Top 5 must watch drama series US Fall 2013

Vampires, voodoo, witches, a headless horseman and an intellectual criminal tops Publicity Asia's 2013 list of drama shows you shouldn’t miss. Recently, the top broadcast networks rolled out their new scripted offerings and here is the list of five that is worth watching. Prepare for some really good stuff.

Top 1 - THE BLACKLIST. Landing on the top pick, ‘The Blacklist’ stars James Spader as Raymond “Red” Reddington, one of the FBI’s most wanted criminals. He abruptly turns himself in, pledging to help the FBI capture a rogues’ gallery of other criminals, on the condition that he only work with a rookie agent named Liz Keen (Megan Boone). Keen has a turbulent past, a husband with a double life, and a link to Red that she (and the audience) has yet to fully fathom.

The Blacklist airs regularly on AXN Philippines every Monday at 10PM

The sly wit and star power Mr. Spader brings to his new role have helped “The Blacklist” become the top-rated new drama of the season with over 12 million viewers following The Voice Season 5. Each “Blacklist” episode features a self-contained story about a villain whom Red and company pursue. The diversity of these targets (a disfigured terrorist, a Chinese spy, a sex trafficker) helps gives the series more weekly range that has pulled in more viewers than any other TV drama this season. Think Hannibal meets ALIAS equals classic.

Top 2 - AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN. Witchy, weird and wacky – three words to describe the return of American Horror Story with it’s unbreakable spell and murky mix of gothic and grotesque. “Coven” is a high-wire horror act of dizzying proportions. The characters and settings change year to year, but the fright formula is the same. Never less than visually intriguing, “American Horror Story” lunges wildly and unexpectedly from creepy to campy, from understated to outrageous, from weird to wacky.

The first episode takes viewers to 1834 New Orleans, where we meet Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates), the notorious serial killer who tortured and murdered slaves in the cellar of her mansion. This puts her on a collision course with voodoo priestess Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett).

Fast forward to the present, we are invited inside a New Orleans school for witches, Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies. Returning “American Horror Story” star Sarah Paulson plays the head of this odd academy. “Murder House” regular Taissa Farmiga, sister of “Bates Motel” star Vera Farmiga, returns to the FX fear franchise to play Zoe, a teen witch just learning how to harness and channel her powers.

And wait till you see what those powers include. There’s one in particular you’d never encounter at a certain magical school created by J.K. Rowling.

Faster than you can say Hogwarts (the horror edition), Zoe is packed off to Miss Robichaux’s establishment. Here she meets Madison Montgomery, a powerful and self-centered telekinetic; clairvoyant Nan (Jamie Brewers, another “Murder House” veteran); and Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe), whose abilities fall on the voodoo side of the equation.

Into the mysterious mix struts Jessica Lange as Fiona Goode, the long-absent Supreme who is returning to New Orleans on a mission.

The conflict between voodoo and witchcraft will be one of this season’s themes for “American Horror Story,” as will be mother-daughter relationships. The “Coven” opener doesn’t hold back, as you might expect, tossing around the blood and turning up the sexual heat.

Top 3 - SLEEPY HOLLOW. A modern-day take on the Washington Irving classic, The pilot of Sleepy Hollow opens on a Revolutionary War battlefield. A dreamy, blue-eyed rebel is approached by a mercenary wearing a scary mask. The rebel eventually succeeds in cutting off the mercenary’s head, but is mortally wounded in the process. Next thing he knows, the rebel is waking up in a dank cave centuries later. Gone are men traveling by galloping horses. Confused, he wanders onto busy streets of Westchester, disrupting traffic.

Tom Mison of Sleepy Hollow
Tom Mison of Sleepy Hollow

The rebel Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) isn’t the only one revived after two and a half centuries—so is the headless horseman.

We soon learn that our beloved soldier, Ichabod Crane, has gotten himself involved in some serious voodoo. He arrived in town at exactly the wrong time, following the murder of a police lieutenant. Ichabod makes a pretty good murder suspect: he’s new to town and, apparently, insane. However, the plot quickly thickens.

Lt. Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) was the fallen lieutenant’s partner and the only one who saw the murderer escape the crime scene. She and Ichabod quickly realize that the murderer is none other than the guy Ichabod killed, ax style, on the battlefield. Turns out the horseman is back with a vengeance, sans head, intent on murdering the civilians of Sleepy Hollow. With the help of some secret files, a couple of visions from Ichabod’s dead witch wife, and Abbie’s own supernatural past, Ichabod and Abbie begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Top 4 - WITCHES OF EAST END. The latest addition to the witch infestation sweeping through the fall television season of 2013 are delightful company, a welcome relief from the rather humorless witches and possible witches who have already turned up in the other networks.

The show is based on a novel about a family of witches on Long Island, with Joanna (Julia Ormond) raising her two daughters, Freya (Jenna Dewan Tatum) and Ingrid (Rachel Boston), to young adulthood without telling them they’re witches. Joanna has good reason to be protective, given her past experiences with child-rearing, which begin to be revealed when her sassy black cat sister, Wendy (Mädchen Amick), turns up.

Evil events and strange dreams are conspiring against Joanna’s efforts to live like a normal human, as well as against Freya’s efforts to have a stress-free engagement and marriage. Before the episode’s end, flowers have burst into flames, photographs have come to life and two people have been rather gorily murdered.

But the proceedings never turn too dark, thanks to zippy repartee among the stars. Ms. Amick is hilarious, and Ms. Dewan Tatum and Ms. Boston make a pretty amusing pair of mismatched sisters.

There is a lot of heavy fare on television going on these days. If “Witches” can retain its wry tone, it will be a satisfying alternative for viewers looking for a lighter way to entertain them during weekends.

Top 5 - DRACULA. After the success of shows like The Walking Dead, True Blood and American Horror Story, comes the new Dracula TV series, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers in a new take on the classic vampire story.

Dracula 2013 series

Golden Globe winner Jonathan Rhys Meyers (“The Tudors”) stars in this provocative new drama as one of the world’s most iconic characters. It’s the late 19th century and the mysterious Dracula (Rhys Meyers) has arrived in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. He’s especially interested in the new technology of electricity, which promises to brighten the night — useful for someone who avoids the sun. But he has another reason for his travels: He hopes to take revenge on those who cursed him with immortality centuries earlier. Everything seems to be going according to plan… until he becomes infatuated with a woman who appears to be a reincarnation of his dead wife.

Victoria Smurfit (“About a Boy”), Thomas Kretschmann (“King Kong”), Jessica De Gouw (“Arrow”), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (“Mr. Selfridge”), Nonso Anozie (“Game of Thrones”) and Katie McGrath (“Merlin”) also star.

Selling point? The former Henry VIII – Jonathan Rhys Meyers. He brings crazy and cool to the iconic blood thirsty monster that should easily displace Ian Somerhalder’s fangs as Damon Salvatore of The Vampire Diaries. After all, nothing beats the original Dracula.

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