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Most anticipated television shows of the 2013 fall season

The 2013 fall lineup of television shows is, without a doubt, one of the most eagerly anticipated in many years. As noted at the recent 2013 Emmy Awards, television appears to have entered a new “golden age” with more compelling storylines, unusual characters and more sophisticated subject matter. With the finale of fan favorites like “Breaking Bad” and “How I Met Your Mother,” viewers are ready for new replacements, but the bar has been set high.

Return of favorite actors

Among the themes of the 2013 television season is the return of familiar faces in new roles, such as Robin Williams in “The Crazy Ones,” Allison Janney in “Mom,” Sean Hayes in “Sean Saves the World,”  James Spader in “The Blacklist,“ Andy Samberg in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and Michael J. Fox in the eponymous comedy, “The Michael J. Fox Show.” Of course, it’s not likely that all of those will be hits coming out of the box, but there are high expectations in particular for Williams, Spader and Fox.

Old favorites made new again

Then there are the old (or even somewhat new) favorites that viewers have been waiting for all summer to return. Count among them Netflix’s “House of Cards,” PBS’s “Downton Abbey,” CBS’s “The Good Wife” (where Michael J. Fox proved himself ready for his own prime time show), ABC’s “Scandal” and Showtime’s “Homeland,” once again showcasing the talent of the Emmy-winning Claire Danes.

Already making a splash in the new season is the reality singing competition, “The Voice,” which has gone far and above the barely-breathing “American Idol” (despite the return of J-Lo) and Simon Cowell’s very third place “X Factor.” In fact, “The Voice” has even usurped the Emmy reality TV category from the steadfast “Amazing Race,” which has held onto the Emmy for years without threat. No longer, and with the return of Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green, they should be rocking the ratings another year.

The new, new TV

Given all the promise associated with returning shows, just what programs are critics looking to succeed in this very satisfying television season to come? How about something completely different…well, different for television that is. Stealing an idea from the wildly successful run of superhero movies, ABC looks to have a hit on its hands with “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” produced by Joss Whedon (who scored with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”). Even “without Captain America and Ironman,” this show looks to be a fan favorite, notes Syracuse.com.

While Michael J. Fox (with guest appearances on “The Good Wife”) and Allison Janney (formerly of “The West Wing”) are trading their dramatic roles for comedy this year, James Spader (who once traded lighthearted barbs with William Shatner on “Boston Legal”) appears to be going to a darker place this year with “The Blacklist,” a show that has very high expectations from critics and fans alike.

Unlike “The Blacklist,“ slipping under the radar but perhaps equally provocative will be Showtime’s “Masters of Sex,” which centers around the sexual revolution of the late 1950s and its pioneers, William Masters and Virginia Johnson. It’s a show that the critics at TV.com have chosen for their “top 10 most anticipated” this season.

One comedy that is sure to draw fans (but can it succeed?) is ABC’s “Super Fun Night,” starring the outrageous Rebel Wilson. Together Wilson and show co-creator Conan O’Brien are hoping to bring the zany comedy of such movie hits as “Bridesmaids” and “The Hangover” to the small screen from the big.

Whether viewers are looking for old favorites or new, dramas or comedy, cable or network or massive doses of television in one shot via Netflix, the 2013 fall line-up promises to offer one the best seasons in years. Whether it will deliver will be up to fans to decide.