2:00 pm EDT, June 11, 2013

TV’s 5 most promising dramas of fall 2013

Last week we brought you the five most promising comedies of the upcoming season, and today we’re here to present the five most promising dramas.

Unlike comedies – half-hour, often multi-cam, smaller budget (usually) – viewers have come to expect more from hour-long dramas. We want to be enthralled, entertained and captivated, but at the same time not confused or turned off by anything. It’s a tall order for showrunners, but following in the footsteps of break-outs Revolution and Elementary are some very promising dramas for fall 2013. (Side note: remember when we scoffed when we heard they were adapting Sherlock Holmes for the modern, New York City setting? It’s actually a pretty great show. Don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it, folks.)

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Like always, here is where we say the disclaimer that ‘promising’ doesn’t mean best – it just means these are mostly high-concept or in trusted hands. Some of these might not find viewers and not make it long past the holidays. We can only watch when we’re told and hope for the best. ABC has two drama’s on this list because life isn’t fair and Fox just doesn’t seem to be in the running for any good new dramas.

‘The Blacklist’ (NBC)

When you think this show will zig, it zags. Unique and intriguing, James Spader stars as Raymond Reddington, “the worlds most wanted man” who turns himself in – in order to get the FBI to work with him to capture other bad guys. That alone is enough of a drama show, add in the fact he will only cooperate with one person, Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), for mysterious reasons, and NBC has got another hit on it’s hands.

‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ (ABC)

This could be one of – if not the– most anticipated show of this season. Fans who denied Clark Gregg’s Phil Coulson death in The Avengers so hard (this writer being one of them) were able to convince Joss Whedon to bring him back to life and put him in charge of a group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. While we hope there will be some incorporation of Marvel’s entire universe, this show seems to have enough to be able to stand on it’s own two legs. It’s not just another spy show.

‘Once Upon a Time in Wonderland’ (ABC)

This show never ceases to amaze. Taken from the one – maybe two? – episodes based around the Alice in Wonderland theme in the parent Once Upon a Time show comes a whole new show with all new characters and a different spin on the age-old story. Sure, you still have the touchstones of a drama of this stature – true love, magic, the idea of good vs. evil – but you also have a unique spin on Alice and her story. Genies and mental hospitals, downright award-worthy costume and set design, this show will be like a brightly lit star in the desolate constellation that is this fall’s programming.

‘Hostages’ (CBS)

With hits such as Elementary and the NCIS franchise, it’s unsurprising that CBS is debuting only one new drama this fall, the sad thing is how long it took for me to get on board with the idea. CBS’s programming is much more focused on comedy next season, and with them currently reigning number one, they’re not going to make any drastic changes anytime soon. At first, this show doesn’t seem to be anything spectacular, but once you start thinking about, you realize there is a whole lot of backstory they could go into. What is the motivation for the bad guy? What put him in that position?

‘The Tomorrow People’ (CW)

Possibly the most high-concept drama on this list, Stephen Jameson sleepwalks (or so he think’s he does) and can hear a woman inside his head. While he think’s he’s sick, he’s really experiencing telekinesis and teleportation and is introduced to a whole team of “mutants” – Tomorrow People. Entrenched in a war, they must battle us, the humans, and most notably, Dr. Price, Mark Pellegrino – who seems to love playing the villain, most recently on Revolution, most notably as quite literally, the devil on Supernatural. There are a lot of plot lines introduced in the video below, which means it might not be a ratings darling right off the bat, but give it time to grow into a strong show.

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