep up the action and vivid characterization of the pilot, "The Blacklist" won't just be one of the best new shows. It will be one of the best things on television.
-- Laurel Brown, Zap2it « Less
3/12'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' (FOX):Premieres: 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, Sept. 17
Few people have probably ever asked the question, "What if Jim fro... Show More »Premieres: 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, Sept. 17
Few people have probably ever asked the question, "What if Jim from 'The Office' were a cop?," but "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" provides an answer of sorts. The likable workplace comedy centers on Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg), an NYPD detective based in Brooklyn who's good at his job but not terribly serious about it. That does not sit well with his new boss (Andre Braugher), who demands more of his squad and is kind of an anti-Michael Scott. Braugher is deadpan-great in his first straight-up comedy role, and Samberg makes for a strong leading man. They're surrounded by a deep, talented cast -- Melissa Fumero, Terry Crews, Joe Lo Truglio, Stephanie Beatriz and Chelsea Peretti -- all of whom live in their characters from the start. It's as enjoyable a half-hour as you'll see on the schedule this fall.
-- Rick Porter, Zap2it « Less
4/12'The Crazy Ones' (CBS):Premieres: 9 p.m. ET Thursday, Sept. 26
Robin Williams is back on TV and in top form. "The Crazy Ones" finds the... Show More »Premieres: 9 p.m. ET Thursday, Sept. 26
Robin Williams is back on TV and in top form. "The Crazy Ones" finds the comedian as a manic genius, heading up an advertising agency with his straitlaced daughter (Sarah Michelle Gellar). The two have an unexpected chemistry that works perfectly, as both co-workers and a father and daughter. The supporting cast backing them up also definitely pulls their weight, especially James Wolk, who seems to be Williams' partner in crime for some of his crazier ideas. Of course, it also doesn't hurt when you can land a guest star like Kelly Clarkson for your pilot, allowing her to show off some decent comedic chops.
-- Chris Hayner, Zap2it « Less
5/12'Hostages' (CBS):Premieres: 10 p.m. ET Monday, Sept. 23
CBS' taut drama "Hostages" feels more like a cable series than a network o... Show More »Premieres: 10 p.m. ET Monday, Sept. 23
CBS' taut drama "Hostages" feels more like a cable series than a network one. Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott set the pace for the tension-filled hour with excellent performances as, respectively, a surgeon set to operate on the president of the United States and a rogue FBI agent who, along with a team of accomplices, takes her family hostage. Her choice: Kill the president or they kill her family. It should be a no-brainer -- the fact that it's not is testament to how expertly constructed the pilot is.
-- Jacqueline Cutler, Zap2it « Less
6/12'Marvel's Agents of SHIELD' (ABC):Premieres: 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, Sept. 24
If you're expecting "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD"... Show More »Premieres: 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, Sept. 24
If you're expecting "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" to simply act as the connective tissue between the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, you're in the wrong place. Though the concept for the new ABC series stems from films like "Iron Man 3" and "The Avengers," it stands on its own with a strong ensemble cast featuring established acts like Clark Gregg and Ming-Na and newcomers like Brett Dalton and Elizabeth Henstridge. With a Joss Whedon-directed pilot and showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" exudes a confidence and optimism that shows it knows it simply needs to be itself to attract viewers. Plus, there's always the promise of cameo appearances from some of Marvel's big screen superheroes to keep people interested.
-- Terri Schwartz, Zap2it « Less
7/12'Masters of Sex' (Showtime):Premieres: 10 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 29
A series about renowned sex researchers William Masters and Virginia... Show More »Premieres: 10 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 29
A series about renowned sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson would be pretty easy to get wrong: Tip the scales too far toward emphasizing the titillating aspects of their work, or go the opposite direction and attempt to keep sex on the sidelines, and you've got a creative mess. "Masters of Sex," however, manages to balance everything its story encompasses just about perfectly. It takes the work of Masters (Michael Sheen) and Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) seriously while never shying away from the explicit nature of that work -- or from the occasionally absurd, amusing situations they sometimes face as a result. Caplan and Sheen are each fantastic, and the writing and period details are spot-on. It could be the fall's best new drama.
-- Rick Porter, Zap2it « Less
8/12'The Michael J. Fox Show' (NBC):Premieres: 9 p.m. ET Thursday, Sept. 26 (moves to 9:30 on Oct. 3)
Realistically, there is no way five-t... Show More »Premieres: 9 p.m. ET Thursday, Sept. 26 (moves to 9:30 on Oct. 3)
Realistically, there is no way five-time Emmy winner Fox could tackle being a series lead again without acknowledgment of the Parkinson's disease he's dealt with for nearly 25 years, and this sitcom lets him do so with wit that's biting yet warm. New York TV newscaster Mike Henry (Fox) also has Parkinson's, and his family is thrilled to see him re-enter the work world after five years off. Fox's typically self-deprecating humor goes a very long way in equalizing things for viewers, whether his alter ego is trying to serve others at the breakfast table, carping about his long-standing rivalry with Matt Lauer (who appears in the premiere) or recalling his "chair incident" on the news set before he took his time away from work. We haven't seen a comedy star do anything like this weekly before ... and if there's a man for the job, it's Fox.
-- Jay Bobbin, Zap2it « Less
9/12'The Originals' (The CW):Premieres: 9 p.m. ET Thursday, Oct. 3 (moves to 8 p.m. Tuesday on Oct. 8)
"The Originals" may be a spinoff of ... Show More »Premieres: 9 p.m. ET Thursday, Oct. 3 (moves to 8 p.m. Tuesday on Oct. 8)
"The Originals" may be a spinoff of "The Vampire Diaries," but don't expect to see the same show in a different location ("The Originals" calls New Orleans its home). Executive producer Julie Plec promises the show will leave the angst and guilt of "The Vampire Diaries" behind and have its characters embrace their vampirism ... and "The Originals" delivers in a big way. Original vampire siblings Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah as they make their way back to New Orleans, the town they helped build hundreds of years ago and which Klaus' protege Marcel has shaped into his own kingdom -- one that Klaus wants back. The political intrigue, supernatural plotting, and sexy decadence of "The Originals" has already proven to be a completely different, more mature show than its predecessor, and we can't wait to see where it goes from here.
-- Sydney Bucksbaum, Zap2it « Less
10/12'Ravenswood' (ABC Family):Premieres: 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, Oct. 22
This "Pretty Little Liars" spin-off promises to take what we love about... Show More »Premieres: 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, Oct. 22
This "Pretty Little Liars" spin-off promises to take what we love about PLL -- attractive young leads fighting the forces of evil, twists and turns in every episode -- and add in a creepy new location with a personality all its own. The sneak peek we've seen of "Ravenswood" teases a town full of secrets and we already know there's some sort of curse involved, so we're definitely on board with "PLL"-goes-supernatural.
-- Andrea Reiher, Zap2it « Less
11/12'Reign' (The CW):Premieres: 9 p.m. ET Thursday, Oct. 17
The CW has never pulled off anything quite like this. "Reign" represents a turn... Show More »Premieres: 9 p.m. ET Thursday, Oct. 17
The CW has never pulled off anything quite like this. "Reign" represents a turning point for the embattled netlet, an opportunity to expand beyond the genre shows and teen soaps its (for better of worse) become known for -- and it does in spades. Adelaide Kane's turn as the teenage Mary, Queen of Scots screams "breakout star," the cinematography is, in a word, stunning and the mix of medieval political intrigue, bodice-ripping romance and supernatural mystery make for a must-watch sort of alchemy. It doesn't hurt that that Toby Regbo and Torrance Coombs (as Prince Francis and Sebastian, respectively) are quite easy on the eyes. This is the CW, after all. A leopard can't entirely change its spots.
-- Billy Nilles, Zap2it « Less
12/12Looking ahead ...:Several shows still to come in 2014 have us rather excited as well. Be on the lookout for:
"About a Boy" and "Believe" (NBC): T... Show More »Several shows still to come in 2014 have us rather excited as well. Be on the lookout for:
"About a Boy" and "Believe" (NBC): Two very different but intriguing shows about the relationship between a kid and an adult. "About a Boy" adapts the Nick Hornby novel (and Hugh Grant movie that followed) with a strong cast led by David Walton, Minnie Driver and Benjamin Stockham. "Believe," from the Bad Robot team, is about a young girl with soon-to-flourish powers (Johnny Sequoyah) and the newly sprung convict (Jake McLaughlin) assigned to protect her from a host of nefarious types.
"Black Sails" (Starz): The first of two pirate-themed series due in 2014 (NBC's "Crossbones" is the other), "Black Sails" is essentially a prequel to "Treasure Island," focusing on the adventures of Capt. Flint (Toby Stephens) and a young privateer named John Silver (Luke Arnold). Starz has already ordered a second season, so it must like what it's seen so far.
"Intelligence" (CBS) (pictured): Josh Holloway from "Lost" as something between "Chuck" and "The Six Million Dollar Man"? Sold.
"Mind Games" (ABC): Critical favorite Kyle Killen's ("Awake," "Lone Star") new series is about two brothers, one a brilliant but unstable expert on human behavior (Steve Zahn) and the other a con man and ex-convict (Christian Slater), who run a business dedicated to helping clients by using the science of human motivation and manipulation. Killen's shows have yet to connect with a wide audience -- could the third time be the charm?
"Star-Crossed" (The CW): Mix "Roswell" and "Twilight" -- plus a teensy bit of civil-rights politics -- and you have a sense of this show, about humanoid aliens who have been kept under quarantine but are now integrating the high school near their internment camp. A human girl (Aimee Teegarden) falls for one of the aliens (Matt Lanter), and a forbidden romance ensues.
"Surviving Jack" and "Us & Them" (FOX): Two of the better comedy pilots of the season will be coming your way in early 2014. "Surviving Jack" shows Chris Meloni's deft comic side in a family show set in the early '90s, while "Us & Them" is a winning remake of Britcom "Gavin & Stacey" carried by leads Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel.
"True Detective" (HBO): Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey are two Louisiana detectives working a serial-killer case that spans more than 20 years.
And looking way, way ahead to the spring of 2014 (and possibly beyond), Jack Bauer will return in "24: Live Another Day" on FOX. Cinemax has "The Knick," a medical drama set in New York in 1900, starring Clive Owen and directed by Steven Soderbergh. « Less