Fall TV Preview

Autumn is rapidly approaching here in the Northern Hemisphere, which means my favourite season is almost upon me. It’s not just the relief from the relentless heat and humidity that I’m looking forward to, but the release of new television with which to entertain me during long, dark nights in the cold. I’m nearly giddy with delight about some of the shows slated to take over the screen this fall, including some that look to be very, very good…and some that look to be very, very bad (Back in the Game, ABC; Believe NBC, and so many more—seriously, how many brooding detectives can fit in a primetime block?!).

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fox.

I’m normally not that into cop shows, but I think I might be into this one. Brooklyn Nine-Nine looks like another attempt at The Unusuals, ABC’s sadly short-lived, but amazing comedy show that brought together a cast of odd characters in a quirky and totally bizarre New York police precinct. There are a lot of deeper social issues to explore when it comes to the glorification of law enforcement inherent in the proliferation of police dramas and comedies, of course, and shows depicting the police as cute and adorable tend to skim over larger problems with police brutality and abuse in the US. That said…Brooklyn Nine-Nine looks to be pretty entertaining.

Dracula, NBC

I am a sucker for vampire drama (haha), and while I suspect this show won’t have much staying power (remember Moonlight?), it could be amusing while it lasts. The cast, including Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Gareth Neame, looks like it could be a dynamite lineup with some serious chemistry. Whether that will result in a show that actually gets ratings remains to be seen; we shall see if I can make it through the pilot. We’ve been warned that the vampire trend may be ‘over’ and this could be the last nail in the…coffin.

The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., ABC

I’m beginning to think that I’ve given Joss Whedon too many chances after the clusterfuck that was Dollhouse, but I’m willing to give him yet another shot because when he’s on, he’s on. Previews suggest we’re going to back to the snappy dialogue and sharp storytelling that’s Whedon at his finest, and perhaps he’s about to start redeeming himself with a series that’s actually good. He’s certainly got a knack for playing with super heroes, so there’s hope in the old dog yet.

Masters of Sex, Showtime

Obviously I have to be in love with this vintage drama, which chronicles the adventures of pioneering sex researchers Masters and Johnson. After the wild popularity of Mad Men, audiences are clamouring for more from this era, and this seems like a natural fit for Showtime: an attempt to capitalise on the cries for more Mad Men, and an opportunity to air soft porn and call it drama. I’ll definitely be tuning in; not least because I find the work of Masters and Johnson fascinating. Sadly, Virginia Johnson didn’t live to see herself immortalised on the small screen…on second thought, maybe that’s a good thing.

Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, ABC

This Once Upon A Time spinoff looks absolutely amazing visually, and if the plotting is as labyrinthine and intriguing as the original Once, it’s going to be outstanding. I’ve always loved Alice in Wonderland, with its trippy, utterly peculiar narrative filled with mysterious beings, and it should make for a great TV adaptation in the hands of smart, innovative creators. Carroll’s utterly bizarre work is basically custom-made for a creepy, stirring, confusing television series, so if they foul it up, I’m going to be most unimpressed.

Reign, The CW

Do I love historical drama? Yes. Do I love Mary, Queen of Scots? Yes. Does that mean I’m excited about Reign? Oh yes. I think it will be like The Tudors, although perhaps even more delightfully trashy and historically inaccurate. I will definitely be riveted to the screen while I watch actors stiffly stalk their way through awkward lines in bad ‘historic’ accents and inappropriate costumes. You might not be so into it, but that’s okay; all the more popcorn for me.

Sleepy Hollow, Fox

Speaking of historical drama, we have yet another adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow for our delectation this fall, and I for one am excited. There will be froofy costumes, there will be desperate chases through the woods, there will be frantic horses, and I will so be there. There’s something about this legend of good and evil that seems to really be compelling people these days; have we moved on from the vampire fad to a headless horseman one?

US television looks like it might be going bolder, darker, and just a tad more experimental this fall, once you’ve picked through all the sappy family dramas and bad cop shows. Let’s do hope that at least some of these shows live up to their promise.