1. The Musketeers (19th January, BBC1)
Let’s start with the series we’re most looking forward to this year, the upcoming BBC drama The Musketeers. Based on, you guessed it, Alexandre Dumas’ novel The Three Musketeers, this ten-part serial set in 17th century Paris sees young d’Artagnan join forces with the justice-seeking trio that is Athos, Porthos and Aramis. Filmed against the backdrop of picturesque Prague, viewers can expect swashbuckling adventures, longhaired lotharios and, with any luck, endless utterings of “all for one and one for all”. It certainly looks better than the 2011 film adaptation but then again, almost anything looks better than that misadventure.
2. Hostages (11th January, C4)
Filling the American drama space that opened up when Homeland’s season 3 concluded is Jerry Bruckheimer’s Hostages, an action-packed series based on the Israeli programme of the same name. When a rogue FBI agent kidnaps the family of a doctor due to perform surgery on the President of the United States, an ultimatum is set in motion – assassinate the President or say goodbye to your family. Starring Toni Collette as Dr. Ellen Sanders and American Horror Story’s Dylan McDermott as rogue Agent Duncan Carlisle, it probably won’t be as good as Homeland (not the early season’s anyway) but it will fill the usually uninspiring Saturday Night slot.
3. The Ark (February, BBC1)
As part of the BBC’s First World War centenary season, which marks 100 years since the start of the war, The Ark follows the harsh lives of patients and medics working in a frontline hospital tent in France during WWI. Said to present one of the war’s most neglected stories, this emotional and gripping new drama focuses on men wounded in the trenches and the doctors, nurses and volunteers who band together to help them. The Ark will re-create “…a vibrant and dramatic world where hope and freedom fight despair and suffering and a group of disparate people are thrown together in a refuge from the fields of war”. With Game of Thrones’ Oona Chaplin and Scott and Bailey’s Suranne Jones, this six-part series is just one of many televisual tributes that will span the 2,500-hour World War 1 season.
4. True Detective (February, Sky Atlantic)
If Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story has taught us anything, it’s how successful anthology TV can be, with each season featuring completely different stories and characters. Now it’s HBO’s turn to deliver a new anthology series about two detectives hunting for a Louisiana serial killer in multiple timelines across the space of seventeen years. Starring a cast whose faces are usually seen at the forefront of Hollywood movies – Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan – True Detective is already one of 2014’s most anticipated shows. Filmed in South Louisiana and penned by award-winning novelist Nic Pizzolatto, this is one detective series you won’t want to miss!
5. Intelligence (Date & Channel TBC)
Josh Holloway fans rejoice! Mr Davidoff Cool Water will be returning to the small screen as Gabriel Vaughn in Michael Seitzman’s Intelligence, a new cyber themed show that promises high-octane action and secret missions galore. Holloway, who starred as Sawyer in Lost, will play a high-tech intelligence operative with a microchip implanted into his brain, connecting him to a global information grid and giving him the ability to hack into data centres and access high-security intel. Golden-abs Holloway and cyber espionage… what’s not to like?
If none of those pique your interest, perhaps the upcoming psychosexual horror series Penny Dreadful (Date TBC, Sky Atlantic) might draw you in with the lure of famous literary horror characters or maybe Fox’s most recent comedy series, Brooklyn Nine Nine (16th January, E4), might be the antidote to the let down that was E4’s 2 Broke Girls. Sky Atlantic’s four-part miniseries Fleming (February) looks like it will be a stylish and sexy affair as it tells the story of the 007 creator’s early life and career, whilst science-fiction fans should watch out for Almost Human (TBC), a series that could be the TV equivalent of I Robot.
For those who prefer their drama British, the upcoming three-part adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn is what you should be watching (Date TBC, BBC1), in addition to the host of returning shows this year that range from Death in Paradise (14th January, BBC1) and The Bletchley Circle (6th January, ITV) to Mr Selfridge (TBC, ITV) and Broadchurch (TBC, ITV). Nobody does drama quite like we do. And if that’s not enough to get you excited about the year ahead in television there’s always the welcome return of Game of Thrones, Revenge, Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, The Blacklist, The Fall, My Mad Fat Diary, House of Cards, 24… let’s just say the list is endless. Bring it on 2014!