TV After Dark: 2013’s Top Television Shows

by

TV-Time-Capsule-We-Recommend

It’s Been A Big Year – 2013’s TV Shows Bring New Meaning To The Word “Epic”

This year introduced some major contenders in the world of television; some already fighting their way to the top and yelling “Victory!” before the first round is through. Every network had something to give – offering viewers a steady parade of diabolical and delicious new shows that you couldn’t help but take a nice tasty bite from. From crime to chaos and sex to the supernatural, our team at TV After Dark chose two shows from this year that they would recommend every TV-lover indulge in. As a part of our TVAD 2013 Time Capsule, check out the list of shows we’ve compiled below!

RELATED: TV After Dark: Favorite Female Characters of 2013


“‘I’m a criminal. Criminals are notorious liars. Everything about me is a lie.'” With that line and all of the Kaiser Soze feels Red exudes, millions of viewers were hooked.” ~ Tiffany Brown

TheBlacklist_1280 tv after dark

Ever wonder what happened to Pretty in Pink’s Steff after he grew up? He became a master spy who turned traitor in order to maintain the lavish lifestyle of his youth, that’s what. James Spader has had a great career, but NBC’s newest hit, The Blacklist, is arguably the best career move he’s ever made, and has earned Spader a Golden Globe nomination to boot. His gain is our gain, as every week viewers get to watch charming, mischievous, and deadly Raymond Reddington play with the CIA (and us) while he protects rookie profiler Elizabeth Keen. In the pilot Reddington tells Agent Keen, “I’m a criminal. Criminals are notorious liars. Everything about me is a lie.” With that line and all of the Kaiser Soze feels Red exudes, millions of viewers were hooked, and like them I became immediately invested in the mystery surrounding Red and Liz. The entire cast gives riveting performances every week, and while the writers continue to give us answers and then immediately reveal we’ve been tricked, the show never fails to be engaging and addicting. This new show is Must-See TV at it’s best. Red may have chosen Liz, but we’ve chosen them right back.


“I never feel like I can trust my instincts with the characters he plays.” ~ Erin Brown

I have to choose The Blacklist – purely because I think it was the perfect vehicle for James Spader to return to primetime TV. His ability to eloquently play such morally ambiguous characters is second to none. Plus I never feel like I can trust my instincts with the characters he plays; he is so good at keeping even the most astute viewer off-balance in what they think they know about anything that’s going on.


“The show is fast-paced & action-packed; highly dramatic and suspense-filled and it keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats wanting more.” ~  Stephanie Flasher

A show I’d recommend is NBC’s crime drama, The Blacklist starring James Spader as former government agent Raymond Reddington and now FBI’s Most Wanted. He turns himself in and teams up with FBI to find the world’s worst criminals, but insists on working directly with one agent, Elizabeth Keen. Spader is phenomenal as Reddington. The Blacklist is fast-paced & action-packed; highly dramatic and suspense-filled and it keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats wanting more.


“[His] beautifully astute, eloquent but brusquely honest British tone of voice and manner of speaking is wonderfully appealing.” ~ Erin Brown

SLEEPY HOLLOW

My second choice is (and I’m a bit biased here, but not at all sorry for it), Sleepy Hollow. I love everything about the show, especially Tom Mison‘s portrayal of Ichabod. That beautifully astute, eloquent but brusquely honest British tone of voice and manner of speaking is wonderfully appealing – similar I think to what made Jonny Lee Miller so appealing in his Elementary role as Sherlock. That said, I’m also a huge fan of the side characters in this show – Nicole Beharie‘s Lt. Abbie Mills is a breath of fresh air and Orlando Jones is an absolute gas as Captain Irving. Good writing, and just plain FUN. I love it.


“It has that special something that other shows like Buffy, Charmed, and The Vampire Diaries have that makes it addictive.” ~ Connie Allen

Witches of East End Cast

Everyone needs a comfort show, a television series where you can kick back and have fun watching at night. For me, Witches of East End has not only a great ensemble cast and well-written dialogue; it has that special something that other shows like Buffy, Charmed, and The Vampire Diaries have that makes it addictive. I think it’s because the show knows its brand, it doesn’t try hard to be cool or lean on gimmicky supernatural subplots to dictate its storylines. It is what it is, and I love it.


“This gripping drama may now be in its third season, but the breakneck pace hasn’t slowed down yet.” ~ Tiffany Brown

Scandal Cast

ABC hooked audiences with its primetime soap, Revenge, and pulled it off again the following season with Scandal. Kerry Washington‘s Olivia Pope is a no-nonsense woman who handles DC’s biggest players, and never seems to get her white clothes dirty. She’s smart, beautiful, and… flawed. Like many of her clients, Olivia has a scandalous secret that could be her undoing if ever revealed to the public – she’s the mistress of the President of the United States! This gripping drama may now be in its third season, but the breakneck pace hasn’t slowed down yet thanks to Shonda Rhimes & Co. Like Olivia, we too, “want painful, difficult, devastating, life-changing, extraordinary love,” and have fallen in love with her roller-coaster love affair with President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn). Every week, fans tune in to see what roadblocks (Jake Ballard?) will stand in Olitz’ way towards making jam in Vermont, what Olivia will be wearing, and what the cast has to say about the episode. Scandal has become the most tweeted series ever, and the cast’s social media presence has made every other show stand up and take note. Thanks to social media, Scandal offers fans a level of interaction never-before-seen, and has propelled the series to being one of television’s most-watched shows.


“The show isn’t perfect, but it has some compelling twists and flashback scenes designed to make your ovaries explode.” ~ Jayne Balke

The Originals

Still an infant in TV series terms, but The Originals has quickly become a favourite of mine. It’s not only the appealing cast (Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies and Charles Michael Davis are the Christmas treats you can’t get enough of) which draws the viewer to this show, but the escalating evolution of events in New Orleans. It reminds me of The Vampire Diaries before it went haywire and drowned in doppelgängers; when each episode had you gripping your seat and wringing the life out of your feather pillow. The show isn’t perfect, but it has some compelling twists and flashback scenes designed to make your ovaries explode. If you’re looking for a new fantasy series to start, this is the one to go for.


“It’s a sexy, more mature supernatural show that does not disappoint.” ~ Stephanie Flasher

Another great show I’d recommend is The Originals. A spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, the series follows the Mikaelson siblings in New Orleans. It’s a new spin on a supernatural vampire show. The Originals is darker. It focuses more on life as a vampire and vampires being a part of the community. It’s nice to see vampires living as vampires rather than the struggle of coming to terms with being a vampire or the constant fear of being exposed as a vampire. The Originals is a sexy, more mature supernatural show that does not disappoint.


“The great performances, namely from Michael Sheen’s (Dr. William Masters), and Lizzy Caplan (Virginia E. Johnson) make this series a must-not-miss.” Connie Allen

Masters of sex Showtime

Originally when I saw the previews for Masters of Sex, I thought it would be somewhat dull. Sure, the fact it is based on a true story concerning sexual research in the 1950s seemed interesting, but I thought the tone would follow along the same lines as Mad Men. Boy, was I wrong. Yes, it’s a series that takes place during the 1950s but the acting is amazing, the story is more than a study about how people viewed sex but the ignorance surrounding it. What captivated my attention is seeing how far we’ve come in understanding our bodies; not to mention how limited women’s options were pre-feminist movement. It’s astounding there was a baby boom at all. The great performances – namely from Michael Sheen’s (Dr. William Masters) and Lizzy Caplan (Virginia E. Johnson) make this series a must-not-miss.


 “With power plays and voyages to foreign lands, Vikings is a series well-worth watching.” ~ Jayne Balke

Vikings-wallpaper

Those who love Game of Thrones will easily fall in love with the gruesome yet appealing nature of Vikings. An unexpectedly awesome series from the History Channel, Vikings is creator Michael Hirst’s vision of life in the Dark Ages. Historically accurate or not, the series is bloody and depicts the Vikings as strong (brutal even) warriors and people. However, the violent battles and skirmishes are not without purpose. As the series develops you are sucked into this world where their religion is paramount, and the gods they worship are integral to their way of life. Besides, Travis Fimmel (who plays Ragnar Lothbrok) is a treat for the eyes – as is his wife Lagertha, played by Katheryn Winnick. With power plays and voyages to foreign lands, Vikings is a series well-worth watching.


“With the vast amount of shows there are being axed every year, here is a raging sci-fi adventure that just will not die!” ~ Graham Eveleigh

Doctor-Who

This year’s top 2 recommendations would have to be: Doctor Who – not because this year was its strongest, but because there have been fifty of them! With the vast amount of shows there are being axed every year, here is a raging sci-fi adventure that just will not die! It deserves new fans to give it a chance for that reason alone, and to be celebrated in this year particularly. The second would be The Americans: a fast-paced thriller with a great lead in Matthew Rhys, it didn’t get nearly enough attention as it should have in the UK and the US.

“I stopped thinking that this show could get predictable anytime soon.” ~ Alexandra Chambers

Arrow - Green Arrow Closeup

My favourite shows of 2013 would have to be Arrow and Doctor Who. I think this was the year I really got into Doctor Who, probably had something to do with my trip overseas and seeing London. But in general, this show had a really big year, the 50th anniversary of the first ever episode and the announcement and subsequent regeneration of the doctor himself. I love the direction the show has gone this season with Clara, the new companion; the impossible girl. She is a fantastic character even if the discovery of who she was could have been much more exciting. I am intrigued in the new direction that Peter Capaldi will take the show, albeit a little heartbroken at the loss of out beloved Matt. Arrow was also one of the shows that I looked forward to the most this year, with all of its twists and turns, action sequences and blooming romances, a girl could love this show for a long time. If you haven’t seen the new season, stop reading now – spoiler alert! Between Sarah being alive and another vigilante, not to mention the shift in Oliver’s purpose as the Arrow and Malcolm Merlyn being alive, I stopped thinking that this show could get predictable anytime soon.


“The show sparked new life and went from a must-watch series to showcasing some of TV’s best performances.” ~ Romancia

MADDIE HASSON, AVAN JOGIA, KYLIE BUNBURY

If you’ve been hooked on Scandal or vowed after the Red Wedding that “you’ll never watch Game of Thrones ever again”, then you’ll understand just a tiny portion of my love for TV. Now that Breaking Bad has come to a sad but satisfying end, and the writers for The Borgias and Copper have decided to call it quits on these series (way too soon in my opinion), thank heavens for a long list of satisfying TV shows. It was really hard to pick a show I’d recommend for TV After Dark’s 2103 Time capsule. I wavered back and forth between NBC’s The Blacklist, Hannibal, Netflix’s The Fall, CW’s The Originals, History Channel’s Vikings, Starz/BBC’s The White Queen, ABC Family’s Twisted and The Fosters. Each had pivotal moments this season that made it difficult to choose. However, those of us who enjoyed the introduction and subsequent evolution of the Mikaelson family – the evil hybrid Klaus who we love to hate and bitchy Rebekah always looking for love – will definitely enjoy The Originals. The show took a turn for the better when they included Elijah Mikaelson in the mix, played by the expressive and talented Daniel Gillies. All of a sudden the show sparked new life and went from a must-watch series to showcasing some of TV’s best performances – Gillies included. The second show I’d recommend is ABC Family’s Twisted. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a show that doesn’t delve into a trio romance but allows the lure of mystery to hook you into watching.