Ahhhhh! The new US TV schedules are due to start in September/October and a whole new load of TV shows are set to rise or fall, based mainly on random events, Neilsen boxes, or unknown political machinations.
Having looked at a few lists of the new shows though, there doesn’t really seem to be much originality as per usual, and there are a few especially tired old ideas. This years themes appear to be ‘Mad Men’, ‘Memory and Deduction’ and ‘The Supernatural’.
The Mad Men effect: Two shows are set to appear after the critical success of Mad Men.
1. Pan Am
Set in the 60s and revolving around Pan Am Stewardesses, this looks likely to be very much ‘Mad Men in the air’. Promising elements include Christina Ricci in a starring role and direction from Thomas Schlamme, who has ‘West Wing’ and ‘Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’ pedigree.
2. The Playboy Club
I guess this will be ‘Mad Men with bunny tails, with a bit of crime thrown in’, if the trailer is anything to go by. Good things? Amber Heard and a solid cast, including David Krumholtz, who is always quality.
Memory and Deduction: Really???
First there was ‘Psych’, a comedy based crime drama, which worked exceptionally well and is still going; Psych involves a hyper observant son of a Cop, who can deduce clues about crimes and so he can consult for the Police, pretends to be Psychic. Several years into the run of Psych, ‘The Mentalist’ appears, which has a consultant to the CBI, who is hyper observant, has excellent deductive reasoning and used to be a fake psychic medium. Then we got ‘Lie to Me’, which had a group of consultants who used psychology, deduction and facial microexpressions to help law enforcement solve cases. All three of these series are good, especially Lie to Me, but strangely (or not so strangely I guess), the weakest, most formulaic one, The Mentalist, is the most popular, based on ratings and Lie to Me was recently cancelled.
So now we have Unforgettable – A woman who has hyperthymesia, so has perfect recall and remembers everything; therefore she will use her ability and deductive reasoning to consult with the Police. *sigh*
If there are any positives to take from the available details so far, it is that it does star Poppy Montgomery and Kevin Rankin, as well as other solid actors, so that might make it ok. I’ll give it a chance based on those two actors, but I do not hold high hopes.
4. Person of Interest
Now this one could be a little better, but could suffer from the J.J. Abrams curse; namely, it could start extremely well, then he could ruin it later on by making it farcical (see Alias, Lost), although he has managed to make Fringe consistently good. Maybe he has learnt something! 😉
This show involves a billionaire who has invented a method of predicting who will be involved in a violent crime in the near future. To aid him, he enlists an ex CIA agent to deduce whether the person is victim, perpetrator or witness to try to prevent the crimes from happening.
A bit of a mixture between the Philip K. Dick short story ‘The Minority Report’, Tru Calling and even elements of Quantum Leap, it doesn’t seem that original, but it will no doubt grab a massive audience, even if it is just for the connection to J.J. Abrams. Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson star, so it has quality leads at least and the trailer actually seems quite interesting; we’ll have to see how it develops and hope it doesn’t become a ‘monster of the week’ type show.
The Supernatural ones:
Based on the idea that fantasy creatures from the Grimm fairy tales really do exist and there is a whole other world under the surface of ours, this is sort of like ‘The Lost Girl’, or ‘Neverwhere’, but set in Portland. A good cast, including Sasha Roiz and the likelihood of good writing gives me hope and I look forward to its debut.
This was created by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, the latter of which has an excellent pedigree including Buffy, Angel, Moonlight, X-Files, Eureka, and In Plain Sight, so if the quality isn’t of a high standard then I will be surprised!
6. Once Upon a Time
Once Upon a Time is set in a town where “the magic and mystery of fairy tales may just be real”. This doesn’t sound the most promising new show and could be quite ‘light’, based on trailers. Created by Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis, both of whom worked on ‘Lost’, this could be ok, but could be horrific. The relatively recent addition of Jane Espenson as a producer could help!
A good cast includes Jennifer Morrison, Robert Carlyle, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jessy Schram and Giancarlo Esposito, so that is a good start and we’ll have to see how original it can be; one issue though: It could be infused with Disney schmaltz all the way through…
7. The Secret Circle
From the online details this sounds like The Vampire Diaries with Witches. oh dear…
Positives? It’s good to see Thomas Dekker finding something after ‘Terminator: TSCC’ and Britt Robertson is good, so it has that going for it. It’ll probably be a hit with the tweens and just be beneath the people involved in making it. I don’t expect anything of the quality of Buffy for instance…
There are some more bits of news kicking around about new shows, so if I get the urge I’ll put my two pennies worth in on those too… Hopefully, there will be some really original stuff!