On Birthdays & the Birth of New TV Shows

April 30th, 2013 by Barak

April 18th/28th/29th – Conan O’Brien‘s, Jay Leno’s and Jerry Seinfeld’s birthdays – since this is TV icons birthday month, those responsible for some of the best past and current shows, we thought it’s a good enough reason to write about the best new TV shows (instead of recommending a Seinfeld rerun for the 100th time…) So here are 10 great new TV shows you should at least check out:

10. Rectify

Sundance channel’s original series looks and feels like quality indie cinema. It’s an absorbing, tense, psychological drama about a man who’s released from prison after 19 years (thanks to DNA evidence) and now has to get used to life in the real world outside. Its pace is slow and it takes a bit of time to get into it, but if you’re patient it will be worth your while.

9. Bates Motel

This prequel to the 1960 classic Psycho is quite far from the original, but I think that if Hitchcock was still alive today he would have been proud of this psychological thriller inspired by one of his works. Bates Motel has a creepy atmosphere, it’s tense and engaging and its leading lady Vera Farmiga is always great to watch (because she’s a great actress; and because she’s not what you’d call ugly.)

8. The Politician’s Husband

A tense political drama about blind ambition and power struggles. The two leading roles in this series, David Tenant and Emily Watson, are both superb in their roles. If you like shows like Borgen, Boss and House of Cards, The Politician’s Husband should also be right up your alley.

7. Vikings

Comparisons to Game of Thrones are inevitable, and it’s true that both shows are stylized and rough and deal with themes of intrigue and power struggles, but they aren’t that much alike. Vikings has its own thing going on, and though it’s not nearly as good as Game of Thrones, it’s still very good.

6. Hannibal

Hannibal’s cast includes Mads Mikkelsen, Laurence Fishburne, Hugh Dancy and Caroline Dhavernas (who was the lead in an earlier excellent Bryan Fuller series, Wonderfalls.) I think that the cast alone is a good enough reason to watch the series. Hannibal isn’t as good as the modern classic Silence of the Lambs, but it’s 10 times better than The Following (the other serial killer show that also started airing quite recently.)

5. Top of the Lake

This mystery/drama series offers great acting, a haunting atmosphere and excellent cinematography. This tense existential mini-series was made in the spirit of the best Scandinavian detective series of recent years – The Killing, Wallander and The Bridge.

4. House of Cards

This clever and deeply cynical Netflix original series offers one of Kevin Spacey‘s best performances of his esteemed career. This dark political satire shows politicians and journalists in a very negative light. Kevin Spacey’s character (Frank Underwood) is a manipulative, cunning, ultra sophisticated backstabber; and that’s why we like him. (Just kidding, if you really like him your moral compass might be broken. Or maybe you just weren’t paying attention.)

3. The Americans

FX’s new show (which takes place in the 1980′s during the cold war, with two protagonists who are undercover KGB agents) is a complex, clever, tense and suspenseful thriller. If you miss Homeland, The Americans might make your longings feel more bearable. Although it’s more similar to an Israeli series called Ta Gordin (Gordin Cell) that was already sold to NBC. The great choice of music in this fascinating cat and mouse espionage game helps build the tension and create a paranoid atmosphere.

2. Banshee

Cinemax’s (Strike Back, Hunted, Transporter) new series is executive produced by Alan Ball (Six Feet Under, American Beauty, True Blood), and that alone makes it a show worth checking out. It’s obvious right from the start that this is indeed a Cinemax series because all the trademarks are there (violence, sex, nudity and a bit more violence). As for Alan Ball’s touch, I can’t really see it (not gloomy enough), but it’s definitely an action/crime series of the highest quality.

1. Nathan For You

Not many people watch this show, but I honestly think it’s the funniest show on TV right now. It’s hilarious, brilliant and offbeat, and offers a combination of silly, dry and irreverent humor. It’s sort of a parody on business marketing TV shows, and it’s so different and original that it’ll probably get canceled soon… So hurry up and watch it while you still can!

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