IMDb Polls

Poll: New Shows We Can't Wait to Watch

We may have reached the traditional television season's halfway point, but lots of new series haven't premiered yet. Among these upcoming series debuts are a few destined to have a place on several "Best of 2014" lists at year's end. Others will become guilty pleasures, while some may go as quickly and quietly as they arrive.

The shows listed here fall into all of these categories, and while I can't guarantee all (or any) of them will earn huge ratings or critical acclaim, I am intrigued enough by what I've seen of them to put them on my Watchlist for at least a few episodes.

-- TV Editor Melanie McFarland

Make Your Choice

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    The Red Road (2014)

    Have we seen it?: Yes.

    Why We're Excited: In the course of exploring a profound culture clash that exists within a small town, we're treated to deeply moving performances by Martin Henderson, playing the conflicted sheriff, and Julianne Nicholson as his wife. But Jason Momoa's enigmatic, sinister portrayal of Phillip Kopus challenges the viewer's perception of who is truly the antagonist. Within just the first couple of episodes, Momoa's Kopus seems unnerving, dangerous and tragic all at once. It's unclear whether he'll ultimately gain any empathy from viewers, but he certainly makes us curious to see where this story will go.

    Series Premiere: 9pm Thursday, February 27, on SundanceTV.

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    Those Who Kill (2014)

    Have we seen it?: Not yet, but we saw a brief sizzle reel.

    Why We're Excited: Based on a Danish crime series of the same name, Chloë Sevigny seems perfectly cast as the driven, stoic Catherine Jensen and we like the idea of James D'Arcy as her onscreen partner. Are there many, many crime procedurals about serial murderers on the air? Of course. So the real hook, then, will be to see how Sevigny plays with the tension stemming from the driving subplot of the series: the case Jensen is trying to build against her father (played by Bruce Davison).

    Series Premiere: 10pm Monday, March 3, on A&E.

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    Sirens (2014)

    Have we seen it?: A sizzle reel was recently shown to critics in Los Angeles.

    Why We're Excited: Blue skies USA Network could use a little more of Denis Leary's brand of grittiness in its programming, but perhaps not as gritty as "Rescue Me". And while it would seems that "Sirens" could be mining similar territory, the characters appear to be much more driven by the comedy in this line of work as opposed to the tragedy always looming behind "Rescue Me's" squad of misfits.

    Series Premiere: 10pm Thursday, March 6 on USA.

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    Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey (2014)

    Have we seen it?: A shortened presentation was recently screened for critics in Los Angeles.

    Why We're Excited: Science is not exactly top-of-mind with the American public these days, sadly, but watching this series' attempt to change that is thrilling. Tyson is a gregarious host, dazzling the viewer with the wonders of the universe as beautiful graphics illustrate his narration. Though some may cringe at the idea that Seth MacFarlane is producing this update of "Cosmos," his animated contributions to each episode contribute to the sense of childlike wonder in each subject Tyson tackles. While history tells us "Cosmos" probably won't survive for long in Fox's Sunday primetime line-up, we'll happily watch for as long as it lasts.

    Series Premiere: 9pm Sunday, March 9, on Fox.

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    From Dusk Till Dawn (2014)

    Have we seen it?: A sizzle reel was recently shown to critics in Los Angeles.

    Why We're Excited: The first original scripted series for Robert Rodriguez's new cable network looks ridiculous, frankly. But considering that this is a channel dedicated to showcasing some of the best unsung grindhouse films and content targeting young adult audiences, it also seems like a perfect fit. Rodriguez intends to plumb Mesoamerican mythology to expand his take on the world of vampires. But we're also kind of curious to see Wilmer Valderrama play a crime lord. It all sounds like the making of a perfect so-bad-it's-good pleasure. Can't wait to take a bite.

    Series Premiere: 9pm Tuesday, March 11, on El Rey.

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    TURN (2014)

    Have we seen it?: Yes.

    Why We're Excited: In an entertainment landscape that posits that Abraham Lincoln was a vampire hunter and George Washington crusaded against demons, it's refreshing to see an American historical drama rooted in actual history. "Turn" incorporates plenty of dramatic tension into the mix, and gives us several rugged, dashing characters that had us hooked in the first episode. The question is whether subsequent hours can live up to the promise, of course, but the premiere was fairly impressive.

    Series Premiere: 9pm Sunday, April 6, on AMC.

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    Silicon Valley (2014)

    Have we seen it?: Yes.

    Why We're Excited: Before Mike Judge blessed the American cubicle drone with Office Space, he became familiar with the real Silicon Valley in its nascent stages. With this series he continues his exploration of a very specific brand of workplace humor inherent to a tech start-up environment. As a person who works at one of the most successful tech companies on the planet, I can say with some authority that the characterizations and humor are spot-on and often quite hilarious.

    Series Premiere: 10:30pm Sunday, April 6, on HBO.

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    Fargo (2014)

    Have we seen it?: Yes.

    Why We're Excited: One can be forgiven for wondering how, exactly, a series version of Fargo was going to work. But then, a person might recall that the joy of that movie wasn't simply in solving the crime but in getting to know the characters and the specific flavors and rhythms of the place.

    This is where the first hour of "Fargo" the television drama excels. Yes, there are terrible crimes committed, but the characters are brilliantly brought to life by some very famous actors, some of whom are barely recognizable in their roles. However, the two highest profile actors in the bunch, Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman, far and away steal the show. Expect to see this series to get plenty of notice during the run-up to the Emmys and the Golden Globes.

    Series Premiere: 10pm Tuesday, April 15, on FX.

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    Salem (2014)

    Have we seen it?: A sizzle reel was recently shown to critics in Los Angeles.

    Why We're Excited: Before WGN became a nationally-available cable channel, it was a Chicagoland station that featured a number of syndicated action series in its lineup. "Salem" appears to be a nod to that lineage while also taking advantage of the specific supernatural "witchy" trend in genre programming, mainly represented by FX's "American Horror Story: Coven". Another factor in "Salem" favor? One of its EPs is Brannon Braga, known for his work on many genre series including "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

    Series Premiere: 10pm Sunday, April 20, on WGN America.

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    24: Live Another Day (2014)

    Have we seen it?: Not yet.

    Why We're Excited: We're intrigued to see Jack Bauer back in action four years after his most recent adventure, operating in a world in which drone technology and intelligence leaks are part of dinner discussions in many American households. More than this, we're interested to see what happens in a story that pits Jack against his once-loyal colleague Chloe. Lastly it's also heartening to know that if the show gets too ridiculous to stomach, it'll be done in 12 episodes. Sure, we'll commit to that.

    Series Premiere: 8pm Monday, May 5, on Fox.

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    Penny Dreadful (2014)

    Have we seen it?: A sizzle reel was recently shown to critics in Los Angeles.

    Why We're Excited: Series creator John Logan says he was fascinated by the idea of taking classic Universal horror monsters of the '40s -- the Wolfman, Frankenstein, Dracula -- and creating a mythology where they could exist on the same stage and taken seriously. In doing so, he also seeks to create a visually sensual, erotically-charged experience. Done correctly, this show could be anything but dreadful. We'll just have to find out.

    Series Premiere: 10pm Sunday, May 11, on Showtime.

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    Vicious (2013)

    Have we seen it?: Yes. So have UK viewers.

    Why We're Excited: While film stars crossing over to work on TV series is still somewhat novel to American audiences, it seems to be more fluid over in Europe. That said, it's fairly surprising to see classical actors Derek Jacobi and Sir Ian McKellen headlining a sitcom created by Gary Janetti, a writer best known for his work on "Will & Grace" and for writing several memorable Stewie-centric episodes of "Family Guy". Accordingly, "Vicious" is very broad, British farce that in the hands of lesser actors probably wouldn't work. But Jacobi and McKellen are clearly having the time of their lives here, helped along by some wonderfully quotable dialogue.

    Series Premiere: 10:30pm Sunday, July 6 on PBS.

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    The Leftovers (2014)

    Have we seen it?: Yes.

    Why We're Excited: Well, considering how dark and grueling the first hour was to watch, "excited" might not be the best word. But the first hour of "The Leftovers" is just weird, sad, nihilistic and mysterious enough to earn a little more rope from this writer. Beneath the despair in that opening episode, one can see something else is sparkling. Is it brilliance? Is it worthless flashiness? We'll only know after viewing a few more episodes.

    Series Premiere: Summer (date TBA) on HBO

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    Tyrant (2014)

    Have we seen it?: Yes.

    Why We're Excited: We are long past the point at which FX earned its status as a basic cable channel with premium products, but between this, "Fargo" and "The Strain," 2014 is shaping up to be a particularly stellar one. However, out of its three newest dramas, this one may be the most difficult proposition for American viewers. While it's true that we enjoy political potboilers, it's unclear whether audiences will invest their time in a drama about the son of a Middle Eastern dictator who returns home, unwillingly, to reestablish family ties.

    Series Premiere: Summer (date TBA) on FX.

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    Outlander (2014)

    Have we seen it?: A sizzle reel was recently shown to critics in Los Angeles.

    Why We're Excited: Based on one of the most successful genre-romance fiction franchises of the last twenty years, this adventure series should balance out Starz's testosterone-heavy schedule quite nicely. If done correctly.

    If nothing else, fans are no doubt excited to see this recently released production still, which reportedly captures one of the most iconic moments of the book... and makes a person wonder if "Outlander's" hero Jamie Fraser isn't a distant ancestor of Christian Grey.

    Series Premiere: 2014 (date TBA) on Starz.

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    The Strain (2014)

    Have we seen it?: A sizzle reel was recently shown to critics in Los Angeles.

    Why We're Excited: We didn't see much -- production has just barely gotten started. But the stylish, creepy tidbit that FX showed critics was enough to ask executive producer Carlton Cuse plenty of questions about it, leaving us very thirsty to see more.

    Series Premiere: 2014 (date TBA) on FX.