The notion of year round television programming has become a reality.
For decades, the broadcast networks only premiered new scripted dramas and comedies during the fall and in the early months of the new year. The advent of cable programming over the past few years has created such a viable summer season that even the broadcast networks are jumping back in the game.
There are so many new TV shows that even traditionally quiet months like April have several new series slated to debut. This year’s spring lineup features an impressive array of shows that almost rivals the current summer lineup.
With the new spring season starting next week, CraveOnline has assembled a list of 14 of the most promising new and returning series for your viewing pleasure. And once again, there’s something for almost everyone on this list.
Spring 2014 TV Preview
Season Premiere: 4/4/14
I’ll say this for our neighbors to the North: they can make some really compelling sci-fi shows. Rachel Nichols headlines “Continuum” as Kiera Cameron, a police officer from the future who was transported and trapped in the present day alongside a band of terrorists who are attempting to reshape their timeline.
Last season found Kiera in major trouble, as Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen) betrayed her and left her as a captive of the Freelancers; an enigmatic group of time travelers. But with Alec causing problems with his own attempts to change history, Kiera may have to make some new alliances to get free.
Game of Thrones
Season Premiere: 4/6/14
“Game of Thrones” has quickly become one of HBO’s biggest hits. As the fourth season wraps up the events of George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords, expect to see big trouble for Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), some new problems for Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) as she builds her empire in the East and a war on two fronts for Jon Snow (Kit Harington) thanks to the White Walkers and the Wilding army.
Winter isn’t coming. It’s here.
Series Premiere: 4/6/14
“Beavis and Butt-head” and Office Space mastermind, Mike Judge is coming to HBO with a new comedy series co-created with Dave Krinsky and John Altschuler. “Silicon Valley” follows six programmers who are living together while trying to make it big in the tech industry.
The pilot episode of “Silicon Valley” was very well received at SXSW and this show has a very promising cast, including Thomas Middleditch, T. J. Miller, Zach Woods, Kumail Nanjiani, Amanda Crew, Angela Trimbur and Martin Starr.
Series Premiere: 4/6/14
You have to admire the way that AMC is daring to premiere a new drama on the same night that “Game of Thrones” has its season premiere.
“Turn” is the TV adaptation of Alexander Rose’s Washington's Spies by “Nikita” creator Craig Silverstein. It’s also the first Revolutionary War drama series in years. The series follows Abe Woodhull (Jamie Bell), a farmer who risks everything by forming the first spy ring in American history with his friends.
Season Premiere: 4/13/14
Get ready for two years of the final season of “Mad Men.” As they did for “Breaking Bad,” AMC is splitting the last season of “Mad Men” into two separate blocks of seven episodes each.
Naturally, AMC hasn’t released many details about this season’s storylines. How will Don Draper (Jon Hamm) bounce back from his meltdown last season? What’s next for Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) and Joan (Christina Hendricks)?
We’ll know soon.
Season Premiere: 4/14/14
Syfy is wrapping up “Warehouse 13” with an extremely shortened season of only six episodes. But before the end, we’ll see the return of H.G. Wells (Jaime Murray), Dr. Vanessa Calder (Lindsay Wagner) and even Pete’s mom, Jane Lattimer (Kate Mulgrew).
Series Premiere: 4/15/14
Who thought it would be a good idea to turn the Coen brothers’ signature film,
Fargo into a TV series?
And yet, it looks like FX may actually have something here. An amazing cast has been assembled, including Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Bob Odenkirk, Kate Walsh, Colin Hanks and Oliver Platt. Also, this is not a direct adaptation of the film. It’s an original story that shares the same basic setting, but the characters are all new.
If “Fargo” gets another season, expect it to take the “American Horror Story” approach of a new cast and a new storyline every year.
Network: BBC America
Season Premiere: 4/19/14
One of the surprise hits of last year is coming back. In “Orphan Black” Season 1, Tatiana Maslany delivered several amazing performances as ten distinct clones who were living very different lives. How many more clones will Maslany play in the new season?
After the events of season 1, Sarah (Maslany) is trying to find her missing daughter Kira (Skyler Wexler); while Alison (Maslany) struggles to come to terms with a murder she committed and Cosima
(Maslany) deals with a deadly illness.
Network: WGN America
Series Premiere: 4/20/14
WGN America is set to debut its first original series, “Salem;” which as the name suggests, deals with the infamous Salem Witch trials.
The twist here is that not only are witches real in the world of “Salem,” they’re actually encouraging the trials as a way to damn the souls of Salem’s residents. Several genre veterans are slated to star in “Salem” including Janet Montgomery (“Human Target”), Shane West (“Nikita”), Seth Gabel (“Fringe”) and Xander Berkeley (“24”).
Network: Adult Swim
Season Premiere: 4/21/14
Normally, you’d think that four years (four years!) between seasons means that a show has been cancelled.
Not so with “The Boondocks.” Aaron McGruder’s signature creation is back for a full season of 20 episodes. The only thing giving fans pause is that McGruder didn’t have any creative input on the final season. Can “The Boondocks” maintain its unique voice without McGruder leading the way?
24: Live Another Day
Series Premiere: 5/5/14
Jack is back, my friends.
Instead of a “24” movie, Kiefer Sutherland is reprising his role as Jack Bauer in a 12 part miniseries, “24: Live Another Day.” Picking up four years after the end of the series, Jack is hiding out in London when he discovers a plot to kill President Heller (William Devane). Naturally, some morons within the CIA think that Jack is responsible for the plot and a chase ensues.
Joining Sutherland and Devane are Yvonne Strahovski, Tate Donovan, Benjamin Bratt, Michelle Fairley and Stephen Fry along with returning cast members Mary Lynn Rajskub and Kim Raver.
Season Premiere: 5/5/14
After a skip year, “Louie” is coming back to FX with 14 new episodes, which will be run in blocks of two episodes for seven weeks. Series star and creator, Louis C.K. reportedly delivered the extra fourteenth episode on his own initiative.
“Louie” is often a bizarre comedy, but it’s a comedy with soul. There have been almost no hints about what is coming up in the new season... but I kind of like it that way.
Series Premiere: May 11
Showtime’s big spring show, “Penny Dreadful” has a lot of Bond in it. Former James Bond, Timothy Dalton is starring in it and
Skyfall screenwriter John Logan and director Sam Mendes are the driving creative force behind the series.
“Penny Dreadful” also has the fortuitous timing of placing Eva Green in a new series so quickly after her memorable turn in
300: Rise of an Empire. Plus there are all the classic monsters that you could ever hope to see in one place. And that means Dracula, Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and other Victorian era creations.
Series Premiere: 5/20/14
“Gang Related” has the odd distinction of being the final show to premiere from Fox’s 2013/2014 TV schedule.
Ramon Rodriguez, Terry O'Quinn and RZA star as members of an elite anti-gang task force in Los Angeles. But Rodriguez’s character, Ryan Lopez is harboring a secret affiliation with one of LA’s most powerful gangs. And that secret may destroy him.
Fox hasn’t tried a real crime drama since “The Chicago Code.” I’m anxious to see if “Gang Related” has the bite of a Shawn Ryan drama on network television.