Last week, the five major networks unveiled their new lineups for the fall TV season. Unfortunately, the odds are that less than one-fourth of them will be renewed for a second season. Another fourth probably won’t even make it through one whole season. You can call me cynical, but I prefer the term realistic.
A glance at the list of last year’s new shows and the fall schedules announced last week will serve as a reminder of how many lasted only a handful of episodes, and how many only survived for one season.
The same is true of the mid-season replacements offered each winter by the networks. Of the five mid-season shows I watched (The River, Alcatraz, Missing, Awake and Touch), only one (Touch) was renewed for a second season. Each of these shows was hyped either for star actors (Ashley Judd in Missing and Kiefer Sutherland in Touch), a clever concept (the parallel worlds in Awake) or a big name director/producer behind the show (J.J. Abrams on Alcatraz and Paranormal Activity creator Oren Peli on The River). Yet, for four of the shows, all they had was one short season to prove they deserved another chance. I’ll admit each of these shows had their faults, but the stories were intriguing enough to keep me coming back each week. Which can’t be said for every show, even ones that at first glance sound cool.
Several of the new shows last fall had me very interested based on their descriptions, yet the reality of the shows failed to keep me coming back each week. Ringer, Person of Interest and Terra Nova were three shows with concepts that really sounded cool. However, I only watched a few episodes of each before giving up on them. They just lacked that certain je ne sais quoi to keep me coming back each week.
Here are the eight shows that are scheduled for fall or mid-season launches that I am most excited about. I can only hope that the shows are as good as their concepts sound and that they draw enough fans to last more than one season.
1) 666 Park Avenue on ABC.
Starring Terry O’Quinn of Lost fame and Vanessa Williams from Desperate Housewives, the drama centers on a couple that accepts an offer to manage one of the oldest apartment buildings in New York City. To their surprise, the building is a magnet for all manners of supernatural happenings.
2) Elementary on CBS.
I’ve been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since I was in grade school. Elementary is a modern-day adaptation of the legendary story, featuring Jonny Lee Miller as the famed detective and Lucy Liu as a female version of his counterpart. The show has already created controversy after the BBC accused CBS of ripping of the British network’s hit show Sherlock.
3) Beauty and the Beast on The CW.
Smallville alum Kristin Kreuk stars as homicide detective Catherine Chandler. As a teenager, Catherine witnessed the murder of her mother and would have been killed, too, if she hadn’t been saved by someone, or something. Years later, a murder investigation leads her to Dr. Vincent Keller, a handsome doctor who was believed killed in Afghanistan in 2002. She discovers he is still alive and was the person who saved her years before. Now, he is hiding from society due to his beastly secret.
4) Revolution on NBC.
In the latest TV offering from J.J. Abrams, a group of people struggle to survive 15 years after all forms of energy mysteriously vanished. On the surface, it appears that life is simpler, but danger lurks. A young woman’s life is upturned when a local militia appears and kills her father who, unbeknownst to her, had something to do with the blackout. This tragedy sets the young woman and two friends on a quest to find answers about the past and find hope for the future.
5) Arrow on The CW.
Based on the DC comic book Green Arrow, Arrow tells the story of billionaire playboy Oliver Queen. For five years, Queen was missing and presumed dead. When he returns home, his family and friends can tell that he has returned a changed man. As he reconnects with his loved ones, Oliver creates the persona of the vigilante Arrow to fight crime and return his hometown Starling City to its former glory.
6) Zero Hour on ABC.
Anthony Edwards of ER stars as the publisher of a paranormal enthusiast magazine. When his wife is abducted from her antique clock shop, he is pulled into a labyrinthine mystery that stretches around the world and back through time. A map in one of his wife’s clocks leads to a treasure that may be cataclysmic. Edward’s character must decipher the symbols and find the treasure while attempting to keep the map from falling into the wrong hands.
7) Last Resort on ABC.
When the captain (Andre Braugher) of a nuclear submarine refuses to launch his missiles against Pakistan, the vessel is fired upon without warning and the crew are left for dead. The survivors set up camp on an island and declare themselves a sovereign nation with nuclear capability. The crew must figure out who set them up and find a way back home.
8) The Following on Fox.
Starring Kevin Bacon and created by Kevin Williamson (Dawson’s Creek, The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle), The Following follows Bacon’s character, an FBI agent, who finds himself in the middle of a network of serial killers after one diabolical serial killer brings them all together.
It is about four months until any of these shows will debut, and some won’t launch until midseason, which means it’s more like eight or nine months until they will see the light of day. Until then, they all have the potential to be great shows. Only time which of them are the new Lost and which ones are the new Alcatraz.