my mad fat diary2012 was a year of fantastic TV; over here we had the superb Call the Midwife and the sumptuous Birdsong, the states gave us not one, but two seasons of Homeland, and we were treated to more flawless Nordic Noir with The Bridge and the final season of The Killing. Now, having scoured the TV schedules of 2013, I can present to you the 13 must-see shows of this year.

1. Mr. Selfridge (Jan. on ITV1)

With the likes of Downton Abbey and The Paradise heralding a sort-of renaissance in TV period drama, ITV’s Mr. Selfridge (which has already begun on ITV1) has a lot to live up to. With a superb central performance by Jeremy Piven and a plot that, while bogged down with characters, feels interesting and original, Mr. Selfridge will be one to keep an eye on.

2. My Mad Fat Diary (Jan. on E4)
Another one to have already hit our screens, My Mad Fat Diary is the show E4 has recently been advertising endlessly. Set during the height of the Cool Britannia era, the show is a both humorous and heartbreaking insight in to teenage life during the 90’s. Based on the first episode, My Mad Fat Diary seems to have both the brains and the brawn to keep you watching, powered by an excellent performance from Sharon Rooney.

3. The Following (Jan. on Sky Atlantic)
Taking time out from doing those awful ‘EE’ commercials, Kevin Bacon returns to TV as former FBI agent Ryan Hardy, who is called back to service to help re-capture serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy). Created by Scream scribe Kevin Williamson, The Following looks set to deliver superior thrills from a stellar cast.

4. Utopia (Jan. on Channel 4)
The other show C4 seems to be ceaselessly advertised at the moment, Utopia is a dark conspiracy drama. It follows the lives of three teenagers who come together after all becoming obsessed with graphic novel ‘Utopia’, which seems to have predicted some of the worst disasters of the last century. Stylishly shot with a narrative that will always keep you guessing, Utopia has the potential to be one of the finest British dramas of 2013.

5. House of Cards (Feb. on Netflix)
Launching on Netflix in February, House of Cards is produced by David Fincher and stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. Spacey plays Frank Underwood, a ruthless Washington politician with his eye on the Commander in Chief’s job. It’s based on the BBC political drama of the same name from the 90’s and with Fincher directing the pilot, looks set to be one of the best exports from the states this year.

6. Mary and Martha (March on BBC1)
This one off BBC drama is to be screened as part of the build up to Red Nose Day this year and promises to tug on your hearts tings. Written by Richard Curtis (yes, that one) and starring Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn, Mary and Martha follows the two titular characters as they each try to deal with loosing a young child to Malaria. Have your tissues ready for this one!

7. Top of the Lake (Spring on BBC2)
Directed by Jane Campion, Top of the Lake looks to be the remedy for fans missing The Killing. Starring Holly Hunter and Elizabeth Moss, it follows the investigation in to the disappearance of a 12-year-old-girl. Filmed on location in New Zealand, Top of the Lake will thrill and upset with a powerful tale that will continue to haunt you long after it finishes.

8. Dancing on the Edge (Spring on BBC2)
Spring will see the airing of Dancing on the Edge, the first major drama series from Stephen Poliakoff. It follows a Jazz band made up of black musicians, whose careers begin to crumble after someone is murdered in the club they play in.  With an all-star cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor and Matthew Goode, this looks to be one of the Beeb’s flagship shows for the year.

9. The Fall (Spring* on BBC2)
Delayed from 2012, this new crime drama stars Gillian Anderson as DSI Stellar Gibson, who is investigating a series of murders in Belfast. Having the always-sublime Gillian Anderson back on our screens is reason enough to tune in to this BBC thriller series.

10. Family Tree (Spring on BBC2)
Not many details have been released about Family Tree. What is known is that it stars Chris O’Dowd, who has lit up both the big and small screen in recent years, and that it is written by Christopher Guest, the genius mind behind This is Spinal Tap and Best in Show.

11. Quirke (Late 2013 on BBC1)
Another BBC thriller to be set in Ireland, this time Dublin, Quirke stars Gabriel Byrne, who shall hopefully be redeeming himself after the woeful Secret State. Byrne plays the titular Quirke, a pathologist investigating sudden death victims in the 1950’s.

12. Man Down (Late 2013 on Channel 4)
Another show to have few details released about it. However, I do know that this is a sitcom written by and starring the superb Greg Davis and follows the ups and downs of the life of a schoolteacher. Having given a memorable performance in The Inbetweeners as grizzled teacher Mr. Gilbert, I have a lot of hope for Man Down.

13. Run (Air date unknown on Channel 4)
Following off the success of shows such as Top Boy, C4 presents a new London set drama, starring Jamie Winston & Olivia Coleman. It’s a 4-part drama about people whose lives interconnect through the need to make impossible choices. If it’s anything like Top Boy, it truly will be one to watch.

So there you have it folks and if that isn’t enough, we’re going to having new series of top returning shows including; Homeland, Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, Mad Men & Black Mirror.

Happy viewing Y’all!
*Actual airdate is yet to be confirmed!

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