When I first heard they were making a TV show based on the Silence of the Lambs franchise, I was very skeptical. I am a huge fan of the original movie and I enjoyed the two sequels well enough. I thought they could never replicate the dark tone of the movie and they could never find someone to replace Antony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. In a way, I was right. Hannibal (the TV show) does not replicate or replace anything or anyone. This adaptation is successful because it found a way to honor the original movie while having a style and tone that are uniquely its own. Being a HUGE Pushing Daisies fan, I was excited as soon as I found out that Bryan Fuller was involved. However, I didn’t really know how Bryan Fuller’s “magical/dream-like style” would translate to a serial killer show. The first scene of Hannibal’s pilot had the answer. From the moment I saw the blood drops levitating in reverse and leading to the first time we hear Will Graham say “This is my design”, I was HOOKED. The story-line is intriguing and performances are superb. Mads Mikkelsen found his own take on the character of Hannibal Lecter and Hugh Dancy is even more incredible than Edward Norton at playing Will Graham [and I love Edward Norton FYI]. The entire show is a work of art, every shot is visually breathtaking and there is no such thing as unnecessary dialogue or redundant scenes. The same Bryan Fuller, who made dreams come to life on Pushing Daisies, has found a way to materialize nightmares and turn them into art.

The Americans

Ever since Alias, I’ve been patiently waiting for the next great spy show. Sadly, I had one disappointment after another. In 2010, Covert Affairs premiered and, on paper, it had all the ingredients to be Alias’s successor. However, Covert Affairs was the typical USA sunny sky show. It was fun to watch, but it was not the spy show I was waiting for. That same year, CW offered the remake of Nikita. Once again, it was a show about a kick-ass female spy who turned against the organization that trained her. It was closer in tone to Alias and I like it much better than Covert Affairs; but, for some reason, it never got me to the level of addiction Alias did. When everything else failed I turned my hopes to the new JJ Abrams show: Undercovers. It was a JJ Abrams show about a couple of retired spies. It had to be good right? Wrong. It ended up being the biggest disappointment of them all! The only spy show I truly loved in the past few years is Chuck, but it is a comedy, so it is a different story. This year, a new spy drama came along and, I am glad to say, I think I finally found the “next great spy show”. It is not that similar to Alias, but it has that international, old school feel. They have Russians, cold war, they speak several languages and they even have wigs! The Americans is what the Irina Derevko prequel would have been like and I love it! Stepping away from the comparison; The Americans has a great cast, mystery, action and heartfelt drama. I wasn’t blown away by the finale, but it was a solid season and it was one of the most exciting new shows of the year.


This show is over-the-top/mind-blowing FUN. I never expected to like this show so much, but it has quickly become one of my new TV obsessions. When I first heard the premise about “an ex-con who assumes another man’s identity and becomes sheriff of a small town in the middle of Amish country”, I really didn’t know what to expect. Nothing I could imagine would have been close to the level of craziness this show had to offer, and I mean this as the highest compliment. They took the completely ludicrous premise and just ran with it… full throttle. The show has every brand of action you can think off: Bar fights, street fights, females kicking ass, police brutality, museum heists, explosions, bike gangs and the list go on… On top of that, there are a couple of continuing mysteries, fun situations and colorful characters [especially Job]. It even has some romance, believe it or not. Watching this show is like riding a roller coaster and it is a WILD WILD RIDE. I don’t think I’ve had this much fun watching a TV show in a long time. January can’t come soon enough!

Beauty and the Beast

As if I would dare to omit this show from my favorites… Beasties would go “Code Yellow” on me! But seriously speaking, this show has become one of my favorites of the year and maybe even all times [even after I originally put it on my ‘worst new shows’ list]. I can’t really say this is “the best” show on television right now, but it is probably the one I had the most fun watching this year; not just because I enjoyed the episodes, but also because it has a great international fan base. The fandom is so diverse and active, that alone makes being a fan worthwhile, but that’s not the only reason. I will say this for the 100th time:  This show is REALLY not the type of show non-viewers think it is. It has nothing to do with the Disney version and has little in common with the 80s version (besides the name of the characters). It has a central ‘romantic’ story-line, but the show is so much more than that. Moving away from the procedural structure, BATB presented characters and relationships written in a refreshing way, completely different to what we see on TV over and over again. In addition, the show developed quite a rich mythology with hints of cult sci-fi shows like Dark Angel. This show is not a gritty cable drama, like the others on the list, but don’t dismiss it too quickly. It’s unfair to measure every show by Mad Men or Breaking Bad’s standards. Each TV show has an identity and they can be good for what they are. BATB had a VERY rocky start and struggled to find its voice and tone. But once it did, I thought it became something really enjoyable to watch. Top that with great cast and crew interaction and an active fandom and you get a great TV show experience. If you are a non-viewer, thinking I am speaking non-sense, you should really watch the entire Season 1. As they say, don’t judge a book by its cover and don’t judge a TV show by its title/pilot [or bad marketing campaigns].  

Orphan Black

Ever since this show premiered I’ve been hearing about how great it is. After I read the premise I KNEW I was going to love it! It is exactly the type of sci-fi, based on technology with a slightly futuristic vibe that I love. Life got in the way and I didn’t watch it in time. A bunch of my very savvy twitter followers/buddies told me I MUST put my life on hold and finally catch up with the whole series. I trust the wisdom of the twitter-verse so I did just that. I watched the entire season in a week or so and it was every bit as good as advertised. It has an intriguing and innovative concept, the plot is full of twists and turns and the characters are well developed. And speaking of the characters…this is a show about clones, meaning one actress plays like 9 different characters and she is AMAZING. Tatiana Maslany convinced me that each clone was a different person with her own personality. This is, without a doubt, “MUST SEE TV”. It’s original, it’s bold, it’s fun and it is utterly addictive.

Honorable mentions

These 5 mentioned above are my absolute favorites and the ones I am currently obsessing about. However, there were a bunch of other new shows I enjoyed this year. Arrow is probably my favorite comic-book adaptation, even though I am not that into this particular genre. The Following was mind-blowing in the beginning and I thought it was Thee crime show of the year… but then Hannibal came along… I haven’t finished watching Bates Motel and Ripper Street, but I really liked what I’ve seen so far. As for summer TV, the only show with the potential to become a favorite of mine seems to be The Bridge, although I am liking Under the Dome much better than I expected [and yes, Devious Maids may be my new guilty pleasure… I am reserving judgment on that for now]. And let’s not forget about online shows: House of Cards and the brand new Orange is the New Black. Finally, I am looking forward to watching Rectify, but haven’t gotten the chance yet.

So what do you think? Is there any other new show I should be watching and loving?

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The TV Empress is a Media Management graduate, screenwriter in the making (and financial engineer in the meantime). She has serious plans to take over global television. You can follow the TVEmpress on twitter @TVRepublik

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  1. Aren't you watching Graceland anymore? It is really quite good. It's my fave summer show right now. If you gave up on it you should watch all the eps to date. Gets quite shocking as it goes along. Oh...and I wonder who "A bunch of my very savvy twitter followers/buddies" might be... ;)

    1. Oh no! I didn't give up on it, just have to catch up... but you are not the first person to say it got so much better.... so I may need to update this list ;) haha You know I always listen to my savvy twitter followers/buddies!


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