Sci-fi, spies, superheroes and supernatural: The 10 Shows I Am Eager To Watch In The New Season

22 05 2013

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.

Almost Human

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

Dracula

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

Sleepy Hollow

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

Intelligence

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

“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

The Blacklist

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 Originals

“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

Believe

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:

1)      Dracula

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

8)      Intelligence

9)      The 100

10)   Believe

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.





The Top 8 New Shows For Fall 2012

20 05 2012

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. Read the rest of this entry »





Sci-fi – Why doesn’t it work on TV?

27 05 2011

Last week, I read the sad news that ABC was canceling “V” after its second season and NBC had decided to not renew “The Event” for a second season. Neither piece of news was super surprising, given the dwindling ratings both shows had experienced after strong starts. Also last week, as networks announced their new shows for the fall season, several much-hyped sci-fi or superhero shows failed to get picked up. The revamped “Wonder Woman” and “17th Precinct” by “Battlestar Galactica” creator Ron Moore were both passed over by NBC. With “Smallville” coming to an end after 10 seasons, the sci-fi/superhero prospects for next season don’t look very good.

Do all these things point to the death of sci-fi and superhero shows on TV?  I almost hope that it does. As a huge sci-fi fan, that is very hard for me to say. However, it is very frustrating to repeatedly get invested in a new show, only to see the rug pulled out after one or two seasons by the network. Thanks to the cancellation of these shows, we’ll never know what “The Event” really was or if the humans would be able to fight off the evil aliens with the help of Marc Singer. Even the network that is supposed to be all about science fiction (SyFy) doesn’t give its shows enough time to grow and build an audience. “Stargate Universe” ended recently after its second season with the crew in stasis for the next 3 years on a course for a new galaxy.

I almost wish they would never launch these shows if they aren’t going to give them time to tell a complete story. I hate being left hanging. That’s why even if I start reading a book or watching a movie and it’s not very good, there still is part of me that wants to find out how it ends. So if I feel that way about a story I don’t really enjoy, imagine how disappointed I am at not being able to find out how a  story ends that I really like. I guess I like closure. I think I need to go into therapy to deal with my issues of being abandoned by my favorite TV shows. Read the rest of this entry »





Happy 10th birthday “American Idol” – Hope I enjoy the party.

19 01 2011

“American Idol” returns for its 10th season, and while there will be many cosmetic changes, at its heart, the song remains the same. Last year, the runaway hit show began to show its first real signs of age. The show remained the No. 1 show for the 2009-10 season. However, the season finale drew in “only” 24 million viewers, the lowest numbers for the show since 2002. So this year, the producers got out their scalpels and decided to perform a little plastic surgery, hoping to make their show appealing again.

Steven Tyler, left, and Jennifer Lopez, center, join Randy Jackson as judges for season 10 of "American Idol."

Perhaps the biggest noticeable change will be the absence of the Man In Black – Simon Cowell. His often caustic but honest remarks toward the singer wanna-be’s became a huge selling point for the show. While the other judges danced around the reality of a singer’s lack of talent – Randy with his “mmmmm dawg, I don’t know” and Paula with her smiles and pleasant comments – Simon was the one with the guts to call a spade a spade. Some people thought he was mean, but I thought he was just what the show, and the delusional singers, needed. I certainly will miss him.

But he’s not the only judge from last season who you won’t see on Fox tonight. One-year resident Ellen DeGeneres jumped ship and Kara DioGuardi was shown the door after two years, leaving only Randy Jackson out of the three original judges. After many rumors and much Internet speculation, singer/actress Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler were announced to be joining The Dawg. Only time will tell, but I think these two should be good additions to the judge’s panel. They both obviously have tons of experience in the music business, and they both have larger-than-life personalities, so we shouldn’t have to worry about them being boring.

Also, with Simon Cowell gone, the producers brought on Jimmy Iovine as in-house mentor for the contestants. Iovine has nearly 40 years of experience in the music industry and is the chairman of Interscope-Geffen-A&M, lending a lot of credibility.

Other changes are largely procedural. This year, there will not be a forced even split between guys and girls. It will be the top talent making it through, regardless of gender. There also are unconfirmed rumors that changes will be made in Hollywood Week and how the finalists will be narrowed down. Apparently, the top 60 singers were flown to Las Vegas to perform on the same stage as the Cirque du Soleil Beatles show “Love.” Those 60 will be further whittled down before the semifinal round, when America finally gets to vote on who makes the finals.

No matter what changes the Powers That Be may have made with the judges and the nuts-and-bolts of how the contestants are chosen and advance to the finals, what this show really needs is some really awesome singers who can connect with the audience. Last season, there were no contestants that had the wow factor to make me tune in every week. No Chris Daughtry, no David Cook, no Adam Lambert even. Has anyone bought or downloaded the new CDs by last year’s final two, Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersock?

I certainly will be tuning in tonight to see what happens with the new judges and to enjoy the annual line of clowns that get paraded before the judges for us to laugh at. After that, it will depend on the contestants that make it through to the finals. If none of them grab my attention, I may not tune in for the whole season.

So only time will tell if all these changes can give new life to “Idol” or if it is the show “jumping the shark” and just biding time until it dies. But for now, here’s hoping for a great 10th season of  “American Idol.” Happy birthday to you.








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