Entertainment news and musings from a pop culture geek

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The 10 New Shows to Check For In the 2011-2012 TV Season

You're already hyped for your favorite show to return, but it may also be time to inject a little new blood into the DVR/Hulu queue/torrent tracker. Here are the ten most promising shows of the new TV season:

10. Ringer (CW) - Is there a reason CBS passed on this pilot? Or do they just not know a good show when it comes on their desk? Seeing as how infamous bad-show bait network the CW picked it up one might think it was the former, but if you've read: this then you know the Connoisseuraus isn't oblivious to the fact that the CW actually has one or two real gems. This could be another. Either way the lead is former star of one of the Top 20 Shows of All-Time, so I was always in.
Premise: Sarah Michelle Gellar, of vampire slaying and C-list horror movie fame, plays twins, one with a shitty life who is in danger of getting whacked after wet snitching some mobster tpyes. Naturally, the other sister is filthy rich, and when she disappears, Sister 1 takes over her life because conveniently Sister 2 kept her embarrassment twin a secret from everyone in her life. And of course, Sister 2 has her own secrets and danger...
Sounds Good But: That's a lot of suspension of disbelief. And how many seasons is this expected to last, exactly? Cause right now it sounds like...half of one.
Premieres: Sept 13

9. Charlie's Angels (ABC) - I love TV remakes, even though they end up not loving me (when was the last good one?). I love to turn my mind off and watch these movies whenever they're always on HBO. I love plots that involve hot women kicking ass. I love Minka Kelly.
Premise: I don't really have to write that out, do I?
Sounds Good But: Like I said, TV remakes never do well, recently spy shows have been just as shitty. Plus, Fake Vincent Chase Ramon Rodriguez as Bosley? I fucking hate that guy! Minka and the other two weren't sexy enough, they had to make Bosley young and attractive for...what? Female viewers?! Pfft, strike #1.
Premieres: Sept 22, 35th anniversary of the original

8. Person of Interest (CBS) - It stars Benjamin Linus Michael Emerson. It's a J.J. Abrams vehicle. The creative team also boasts one Jonathan Nolan...yea, that's the guy with the famous director brother, who co-scripted that movie called The Dark Knight. I was always in.
Premise: A billionaire develops a software that can predict crimes or victims, and hires an ex-CIA guy with a shady past to help him prevent crime in the Rotten Apple. Said guy played by Jim Caviziel, whom you might remember played Jesus a few years back. So it's like Charlie's Angels, but without anyone attractive. (Taraji P. Henson's name is attached, but as you can see she's absent from the footage so far.)
Sounds Good But: Is this going to feel more J.J-ey or more CBS-ey? I'm worried about the latter, seeing as how I've not-hated only one, maybe two shows on that network in all my years. It could just be a generic CBS-brand procedural with a J.J.-Nolan spin that barely registers. And the plot could be unbearably hokey as well: predicting crimes but it's not sci-fi? And he keeps this to himself why? Because he watched Minority Report?
Premieres: Sept 22

7. Life's Too Short (HBO) - Name a movie that requires some kind of dwarf, elf, goblin or simply a midget and you can bet the awesome Warwick Davis stepped in to play it (he played not one but two major roles in the Harry Potter franchise). With that hustle on lock (I guess Verne Troyer is content with that Mini-Me money) he's now looking to play a fictionalized version of himself on cable and he went to Ricky Gervais, someone that knows a thing or two about Hollywood satire. So basically, Curb with dwarfism instead of baldness? Sounds great.

Premise: Hollywood behind-the-scenes drama from the perspective of showbiz dwarfism. TV Warwick will have bills on bills on bills thanks to a nasty divorce, and no morality in his movements as he tries to get back in the Hollywood winner's circle.
Sounds Good But: I guess there's always the chance that it comes off like a bland, uninteresing inside joke like many shows of this genre can at times, but really there's too little information to call it yet. Plus, it's HBO, which after Game of Thrones has officially reached the give-anything-they-air-a-chance level. I will say that if you're the rare, unfortunate HBO viewer that's miffed by all the Curb hype, you probably won't like this either.
Premieres: 2012

6. Hell on Wheeles (AMC) - The AMC Law of Averages. One show I stayed away from because I could smell the imminent cancellation, even though it got good reviews and had a little cult following [Rubicon]. One show started strong, ended horribly, with a creator that sounds like a delusional, arrogant asshole, which they went on to...renew [The Killing]? And two contenders for Top 10 or 20 Best TV Shows of all-time in Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Either way, if you're a TV connoisseur, you have to at least watch the pilot. Or...stay away if you smell imminent cancellation.

Premise: At the beginning of the Reconstruction era, an ex-Confederate tracks the Union soldiers who murdered his wife to a railroad construction town. For added flavor there's a plot line involving Cheyenne tribes out to derail the construction.
Sounds Good But: There are like, thirty-seven Western-ish shows in development right now. Will this one be the standout or AMC's second loss? But a series where the Confederate's the protagonist and Union boys are the bad guys? Whoa.
Premieres: Nov 6

5. The River (ABC) - It's actually surprising it took recent horror movie favorite Oren Peli, of Paranormal Activity fame this long to look to TV for his next windfall. Hopefully this is not as low-key as his film franchise; the movies are cool (2 took way too long to get going) but the jungle is the place for scares wilder than spooky bumps and ouija boards.

Premise: The host of a wildlife TV show goes missing in the Amazon; six months later his wife and son get a mysterious beacon that implies he may be alive, prompting them to assemble a documentary crew and embark on a rescue mission. (Why they're interested in exploiting dude's rescue for television is anyone's guess.)
Sounds Good But: The reason why there hasn't been any good horor shows for awhile? Most of 'em suck. Also, I really hope this is not shot like the Paranormal movies, that's tiring for a series.
Premieres: Mid-season

4. American Horror Story (FX) - Not much is known about this show except that Ryan Murhpy is behind it. Ryan Murphy, in case you didn't know, is the TV auteur behind Nip/Tuck and Glee, two shows that I couldn't possibly care any less for. But the title is awesome and it's on my favorite network, and as aforementioned horror is an untapped well on TV these days.
Premise: So there's a creepy house, and a couple moves into it, and um, scary shit happens. Hey at least the title wasn't a play-on-words for a satire about like, the mundane-ness of suburbia or something. That would've sucked.
Sounds Good But: As I said, he created Nip/Tuck and Glee, two shows that are too much for me, for different reasons.
Premieres: Oct 5

3. Terra Nova (FOX) - You know that big-budget summer blockbuster, that has a lot of cool big names attached, promises eye-popping special effects and spectacle, yet for some reason doesn't meet the sum of its parts and ends up as one big multi-million dollar joyless shit show? Yea, that's what this could end up being.

Premise: In the year 2149 overpopulation and diminishing air quality is signaling the end of days for planet Earth, so scientists develop a time travel device to take settlers back to prehistoric times to save the human race. I can name at least ten different reasons why that's a bad idea but, OK sure. So it's like any other drama (the lead is a cop), just with dinosaurs in the background.
Sounds Good But: In addition to what I said above, the behind-the-scenes goings on of this show are rife with delays, budget problems, and a whole lotta script doctoring. Three bad signs.
Premieres: Sept 26 

2. Alcatraz (FOX) - Everybody fucks up, even someone with a pedigree like J.J. Abrams. So yea, Undercovers was so boring and bland that it's failure isn't even worthy of the word fiasco. So what? The best super-producers just dust it off, and come back next year bigger and better. While Person of Interest reeks of stale CBS product sprayed with J.J. scented cologne to cover it up, this right here seems like the grade-A Bad Robot product we've come to know, love, and expect. 

Premise: Fifty years ago, 302 wardens and prisoners on Alcatraz island mysteriously disappeared. Now they are randomly reappearing, with villainous intentions and it's up to a detective, and a geek  expert on all things Alcatraz to find out why. 
Sounds Good But: Mythology is unpredictable. After three great years Alias cracked under the weight of it, meanwhile in it's third year Fringe rose to the occasion and blossomed because of it. Obviously there has to be a grand plan behind the disappearance and sudden reappearance's, but I want this show to keep the plots fun and exciting in the early goings, while building to it slowly but very surely like Alias did. But what do I know, I haven't even seen the thing yet. I'm just glad to have J.J. (and Hugo!) back. Bonus points for giving the lead role to Sarah Jones, of Sons of Anarchy fame (Zobelle's daughter). She's way too hot to not be working.
Premieres: Mid-season

1. Awake (NBC) - Can someone tell me why the most exciting, interesting shows are not premiering until mid-season?! Simply put, this looks amazing and if the pilot lives up to the trailer it will be one of the most innovative shows network TV has given us in a long while. There really isn't much more I can say, just click Play. Trust, it's worth the four minute running time.

Premise: Bear with me: a detective wakes up from a car crash involving his family to find that his wife has died. However, when he goes to sleep he wakes up in a reality where his son died instead of his wife. He continues to move between both realities, visiting a different therapist in each world that tells him the other is a fake product of the trauma. Meanwhile the cases he investigates in one world begin to affect the cases in the other. Trippy stuff.
Sounds Good But: We've all seen fantastic trailers that ended up being better than the actual product. Not to mention this story doesn't easily give way to the long-form execution that TV demands. And finally, creator Kyle Killen had an exciting, bold concept show just last year...and it ended up tanking embarrassingly the first week and becoming the season's first casualty by episode two. Maybe he should've gone cable this time?
Premieres: Mid-season

Which show are you interested in the most? Any I missed? And please remember, writing in long form is quite hard. Only the amateur TV watcher judges a show on one episode alone. If anything in the pilot grabs you, then weeks 2 and 3 are must-watches before your final decision.

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