Last week, the five major TV networks announced their lineups for the fall and unveiled the pilots that were picked up. If you watch any TV at all, you know that a majority of the new shows will not make it more than one season, with many of them getting the plug pulled after airing just a few episodes. Yet, in spite of the frustration that goes along with a show you like being cancelled, viewers keep tuning in year after year, hoping that their favorite will survive and thrive.
Many big names are tied to new projects for the upcoming season. Michael J. Fox is returning to TV with a new sitcom. Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar are paired together as a father and daughter in a sitcom about an ad agency. J.J Abrams has two shows picked up. Joss Whedon is bringing the Marvel Universe to the small screen. Legendary literary figures Dracula and Ichabod Crane are following in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes as they come to life in new TV series.
I have chosen 10 shows that will launch either in the fall or mid-season that I am most interested in watching. This is not intended to be my list of the Top 10 new shows for the next season, just the 10 that most strike a chord with me. Given my love of sci-fi, superheroes, spies and the supernatural, the list should come as no surprise.
The name J.J. Abrams may not automatically signal success after the quick cancellations of some of his recent efforts, including “Alcatraz” and “Undercovers.” But I really like the concept of “Almost Human,” and I hope people will tune in to catch this show on Fox. This buddy cop show is set 35 years in the future where humans in The Los Angeles Police Department are paired with life-like androids. “Almost Human” focuses on the relationship that develops between the two lead characters as they uncover a conspiracy involving the later-model “MX” androids, a “logic-based and rule-oriented” cyborg variation that speak in creepy monotone and lack the emotional component of earlier “DRNs.”
Odds of lasting more than one season: 5 to 1
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Did anyone really think this show would not get picked up by ABC? If any show ever screamed surefire hit, this is it. Of course, that is no guarantee that it will actually be a hit. But I have a pretty good feeling it will be. Set after the events of mega-hit “The Avengers,” “S.H.I.E.L.D.” resurrects Agent Coulson as the leader of a team of lower-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Joss Whedon, director of “The Avengers” and the brains behind TV shows including “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “Firefly” and “Dollhouse” will serve as executive producer for the show. It may be a challenge to translate the awesome big-screen action sequences of recent Marvel movies for the lower-budget small screen, but if anyone can do it, I’m betting Whedon and his team can come through.
Odds of lasting more than one season: 2 to 1
The Fall 2012 season saw legendary literary character Sherlock Holmes get a new life in the 21st Century. Now, the classic Bram Stoker blood-sucker is being brought to life on the small screen on NBC. Given the success of darker-themed shows such as “The Following,” “Hannibal” and “Bates Motel,” it seems like a good time to bring Dracula to a new generation. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, best known for his role in “The Tudors,” plays the Count, who is in Victorian England, posing as an American entrepreneur. In reality, he is seeking revenge on those who betrayed him centuries earlier. As his plans come to fruition, Dracula falls hopelessly in love with a woman he believes to be a reincarnation of his deceased wife. The producers of the uber-popular “Downton Abbey” are behind “Dracula,” so expectations will be high. Don’t be surprised if this show lives as long as a vampire. OK, maybe not quite that long.
Odds of lasting more than one season: Even
The Tomorrow People
I love shows about people with powers. “Heroes” and “Alphas” were two of my favorite shows. Well to be more accurate, season one of “Heroes” was one of my favorite shows. I’d rather just pretend the rest of the show didn’t exist. The CW is introducing the latest entry into the people-with-powers category, “The Tomorrow People.” Like its predecessors that I mentioned, “The Tomorrow People” follows a group of young people from around the world who are the next step in human evolution, with special powers including teleportation and the ability to communicate telepathically. The titular group of young people are being hunted down by a paramilitary group of scientists known as Ultra. The scientists see The Tomorrow People as a threat. Stephen, a teenager whose powers have just started to manifest themselves, is forced to choose between two worlds: the normal world of humanity offered by Ultra or the super-human world of The Tomorrow People. The CW has a good track record with genre shows and shows aimed at young people, so there may be hope for “The Tomorrow People” to succeed.
Odds of lasting more than one season: 15 to 1
The creators of “Fringe,” Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman, are putting a modern spin on the Washington Irving classic short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” In their version, Ichabod Crane wakes up 250 years in the future and discovers that he is the only hope for mankind. Crane must team up with a female detective to unravel a mystery that dates back to the founding fathers. Revived alongside Ichabod is the infamous Headless Horseman, who is now on a murderous rampage in present-day Sleepy Hollow. The official description for the show says it will “draw on the real stories and hallowed secrets this nation was founded on..” I am a huge fan of historical mysteries and love the story of the Headless Horseman, but I have to admit I’m a little scared about this one. I really want to like “Sleepy Hollow,” but I am very worried about how the story is going to be executed. There is a lot of potential, but I can see that it could easily come off very badly. Here’s hoping that Orci and Kurtzman and whoever else they tag to run the show can pull this off.
Odds of lasting more than one season: 12 to 1
Josh Holloway (“Lost”) and Marg Helgenberger (“CSI) star in this high-tech thriller on CBS that questions just how far technology can go. Holloway’s character is an agent in the U.S Cyber Command who has been implanted with a chip that allows him to access the entire electromagnetic spectrum. This makes him the first human ever to have complete access to Internet, WiFi, telephone and satellite data. Essentially, he is a living computer who can hack into any data center and access key intel in the fight to protect the United States from its enemies. I love Holloway and Helgenberger from their previous shows and the high-tech, anti-terrorism spy stories are right up my alley, but I am not sure about “Intelligence.” It sounds very similar to NBC’s “Chuck,” although “Intelligence” likely will eschew the fun, wise-cracking angle in favor of more serious drama. And it is being held for mid-season.
Odds of lasting more than one season: 18 to 1
“The 100” is an adaptation of a YA novel that hasn’t even been released yet. The CW has “The 100” set as a midseason show. Nearly a century ago, the Earth was destroyed by a nuclear Armageddon. The only survivors were the 400 inhabitants of 12 international space stations that were in orbit at the time of the destruction. Now, the human population numbers around 4,000, all living in the 12 stations, now joined together and known as “The Ark.” To keep population in check, strict measures have been put in place, including capital punishment and other forms of population control. The leaders of “The Ark” secretly exile 100 young prisoners to the Earth’s surface to see if the planet is habitable. The 100 prisoners are forced to overcome their differences and the forces of nature on a planet they have never called home. TV shows based on YA novels have been a mixed bag in recent years, and since the novel hasn’t even released yet, there isn’t an existing fan base to draw viewers.
Odds of lasting more than one season: 20 to 1
Following the success of “The Following,” NBC brings us “The Blacklist,” another show involving a cat-and-mouse game between a dangerous criminal and the FBI. In this case, the criminal is former government agent Raymond “Red” Reddington, played by James Spader. For decades, Red has been one of the most wanted fugitives in the country, helping broker criminal deals around the globe. Now, Red mysteriously turns himself in, with an explosive offer: He will help catch a long-thought-dead terrorist, Ranko Zamani, under the condition that he will only work with Elizabeth Keen, an FBI profiler straight out of Quantico. In actuality, Zamani is just the first name on a long list Red has accumulated over his years as a criminal, and he wants to bring them all down, as long as Keen continues to work as his partner. This seems like an interesting premise, but the long-term success of the show will depend on how well the creative team can turn that idea into a full-fledged series that will hold people’s interest.
Odds of lasting more than one season: 5 to 1
“The Vampire Diaries” is one of the best-rated shows on The CW, so it’s no surprise the network is trying to capitalize on that success with a spinoff. When vampire-werewolf hybrid Klaus learns that a plot is brewing against him in New Orleans, the city his family helped build, he is reunited with his former protégé, Marcel. The vampire has total control over the human and supernatural population of The Big Easy. Klaus and his brother, Elijah, form an uneasy alliance with a group of witches to battle Marcel and take back control of the city for The Originals. If you are a fan of “The Vampire Diaries,” you probably will switch over and watch this spinoff. If you have never watched “The Vampire Diaries,” you may feel a little lost as to the backgrounds and motivations of these characters. But if you are a fan of vampire/werewolf/witch stories with a healthy dose of interpersonal angst, “The Originals” is a show you would love.
Odds of lasting more than one season: 8 to 1
J.J. Abrams’ second pilot that was picked up, “Believe,” is scheduled for a mid-season run on NBC. Like “The Tomorrow People,” “Believe” features a young person with amazing abilities. In this case, it’s 10-year-old Bo, a precocious girl who has has powers including levitation, telekinesis, predicting the future and the ability to control nature since she was 2. Raised by a group known as the “True Believers,” Bo has been protected from those who would want to abuse her powers. But now, her powers have grown stronger and more dangerous. The “Believers” find the one man they believe can be Bo’s guardian – a wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate that they must break out of jail before he can begin his task of protecting the girl. The pair are on the run, trying to protect Bo from the sinister forces who want her powers. I am not too optimistic about the long-term potential for “Believe.” For one thing, if NBC was high on the show, they wouldn’t have saved it for mid-season. Also, I don’t know if people are going to tune in for another show about a young person with abilities who connects with everyone she meets and finds ways to see people for who they really are. Sounds a lot like Fox’s failed “Touch,” which just recently was canceled after two low-rated seasons.
Odds of lasting more than one season: 25 to 1
So in summary, the shows on my list that have the best chance of lasting more than one season, in my opinion are:
2) Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
3) The Blacklist
4) Almost Human
5) The Originals
6) Sleepy Hollow
7) The Tomorrow People
9) The 100
What shows are you most looking forward to out of the new batch of shows? Which ones do you think will last less than four episodes? Let me know what you think.