A year from now, many of the 2013 shows we’ll be looking back on and remembering—for better or worse—will be surprises. (I don’t think any of us saw Honey Boo Boo coming.) But there’s a lot we can already anticipate. Below are a few shows I’m eager for or at least curious about, most of which I have not seen yet, in whole or in part. But this is the season of hope!
The Joe Schmo Show (Spike, January). The first two editions of this reality-TV parody—involving one participant who doesn’t know he’s surrounded by actors—were some of the best pop-culture satire of the last decade. The new edition updates the format, spoofing a reality show in which “contestants” are competing to become bounty hunters.
The Carrie Diaries (The CW, January). This Sex and the City prequel promises to be doubly nostalgic, recalling the fabulous HBO sitcom of the late ’90s and ’00s by bringing us the story of Carrie Bradshaw as a teenager in 1984.
The Following (Fox, January). This Kevin Bacon drama is not even the only serial-killer-themed drama on the schedule next season. Coming at a time of increased attention to violence on TV, it’s ostentatiously violent pilot—gory almost to the point of self-parody—will get a lot of attention.
House of Cards (Netflix, February). This series is partly intriguing for what it is (a political drama from David Fincher and Kevin Spacey) and how we’ll get it—it’s the highest-profile new show to premiere on the streaming-video outlet (which dipped its toe in the icy waters of Lillyhammer last year).
Game of Thrones (HBO, March). Those of us who have read George R. R. Martin’s novels are looking forward to season 3 because it’s based on the best book in the series so far, A Storm of Swords. And for the sake of you who haven’t read the books, that’s all I’m going to say right now.
Arrested Development (Netflix, spring). It’s actually a thing. It’s actually honest-to-God happening. We don’t know when yet—an expanded production schedule has pushed back completion—but one of TV’s greatest comedies will return after seven years, on a video outlet that gave it an afterlife.
Masters of Sex and Ray Donovan (Showtime, unscheduled). Showtime continues to ramp up its post-Homeland ambitions with two drama additions. I haven’t yet seen either, but Ray Donovan has generated some eager anticipation, and Masters—about sex-research team Masters and Johnson—has Lizzy Caplan and, well, sex research.
Low Winter Sun (AMC, unscheduled). I don’t yet know much about this murder mystery, but I’ll admit to a home-team curiosity about any new series set in Detroit. Here’s hoping it proves better than AMC’s last solar-challenged crime show, The Killing—and that it lasts longer than Detroit 187.
The end of Breaking Bad (AMC, unscheduled). The final eight episodes of what may be remembered as the greatest TV drama of this decade—if they pull this off right. No pressure, folks!
As I said, this is by no means a complete listing of upcoming new series, and I’m barely even mentioning returning shows, such as HBO’s Girls and Enlightened, or shows in development, like NBC’s Michael J. Fox sitcom. So fill out the list: what are you looking forward to in the new year?