Fall TV Preview: New Drama
It’s August which means that September is just around the corner and therefore a new slate of television shows are about to begin across the major US networks. Some of these will be cancelled within the first few weeks, some will plod along to May and then get the chop. While those few special shows will amass a large fan base and run for a long time (perhaps too long in some cases).
Joining those new shows will be some returning shows who may have a point to prove after a mediocre run last season. While others will be capitalising on the great runs they had over the last twelve months. Over the next couple of weeks, I intend to highlight some of those new and returning shows that will be worth keeping an eye on for various reasons.
The first part today covers some of the new drama series coming to TV in September. I must make it clear, I have not seen any of these shows yet and my opinions are purely speculation based on the trailers and clips that have been released so far as well as the pedigree behind those shows.
How To Get Away With Murder (pictured above)
After tackling the medical procedural and political drama, producer Shonda Rhimes turns her attention to the legal procedural. The show centres around a top University law professor and her students who she teaches the various ins and outs of the law to. The class is dubbed with the title ‘How to get away with murder’. The law professor is shown to be morally ambiguous and willing to do whatever it takes to win a case. Something she is more than happy to pass on to her students, eventually the students became entangled in a murder plot and therefore brings the high stakes drama that fans of Scandal will be used to. Viola Davis plays the steel edged law professor and the students appear to be made up of little known actors but Orange Is The New Black fans will recognise Matt McGory (John Bennett). With the addition of this, Tuesday nights on ABC are basically going to be Shonda Rhimes nights. ABC are clearly expecting this to be a big hit in the way Scandal has become over the last couple of years and even if the ratings aren’t that great at first, ABC are probably going to let this one continue till at least May.
FOX are banking on the lure of Batman to bring the viewers to their network. Gotham follows a young James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) who polices the streets of Gotham City with his partner, Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue). The series promises to give back stories to at least The Penguin, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and The Riddler as well as hints towards The Joker. The question on people’s lips is, can you do a Batman related television series without Batman? Well Bruce Wayne is in the show albeit as a young boy suffering from the deaths of his parents. It’s unclear how much of a role Bruce will play in the show. I’m a fan of Ben McKenzie after his role in Southland (where he played a cop in a crime filled city, how convenient) and I believe he has excellent backup in the form of Donal Logue who had two great performances in Terriers and Sons of Anarchy. The budget is looking a little low for the show based on the production design, but let’s hope that doesn’t get in the way of telling a great story.
Keeping with comic books for a moment. The CW has a great show in it’s schedule in the form of Arrow. After two seasons, it has taken a middle tier DC character and built a show that is fun to watch, makes great use of it’s budget and isn’t short on spectacle. Season two saw Arrow begin to build it’s own universe with A.R.G.U.S. beginning to take a more prominent role in the show as well as the introduction of Barry Allen AKA The Flash. That now continues with the debut season of Flash. Looking at the cast, there aren’t any recognisable faces but I could have said that about Arrow upon looking at it’s pilot. My knowledge of The Flash is limited so I have no idea what to expect from the show in terms of plot. But if it can deliver the same kind of thrills that Arrow delivers each week. CW could be onto another winner.
I think this drama could go one of two ways. I think either this drama becomes the stand out show of the season…or it’s going to be a complete failure. It’s hard to tell right now. Starring the likes of Timothy Hutton (Leverage), Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) and W Earl Brown (Deadwood). American Crime follows a murder and it’s subsequent trial that will touch upon issues such as politics, race, class and family. The trailer is heavy on the shots of people looking concerned/distraught and it does seem borderline melodrama. But the script comes from John Ridley, screenwriter of 12 Years A Slave so I think there is real potential for this to be a stand out show. I’m hoping I’m proved right in September.
I think NBC’s Hannibal is brilliant. Probably the best debut of last year. Which is partially why I have some faith in Constantine. It’s not the sort of show I expect from NBC but I think Hannibal has worked (even if the audience doesn’t seem to…) and Grimm has been plodding along well too. My knowledge of Constantine’s source material is minimal at best (I haven’t even seen the film adaptation) but based on the trailer, Constantine seems to have all the bang, fizzle, cracking procedural action that will attract fans of Grimm (which is the lead in for this show). Comic book based television series have done quite well on television so far but this looks to be darker and edgier than your average show, so it’ll be interesting to see how well it fares upon it’s debut.
Join me on Thursday when I take a look at some of the new comedies coming to television in September.
All that positivity above needs to be balanced out. The Bonus round is where I highlight a show that I think looks terrible and will never work…which means that it’ll probably amass a large audience and run to 11 seasons and have three spin offs!
It’s Ioan Grufudd playing an Englishman called Henry Morgan. He works for the medical examiners office in New York City. He’s very attentive to detail, smart, has a razor sharp wit and often wears a long black coat and a scarf. It’s Sherlock! No wait, it’s Elementary! But wait, Henry has a secret. He can die multiple times and he always comes back to life. You see, it’s not like Sherlock or Elementary at all! Henry Morgan has a partner in the NYPD who he works with. She’s a hard edged, somewhat sceptical detective. Honestly, it’s nothing like Elementary! Henry has another friend he confides in. He’s a guy and this guy knows Henry’s biggest secrets. Nope, nothing like Mycroft, I assure you! Henry has personal problems, he’s out of touch with society, a bit of a loner. He needs to learn to live. It’s not like Sherl….ah screw it. I can’t compete anymore.
Ah ha! Sherlock never got naked for comic relief….right?