Although cable seems to be the go-to for the most-watched shows these days, there’s a fantastic crop of exciting genre shows on network television this Fall. Any geek knows that there is a fine balance for these types of shows. There has to be enough mass appeal to bring in the ratings, but not so much watering down to the point that it insults the intelligence of the geek audience, as this is where the most outspoken and consistent fan base can be found.
Luckily, geek is definitely in this year, as proven by all of the fanfare that surrounded many show pilot episodes at this year’s ComicCon. In addition, some marketing research groups have given indications that these shows should succeed during their freshman seasons, leading to renewal. With good scheduling and promotion, let’s hope that is the case. Not being so much of a fan of reality shows, I’m hoping for all of the good scripted TV and genre shows that we can get.
FOX has two shows that pique interest, and although some may be apprehensive to start watching them given the network’s proclivity to axe shows, they did give Fringe five seasons and a chance to wrap up the story in a satisfying manner. For fans of NBC’s Hannibal, there was the sense that it was inedible, but the dark Bryan Fuller drama was renewed due to a vocal fandom, and a relatively inexpensive production cost. So, there seems to be a willingness to keep these shows around, especially since Nielsen will be taking other factors (DVR, online, and social media) into consideration, in addition to live viewing ratings.
Here’s a round-up of the five most anticipated new genre shows for the broadcast networks.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
It’s safe to say that this will be a huge hit, as Marvel’s comic book movies have been box office successes. With Joss Whedon at the helm, and a huge universe of characters, the possibilities are intriguing. And in case you haven’t heard, the beloved breakout character of Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) will play a central role. How is this the case, you may ask, given what happened to him in The Avengers? We’ll have to watch to find out.
Main Cast: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, and Elizabeth Henstridge
Premiere: Tuesday, September 24 at 8/7 C on ABC
A futuristic cop drama from the J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot crew and created by the executive producer of Fringe, J.H. Wyman. The show is set in Los Angeles in the year 2048. John Kennex (Karl Urban) is a cop who was seriously injured in an attack that killed his partner. After waking up from a coma lasting more than a year-and-a-half, he finds much has changed. While he blames the synthetics (robot police) for what happened, he must reconcile his hatred with the fact that one of his legs was replaced with cybernetic tech. When he returns to the force, he has a rough time adjusting. There are those who think he doesn’t belong because of how he was affected by what happened to him. Then he is paired with his own synthetic partner, as newly required by the department. The DRN unit is an older model, a “crazy one” with the capability to feel emotion. Dorian (Michael Ealy) and Kennex are an unlikely pair, but should evolve as they help each other to understand what it means to be human.
Main Cast: Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, Lili Taylor, Leanne Adachi, Minka Kelly, and Mackenzie Crook.
Premiere: Monday, November 4 at 8/7 C on FOX
This isn’t your typical Washington Irving tale. This modern take is from the minds of another set of Fringe vets, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. History geeks will also enjoy the flashbacks to the American Revolution era, as Ichabod Crane explains his origins to a contemporary Sleepy Hollow police force. Convinced he can help with some cases, the force assigns him to partner up with a detective. Guess who shows up? Here’s a clue: Hold on to your head…
Main Cast: Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Orlando Jones, and Katia Winter.
Premiere: Monday, September 16 at 9/8 C on FOX
Yet another modern twist on a classic horror tale. Jonathan Rhys Myers plays the venerable vamp, but in the modern age, Dracula is quite the safe-made businessman. Who just may have a taste for revenge… Let’s hope that this show also escapes the Friday “death slot” curse that may not be so much in effect any longer.
Main Cast: Jonathan Rhys Myers, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jessica De Gouw, Thomas Kretschmann, Katie McGrath, Nonso Anozie, Victoria Smurfit, Ben Miles, and Robert Bathurst
Premiere: Friday October 25 at 10/9 C on NBC
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
It seems that there is a theme here, as this Once Upon a Time spin-off comes from the same Lost writers, Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis. Although this fantasy drama may seem very romance driven, don’t be fooled. It’s sure to have its own sense of mystery and secrets just like those that made its parent show a hit for women and men alike. In addition, the two shows will have connections to one another. Sophie Lewis plays Alice, who is led to forget about the love that she felt for the genie, Cyrus (Peter Gadiot). Lost fans will love seeing Naveen Andrews (Sayid Jarrah) in his role as the nefarious, Jaffar.
Main Cast: Sophie Lowe, Michael Socha, Peter Gadiot, Emma Rigby, John Lithgow (voice of White Rabbit), Jonny Coyne, Naveen Andrews, Barbara Hershey
Premiere: Thursday, October 10 at 8/7 C on ABC
Other shows of interest may include Believe (NBC) and Intelligence (CBS)
Here’s a YouTube playlist featuring an assortment of exciting trailers for the Fall TV feast.
Are you excited by this year’s new shows? What are your personal hopefuls, and which do you think are over-hyped? What returning show has you the most excited?
My most anticipated new show is Almost Human, due to my interest in artificial intelligence. Plus, Joel Wyman’s work on Fringe has proven that he understands science fiction’s ability to have viewers examine what it truly means to be human in a world of rapidly advancing technology.
In a similar vein, after what happened during the finale for Person of Interest last season regarding The Machine, its returning premiere is marked on my viewing calendar as a must see. (Tuesday, September 24 at 10/9 C on CBS)