The Best of Fall Television 2012: Drama

Yesterday, we talked about the best comedy fall television has to offer for fall 2012 and went over some of the new comedies that are premiering this season. It’s now time to get a little more serious and focus on drama. Fall television offers a wealth of great drama and in all honesty, it was a little hard to narrow it down to just ten excellent returning dramas for fall 2012. That’s why there are eleven. It was even harder to rank them because I’m a sucker for a good drama and fall television is full of them. There are a few I had to leave off. I would do a list of honorable mention shows but I didn’t do one for comedy. Maybe I’ll make that into a separate article. Keep an eye out for that one. For now though, let’s talk about the best fall drama shows for 2012. Come back tomorrow for my feature on the best reality television.

Drama – The New Contenders

image source: CBS Broadcasting

10: Made in Jersey

Airs: Fridays at 9pm on CBS
Premiere Date: September 28, 2012
Okay, so a street smart gal from Jersey gets a job at a law firm in New York – a super sophisticated, stuffy law firm in New York. Hilarity ensues, right? That was my first thought too but apparently no, this is a drama. This is at number ten on my list for one reason. It could really be incredible. It could also be a spectacular failure. I’m going to give it three episodes before I decide for sure. There is potential here as long as they play the premise the right way.

Image Credit: Liam Daniel

09: Hunted

Airs: Fridays at 10pm on Cinemax
Premiere Date: October 19, 2012
Yeah see, I’m just not sure about this one. It sounds awesome but it’s on Cinemax. Am I behind the times? I think of Cinemax and I think, well, I’ve always referred to it as many others have – Skinemax. At the same time, the premise sounds too interesting to pass up. Melissa George stars as Sam Hunter; a spy working for private intelligence agency Byzantium. After she’s wounded in what appears to be an attempt to take her life, she begins wondering if the hit wasn’t put together by members of her own squad. She returns to work but not without suspicions. Not knowing who to trust, Sam goes about her business as connections between a terrible incident from her childhood and the attempt on her life begin to appear. Worth checking out if nothing else.

Image Source: NBC

08: Chicago Fire

Airs: Wednesdays at 10 on NBC
Premiere Date: October 10, 2012
Oh heavens. There are four words and four words alone that sell me on this new firefighter focused drama. Those four words?

  1. Tyler
  2. Kinney
  3. Jesse
  4. Spencer

Beyond the man candy, the show itself sounds pretty interesting. The show focuses on a group of firefighters working in Chicago. All of the firefighters come from different backgrounds and have different stories to tell so it sounds like there will be a lot of character development, something I think a show like this needs in order to work. While I’m cautiously optimistic about this one, I think it has real potential.

Image Source: The CW

07: Arrow

Airs: Wednesdays at 8pm on The CW
Premiere Date: October 10, 2012
Yeah, there are a whole lot of people that are bursting with excitement over this one but I’m not quite so sure about it yet. Steven Amell is fabulous so the show has that going for it, but in all honesty, apart from a few notable exceptions, I’m not big into the whole ‘superhero’ thing. This show tells the origin story of The Green Arrow, a DC Comics superhero that while unknown to most is actually pretty awesome. I love Steven Amell (loved him as Brady on The Vampire Diaries and as Jason on Hung) so I’m interested to see what he does with this one. I predict success but it’s The CW so it’s pretty hard to say how this one is going to do.

Image Source: NBC

06: Revolution

Airs: Mondays  at 10pm on NBC
Premiere Date: Already airing
Think this article is a little late? Revolution is the reason for that. I wanted to wait until I’d seen the pilot to make a call on this one. The verdict? Awesome. Well worth the wait. So what would happen if everything electrical just suddenly stopped working? According to Revolution (and common sense), things would get bad – very bad. I loved everything about the pilot. In explained the basic back story but didn’t give away too much. That mystery is still there and by the end of the episode, there was even more mystery thrown in for good measure. My only fear is that the series won’t live up to the potential of its pilot, Terra Nova style. Truthfully though, I’m in this one for the long haul regardless. Billy Burke is in it. Of course I’ll be watching. Should this be ranked higher on my list? Probably and it may even have been if I wasn’t just a little bit gun shy about high concept shows like this one after Terra Nova and Alcatraz failed to live up to their potential. For the record, I still think both deserved second seasons.

Image Source: CBS Broadcasting

05: Vegas

Airs: Tuesdays at 10pm on CBS
Premiere Date: September 25, 2012
666 Park Avenue offers Terry O’Quinn (which we’ll talk about in a moment) but Vegas offers one of my all time favorite television actors, Michael Chiklis, and one of my all time favorite film actors, Dennis Quaid, so it takes the lead in the excitement department but just by the slightest of margins. In this one, Quaid stars as real life Sheriff Ralph Lamb and follows Lamb as he attempts to keep a wave of mobsters out of his town. Chikilis leads that wave of mobsters and I absolutely cannot wait to see these two battle it out. It would be nearly impossible for this show to be anything other than awesome. Plus, there’s also Jason O’Mara. Love Jason! This one would’ve landed much higher on the list if it weren’t for a surprising number of promising new shows this fall.

Image Source: American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

04: Last Resort

Airs: Thursdays at 8pm on ABC
Premiere Date: September 27, 2012
I’m not so sure about this one but only because I’m not so sure this is the kind of show I’m interested in. I’m going to give it a shot because I love Scott Speedman and Shawn Ryan is serving as writer and executive producer (loved his work on The Shield and The Unit). In this one, Andre Braugher and Speedman play Captain Marcus Chaplin and Lt. Commander Sam Kendal of the USS Colorado. After questioning orders given to them by the White House, both Chaplin and Kendal are relieved of duty and soon discover they’ve been declared enemies of the United States. They decide their only option is to flee, setting up a colony on a nearby island where they declare themselves a sovereign nation with nuclear capabilities. They then set about clearing their name while trying to survive and make a go of it for themselves in their temporary home. It sounds promising. I’ll be tuning in but keeping my expectations low. Shawn Ryan is a total rock star though and he isn’t known for playing it safe. My cautious optimism here is probably entirely unwarranted and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to be including Last Resort among my favorite new shows by the time season one draws to a close.

Image Source: American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

03: 666 Park Avenue

Airs: Sundays at 10pm on ABC
Premiere Date: September 30, 2012
Terry O’Quinn. Need I say more. Throughout the last few seasons of Lost, Terry O’Quinn’s performance as Locke was easily my favorite part of the show. In this new supernatural evening soap, Terry plays Gavin Doran, the owner of The Drake, a historic building that has, uh, a few issues. The building seems to be far more than your average building, holding its residents in some dark and mysterious way, using their greatest ambitions and darkest desires to tempt them. I can’t wait for this premiere, and not just because it features Mr. O’Quinn.

Image Source: American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

02: Nashville

Airs: Wednesdays at 10pm on ABC
Premiere Date: October 10, 2012
Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere? Yes please. I’d like that very much, thank you. Connie Britton is an absolute gem and Hayden Panettiere is easily one of my favorite actresses of her generation. In this new drama, Connie stars as an aging country music legend who isn’t exactly a fan of rising pop country star Hayden. This promises to be one heck of a evening soap and I, for one, can’t wait. I enjoyed Smash and Nashville promises to be sort of the country version of that show. With Connie and Hayden on board though, I think the show will avoid many of the problems I had with Smash’s first season. I will be surprised if this one isn’t amazing.

Image Source: CBS Broadcasting Company

01: Elementary

Airs: Thursdays at 10pm on CBS
Premiere Date: September 27, 2012
I won’t lie. I am excited for this one because Lucy Liu and Johnny Lee Miller are involved. I’m also interested to see this fairly unique take on the old Sherlock Holmes story. Set in modern day New York, Elementary stars Johnny Lee Miller as Sherlock while Lucy Liu gives the story a bit of a twist by taking on the role of Watson. As long as they don’t try to make a big deal out of the fact that Watson’s a girl, I think this could really be a great show. Early reviews for this one are fantastic with much praise being heaped on Liu and Miller for their incredibly performances. That doesn’t surprise me at all. They’re both incredibly talented and I think they are what this show really has going for it. There are so many Sherlock reboots these days but I’d be willing to bet Elementary will be among the best.

Drama – The Returning Champs

Image Source: The CW

10: The Vampire Diaries

Airs: Thursdays at 8pm on The CW
Premiere Date: October 11, 2012
Yeah, I dunno. Last season of The Vampire Diaries did nothing for me. I found myself wanting to skip through scenes more than once just to get to Klaus. Joseph Morgan is Klaus. I’m sorry to Michael Trevino – who makes a great Tyler, by the way – but Joseph Morgan made Klaus into the charismatic villain I loved so much. With that said, the decision to turn Elena into a vampire so soon in the series was bold and has made me exciting to see what happens next. I’m not sure it’ll be enough to keep me watching but the promise of a new and less annoying Elena (seriously, how annoying was she last season?) has me looking forward to what the show may offer this season. But hey, bring back JoMo, okay?

Image Source: Fox

09: Touch

Airs: Fridays at 8pm on Fox
Premiere Date: October 26, 2012
I liked Touch last season. While I don’t think it quite lived up to its potential, it did seem to pick up a lot in the back half of the season. It took a while to get where we hoped it would go but once it did, it was gripping television. The only thing keeping it from being higher on this list (aside from a lot of great television drama for fall 2012) was my fear that the pace will slow to a crawl again and the show will waste it’s potential – not to mention Keifer Sutherland’s talent. I love that guy. If Touch does get cancelled (Fridays, Fox? Really? Why not just cancel it?) Keifer really needs to be cast in something again immediately.

Image Source: American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

08: Scandal

Airs: Thursdays at 10pm on ABC
Premiere Date: September 27, 2012
Good God in Heaven, I don’t think I could be more excited for Scandal. This would easily be number one on my list if I wasn’t just slightly concerned about how the show will do with a full sized season. We only got a taste of the show last season and I’m not entirely convinced the drama will play as well stretched out over a full order. I’m also incredibly concerned about Henry Ian Cusick’s exit as he really was the reason I tuned in the first time. I’ve never been a fan of Shondra Rhimes’ shows but I love Henry enough to give it a shot and found a new favorite guilty pleasure as a result. I’m just feeling a little sketchy about how the show will fare without Cusick. The upside? Deliriously wonderful Guillermo Diaz is still on board.

Image Source: American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

07: Revenge

Airs: Sundays at 9:30pm on ABC
Premiere Date: September 30, 2012
By the end of last season, Revenge was starting to lose me. It just all seemed like a little much after a certain point and it became really difficult to like most of the main characters (Jack and Nolan being notable exceptions). As we gear up for the second season though, I’m finding myself more and more excited. The first season finale left so many things up in the air. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Don’t let the show’s low ranking on this list fool you though. I’m super excited for season two. There just happens to be a whole lot of incredible drama on this fall.

Image Source: American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

06: Once Upon a Time

Airs: Sundays at 8pm on ABC
Premiere Date: September 30, 2012
The magic is free! As that purple cloud washed over Storybrook and the residents started to remember their former lives, I couldn’t help getting full on giddy excited for season two. Once Upon a Time started off a little slow for me but by the end of the first season, I couldn’t wait to see what was coming next. Brilliant story telling and great performances from the cast made this series on of my new favorites from last fall and I’m sure season two will be just as great. Plus, I’ve heard Sebastian Stan will be back which alone kicks up the excitement factor to a degree I can’t even calculate.

Image Source: CBS

05: Person of Interest

Airs: Thursdays at 9pm on CBS
Premiere Date: September 27, 2012
It speaks to the strength of televised drama this fall when one of my absolute favorite dramas of last fall, Person of Interest, lands at number four on this list. I have to admit though, it was a tough call. I love Person of Interest, Revenge, Once Upon a Time, and Scandal equally. My excitement level for these ones is really determined by their finales though and Person of Interest gave us one of the most intense finales I’ve ever seen on network television. John is on his own as Finch has been kidnapped by Root. Wait though – is Root a bigger threat than even Elias? Is John going to be able to continue Finch’s work without Finch there? So many questions. I don’t think there was a better way to end a fantastic first season and make sure viewers tuned in for season two.

Image Source: FX

04: American Horror Story

Airs: Wednesdays at 10 on FX
Premiere Date: October 17, 2012
Last year, American Horror Story was easily one of my favorite new shows. It was cheesy and over the top but it was also genuinely scaring and disturbing. By wiping the slate clean and essentially starting over with new characters, a new setting and a whole new story, Ryan Murphy and company have done something I don’t recall ever seeing a television series do before and that excites me to no end. This time, the show will be set in an insane asylum and the previews tell us, well, not really a whole lot. They just promise lots of creepy things and that’s really all they need to do. Will this be a successful venture? I have no idea but the cast looks incredible (Adam Levine!) and the draw of something totally new and different is impossible to resist. I could go on about this one all day. Thrilled to see Evan Peters, Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe and Zachary Quinto back for another season. I can’t wait to see them in action as entirely new characters.

Image Source: HBO

03: Boardwalk Empire

Airs: Sundays at 9pm on HBO
Premiere Date: Already airing
So I had intended to post this article bright and early this morning but I had a slight change of plans after watching Boardwalk Empire’s season premiere. See, as much as I love this cast, I was a little upset by the way things went last season. To put it another way, I just wasn’t sure this show was worth watching without Michael Pitt’s Jimmy Darmody. The rest of the cast is amazing, of course, and Steve Buscemi would make the show worth watching regardless, but I just couldn’t get as excited for Boardwalk Empire this season as I have in the past so it took me a while to get around to watching the pilot. After watching though, I was forced to rewrite my blurb about the show and bump it up from number eight on my list to number three. While I missed Jimmy throughout the entire episode, Jack Huston’s Richard Harrow really came front and center to steal the show. Aside from Darmody, Harrow was one of my favorites. I could easily see him becoming my new favorite character. He has competition though because, in an incredibly smart move, Boardwalk brought in Bobby Cannavale to play Gyp Rosetti – a short tempered mobster almost certain to be a major thorn in Nucky’s side this season. How fantastic is Bobby Cannavale? Smart casting for a great character. I adored Bobby on Nurse Jackie last season and I’m thrilled that he’s back on my television again. By adding Bobby and amping up Huston’s role, the show retains that fullness the secondary cast needs. This isn’t just the Steve Buscemi show. This is a show that needs a strong supporting cast to succeed and I think Bobby was the perfect addition to make that happen. I really hope they keep him around.

Image Source: Showtime

02: Dexter

Airs: Sundays at 9pm on Showtime
Premiere Date: September 30, 2012
I haven’t been thrilled with where the last two seasons of Dexter have taken us. In fact, I haven’t really loved a season since season four. The last few moments of the season six finale changed that. I haven’t been this excited for Dexter in quite some time. Deb knows. She knows. That changes the whole dynamic of the show so dramatically. What’s more than that though? According to the previews, Deb isn’t the only threat to darling Dexter this season. A forgotten blood slide means renewed questions about the Bay Harbor Butcher, namely the question as to whether or not Doakes was really responsible. Remember who Doakes was super suspicious of? That’s right – Dexter Morgan. Lots going on. This season is either going to be spectacular or a spectacular failure. My money is on the latter.

Image Source: Starz

*TIE* 01: Boss

Airs: Fridays at 10pm on Starz
Premiere Date: Already airing
Boss is worth watching for Kelsey Grammer’s performance alone. In season one, we were treated to some of the finest dramatic acting television has to offer and we’re getting more of it thus far in season two. Plus there’s Jonathan Groff. I love that guy. In season two, we find Kelsey Grammer’s Tom Kane losing himself more and more to his disease as his decisions become more and more questionable. The only problem with this show is the fact that we only get ten episodes. We need way more. Ten episodes is not nearly enough with a show this spectacular.

Image Source: FX

 

*TIE* 01: Sons of Anarchy

Airs: Tuesdays at 10pm on FX
Premiere Date: Already airing
Two episodes of Sons of Anarchy’s fifth season have aired and already it’s gearing up to be a truly epic season. Jax is in control of the club but how much control does he really have? I’m perhaps most interested to see where Tig goes from here. With his daughter so cruelly killed as he watched in horror (great performance by Kim Coates, by the way) and really all because Clay lied to him, I will be surprised (and thrilled) if Tig survives the season. Kurt Sutter has promised a lot of painful goodbyes (one of which is apparently coming in this Tuesday’s episode) this season and with Chibbs, Tig and Jax off to the big house, I find it hard to believe Tig won’t be one of them.

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