New Fall Dramas: What To Watch
This time last year, I was tingling with excitement over Ringer, doubting the concept of Once Upon a Time, and I was pretty confident that Pan Am was going to catch on. Needless to say, no one watched Ringer, Once Upon a Time was the highest-rated new drama of the season, and Pan Am didn’t catch on so much as burn off. But that’s part of the fun of every new TV season: anything is possible. A show about amnesiac fairytale characters can become a huge hit, and a remake of a successful British police drama can get axed before you can say, “What’s with Maria Bello’s fedora?” I guess what I’m really trying to say is, my predictions of what shows will and won’t succeed are probably completely wrong…but here they are anyway!
Check out this fall’s new network drama series, some of which look very promising, and others…well, you’ll see…
Revolution—NBC (Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos, Giancarlo Esposito)
Planes falling from the sky? Cryptic computer screens? Elizabeth Mitchell? Must be a J.J. Abrams show. The man behind Lost is an executive producer on this new post-apocalyptic series created by Eric Kripke (Supernatural). Revolution depicts a world where all electronic devices (as well as cars, planes, and anything with an engine) have stopped working. With an epic scope and a promising ensemble cast, it has all the potential to become a hit.
Why I’m Excited: With the combined creative genius of Abrams and Kripke, I can’t see this show being anything but great. Yes, I realize my high expectations are just setting me up for disappointment, but I can’t help but get excited about a show that looks like a cross between FlashForward and The Walking Dead. Hopefully Revolution can find the right balance between audience-friendly escapism and complex storytelling sprinkled with insightful commentary on our culture’s dependence on electronics.
Mondays at 10 on NBC, premieres September 17th
Nashville—ABC (Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere)
The flawless Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights, American Horror Story) stars in this new music industry soap about an aging country star whose career is eclipsed by a glamorous young singer played by Hayden Panettiere (Heroes).
Why I’m Excited: Connie Britton as a country music star? Where do I sign up? I was actually a little surprised to hear that Nashville has been so well-received by critics. Then again, Connie Britton is like crack for TV critics, so it makes sense. Nashville has a lot going for it: soapy melodrama, a solid cast, Southern accents, and the marketing tie-in advantage of featuring original songs, which will presumably be available for download after each episode. (Unless ABC doesn’t like making money.) Ya’ll better tune in.
Wednesdays at 10 on ABC, premieres October 10th
Arrow—The CW (Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy)
Greg Berlanti (Brothers & Sisters) adapts DC Comics’ Green Arrow for The CW. Stephen Amell plays the archery-inclined hero, as well as his billionaire alter-ego Oliver Queen. I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed that Justin Hartley (who played the Oliver Queen/Green Arrow character on The CW’s Smallville) isn’t starring, but I’m optimistic that Stephen Amell will bring his own
six-pack abs approach to this adaptation.
Why I’m Excited: I’m a fairly devoted Berlanti fan, having watched Everwood, Jack & Bobby, and Eli Stone until they were all canceled (*sobs*), and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he handles something with a little more action. The CW may not be the network with the highest quality shows, but they’re consistently good at balancing action, romance, and humor.
Wednesdays at 8 on The CW, premieres October 10th
COULD GO EITHER WAY…
Emily Owens, M.D.—The CW (Mamie Gummer)
Mamie Gummer (The Good Wife) stars as Emily Owens, a first-year intern who discovers that life after med school is more like high school than she had hoped. It’s basically The CW’s version of Grey’s Anatomy—complete with a potentially irritating internal dialogue voicing all of Emily’s thoughts, fears, and insecurities.
Why I’ll Give It a Chance: I certainly wasn’t wowed by the trailer, but considering this show stars the daughter of the great Meryl Streep—not to mention the aforementioned Smallville hunk Justin Hartley, and Greek’s Michael Rady—I’ll tune in for the cast alone. The CW never misses an opportunity to show attractive men with their shirts off, so even if I have to watch it on mute to avoid Emily’s tiresome voiceover, it’ll be worth it to get a closer look at Hartley and Rady’s great anatomies.
Tuesdays at 9 on The CW, premieres October 16th
Last Resort–-ABC (Andre Braugher, Scott Speedman)
This new military drama from The Shield creator Shawn Ryan focuses on a U.S. Navy submarine that goes rogue after refusing an order to fire a missile on Pakistan. The crew sets up camp on a nearby island and declares themselves a sovereign nation.
Why I’ll Give It a Chance: As much as I’m attracted to this show (I love serialized dramas with life-and-death stakes), I’m worried about getting too attached to it because I’m afraid it might not stick around for that long. With such a potentially complex premise, it seems like Last Resort would be better suited to a cable network. But if it can succeed in creating a character-driven survival drama with enough action to distract viewers from the heavy moral and political themes, this show just might have a chance. Never underestimate the tried and true television formula of attractive people + dire circumstances = good television. Plus, Andre Braugher and Shawn Ryan is a winning combination if I’ve ever heard one.
Thursdays at 8 on ABC, premieres September 27th
Elementary—CBS (Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu)
You can never have too many adaptations of Sherlock Holmes. Within the last three years, the legendary literary detective has launched a successful movie franchise, a hit BBC series, and slew of new books based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original works. Now CBS is looking to tap into the endless success of Holmes’ pedigree and adapt it into a contemporary crime drama featuring Jonny Lee Miller (Eli Stone) as Holmes, and Lucy Liu (Southland) as Watson.
Why I’ll Give It a Chance: The fact that they cast Watson as a woman adds a new twist to an old partnership, and I’ll be interested to see how that plays out. Aside from that, it’s just another crime show on CBS.
Thursdays at 10 on CBS, premieres September 27th
Mob Doctor—Fox (Jordana Spiro)
Jordana Spiro (My Boys) stars in this suspenseful new medical mob drama about a surgeon who is—you guessed it—also a mob doctor on the side. She grapples with the moral implications of her obligation to the mob.
Why I’ll Give It a Chance: Though the title alone was enough to make me pass on this one without hesitation, but you have to take into account the Zach Gilford Factor. This is the phenomenon wherein I am physically incapable of not watching any television show with Zach Gilford in it (see: Off the Map). It’s an unfortunate side effect of Friday Night Lights withdrawal. Just like he did in last year’s mid-season medical drama Off the Map, Gilford plays a young doctor who gets in over his head. So if history repeats itself and Mob Doctor gets canceled, we might be having this same conversation in eleven months when Zach returns to TV with yet another doctor show that I will watch despite its weak premise and doomed fate.
Mondays at 9 on Fox, premieres September 17th
Chicago Fire—NBC (Taylor Kinney, Jesse Spencer)
This new drama produced by Law & Order creator Dick Wolf centers around the firefighters and paramedics of Chicago. Mostly, it’s just an excuse to make lots of jokes about its sexy stars using the words “hot,” “smoking,” and “fire.”
Why I’ll Give It a Chance: (See above re: shirtless firefighters.)
Wednesdays at 10 on NBC, premieres October 10th
Made in Jersey—CBS (Janet Montgomery)
This new fish-out-of-water legal drama about a lawyer from New Jersey who joins a fancy New York law firm looks like Legally Blonde crossed with Jerseylicious.
Possible Redeeming Qualities: U.K. import Janet Montgomery could have some real star power, and she does a convincing Jersey accent. I feel certain that she can (and will) do better than this show.
Fridays at 9 on CBS, premieres September 28th
Beauty & the Beast—The CW (Kristin Kreuk, Jay Ryan)
This newest take on the classic fairytale is actually a remake of the late-8os police procedural starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman. Kreuk (Smallville) plays the titular beauty, a police detective who encounters a mysterious scar-faced (but otherwise perfectly swoon-worthy) vigilante who repeatedly saves her from everything but her own insufferability. Seriously, have you seen the promo? First he has to rescue her from nefarious subway attackers, and then he has to save her from a speeding train. Really? She’s a New York City police officer, for Peter’s sake. Based on the promo, it looks like this Beauty is reaching Bella Swan-like levels of ineptitude.
Possible Redeeming Qualities: [crickets]
Thursdays at 9 on The CW, premieres October 11th
666 Park Avenue—ABC (Terry O’Quinn, Vanessa Williams)
As much as I love Terry O’Quinn, 666 Park Avenue looks kind of like the network TV version of American Horror Story, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. If, unlike me, you actually enjoy horror, this might be a selling point for you, although it’s a hard genre to pull off within the limitations of network television.
Possible Redeeming Qualities: No one does mysterious and creepy better than Terry O’Quinn, so there’s a chance he could unlock this show’s potential and make it a genuine hit. (Horror is making a TV comeback, after all.)
Vegas—CBS (Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis)
Last season’s two attempts to replicate Mad Men‘s success with the swinging 60s on network TV were somewhat disappointing: NBC’s Playboy Club and ABC’s Pan Am were both canceled. Now CBS is taking a stab at the 60s era with the new drama Vegas, starring Dennis Quaid as a sheriff struggling to protect his city from the rising mob, led by Michael Chiklis. From the preview, it looks like Vegas is aiming for more of a Boardwalk Empire feel than Mad Men, but either way, it just doesn’t tickle my fancy.
Possible Redeeming Qualities: I’m sure the acting is top-notch, and I admire CBS for taking a chance on something that doesn’t involve DNA samples.
Tuesdays at 10 on CBS, premieres September 25th
The selection of new drama series seems a bit more promising than the comedy lineup this season. There are some strong contenders, and even some of the shows I passed on look like they could easily become hits. I’m hoping Revolution and Last Resort can grow into strong serialized dramas, while Nashville will bring the glitzy melodrama to Wednesday nights. What drama series are you most looking forward to this TV season? Leave a comment below, or tweet us @PopCultureNexus!
Posted on September 18, 2012, in Television, TV Premiere and tagged 666 Park Avenue, ABC, Arrow, CBS, Connie Britton, Elementary, Fall 2012 TV, Fox, Green Arrow, JJ Abrams, Last Resort, Nashville, NBC, Revolution, television, The CW, The CW Television Network, tv premieres. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.