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Fall TV Preview

This week was the upfronts, that extra special time of year when the big networks (and NBC) parade in front of the press all the new shows that will be viciously battling for our attention come September.

This year’s selection hasn’t really got me buzzing. There are one or two shows I am legitimately excited for. A few that look rather meh but I will give them a chance to prove themselves. And some that look so terrible I once again question the sanity of network executives. Which is why this won't be a comprehensive list. I don't even want to acknowledge the existence of some of these shows (mostly the comedies), let alone give up my time writing about them.

So let's get things started with the one show that practically everyone is buzzing about this year.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)

It's a new Joss Whedon show, starring Clark Gregg as mysteriously resurrected S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson. That is all you need to know. Oh, and don't touch Lola. Never touch Lola.

Intelligence (CBS)

Person of Interest and Elementary have shown that being a CBS procedural isn't always a bad thing. Can Intelligence continue this trend? The premise of this show makes it sound a lot like a less geeky Chuck. Josh Holloway (who we haven't seen enough of since Lost ended) stars as an intelligence operative who has a tiny super computer in his brain that allows him to access computers or something. Once Upon a Time's Meghan Ory will play his partner/potential love interest.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC)

I had a serious case of deja vu watching the trailer for this Once Upon a Time spin-off. Despite looking visually impressive, much of the story seemed annoyingly familiar. Just swap Alice for Snow White, the Genie for Prince Charming and the Red Queen for Regina and you've practically got the same show we're watching now. I'm probably only give it a go because Tom from Being Human is in it and Barbara Hershey might pop up as Cora.

The 100 (THE CW)

Set nearly a century after a nuclear war (because it's always nuclear war) has forced humanity to abandon Earth, 100 juvenile delinquents are sent back to investigate the possibility of re-colonizing. This one has an interesting concept (and Desmond!), but the first clip released does it no favours.

Almost Human (FOX)

It's not a new TV season without at least one show from J.J. Abrams. This one might sound a lot like the Total Recall series from a years back (future cop teams up with robot partner to solve crimes) but that show was terrible and this one has Karl Urban. I don't care what the rest of the show is like, they had me a Karl Urban.

Believe (NBC)

The season's second J.J. Abrams series, this time about a convict who is broken out of prison to play bodyguard to a little girl with super powers. Alfonso Cuaron's involvement has certainly got me intrigued about this series.

The Originals (THE CW)

Spin-off of The Vampire Diaries centred on Klaus and what is left of his family as they relocate to New Orleans. Expect angst, blood, sex, some jazz, and lots more scenes of Klaus painting crap pictures. That guy needs to get a new hobby. And no, stalking Caroline doesn't count. Tyler hunting, however, does.

The Tomorrow People

A group of good look teens (this is The CW after all) from around the globe discover they are evolved humans with the ability to teleport and other stuff. The original 70s was before my time, but I have vivid memories of the first remake in the bland 90s. This latest take is more reminiscent of that version. Expect some class A Mark Pellegrino scene stealing.

Sleepy Hollow (FOX)

Washington Irving's original story left the fate of Ichabod Crane a mystery. Luckily Fox have managed to unearth the long lost epilogue in which Crane was transported to the future to help solve crimes, fight the headless horseman of the apocalypse (seriously?) and make jokes about all the Starbucks. Wasn't too keen on this when I first heard about it, but the trailer makes it look fun.


Reign (THE CW)

While snarking on Twitter I described this series as The Tudors: Gossip Girl Edition. Young Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (who sounds as Scottish as Keira Knightly) goes to France to marry Prince Francis (who sounds as French as Benedict Cumberbatch). Expect angst, longing looks and very little in the way of historical accuracy. I wonder who they'll cast as that mean Lizzy Tudor?

Star-Crossed (THE CW)

Aimee Teegarden and Matt Lanter play a teen human girl and alien guy who have feelings for each other. Well, they say he is meant to be an alien. Looks like just a guy with some crap tattoos to me.

The Crazy Ones (CBS)

Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar star as a father and daughter team in the world of advertising. Has to be better than Ringer, right?

Hostages (CBS)

A rogue FBI agent (Dylan McDermott) kidnaps the family of surgeon (Toni Collette) due to operate on the president and tells her to kill POTUS or her family will die. Sounds like a decent idea for a movie, not a weekly TV series. I mean, what the hell would they do for season 2?

Betrayal (ABC)

Legal soap about a woman having an affair with an attorney who is trying a case against her husband.

Mind Games (ABC)

A drama from the creator of Awake about two brothers starting an agency that fixes problems using the real science of manipulation and motivation.

Lucky 7 (ABC)

A group of gas station workers win the lottery and discover that money doesn't solve all your problems. Remake of the British series The Syndicate.

Resurrection (ABC)

Lost-style drama (you'd think the networks would stop making them) about dead people coming back to life.

Killer Women (ABC)

Crime drama with a bad title starring my favourite Cylon, Tricia Helfer, as Texas Ranger.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)

Andy Samberg a goofy detective in Brooklyn whose new boss, the great Andre Braugher, has got no time for his nonsense. Braugher deservers better than this.

Us & Them (FOX)

A remake of Gavin and Stacey with Gavin now a New Yorker and Stacey a girl from a small town (because that's pretty much the American equivalent of Wales). Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel star.

Gang Related (FOX)

Crime drama from the makers of the Fast and Furious movies starring Terry O'Quinn.

The Blacklist (NBC)

Raymond Reddington (James Spader), one of the FBI's most wanted, turns himself in to help solve cases. Sounds like White Collar with a creepier, less smug, main character.

The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC)

Fox, playing a version of himself, as a beloved local news anchor suffering from Parkinson's disease who decides to go back to work.

Dracula (NBC)

A new take on Stoker's classic, this time with Dracula (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers with wonky accent) pretending to be an American named Alexander Grayson for reasons I have yet to fathom.

Ironside (NBC)

A remake of the Raymond Burr series that Ozzy Osborne didn't sing a sound about. Blair Underwood will replace Burr as a NYC cop in a wheelchair.

Chicago PD (NBC)

Chicago Fire is only a season old and already has a spin-off. Dick Wolf wastes no time, does he? This series will focus on cop Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) and his elite team of cops.


  1. Watched the clip of Reign based on your 'Gossip Girl' meets 'Tudors' assessment. You've been far too kind. Yuck.

    Sleepy Hollow sounds like just about the stupidest idea ever, but the trailer was damn entertaining! We'll have to see how that one pans out.

    Of course, I'm most excited for SHIELD. Not sure how it's going to fit on ABC. (Yes I know it's there because Disney owns both Marvel and ABC, but even so). Plus it's up against NCIS and it leads in to...sitcoms? Wth? I thought they might pair it with Castle, since so many of us Whedon faithful watch that, but no it's kicking off ABC's completely new Tuesday. This makes me nervous....

  2. Excellent preview, Mark!

    I'm excited about bits and pieces of these shows: Mark Pellegrino (but not the show he's on), Joss Whedon (but hopefully the show isn't cheesy), etc etc.

  3. (Karl Urban does an amazing McCoy in 2 movies...) (awesome)

    OK ! Just read your review and not much seems good. Time will tell. I admit that I rolled my eyes often : what ?! another reboot/remake ?! (Ironside) Ah ! Come on ! Another (!) US version of a brit show ?! Ah ! Come on !!

    But Micheal J. Fox playing himself ? Could work, or not. Too busy during my Buffy re-watch (yay) (fun) to think about this fall...

  4. I think I'm in love with Karl Urban. Does that mean I have to review Almost Human?

  5. Agents Of SHIELD is obviously one I'm looking forward to, being a big fan of what Marvel's been doing in their movies, what Joss has brought to Avengers, and of course Agent Coulsen(I don't care what his driver's license says, his first name is Agent). The preview looked great, and holy crap what kind of magic potion is Ming-Na taking to still look that amazing at 49?

    To me, Intelligence is to Jake 2.0(go find that show if you havent' seen it, SO much fun) what The Mentalist is to Psych. Hopefully Intelligence will turn out better, since I pretty much lost interest in The Mentalist a couple of seasons ago. I'll miss Meghan Ory on Once Upon A Time, but at least she'll still be on me screen.

    Almost Human looks kinda like Alien Nation mixed with I, Robot. But honestly, I'm with Mark on this one. They had me at Karl Urban. :)

    I remember watching the original 70's Tomorrow People as a kid when it got syndicated over here in the US(pretty sure it was on Nickelodeon). For nostalgia's sake I'll give this one a shot, and because I really like both Mark Pellegrino and Peyton List.

    On paper, Sleepy Holly is a REALLY dumb idea. I shouldn't like it at all. And yet... watching the trailer, I kinda liked it. But the cops seemed to be a little too accepting of Ichabod, either as a nut or as a resurrected demon hunter. Hopefully the full pilot will flesh that out. Seriously, stuff like that just doesn't freak people the hell out on tv like it should.

    As for the other ones you featured, meh. And of the quickies, I'm interested in The Blacklist and Ironside(mostly because Blair Underwood should make a good lead). Oh, and Killer Women, too. Because Tricia Helfer kicking ass is NEVER a bad thing.

  6. [A] small town (because that's pretty much the American equivalent of Wales). That may be the single funniest sentence I have seen in weeks. LOL, a lot.

    I must admit that the vast majority of these leave me cold, but I will watch every one of them at least once for the column.

    Great piece, Mark.

  7. Ming-Na is 49?! What the hell? Is she a witch?

  8. Ming-Na is a vampire. She'll go to New Orleans and Klaus next.
    Andre Braugher has a new show? If I pay good money will he do anything with Kyle Secor? Secor was on Castle and I squeed. Tragic I know.

  9. Vampire? I thought Ming-Na had a portrait in her loft that keeps getting older.

  10. Ming-Na is beautiful and talented, and I am looking forward to watching her kick ass with J. August Richards (who might also have a portrait stashed in his attic)!

    I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who will watch a show with a premise that doesn't interest me much just because Karl Urban is in it. :)

    This is definitely a mixed crop of new shows. Good casts and creative teams for some strange or "meh" sounding concepts. A few newbies interest me at this point, but I'm gonna reserve judgment until we start getting some of the critical buzz on actual pilots. The trailers can be notoriously misleading. And, as we know, even pilots don't necessarily best represent what a show could become.

  11. Totally in agreement on Karl Urban, and I will definitely want to check out Steerpike as Dracula too


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