Fall has truly begun. The weather turns colder, the leaves start to change, school begins again and (most importantly), TV networks launch their brand new shows! It is upon us, television fans—the new fall lineups are coming our way. We’ve all been scarfing down the rumors for months about all the big shows coming out, poised and ready to become our newest obsessions. But is there a budding fan favorite in the mix, something that will hold us over until we get Game of Thrones back next year? Let’s take a look at five upcoming shows that want to capture your heart (and your ratings) this fall.
Since NBC.com was so kind as to give us the first episode to watch, I was able to do a full review of Jon Favreau and JJ Abrams’ new post-apoc drama well in advance of its September 17th kickoff. NBC is obviously backing Revolution as its new genre favorite, much in the way they once backed Heroes. The show is all about how the United States adapts to a world without electricity and banks; fans will follow YA-heroine Charlie on her quest to discover why all the lights went out. It brings together wonderful actors like Billy Burke (The Twilight Saga), Giancarlo Esposito (Homicide), and Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost).
The show does seem to be trapped in the post-Hunger Games clone craze, and it rings way too close to S.M. Stirling’s Dies the Fire/Emberverse series to be considered groundbreaking material in any way. Still, it looks like it might have room to grow, rather than just retreading old dystopian ground.
The CW knows what audience it’s aiming for this season with its introduction of their DC Comics adaptation of Green Arrow. With the response garnered by the character on Smallville and the Superman teen vehicle off the air, they’re looking to score big with a hot, brooding archer who fights crime. After all, didn’t you know archery is the new martial arts?
Stephen Amill seems to be a great casting choice for the plane-crash survivor Oliver Queen, who returns (after being missing for five years) on a mission to make up for the misdeeds of his past. Now it seems they’ve made some minor changes to the Green Arrow of the comics—like renaming his girlfriend Laurel Lance instead of Dinah (aka Black Canary) and renaming his city Starling City instead of Star—but those are cosmetic. The familiar essence of Oliver Queen’s street-level redemptive hero seems to remain at the heart of this show, and from the previews Amill brings it to the screen with surprising intensity. I’m looking forward to seeing whether this show takes itself seriously enough to provide good storytelling, or whether it will fall into the two-dimensionality that Smallville did towards its end. Arrow premieres October 10th on the CW.
CBS has tossed their hat into the ring and embraced the Sherlock Holmes craze this season with their modern adaptation of the legendary literary detective in Elementary. Partnered with a beautiful female Watson played by Lucy Liu, Johnny Lee Miller (Hackers) is the quirky, scarf-wearing Holmes, out to solve crimes while doing his best Benedict Cumberbatch impression.
Oh yes, CBS, we already know about a modern retelling of Sherlock Holmes—it’s called Sherlock and the BBC got there first. It’s going to be difficult for Elementary to shake off the comparisons with their British counterpart, but I’m willing to give the show a shot based on my appreciation for the often underutilized Miller. Plus, the idea of introducing a female Watson does bring a different dynamic to the mix. Still, one wonders if the market needs two Sherlock remakes, and whether Miller can survive the Cumberbatch comparisons. This show launches September 27th.
666 Park Avenue (ABC)
What happens when you take Terry O’Quinn, put him in a suit, and make him the manager of a ritzy Manhattan apartment building with a seriously supernatural vibe? You get all the glitz of glamourous New York ala Gossip Girl with a dash of The Devil’s Advocate in 666 Park Avenue. The show follows a midwestern couple hired on to manage The Drake, a gorgeous apartment building on Park Avenue. The couple is, of course, unaware that their building may be home to some kind of deal-making, wish-fulfilling demonic entity. Sound like it could be scary? It might be. But the show seems to be going for a more tongue in cheek, nudge-nudge, wink-wink kind of supernatural romp rather than making an actual attempt at frightening viewers. 666 Park Avenue has all the elements of a sexy modern morality play in the making—“Be careful what you wish for” might as well be its motto—tied together in a neat package by O’Quinn’s star-powered charm. Of all the offerings, this one looks to be the new guilty pleasure of the season. It launches on September 30th.
Last Resort (ABC)
Now to direct some attention to ABC’s new military drama, Last Resort. The show follows a fictional submarine, the USS Colorado, and what happens when its crew refuses to fire nuclear weapons on Pakistan and are declared enemies of their own country.
The reason this show made the list is for its rather daring premise, as well as its all-star cast. Andre Braugher (Homicide, The Mist) plays Captain Marcus Chaplin with Scott Speedman (Felicity, Underworld) as his XO, Sam Kendal. For those who like military shows with a twist, this one could be the one to bet on; with a strong actor like Braugher at the helm, we could be looking at an ABC powerhouse. Last Resort debuts on September 27th.
There are a few other notable late-season additions that make the To Watch list, including:
- Hannibal (NBC), based on Thomas Harris’s books. It features Hannibal Lecter solving crimes with a young detective (played by Hugh Dancy) in his pre-fava bean days, brought to you by Brian Fuller of Pushing Daisies fame. It also co-stars Laurence Fishburne, which automatically makes it five times cooler.
- Cult (CW), a show (rescued from the defunct WB network) about a couple of journalists trying to solve the mystery of several disappearances surrounding a popular TV show. It’s TV’s Inception!
- Do No Harm (NBC), a mid-season addition that appears to be a take on Jekyll and Hyde, starring Steven Pasquale as young neurosurgeon Jason Cole and his alter ego, Ian Price.
- Zero Hour (ABC), a late-season addition that will hit in 2013, starring ER alum Anthony Edwards. It follows Edwards as he dives into a century-old, globe-spanning conspiracy in an effort to solve his wife’s murder. This one smacks of DaVinci Code remake, but looks promising.
Overall, there seem to be a couple of interesting new concepts out there in TV land. But the proof, as so often is the case, is in the staying power, and no amount of clever advertisement will cover giant plot holes or weak casting. So will these new shows be up to snuff? In the end the real judge, fellow media consumer, will be you.
Shoshana Kessock is a comics fan, photographer, game developer, LARPer and all around geek girl. She’s the creator of Phoenix Outlaw Productions and ReImaginedReality.com.