The published offerings for the first half of 2014 are set to deliver a very strong schedule across FTA and subscription TV – possibly the strongest start in years. If it translates to ratings and eyes on screen will come down to two things: smart programming for local content and prompt scheduling for the “big new” shows they’re touting from overseas.

Foxtel again has the jump on the commercial FTA networks with its Express From The US strategy that brings what they hope will be the best TV their partnerships can offer. The FTA’s finished 2013 with various forms of fast-tracking however they’ve started 2014 by putting everything on hold until “after the tennis”.

So sit back, relax and cast your own judgement as I offer what I predict will be the hits of the first half-ish of 2014…

Spicks and Specks v2.0 – Josh Earl will charm you, Ella Hooper will captivate you & Adam Richard will have you laughing your head off. Give it a go and they’ll more than surprise you (starts Wed Feb 5).
Upper Middle Bogan S02 – S01 was so good last year that a return series was always a moot point. Looking forward to more great performances from the cast, especially Annie Maynard, Michala Banas & Patrick Brammall.
It’s A Date S02 – Peter Helliar and his team of writers delivered a note perfect season – high expectations for 2014 (that they’ll more than exceed).
Good Game/Good Game SP – Bajo, Hex, Goose, D.A.R.R.E.N. along with sometimes hosts Dave Callan & Andrew Hansen continue to deliver the best gaming TV show in Australia.
The Agony of Modern Manners – Yes please.
The Moodys – My favourite dysfunctional family of 2012 return sans Christmas but with the ability to just make everything else more difficult (starts Wed Feb 5).
Rake S03 – Cleaver finished up in prison and in a bit of a pickle, but it’ll take more than than to hold this bad boy down. Also being developed in the US as a remake (hold your breath) Rake continues to be some of the smartest and funniest drama going around (starts Sun Feb 9).
Gruen Anything – It’s apparently coming back… we hope.
Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell S03 – Again, yes please (starts Wed Feb 12).
The Doctor Blake Mysteries S02 – Craig McLachlan as Dr Lucius Blake was indeed a wonderful casting choice. The rest of the cast along with the stories deliver some wonderful mid-50’s Aussie whodunnit drama (starts Fri Feb 7).
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries S03 – Along with Dr Blake this series has owned Friday night 8:30pm for the ABC and deservedly so. She’s smart, sassy & ever involved in things she sometimes best not be.
The Time Of Our Lives S02 – A perfectly Melbourne family drama the rest of the country can continue to enjoy with a thoroughly incredible cast.
Utopia – Working Dog’s new political satire. Bliss.
This Is Littleton – Sketch comedy set against the backdrop of local council machinations, starring great comedians like Matt Okine, Ronnie Cheng & Tegan Higginbotham? Excellent.
Code – A new political intrigue thriller set against the outback to the corridors of Australian power starring (among others) David Wenham, Dan Spielman & Lucy Lawless.

SBS one
Once Upon A Time In Punchbowl – If SBS can overcome the current drama about one of the participants this series will again deliver a stunning portrait of modern Australia reflected against its migrant heritage.
Who Do You Think You Are Australia S06 – A great cast of Aussies make this series thoroughly enjoyable. This series: Andrew Denton, Jacqui Weaver, Richard Roxburgh, Lisa McCune, Adam Goodes, Amanda Keller and more.
Rectify – Aussie Aden Young stars in this US series as a death-row inmate that is released after 19 years into a world he no longer knows and a community who hasn’t forgotten (starts Thu Feb 6).
RocKwiz S12 – Julia Zemiro is back on our TV. This is a good thing, end of story.
Masters of Sex S02 – Showtime’s drama looking at the incredible work of Dr’s Masters and Johnson into human sexuality continues to be awesome.
The Feed – The thinking person’s current affairs program, this year 30 min long 5 nights a week.
Vikings S02 – A surprise package in how good S01 was, so expecting big things from this new season starring Travis Fimmel.

Channel 7
Never Tear Us Apart – Some have panned the casting (I liked the choices) and the “untold story” part is dubious though the involvement of the band is reason enough to get all nostalgic and watch Luke Arnold’s Michael Hutchence explode onto your screen to the thumping drums of Listen Like Thieves.
My Kitchen Rules S05 – Last year they proved casting was key and they’ve proven they’ll continue that in 2014 (the vacuous twin sisters?). The addition of a big red truck is fluff in what is essentially a relationship drama. Can they top last year?
A Place To Call Home S02 – Everyone else seemed to like it but all I could watch was Noni Hazelhurst pretending to be Maggie Smith pretending to be the Dowager Countess. If that’s what you want Australia, your drama series is ready…
The X Factor Australia – Don’t expect this until the second half of the year though it’s sure to be a smash hit again.
House Rules S02 – Does it have the potential to become Seven’s Block? We’ll find out before Easter.

Channel 9
The Block: Fans vs Faves & More Block – Is there a need for two series of The Block in a year? It seriously puts the series into territory where they could tire fans of what is a great format. Running it head to head with MKR will be a battle royale for ratings between the two networks.
Fat Tony & Co – The book-end to the Underbelly series, and given how poor the last two series have performed this one has to knock it out of the park. Revisiting the characters of the first series will help round out a fascinating time in Aussie crime drama history.
Schapelle – FINALLY (she’s still in prison, right?) the story of Australia’s most infamous “accidental” drug trafficker brought to life by one of the best production houses in the country.
The Voice Australia S03 – Latest additions Wil.I.Am and (our) Kylie Minogue join Ricky Martin and Joel Madden as coach/judges for the biggest reality singing competition in Australia. Who wins is simply the sideshow… it’s all about the judges.
Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year: South America – Hola!.
House Husbands S03 – Off-season cast changes might impact viewer satisfaction though the writing will remain key – an authentic Australian drama with a wry smirk.
Big Brother S03 – 2013 winner Tim reignited interest in the grandaddy of reality series and Nine are set to captialize on it in 2014.
Sherlock S03 – It’s already aired in the UK and US(!) so we’ll get it eventually… Perth get it tonight. That aside it’s three more episodes of stunningly written drama from Stephen Mofatt and his team. #SherlockLives
The Voice Kids – It’ll rate because people will want to see the cute.
The Embassy Bangkok – Just seeing Aussies in trouble overseas and the effort our diplomats go to so they get out of trouble will be compelling enough.
Almost Human – Futuristic buddy cop drama where one of the officers is a robot (though an older model with the emotion chip still installed). Doing good business in the US.

Channel 10
Secrets and Lies – A psychological thriller written and filmed in Brisbane about a man who finds the body of a boy and immediately becomes suspect number one. A sharp and intelligent drama series (and about time too). Martin Henderson and Anthony Hayes shine.
Elementary S03 – Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Lui continue to deliver as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Jane Watson.
Puberty Blues S02 – The series continues as the girls and their families continue to grow up with Australia through the 70’s. Attitudes continue to change and relationships will never be the same again. An interesting move to continue the series into new territory after S01 wrapped up the contents of the book of the same name. The cast nailed it in S01 so expect more of the same this year.
Modern Family S06 – Funniest US sitcom without peer.
The Americans S02 – *Loved* the first series and the tension ramps up as their CIA neighbour gets closer. Will they be exposed?
Party Tricks – Asher Keddie and Rodger Corser star in a new John Edwards/Imogen Banks series on Ten. Sound familiar? State politics given both barrels.
The Bachelor Australia S02 – Osher Gunsberg was the real star in the first series – will they be able to find a Bachelor that can outshine him? Either way we’ll get a bunch of desperate and very pretty women all vying for the heart/hand at the centre of Ten’s new reality success.
Offspring S06 – How will Nina cope as a single mother?
Extant – An astronaut (Halle Berry) arrives back on earth after 12 months solo in space and finds lots of things have changed. Kudos to Ten who will fast-track same day & date.

House of Cards S02 – Kevin Spacey & Robin Wright were compelling and had us all hooked. Now will Francis rise to top, casting aside the corpses of his adversaries, or will is former confidante be his undoing?
The Newsroom S03 – The final series of Sorkin’s excellent drama can’t come quick enough.
Game Of Thrones S04 – Winter is still coming – and so is the war…
Ray Donovan S02 – Liev Schriber and Jon Voight brought two powerful forces together in this sleeper hit of 2013. Father and son will only continue to battle for power (and didn’t Ray have enough on his hands already?).
True Detective – Slow burn drama set in southern America starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughy. Stick with it – it’s worth it.

My blog, my opinion. I’m likely wrong anyway. These predictions are made (in most cases) sight unseen/only having seen a promo/read the premise from a press release. What do YOU think will be a hit in 2014?