New Network Genre Shows for Fall!
For most the fall TV season is just a chance to enjoy returning favorites or sample something new. But fans of science fiction, horror and fantasy have another agenda entirely: They want to know about the new genre shows. Shows that likely will have a tough time with critics and the ratings. But may include another “Star Trek”, “X-Files” or “Lost”. In fact, it may be the new show that they (heck, we!) will be obsessed with for the next decade.
In light of this, we’re offering you this run-down with trailers of all the genre shows on the Network this fall. (And one midseason show because we couldn’t resist.)
And we start with ABC after the jump ….
The excitement begins on Sunday with “Once Upon a Time” a series which jumps on the updated fairy tale genre which is so hot in H’wood right now. Is this trend the latest vehicle for cutting edge storytelling? Or is it just another system of the increasing infantilization of the culture? Here’s how the nework describes this one:
Once Upon A Time is an alternate-world fairy-tale series that switches from our times to fantasy world, with House‘s Jennifer Morrison as a bounty hunter who may be the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. You have to give the show some immediate credit for its casting alone: Robert Carlyle plays Rumplestiltskin; Raphael Sbarge is Jiminy Cricket. From two Lost producers, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz.
Hmmm … Robert Caryle as Rumplestiltskin? We’re laughing. And we’re intrigued. And then we’re disturbed. Guess that’s what a fairy tale should do. Also the trailer looks great and the creator’s pedigree seems right for this genre.
That’s it for ABC’s fall genre entires. Now onto CBS:
CBS has a couple of genre entries for fall. But they seem a bit more like “Highway to Heaven” than “Heroes”. Meaning: The genre elements are laced with equal parts geek repelant. But maybe we speak too soon. You be the judge:
First up “Unforgettable” a procedural with a difference. Here’s how the network describes it:
UNFORGETTABLE stars Poppy Montgomery as Carrie Wells, an enigmatic former police detective with a rare condition that makes her memory so flawless that every place, every conversation, every moment of joy and every heartbreak is forever embedded in her mind. It’s not just that she doesn’t forget anything – she can’t; except for one thing: the details that would help solve her sister’s long-ago murder. Carrie has tried to put her past behind her, but she’s unexpectedly reunited with her ex-boyfriend and partner, NYPD Detective Al Burns (Dylan Walsh), when she consults on a homicide case. His squad includes Det. Mike Costello (Michael Gaston), Al’s right-hand man; Detective Roe Saunders (Kevin Rankin), the junior member of the team; and Detective Nina Inara (Daya Vaidya), a sassy, street-smart cop. Being back on the job after a break feels surprisingly right for Carrie. Despite her conflicted feelings for Al, she decides to permanently join his unit as a detective solving homicides – most notably, the unsolved murder of her sister. All she needs to do is remember. Ed Redlich, John Bellucci, Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly are executive producers for Sony Television Studios in association with CBS Television Studios.
This is likely to find an audience, as most CBS shows of this type do, but we’re underwhelmed. Even the tossing around of the term “hyperthymesia” in the preview doesn’t get our geek heart going. In fact, because they’re playing up the reality of this condition, you might not even consider it a genre show. But we thought it close enough to include. This will air Tuesday at 10:00.
The other genre show from CBS seems even more “Highway to Heaven”. It’s called “A Gifted Man” and here’s how the mavens at tiffany network hype it:
A GIFTED MAN is a drama about a brilliant, charismatic surgeon whose life changes forever when his deceased ex-wife begins teaching him the meaning of life from the “hereafter.” Michael Holt (Patrick Wilson) is an exceptional doctor who lives a materialistic life of luxury thanks to his work-obsessed career and powerful and wealthy patients; however, Michael’s ordered world is rocked when his ex-wife, Anna (Jennifer Ehle), an idealistic free-clinic doctor and the love of his life, mysteriously appears to him. Michael’s off-beat sister, Christina (Julie Benz), a single mom to her teenaged son, Milo (Liam Aiken), is thrilled that Anna’s back in her brother’s life, even as an “illusion,” because Michael was always a better person with her. Curious about Michael’s sudden change in behavior is his efficient assistant, Rita (Margo Martindale). When Anna asks Michael to go to her clinic to help keep it running, he meets Autumn (Afton Williamson), a volunteer carrying on Anna’s work with the underprivileged. Touched by those in need and accepting of Anna’s compassionate “presence,” Michael’s attitude toward serving the rich and poor is turned upside down, and he begins to see that there’s room in his life for everyone. Academy Award nominee Susannah Grant (“Erin Brockovich”), Academy Award winner Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs”), Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Neal Baer (“ER”) are executive producers for CBS Television Studios.
The presence of Patrick Wilson (Watchmen) in the cast and Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) on the production side has us encouraged. But we can’t thinking this looks like a bit of a snoozefest. We’re all for a good afterlife story. Even a good afterlife love story. Just not sure this is the one for us. This will air Friday at 8:00.
Now onto the CW:
Although genre fans may be turning on the CW this fall to see Sarah Michelle Gellar’s show “Ringer” that isn’t a genre show. More of a crime drama. However, there is one genre showing premeiring on the CW this fall:
Based on a series of books by L.J. Smith (author of “The Vampire Diaries” books) “The Secret Circle” focuses on romance and witchcraft in modern day Salem, Massachusetts. And it’s been developed for television by Kevin Williamson (“Dawson’s Creek”, Scream, “The Vampire Diaries”) Here’s a bit more from the network:
Cassie Blake was a happy, normal teenage girl – until her mother Amelia dies in what appears to be a tragic accidental fire. Orphaned and deeply saddened, Cassie moves in with her warm and loving grandmother Jane in the beautiful small town of Chance Harbor, Washington – the town her mother left so many years before – where the residents seem to know more about Cassie than she does about herself. As Cassie gets to know her high school classmates, including sweet-natured Diana and her handsome boyfriend Adam, brooding loner Nick, mean-girl Faye and her sidekick Melissa, strange and frightening things begin to happen. When her new friends explain that they are all descended from powerful witches, and they’ve been waiting for Cassie to join them and complete a new generation of the Secret Circle, Cassie refuses to believe them – until Adam shows her how to unlock her incredible magical powers. But it’s not until Cassie discovers a message from her mother in an old leather-bound book of spells hidden in her mother’s childhood bedroom, that she understands her true and dangerous destiny. What Cassie and the others don’t yet know is that darker powers are at play, powers that might be linked to the adults in the town, including Diana’s father and Faye’s mother – and that Cassie’s mother’s death might not have been an accident. The series stars Britt Robertson as Cassie Blake, Thomas Dekker as Adam Conant, Gale Harold as Charles Meade, Phoebe Tonkin as Fay Chamberlain, Jessica Parker Kennedy as Melissa, Shelley Hennig as Diana Meade, Louis Hunter as Nick, Ashley Crow as Jane Blake and Natasha Henstridge as Dawn Chamberlain. Based upon the book series by L.J. Smith (author of “The Vampire Diaries” book series), THE SECRET CIRCLE is from Outerbanks Entertainment and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios with executive producers Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Scream,” “Dawson’s Creek”), Andrew Miller (“Imaginary Bitches”), Leslie Morgenstein (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Gossip Girl”) and Gina Girolamo. Elizabeth Craft (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Lie To Me”) & Sarah Fain (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Lie To Me”) were executive producers on the pilot which was directed by Liz Friedlander (“The Vampire Diaries,” “90210”).
Whether this show appeals to you or not will largely depend on how you react to these supernatural teen shows. We did that stuff. Your mileage may vary. The show airs Thursday at 9:00, after “The Vampire Diaries”.
Now onto Fox:
Fox has a genre play this fall with two new series from high profile creators in the category.
Directing god Steven Spielberg has something of a checkered history in TV production. Especially genre shows. But he keeps trying. “Terry Nova” is his latest effort. Here’s how Fox spins the tale:
From executive producers Steven Spielberg (“Saving Private Ryan,” “Jurassic Park”), Peter Chernin, René Echevarria (“Castle,” “The 4400”) and Brannon Braga (“24”) comes an epic family adventure 85 million years in the making. TERRA NOVA follows an ordinary family on an incredible journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a daring experiment to save the human race. In the year 2149, the world is dying. The planet is overdeveloped and overcrowded, with the majority of plant and animal life extinct. The future of mankind is in jeopardy, and its only hope for survival is in the distant past. When scientists at the FERMI Particle Accelerator unexpectedly discovered a fracture in time that made it possible to construct a portal into primeval history, the bold notion was born to resettle humanity in the past – a second chance to rebuild civilization and get it right this time. The series centers on the Shannon family as they join the Tenth Pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first colony established in this beautiful yet foreboding land. JIM SHANNON (Jason O’Mara, “Life on Mars”), a devoted father with a checkered past, guides his family through this new world of limitless beauty, mystery and terror. Jim’s wife, ELISABETH (Shelley Conn, “Mistresses”), is a trauma surgeon and the newest addition to Terra Nova’s medical team. JOSH (Landon Liboiron, “Degrassi: The Next Generation”) is their 17-year-old son who is angry to leave life as he knows it behind; upon arriving at the settlement, he finds himself instantly drawn to the beautiful and rule-breaking SKYE (Allison Miller, “Kings”). MADDY (Naomi Scott, “Life Bites”), Josh’s endearingly awkward 15-year-old sister, hopes Terra Nova will give her a chance to reinvent herself. Although Elisabeth’s medical training secured the family a spot on the pilgrimage, a secret involving their five-year-old daughter, ZOE (newcomer Alana Mansour), soon endangers their place in this utopia. Upon the Shannons’ arrival, they are introduced to COMMANDER NATHANIEL TAYLOR (Stephen Lang, “Avatar”), the charismatic and heroic first pioneer and leader of the settlement. Taylor warns the travelers that while Terra Nova is a place of new opportunities and fresh beginnings, all is not as idyllic as it initially appears. Along with blue skies, towering waterfalls and lush vegetation, the surrounding terrain is teeming with danger – and not just of the man-eating dinosaur variety. There is also a splinter colony of renegades led by the battle-hardened MIRA (Christine Adams, “TRON: Legacy”), who is vehemently opposed to Taylor and his leadership. Even more threatening than what lies outside the protective walls of the colony is the chilling possibility that something sinister is happening inside Terra Nova. The Shannons will come to suspect that not everyone on this mission has the same idea of how to best save mankind; in fact, there may be forces intent on destroying this new world before it even begins.
This show has had geeks chomping at the bit for months. And expect the new trailer just to increase this chomping. Sure, it looks like “Jurassic Planet”. But what’s wrong with that?
This is likely to have an exciting opener. But will it be able to sustain where previous Spielberg efforts haven’t? We think so. We feel the audience has finally caught up with what Spielberg has always tried to do on TV. This has to really suck to keep us from sticking with it all season long. The show will air Modays at 8:00.
J. J. Abrams fired blanks last season with his spy-fi series “Undercovers”, but he’s back this year with a pure genre play. And a show, which it wasn’t from J.J., we’d call a “Lost” rip-off. Here’s how Fox spins it:
From executive producer J.J. Abrams (FRINGE, “Lost,” “Star Trek” and the upcoming “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and “Super 8”) and writer and executive producer Elizabeth Sarnoff (“Lost,” “Deadwood”) comes ALCATRAZ, the chilling new thriller centered on America’s most infamous prison and one-time home to the nation’s most notorious murderers, rapists, kidnappers, thieves and arsonists. When San Francisco Police Department DET. REBECCA MADSEN (Sarah Jones, “Sons Of Anarchy”) is assigned to a grisly homicide case, a fingerprint leads her to a shocking suspect: JACK SYLVANE (guest star Jeffrey Pierce, “The Nine”), a former Alcatraz inmate who died decades ago. Given her family history – both her grandfather and surrogate uncle, RAY ARCHER (Robert Forster, “Jackie Brown”), were guards at the prison – Madsen’s interest is immediately piqued, and once the enigmatic, knows-everything-but-tells-nothing government agent EMERSON HAUSER (Sam Neill, “Jurassic Park”) tries to impede her investigation, she’s doggedly committed. Madsen turns to Alcatraz expert and comic book enthusiast, DR. DIEGO “DOC” SOTO (Jorge Garcia, “Lost”), to piece together the inexplicable sequence of events. The twosome discovers that Sylvane is not only alive, but he’s loose on the streets of San Francisco, leaving bodies in his wake. And strangely, he hasn’t aged a day since he was in Alcatraz, when the prison was ruled by the iron-fisted WARDEN EDWIN JAMES (Jonny Coyne, “Undercovers”) and the merciless ASSOCIATE WARDEN E.B. TILLER (Jason Butler Harner, “The Changeling”). Madsen and Soto reluctantly team with Agent Hauser and his technician, LUCY BANERJEE (Parminder Nagra, “ER”), to stop Sylvane’s vengeful killing spree. By delving into Alcatraz history, government cover-ups and Rebecca’s own heritage, the team will ultimately discover that Sylvane is only a small part of a much larger, more sinister present-day threat. For while he may be the first, it quickly becomes clear that Sylvane won’t be the last prisoner to reappear from Alcatraz. Through the course of the investigation, Madsen and Soto will learn that Agent Hauser has known about the prison’s secret history and has been awaiting the prisoners’ return. Soto will witness his life’s work – the history of Alcatraz – come alive. Madsen will be forced to keep her supportive San Francisco cop fiancé, JIMMY DICKENS (Santiago Cabrera, “Heroes”), at arm’s length from the highly classified assignment as she sees everything she thought she knew about her family’s past shattered, all while fighting to keep the country safe from history’s most dangerous criminals.
We miss “Lost”. So we’re on board for this one. But we hope J.J. offers another adventure that keeps us mesmerized for years. But the premise’s closeness to “Lost” makes us feel this will struggle to find an audience. The show will air Monday nights at 10:00 in midseason. (This is the only midseason show we’re including on the list. But we felt due to the trailer and excitement surrounding this show. We just had to include it!)
Now onto NBC:
NBC alienated genre fans this year by cancelling two of last year’s plays “The Event” and “The Cape”. Not to mention J.J. Abrams’ spy-fi-er “Undercovers”. But they’re back for more punishment this year offering one shows in the category for fall.
Grimm, is another in the updated fairy tale genre, premieres this fall. Here’s how the Network describes it:
Grimm” is a new drama series inspired by the classic Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Remember the fairy tales your parents used to tell you before bedtime? Those weren’t stories — they were warnings. Nick Burkhardt (David Guintoli “Turn The Beat Around”) thought he prepared himself for the realities of working as a homicide detective until he started seeing things he couldn’t quite explain. When his ailing Aunt Marie (guest star Kate Burton, “Grey’s Anatomy”) arrives, Nick’s life turns upside down when she reveals they are descendants of an elite group of hunters, also known as “Grimms,” who fight to keep the balance of humanity safe from the supernatural creatures of the world. As Nick digs deeper into her past, he realizes that he will have to shoulder the responsibility of his ancestors — and contend with a larger-than-life mythology of the Brothers Grimm that is now all too real. Russell Hornsby (“Lincoln Heights”), Bitsie Tulloch (“Quarterlife”), Silas Weir Mitchell (“Prison Break”), Reggie Lee (“Persons Unknown”) and Sasha Roiz (“Caprica”) also star. “Grimm” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Hazy Mills Productions. Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner (“Hot in Cleveland”) serve as executive producers, Jim Kouf (“National Treasure,” “Angel”) and David Greenwalt (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel”) are the creators/executive producers and Marc Buckland (“My Name Is Earl”) is the director.
The show looks and sounds interesting. But why schedule Friday at 9:00 against the similarly themed “Supernatural” on CW and “Fringe” on Fox. NBC needs all the audience it can get. It can’t afford to loser even a handful of viewers to the CW and Fox. NBC just wants to kill this show, we’re afraid.
So there you go. Looks like some winners. Some losers. And some maybes. But it’s nice to see genre fans haven’t been ignored by the networks. And they have more genre fare coming for midseason. And we’ll be hear to tell you all about that.