Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows of 2014: ’24′, ‘Orphan Black’, ‘Mad Men’ & More

Published 1 year ago by , Updated April 21st, 2014 at 6:44 am,

most anticipated returning tv shows 2014 Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows of 2014: 24, Orphan Black, Mad Men & More

After a gargantuan year in television that saw the rise of Netflix, the end of Breaking Bad and The Office, and massive sea changes on popular genre choices like The Walking Dead and Doctor Who, 2014 has quite a tall shadow to live up to, but with an impressive batch of shows both old and new on the horizon it seems as though it should be well prepared for the challenge.

From long-awaited returns (Sherlock) to new beginnings (Community), endings (Mad Men), and new challenges (Doctor Who), these returning series’ show us that one of TV’s most compelling storylines revolves around how the industry continues to move forward with imagination, intelligence, and guts.


Community (NBC, Thursday’s at 8pm)

community s5 season premiere Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows of 2014: 24, Orphan Black, Mad Men & More

With Dan Harmon back in the driver’s seat, there is hope among Community fans that the show’s fifth season will be one of legend, but while that’s still possible, those kinds of expectations may be unfair and born from an overly nostalgic view of the show’s past.

For one thing, while Community has had more than its share of iconic and insane moments, Dan Harmon didn’t have a perfect batting average – especially when it came to more grounded episodes – and his best work always relied on the confluence of an inspired idea and an extremely capable and game cast.

Can Harmon still make magic without Donald Glover and Chevy Chase, and can his return to Community possibly live up to the kind of hype that has been fueled by a dedicated fanbase that views him as something between a genius and a savior? We can’t wait to find out, but no matter what, it should be interesting.


The Pete Holmes Show (TBS, Monday-Thursday nights)

pete holmes show review allison williams Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows of 2014: 24, Orphan Black, Mad Men & More

Though most of the chatter about late night will remain focused on NBC’s most recent changeover, Saturday Night Live, and speculation about David Letterman’s future for the foreseeable future, The Pete Holmes Show chugs along despite non-great ratings.

So, what is it about Pete Holmes’ show that has us hooked? Primarily, it’s the enthusiastic way that the show ignores late night conventions – not as a modern poke in the eye to the sacred cow, but because the show has such a well-formed sense of self and what makes their show work (when it’s working, which isn’t always the case).

That’s a rarer gift than many realize (and something that the shuttered Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell had going for it as well) and it’s something that the Holmes show has in common with previous late night trailblazers. The only question is, will The Pete Holmes Show get a chance to continue maturing, or will it fade away before it has the chance to fully find its feet and its audience?


Sherlock (BBC/BBC America, January 5th/January 19th)

Sherlock Season 3 restaurant promo image Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows of 2014: 24, Orphan Black, Mad Men & More

After two years away Steven Moffat’s other show (or is it the other way around?) returns to explain what the world’s greatest detective (non-Batman edition) has been up to since he faked his own death at the end of last season and in the first of three new episodes - “The Empty Hearst”.

Despite the frustrating long gaps and the brief seasons, fans once again seem eager to take what they can get while observing Holmes and Watson’s latest adventure. All credit for that goes to the creatives and the cast, but perhaps it also has something to do with fears that every last bit could be frighteningly close to the last bit thanks to the career growth of Sherlock‘s two stars.


Saturday Night Live (NBC, January 18th)

snl miley weekend update Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows of 2014: 24, Orphan Black, Mad Men & More

Saturday Night Live‘s season of transition has seen its fair share of stumbles with a batch of new featured players that have – for the most part – stubbornly refused to stand out from the shadows and a bit of controversy about the show’s lack of diversity, but throughout season 39′s first 10 episodes Seth Meyers has been there s a sign of stability, albeit one that is now about to fade away.

This isn’t a bit of “sky is falling” panic, though. For one thing, SNL is SNL and standouts always push through to the light eventually. This season, it seems as though a trio of SNL‘s funny ladies are heading toward that, lead by the indisputably hilarious character work of both Kate McKinnon and Vanessa Bayer, and new Weekend Update solo anchor Cecily Strong.

Will those three (and the show’s other standouts like Bobby Moynihan) continue to keep SNL‘s head above water? Can Strong take the reigns from Meyers without stumble? Will Taran Killam live up to his potential and will one of the rookies set themselves apart from the herd for more than an episode? We’ll find out soon enough, but SNL will be fine because it always is.


The Walking Dead (AMC, February 9th)

walking dead next rick and carl Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows of 2014: 24, Orphan Black, Mad Men & More

Once again, the Walking Dead‘s batch of survivors finds themselves splintered and on the run. They have been cast back out into the wilderness by a human kind of monster this time, and while logic dictates that the odds of survival for many of the show’s most beloved characters remains strong, we do wonder if some of the show’s characters aren’t fated to last long on the road.

We’ve already discussed five directions that we think The Walking Dead might choose, but it’s clear that this mid-season break – perhaps more than any other before it – represents a key turning point for a show that could be on the cusp of either stagnation or something else.


House of Cards (Netflix, February 14th)

House of Cards The Spacey Memorial Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows of 2014: 24, Orphan Black, Mad Men & More

The rise of Netflix shook up television last year, allowing the streaming giant to quickly become an industry leader and a boogie man whose distaste for the standard development process threatens to – for better or worse – undermine that process.

To accomplish this, Netflix relied on fiercely original series’ from notable creators to pair with their splashy Arrested Development re-launch; among them, House of Cards; a deeply cynical series from producer David Fincher that lacerated the political system, the media, and the sin of ambition with equal aplomb.

Now, as we wait for season two to kick-off, the mind aches trying to imagine what kind of monster Kevin Spacey’s reptilian card counter will morph into as he tirelessly pursues political power, and how long it will take for him to finally get his just desserts.


Game of Thrones (HBO, March 2014)

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows of 2014: 24, Orphan Black, Mad Men & More

Game of Thrones exists in the sweet spot of its existence right now – far enough away from its formative years, well ahead of its conclusion and the period where it loses some of its luster. There isn’t likely a more buzzed about show on television, and it’s not like there is a large collection of shows that can rival its standing among critics.

Can Game of Thrones maintain that splendor while also servicing it’s seemingly ever-growing cast of characters? That’s the challenge, but one that producers seem more than able to meet. Is a Red Wedding, Part II in the cards this season? We’ll just have to wait and see.


Orphan Black (BBC America, April 19th)

Tatiana Maslany Orphan Black 2 Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows of 2014: 24, Orphan Black, Mad Men & More

Last year, Orphan Black and the stellar Tatiana Maslany stormed the shores of our consciousness with this conspiracy thriller about cloning, but as the show’s second season looms, producers seem poised to give fans more of what they want with a synopsis that promises more intrigue, fresh clones from “The Sisterhood”, and Sarah’s desperate search for her daughter Kira.

With that in mind and with respect to the well-received premiere season, it seems entirely possible that 2014 could be the year that Orphan Black stops being considered an under-the-radar surprise and starts entering the zeitgeist as the next great un-missible sci-fi series.


24: Live Another Day (FOX, May 2014)

24 Live Anohter Day Season 9 Header Most Anticipated Returning TV Shows of 2014: 24, Orphan Black, Mad Men & More

Following a three-year gap and seemingly endless chatter about a spin-off movie, FOX surprisingly announced the birth of 24: Live Another Day and the return of both producer Howard Gordon and series star Kiefer Sutherland, who will once again take on the iconic role of Jack Bauer.

True to form, details surrounding 24: Live Another Day have been scarce, but we do know that the show has ditched the real-time aspect for the event series’ 12 episodes. Will this lead to even more action as Jack Bauer hurriedly works to save the world? We can’t wait to find out.


NEXT PAGE: More returning TV shows (Louie, Orange is the New Black & more)


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  1. No Hannibal?

    • Yes, Hannibal is *definitely* missing on this list!! O_O

  2. Sherlock, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Doctor Who for sure. I’d throw Arrow up there too, great show.

  3. Games Of Thrones, Hannibal, The Following, Orphan Black and season 3 of A Touch Of Cloth with Karen Gillan joining the cast for both episodes. Such a funny and brilliant detective show. Seriously, any British and non-British people here who haven’t seen it really have to watch it wherever they can, whether it’s a streaming site, Youtube or whatever.

    I hadn’t laughed that hard at a TV show since The Harry Hill Show back in the late 90s on Channel 4.

    • Crap, I forgot I’m looking forward to 24 too.

    • Gotta add The Americans and Hannibal

    • I hate that games of thrones is only 10 episodes
      they need to make the season longer

      • It be to expensive to produce more than 10 Episodes per year. As it is, they’re worried about how close the show is to catching up with the books, more episodes would make that worse.

        • Yep although even if they didn’t have that worry, I’d still prefer to keep it to 10 episodes per season. Any more and they could risk dragging things on too long or boredom.

          I’m British, I grew up with TV shows having 10 or less episodes, I’m still not used to TV shows having upwards of 20 or more episodes per season. Until last year, I thought 24 was the only show to do it except that 24 had a reason for it since every episode was an hour in a very long day of anti-terrorism.

  4. Hannibal, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The Killing, last season of True Blood, and Hemlock Grove for myself

  5. Arrow

    • Thank You!!! Arrow is way more engaging than most of the shows listed.

  6. My top ten:

    1. ‘Hannibal’
    2. ‘Vikings’
    3. ‘The Americans’
    4. ‘Mad Men’ (tempered somewhat by the season split. It is obviously informed by the success of ‘Breaking Bad’, but this show is nowhere as near in the public consciousness)
    5. ‘Archer’
    6. ‘Game of Thrones’
    7. ‘House of Cards’
    8. ‘Orange is the New Black’
    9. ‘Orphan Black’

    Not sure if I have one for movies. Sure, a few I am looking forward to, but ten? Hm.

    • Ooooh, I forgot about Vikings. I loved the first season. I think I even enjoyed it a little more than GOT which is saying a lot. If S2 is as good then wow, it’s going to be a great 2014 TV season

  7. Isn’t Sherlock on PBS, not BBC America?

  8. No Justified!?
    Its a lot better than most of those shows on this list.

    • Agreed. This list does have the Pete Holmes Show on it though…so credibility is kind of shot.

    • And Game of thrones as well.

  9. Bhammer yes! Justified is one of the best shows on tv, and the relationship between Boyd Crowder and Raylan Givens might be the best hero/anti-hero/bad guy relationship on tv right now. I’m also excited for house of lies, shameless, and the finale of Californication. I’m glad the studio is deciding to end it now, and because the same guy has been there since the beginning I hope it’s better than Dexters ending which still leaves me split.

  10. In no particular order except for the first 4:

    1. Person Of Interest
    2. Justified
    3. Shameless
    4. Sons Of Anarchy
    5. Hannibal
    6. 24
    7. Graceland
    8. Game Of Thrones
    9. Doctor Who
    10. Supernatural

  11. Where’s Vikings or Always Sunny?

  12. no love for Vikings

  13. First, it’s a crime that Justified got no mention. Second, +1 for The Pete Holmes Show. Keep it crispy.

  14. With Community already back and Justified starting tonight the year is already off to a great start.
    As for what’s to come I’m going to try and rattle of a top 10 even though I could go much longer while keeping it to seasons that haven’t started yet.

    1. Hannibal
    2. Sherlock
    3. Game of Thrones
    4. Orphan Black
    5. House of Cards
    6. Orange is the New Black
    7. Bates Motel
    8. 24
    9. Mad Men
    10. Shameless

    • Has anyone heard anything about another season of “The Fall”?
      If I knew for sure that it was coming back this year it would be in my top 5 but I haven’t heard a thing and I see Gillian Anderson is starting another series.

      • Late reply, but shooting begins soon. From what I know, all of the principles are returning, Sir.

        • @ Ajeno

          Thanks for the reply…
          I suppose that because it hasn’t even started shooting yet it will be a while before we get to see it here in the states but if season 2 is anything close to season 1 in quality the wait will be worth it.

  15. Justified all day long. And of course Shameless is way up there. Game of Thrones. Homeland. Californication.

  16. Walking dead
    Game of thrones
    Orphan Black
    American Horror Story

    Man i cannot wait for orphan black need me some more Tatiana Maslany shes just so amazing

  17. Hemlock, maybe game of thrones, orphan black, the following, bates motel, and hannible are mine. Probably try game of thrones but the end is probably near for it on my list just like shameless is done for me.

    • forgot to mention under the dome and true blood

  18. SCANDALon ABC. No love

  19. Game of Thrones, Arrow, and Shameless for me. Gonna watch Orphan Black now.

    Imho though, Arrow is easy in the top 3 shows on regular channeles right now.

  20. Sherlock for sure. But those south park episodes totally summed up how I feel about Game of Thrones…… just get to the point already.

    Walking dead wore out its welcome in season 2.

    House of cards should be great again. I love how netflix releases all the episodes at the same time. I’ll finish them in like 2 days.

  21. I think I am going to check out Orphan Black this weekend. I never seen it so I will give it a whirl

  22. How in the hell is Arrow not up there?

  23. OK let me know when all these wait a yearto see thenext seaon shows have finished 100% completed, and then i will watch them, other than that i cant watch only 8 episodes and then try to remember what happen a year ago on 1 out of 25 to 35 shows i watch, especially UK programming, its horrible, waiting on Utopia to be all and OVER i will watch it and keep it frsh in the mind!!!!

  24. Here is my list:
    1. Arrow.
    2. Hannibal.
    3. Castle.
    4. Orphan Black.
    5. Supernatural.
    6. Teen Wolf.
    7. Downton Abbey.
    8. Person of Interest.
    9. The Big Bang Theory.
    10. Once Upon a Time.

  25. if you guys have never watched dexter go watch it on nextflix
    top 3
    Prison Break

  26. Sorry, but as a writer, please don’t say “This also show’s that Netflix isn’t just trying…”. there’s no apostrophe in the verb ‘shows’! Usually I just see people adding it to anything plural, but this is a new one. That said, glad to hear about The Killing, just discovered and binge watched Orphan Black, and I may have to check out Arrow after all the remarks.

  27. The Walking Dead is the Brain Dead………….I absolutely loved Black Box!! I want it. The more dumbed down the shows, the less I watch TV.