2013's Six Best New Shows
TV Critics are just coming off two weeks at The Television Critics Association Press Tour, where all the networks present panels for their new shows, featuring Q&A's with the stars and creators. The content of these conversations has the power to turn critics into swoony-eyed lovers or fang-baring haters, so I postponed selecting my favorite new shows until I'd digested everything the powers that be had to say.
So take a gander at 2013's Six Best New Shows, and their trailers, to see what stood up to scrutiny and left this critic breathless for more.
The Americans, FX
While some shows simply feel like a network's attempt to rip off the success of another (I'm looking at you NBC's Deception, which puts the "eh" in Revenge), FX's The Americans will simply appeal to everyone who enjoys Homeland, while serving up an entirely original story.
Well, not entirely original as the hypnotic story of two Russian sleeper spies living in Washington, D.C. circa 1980 is actually based on countless real couples whose marriage was just one masquerade they were forced to maintain in order to keep their cover.
The Americans premieres January 30.
The Carrie Diaries, The CW
This Sex and the City prequel may focus on a teen Carrie Bradshaw, but the drama she faces in 1984 is just as topical, touching and tough as her contemporary HBO incarnation. And by embracing what Carrie Diaries EP Amy B. Harris has dubbed "Aspirational Authenticity" when it comes to the clothes, style-savvy viewers won't be forced to endure one neon scrunchie after another.
But the show's biggest asset is star AnnaSophia Robb, who does a phenomenal job of playing Carrie Bradshaw without imitating Sarah Jessica Parker.
The Carrie Diaries premieres January 14.
Bates Motel, A&E
A&E's reimagining of Norman and Norma Bates' story is modern in setting (cell phones, internet, Taylor Swift songs) but classic in execution, ensuring Hitchcock fans won't be the only ones peeping this pre-Psycho story.
Vera Farmiga is nothing short of a revelation as a pre-skeleton Norma Bates, while casting cherubic Freddie Highmore as Norman ensures his decent into madness will be a fascinating one. And with EP's Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Parenthood, Friday Night Lights) running the show, you can count on the family horrors being well-matched by the terrorizing townsfolk surrounding the iconic resting place.
Bates Motel premieres March 18.