The 8 Ball 09.10.13: The Top 8 Anticipated New Fall Shows
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 09.10.2013
From Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Masters of Sex to The Michael J. Fox Show, Mob City and more, 411's Jeremy Thomas counts down the top 8 most anticipated new shows of the fall season!
Welcome, one and all, to the 8 Ball in the Movie Zone! I'm your host Jeremy Thomas and as always, we will be tackling a topic and providing you the top eight selections of that particular category. Keep in mind that this list is meant to be my personal opinion and not a definitive list. You're free to disagree; you can even say my list is wrong, but stating that an opinion is "wrong" is just silly. With that in mind, let's get right in to it!
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Top 8 Anticipated New Fall Shows
Welcome back to the 8 Ball, ladies and gentlemen! September TV month continues, and with the fall premieres about to begin it's time that we look at some of the best potential shows that will be gracing our televisions soon. There are a variety of shows both old and new that are making their way to cable or network television; this week I'm focusing on the new series that will be having their bows. It's safe to say that there is a lot of buzz around certain shows (and you'll see them here), but there are a few that have vaguely slipped under the radar. Let's take a look and see what's new on the menu for this season.
Caveat: The criteria for this list was simple; it had to be a new show premiering sometime before the end of the year. Please note that I'm not saying all of these will be great; I'm judging and ranking them based on their sheer potential due to the interesting premises, creators, cast and personal preference. It will probably be easy to note that I tend toward serial dramas more than procedurals or comedies, so that did affect the list.
Just Missing The Cut
• Hostages (CBS)
• The Tomorrow People (CW)
• The Crazy Ones (CBS)
• Almost Human (FOX)
• Dracula (NBC)
#8: Sleepy Hollow (FOX)
First up on our list is one that is all about the potential. FOX has decided that, without Fringe to bring in the fanboy audience, it's time to hop back on the burgeoning genre chain and the result is Sleepy Hollow from Fringe co-creators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. The series takes Washington Irving's classic horror tale The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and gives its hero Ichabod Crane a bit of a workout, buffing him up from the scrawny weakling he was to make him a big more badass in the form of Tom Mison. Ichabod dies in 1790 and summarily wakes up in 2014 to become the new sheriff of the little village he spent his life in. He's paired with fellow Sheriff Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) and works to solve mysteries in the town, which is of course being threatened by dark forces. Orci and Kurtzman have the potential for greatness and they've shown that in the past with properties like...well, Fringe, as well as Alias, Hawaii Five-O and films like the Star Trek reboot. On the other hand when they don't have J.J. Abrams with them they have a tendency to falter (Transformers films, I'm looking at you). This could easily be a disaster but it also has a good chance, if they nail the tone right, to follow in Grimm's footsteps of being a fun, dark, schlocky joy and based on the sheer possibilities I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
#7: Hello Ladies (HBO)
HBO is gearing up some new shows since others are about to end (namely True Blood and, possibly, Earthbound & Down), but only one is coming out this coming fall and it looks like a good one. Most people think of Stephen Merchant specifically in relation to Ricky Gervais; the British actor/writer co-created The Office and Extras with Gervais and was a co-star on The Ricky Gervais Show. He's also done a lot of great stand-up and here he gets the chance to step out on his own along with Office writer-producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky for a show in which he plays Stuart, a web designed who travels across the pond to live in Los Angeles with a group of dorky types. Stuart has absolutely no game at all (unless you count a British accent of course) and as the teasers have shown it appears to be filled with the kind of cringe-inducing hilarity that he's been known for in his previous work. Merchant is a man who's been right on the verge of breaking out for a while now and with HBO's pedigree behind him this could well be the break-out comedy of the season.
#6: Masters of Sex (Showtime)
Michael Sheen is one of my favorite actors, bar none. The thespian has been a part of some of my favorite projects of recent years such as Frost/Nixon, The Queen, The Damned United, Unthinkable and even when he's been in lesser projects like Tron Legacy he's been a highlight. So seeing him come to a regular television role is exciting enough as it is. Putting him in a period drama with the talented Lizzy Caplan about the pioneers in human sexual response research and putting it on Showtime is even better. The series is based around the lives of Williams Masters and Virginia Johnson, who began studying and treating sexual disorders in the 1950s. The buzz on this one is fantastic and the creator, Michelle Ashford, has projects like The Pacific and John Adams to her resume. With the potential for powerful storytelling and characterization mixed with the kinds of freedom that premium cable channels can provide (and yes, sex to), Ashford has two incredible actors who can bring some real greatness to a network that needs it with Dexter in its final throes and a few other shows that are getting a bit long in the tooth.
#5: Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
FOX has a pretty solid slate of new shows coming up, and this may be the most intriguing. Comedy in cop shows can be a mixed bag sometimes; the genre does best when it's looking at hard drama as a rule. That's not to say that there aren't several TV cop laughers that have been successful, but it's a difficult mix to get down right. From all that we've seen from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, this could pull it off. Dan Goor and Michael Schur of Parks and Recreation are behind this project and they've come up with an inspired pairing for their leads in Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher. Samberg and Braugher play immature detective Jake Peralta and his straight-edge, no-BS captain in Ray Holt, who are at odds over Peralta's antics. A workplace comedy set within a police department is an intriguing idea and the teasers look great; the supporting cast is solid and includes Terry Crews, Joe Lo Truglio, Melissa Fumero, Chelsea Peretti and Stephanie Beatriz. Samberg and Braugher make such an odd couple pairing that it almost has to work considering their respective talents; if it all plays out like it has the potential to, FOX could have a major hit on their hands here.
#4: The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC)
Michael J. Fox is television gold. There's no denying it; if you need proof then you probably weren't paying attention to TV during the '80s and '90s when he was one of the true highlights of sitcom comedies with his roles as Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties and Mike Flaherty on Spin City. Of course, Parkinson's Disease curbed his ability to appear on regular television and he left Spin City in 2001; since then his appearances on television have been largely sporadic. So his return has to be one of the more anticipated events of the upcoming fall season. In his self-titled show Fox plays Mike Henry, a former news anchor who has retired after being diagnosed with Parkinson's and is now focusing on his health and family. The supporting cast is impressive and includes Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad) and Wendall Pierce (The Wire), with Will Gluck (Easy A) behind the camera. If anyone can find the light side of Parkinson's without making it offensive it would be Fox and everything shown so far establishes that he has great chemistry with the rest of the cast. Bar none, this is my most anticipated new comedy of the fall.
#3: The Blacklist (NBC)
James Spader picked up a ton of buzz when he was announced as the actor behind Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron recently. But as much of a Marvel fanboy as I am, this could actually be the Spader role I'm more excited about. NBC has been in a tough position as of late; they had to cancel all but two of their comedies at the end of last season for ratings problems and outside of The Voice nothing has been a ratings performer. Even their breakout success of last fall in Revolution sputtered ratings-wise when it came back in the spring. That gives them a whole new slate with which to try and launch new series, and this is the best-looking of them all. Spader plays Raymond Reddington, one of the most wanted fugitives in the world who is known for brokering deals for criminals. Known as "The Concierge of Crime," he appears to be untouchable until he suddenly turns himself in and strikes a deal with the FBI: he will help them take down a "blacklist" of criminals who have escaped justice so far. The catch is that there is one specific person that he wants to work with in rookie agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone). Now sure, this is a wacky premise but the pedigree is solid from the cast to those behind the camera, with Jon Bokenkamp as the creator and Joe Carnahan (Smokin' Aces) having directed the pilot. Spader is at his best in roles like this and the pseudo-serial/procedural nature sounds like an interesting mix that should be a lot of fun.
#2: Mob City (TNT)
Are you one of the fans of The Walking Dead who think that the bottom of the series fell out completely when Frank Darabont left and then Jon Berenthal's Shane was turned into a villain only to be killed off? Did you like the way that Jeffrey DeMunn's Dale was the conscience of the group and decried his Carl-induced demise? Then this is the show for you. Based on John Buntin's L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City, Darabont is the co-creator of this period action-drama that promises to be everything that Gangster Squad was not. Berenthal plays Joe Teague, an ex-marine turned police officer who finds himself caught in a conflict in 1940s Los Angeles where mobster Mickey Cohen (Jeremy Luke) and L.A.P.D. chief William Parker (Neal McDonough) are at war. The rest of the cast includes standouts like DeMunn as the head of the L.A.P.D.'s new mob squad, Milo Ventimiglia as a fixer for Cohen, Edward Burns as Bugsy Siegel and Ernie Hudson as a nightclub-owning mobster named Bunny. This has the chance to make up for so many lost opportunities to capture the noir style that was last truly successful with L.A. Confidential and its December debut will be certain to be one I'm watching with excitement.
#1: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
C'mon, don't act like you didn't know this was coming. The S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series is one I'm looking forward to so much that it got its own 8 Ball a few weeks ago. I think most people know how much of a Marvel fanboy that I am and like everyone I loved Clark Gregg's role as Agent Phil Coulson. So when it was announced that Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen would be executive-producing a TV series based on the covert organization for ABC, we all hoped without hope that somehow they would find a way to fit Coulson in somehow. Lo and behold, our prayers were answered. Now, ignore the amount of potential squee'ing that there is over the idea of seeing new beloved Marvel characters on the screen or even just the idea that Whedon is back to television (remember, Jed and Tancharoen are the main showrunners; Joss is busy with that whole Avengers: Age of Ultron thing). This has such an opportunity to expand the Marvel series and be one of the highlights of the entire season. The initial pilot has an unchartable amount of buzz around it and the cast looks to be perfectly set; if this is even half as good as we hope it will be a must-watch for the entirety of its run.
Note: Now that I am caught up to current, I have gone back to watch the episodes that have become available in the US since I started watching and thus were previously unavailable to me (thus why I have episodes remaining despite being caught up).
Current Series/Season:Season Thirteen (1975) Episodes Watched: 621 Last Serial Completed:The Android Invasion - The Doctor and Sarah find themselves in the English village of Devesham near a Space Defence Station. The village seems deserted, the telephones don't work, calendars are stuck on the same date and white-suited figures are wandering about aimlessly. Who are the Kraals and what are their plans for Earth? Surviving Episodes Remaining: 20
And that will do it for us this week! Join me next week for another edition of the 8-Ball! Until then, have a good week and don't forget to read the many other great columns, news articles and more here at 411mania.com! JT out.