The holiday season is officially over, but the start of a new year brings a whole new set of expectations regarding pop culture. Television, specifically, has some very exciting prospects lined up for 2014, and today we’re going to list a few of them so you can mark them down on your pop culture calendar. Everyone has one of those, right? No? Just me? Moving on. Here are 10 TV events to be excited about in 2014.
The Return of “Community”
“Community” creator Dan Harmon was unceremoniously fired from his own series and had to sit on the sidelines and watch two other showrunners continue his show during its fourth season, an experience that couldn’t have been pleasant (especially since the show was noticably worse without him). But in an unprecedented move, he was somehow hired back to run the show again in its fifth season, which premieres tonight on NBC. “Community” was one of my favorite shows of all time before Harmon left, and I’m extremely curious to see if he can jump right back into the creative flow he was in before he got canned. Early reviews of the new episodes have been very positive, so I have a feeling this show is on the way up once more (creatively speaking, that is).
The Return of “Sherlock”
If you frequent Tumblr, you’ve likely already had the third season (or “series,” as the Brits call it) premiere spoiled for you since the BBC opted to premiere the show in the motherland a couple of weeks before we get it here in the States. It’s been two years since “The Reichenbach Fall,” and we’re dying to know how Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes managed to survive his plummet off that rooftop. They released a fun little mini-episode to tide us over, but we can’t wait until January 19th to see the real show come back.
Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson co-star on this new HBO series about cops who track a serial killer for seventeen years. The story is told through crisscrossing timelines, and the first eight episodes are directed by famed indie film director Cary Fukunaga. The coolest part? This is an anthology series (you know, like “American Horror Story”) so the next season will feature a new cast and a whole new story. Mark your calendars for January 12th, because this one sounds like a show you won’t want to miss.
“24: Live Another Day”
Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer returns almost four years after “24” went off the air. I’ll admit that “24” could be a little difficult to watch sometimes because of the ludicrous coincidences and downright insanity the writers had to churn out in the later seasons to keep it interesting, but with a bit of separation from the show, I have mostly fond memories of it. Sutherland was born to play the badass CTU agent, and now that we know Mary Lynn Rajskub is coming back as the tech wizard Chloe, we’re all in on this one. There’s no premiere date set for this one yet, but keep your eyes open for a summer debut for this “event series.”
“Better Call Saul”
“Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan said we can expect “Better Call Saul” to hit our screens sometime in 2014, and we’re deeply interested to see what he and his writing team can cook up for the spin-off series featuring everyone’s favorite skeezy lawyer. Bob Odenkirk is back (obviously), and we’re guessing everyone will tune in for the episodes when Mike (Jonathan Banks) and – hopefully – Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) make appearances. Who knows? Maybe we’ll even get a chance to see Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul reprise their iconic roles as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.
I’ll admit I’m a snob when it comes to network TV, and I generally don’t like any of the new shows that the likes of ABC, CBS, FOX, and especially NBC crap out every year. But despite that, and despite the fact that this trailer looks pretty iffy, I think “Believe” has a sliver of a chance of actually being good. Why? J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron (yep, the director of Gravity) are executive producing it. The story is about a little girl with the powers of telekinesis and the man tasked with protecting her. (Sounds like it has shades of The Last of Us in there.) It’s sort of a dangerous game putting faith in executive producers – just look at all the crappy shows Spielberg has EP’ed over the years – but I’m willing to give this one a shot because Abrams and Cuaron are energetic, exciting filmmakers. This will debut after the Winter Olympics on Sundays at 9:00pm.
I know, I know – I was JUST talking about how it can be a sketchy proposition to put your faith in an executive producer when it comes to new TV shows. But that’s exactly what I’m going to do for HBO’s “The Leftovers,” because its EP is none other than “LOST” co-creator Damon Lindelof. I’m a huge supporter of this guy, even though the geek community seems to have turned on him after the not-so-great-in-retrospect Prometheus, I’ll still continue to give him the benefit of the doubt. The series kicks off when a global Rapture happens (but it may not be the biblical Rapture), and follows the people who didn’t make the cut and are left behind in the suburbs. No premiere date is penciled in yet.
“Turn” and “Halt & Catch Fire”
Everyone knows about AMC’s legendary rise to elite quality programmer with “Mad Men,” “The Walking Dead,” and “Breaking Bad,” but not many people remember missteps like “Low Winter Sun” and “The Prisoner.” Which category will the network’s newest scripted shows, “Turn” and “Halt & Catch Fire,” fall under? “Turn” follows a band of spies during the American Revolution, and “Halt & Catch Fire” takes place in the early 1980s and charts the rise of the personal computing industry. Both have solid casts, and both are slated for 2014 debuts. But will they be as talked about as the network’s other new show, “Better Call Saul”? They’re going to have to be REALLY good to get more people to talk about them than anything even remotely related to “Breaking Bad.”
You’re probably getting tired of seeing zombies dominate pop culture, so how about if we switch back over to vampires for a minute? I know the bloodsuckers never really left, but with the brilliant mind of Guillermo del Toro leading the charge on the FX adaptation of his book “The Strain,” we’re pumped to see some scary creature designs at the very least. Add on a cast that includes Corey Stoll (“House of Cards”, Midnight in Paris), John Hurt, and Sean Astin, and former “LOST” showrunner Carlton Cuse running this one behind the scenes, and we’re practically hooked already. This one hits TV screens in July 0f 2014.
The Return of “Game of Thrones”
Do I even need to elaborate here? “Game of Thrones” is one of the most consistently compelling series on television, and following the shocking, bloody ending of season 3, we’re amped to see how Daenarys and her dragons fare as she slowly approaches the Iron Throne. Will Joffrey get what’s coming to him? How will Jaime and Cersei Lannister’s relationship play out now that Jaime’s back? What will happen to Bran and his visions? There are dozens of questions left unanswered, and if last year was any indication, “Game of Thrones” will continue to be one of the most discussed shows of 2014. The exact return date hasn’t been announced yet, but it’ll likely happen at the end of March or beginning of April. Bring it on!
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