2013 still sounds like a science-fiction date in itself, but it will also be rife with new and returning sci-fi/fantasy series. Following are the dates announced so far for the winter and early spring of 2013:
Begins: Friday, Jan. 4
Description: With Arthur now king, the witch Morgana is more determined than ever to wrest the throne from her brother. Merlin stands in her way, but will Mordred's loyalty to Arthur belie the fate Merlin glimpsed for him?
Watch for: As Merlin and Arthur both grow into their roles in Camelot, Bradley James and Colin Morgan both dig deeper, while Alexander Vlahos, as Mordred, builds a presence woven through the larger storyline. Guest stars in season five include Lindsay Duncan, Janet Montgomery, Liam Cunningham, Josette Simon, Sophie Rundle, and the return of Anthony Head as Uther Pendragon.
2. Once Upon a Time (Season 2.5)
Begins: Sunday, Jan. 6
Description: With Emma and Snow back in Storybrooke, the town faces the arrival of Cora and Hook close behind them.
Watch for: Victor's story will be fleshed out, with family members played by Gregory Itzin and Chad Michael Collins.
3. Continuum (U.S. Premiere)
Begins: Monday, Jan. 14
Description: When a group of fanatical terrorists escapes their planned execution in 2077 by vaulting back in time to 2012, they inadvertently sweep along Kiera, a dedicated City Protective Services officer. With unexpected assistance from teen tech genius Alec Sadler, Kiera infiltrates the local police department and forms an uneasy alliance with her new partner, detective Carlos Fonnegra. Though desperate to get back to her husband and son, Kiera concentrates on bringing down the terrorists before they change the course of history.
Watch for: Another hit series from up north kicks off Canada Mondays on Syfy. Part of the background to the action is Kiera and Alec pondering the mystery of what exactly happened to her, sort of as in Life on Mars. Look out for lots faces you'll recognize, even if you're not sure from where, like Eric Knudson (Alec), who was Dale on Jericho; Tony Amendola (Kagame), who's been playing Gepetto on Once Upon as Time; Lexa Doig from Andromeda; Brian Markinson from Caprica; and so on.
Begins: Monday, Jan. 14
Description: In the Season 2 cliffhanger Aidan found himself six feet under after being banished and buried as punishment from vampire leader Mother. Sally became lost in a state of limbo and for Josh, events went horribly wrong when his plot to break the werewolf curse by killing his Maker Ray backfired, endangering Nora. Now, as the new season begins... well, they have to deal with the consequences of all these things.
Watch for: Guest stars this year include Mark Pellegrino, Amy Aquino as a witch, Xander Berkeley as the father of purebred werewolf twins, Bobby Campo as a young mortician, and Kyle Schmid as the young vampire Henry.
Begins: Monday, Jan. 14
Description: The victory in the final battle of season 2 has reshuffled the deck, creating new alliances for Bo and reinvigorating old enemies. Now Bo, who until now has refused to pick a side, will be forced to make a deadly decision.
Watch for: For the first time Syfy will be airing Lost Girl only a week out of sync with its first-run airings on Showcase, so North America will encounter the latest twists of fate for Bo and company together. Emmanuelle Vaugier, as the betrayed Morrigan, will get lots of play, as well as new recurring star Rachel Skarsten as a thrill-seeking, sex-obsessed fae; but of course what really grabbed everyone's attention was the appearance of Linda Hamilton, who ramped things up for the climactic seasons of Chuck and could do the same here.
Begins: Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 16 and 17
Network: The CW
Description: All four of the CW's supernatural series resume the same week in mid-January, picking up their debut season (in the first two cases) and season 4 and 8 (in the case of the veteran shows).
Watch for: Upcoming episodes of Arrow include appearances by Colton Haynes as Roy Harper and Ben Browder as Ted Gaynor. Supernatural returns with "Torn and Frayed," followed by the return of Felicia Day in episode 811, "LARP and the Real Girl". On The Vampire Diaries, the return of the Originals creates new problems as Damon tries to mentor Jeremy.
Begins: Friday, Jan. 18
Episodes: Double episode
Description: "Liberty"/"An Enemy of Fate" will close out the series, but the details are being closely guarded, though it is expected to feature an Observer big boss played by James Kidnie.
Watch for: The finale counts as the hundredth episode of the series. Expect it to be epic: producer Joel Wyman says the series finale will be the most massive finale Fringe has ever done, as well as the most expensive.
Begins: Friday, Feb. 8
Description: Martin and his gifted son, Jake, are on the run, now trying to help distraught mother Lucy and her own unusual child, Amelia, who's gone missing, as an overarching threat emerges: the mysterious and possibly sinister corporation, Aster Corps.
Watch for: Will the tenor of the show shift along with the move from New York to L.A.? Season 2 features the always welcome Maria Bello, as Lucy, and Lukas Haas as the genius central to Aster Corps.--laboring under the watchful eye of Aster honcho Frances Fisher; also at Aster is D.B. Sweeney as an enforcer.
Begins: Friday, Mar. 8
Description: With Renard finally pushing into Nick's life as a Grimm, in his search for the key, the escalating intrusion of the royals, and Renard's own obsession with Juliet, Nick will be playing a larger game than he'd been prepared for.
Watch for: More visibility from Bree Turner, who was wailaid by maternity leave (leaving poor Monroe to deal with all the spice shop stuff involving Renard and Juliet).
Begins: Monday, Mar. 25
Description: The midseason finale was a cliffhanger leaving lots of unanswered questions involving powerful jewelry and new weapons. Season 1.5 will involve new revelations--and new mysteries.
Watch for: Elizabeth Mitchell kicking butt.