Entertainment & Arts

Television in 2014: A look-ahead

What are the cultural events to look forward to in 2014? The BBC's arts and entertainment team picks some of the big books, films, TV series, albums, exhibitions and shows for the new year. Click on the links or use the tabs above to navigate.

Image caption Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock: How will he cheat death?

For many, the most eagerly anticipated television moment of 2014 will come early - on New Year's Day, to be precise.

That's when the BBC airs the first episode of the third series of Sherlock, with millions anxious to discover one thing - how Sherlock survived his apparent death at the end of the previous series.

A major part of the show's success has been the drama's intricate plotting but equally as important has been the central friendship between Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock and Martin Freeman's John Watson. And both elements are well balanced in the return. The Empty Hearse maintains the high standard co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat set for themselves when they reinvented the classic literary character for the 21st century.

Steven Moffat's other big show Doctor Who will also be high on many viewers' "must watch" list in 2014. Since the Time Lord's return in 2005, each new run of episodes has always generated excitement. This time, much of that can be summed up in one word: Capaldi.

After the relatively youthful Matt Smith, Doctor Who fans are fascinated to see where the 55 year old actor will take the role, with many expecting a darker, grittier Doctor behind the controls of the Tardis.

Capaldi has long been one of TV and film's most versatile talents. As a long-term Doctor Who fan, he'll want to give a fresh performance that pays tribute to the show's part while embracing its future.

Image caption Word-of-mouth hit Orange Is The New Black returns for a second series

So called binge-watching has existed for years, with viewers consuming entire series through DVD box sets. But 2013 was the year when it was embraced by new drama, notably on video-streaming site Netflix.

All 13 episodes of its political thriller House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey, and prison drama Orange is the New Black were made available instantly this year - enabling viewers to consume an entire new series at whatever pace they chose.

As a strategy, it proved successful with audiences and critics and the shows gained significant awards nominations. 2014 will see both dramas returning with the same instant release pattern. As time goes on, the simultaneous release policy is likely to be employed by more and more broadcasters.

Image caption Olivia Colman and David Tennant: Mysteries abound in Broadchurch

Murder mystery Broadchurch is expanding in multiple directions in 2014. It's being remade in America with David Tennant reprising his role as a detective leading the enquiry into the death of a young child.

What remains to be seen is whether its small town English town feel will translate to the US, where it's set to be renamed Gracepoint. A second series of the UK version will also have to try and recapture viewers' interest in a story that, presumably, won't seek to repeat the unique events of the original.

Breaking Bad was arguably the most talked-about drama of 2013, with audiences across the world following the final events in the story of a high-school teacher turned drug manufacturer.

One of its most popular secondary characters, sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman, gets his own show in 2014. Better Call Saul will be a prequel to the events of Breaking Bad, which could be a risky prospect.

TV schedules have long been littered with successful shows that have spawned failed spin-offs. Friends gave birth to Joey. The X Files was followed by The Lone Gunmen, and on this side of the Atlantic, Are You Being Served? follow up Grace and Favour.

But some have gone on to become huge hits. Cheers, of course, led to the much-loved Frasier. That's the kind of success the Better Call Saul team will be aiming for.

Image caption Kaiser Chiefs singer Ricky Wilson and Kylie Minogue join Sir Tom Jones and will.i.am on The Voice

Outside the world of drama, many eyes will be on the UK's third series of The Voice. The talent show has jumped forward in the schedules, meaning it no longer clashes with ITV's Britain's Got Talent.

Kylie Minogue - a performer who combines pop credibility with more than a quarter of a century's experience - has joined the line-up of coaches, and freshening up the panel is likely to generate interest.

But the show's main challenge still remains maintaining momentum after the initial blind audition rounds.

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