2013 Fall TV Preview: the New Shows On Cable & Premium Channels
August 31st, 2013 10:00am EDT
Cable and premium channels are light on new shows and heavy on returning shows. An overwhelming amount of content exists across cable and premimum. Overwhelming's not even the right word to use to describe the the amount of shows available to watch. There can be too much of a good thing. I won't remember these shows below premiering because of all the other shows premiering at the same time.
Created By Howard Overman, Johnny Capps & Julian Murphy
Premiere Date: Saturday, November 23 at 10PM
Premise: (from BBC America's press release, July 2013) The new 13-part fantasy drama series, created by Howard Overman (Misfits), Julian Murphy (Merlin) and Johnny Capps (Merlin), is set in a time of legendry heroes and mythical creatures. A mysterious place; a world of bull leaping, of snake haired Goddesses and of palaces so vast it was said they were built by giants - this is the lost city of Atlantis.
Thoughts: Misfits is beloved by people from many continents, and Merlin had a never-ending run, so Atlantis seems to be in good hands. Capps said at the TCAs that the series would mix comedy and drama, which is what most genre shows mix, it'd be mix different parts of Greek mythology. Atlantis is premiering five days before Thanksgiving. Every show you watch won't air new episodes until early December. If I remember, I'll give Atlantis a shot. BBC America's a reliably entertaining channel. Orphan Black was great fun.
WANDER OVER YONDER
Created By Craig McCracken
Premiere Date: Friday, September 13 at 9PM
Premise: (from Disney Channel's press release, July 2013) The new comedy follows best friends, eternally-optimistic intergalactic traveler and constant do-gooder Wander and his quick-tempered but loyal steed Sylvia. Together, they travel through the cosmos happening upon one freewheeling adventure after another, making new friends (and foes) all while battling numerous forces of evil, including the infamous Lord Hater and his army of Watchdogs.
Thoughts: My sister was over on Saturday. I happened to put on Gravity Falls during the half of Aston Villa/Liverpool. My sister and I grew up with Doug, Hey Arnold, Angry Beavers, Ahh Real Monsters, Rugrats, etc. We watched The Simpsons and South Park when we were allowed. My sister's reaction to Gravity Falls were telling. Animated series aren't the same in the present. Gravity Falls appeals to me because of its insane sense of fun and sense of humor. Its creator is about my age, and it's like the kind of animated show I'd make if given the opportunity. Wander Over Yonder is another animated series that subverts and surprises. Lauren Faust told GamerLiveTV at the 2012 Comic Con that the series is more about love versus hate than good versus evil. I'm into the new crop of animated series such as Phineas and Ferb, Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, The Regular Show, etc. I'm inclined to watch Wander Over Yonder weekly.
LIV & MADDIE
Created By John Beck & Ron Hart
Premiere Date: Sunday, September 15 at 8PM
Premise: (from Disney Channel's press release, July 2013) Disney Channel's "Liv and Maddie," a new comedy series starring Dove Cameron in the dual role of 15-year-old identical twin sisters Liv, a Hollywood star who has just returned home to Wisconsin and Maddie, a hometown basketball star, as they navigate high school life, mischievous brothers and each other's differences.
Thoughts: Dove Cameron's Tatiana Masleny-lite playing dual 15 year old identical twin sisters. I like how Liv & Maddie differentiates the attractive sister from the less attractive sister through pony tails and glasses. It reminds me of the late 90s. I just hope Dove keeps it together when she turns 18 in 3 years. She's probably going to cause chaos in five years at the VMAs. The youngest brother character has potential to stand-out. He made a Vegas joke I didn't understand after a refrigerator rolled down a flight of stairs. In fact, the entire scene came out of nowhere and concluded bizarrely. I don't think I'll watch the show, though.
Created By Gene Stupnitsky & Stephen Merchant
Premiere Date: Sunday, September 29 at 10:30PM
Premise: (from HBO's press release, July 2013) HELLO LADIES: Stephen Merchant stars as a gawky, 6' 7" Englishman searching for the woman of his dreams in Los Angeles. Half as charming - and twice as desperate - as he thinks he is, he's obsessed with infiltrating the glamorous world of beautiful people, who won't let him in.
Thoughts: Last year a call popped up on caller ID from a Los Angeles number with the name 'S Merchant' so I convinced myself for 30 seconds that Stephen Merchant read my reviews and my one available short story and decided he needed to hire me. Anyway, Stephen Merchant's Hello Ladies got me laughing twice in less than a minute, doubling Trophy Wife's laugh quotient. I relate to the subject matter. I'm likely to watch, laugh, commiserate, and then try out what I've seen since life reflects TV (no, it doesn't, but I thought that in high school. Specifically, I thought life worked like Dawson's Creek. What a mistake.) Stephen Merchant's a brilliant writer and actor. His Extras character is among my favorite characters in fiction.
THE BIRTHDAY BOYS
Executive Produced By Ben Stiller and Bob Odenkirk
Premiere Date: Tuesday, September 25 at 10PM
Premise: (from IFC's press release, August 2013) IFC's new original sketch comedy series The Birthday Boys, which showcases the silly-meets-smart humor from the popular comedy troupe of the same name.
Thoughts: Ben Stiller and Bob Odenkirk are among several executive producers. I don't watch much sketch comedy shows. IFC's niche. The executives don't try to appeal to large audiences. They bring in already popular people, give them shows, and that audience will follow. Dan Harmon brought me to Maron, though.
WITCHES OF EAST END
Created By Maggie Friedman
Premiere Date: Sunday, October 6 at 10pm
Premise: (from Lifetime's press release, July 2013) Inspired by Melissa de la Cruz's New York Times best-selling novel, Witches of East End centers on the mysterious Beauchamp family: free-spirited artist Joanna (Ormond) and her two grown daughters, wild-child bartender Freya (Dewan Tatum) and shy librarian Ingrid (Boston), both of whom are unaware that they are gifted (and cursed) with a magical birthright. Freya is recently engaged to the man of her dreams, wealthy playboy Dash Gardiner (Winter), but when she finds herself inexplicably drawn to Dash's troubled, enigmatic brother Killian (DiTomasso), bizarre occurrences begin to manifest in her life. Meanwhile, Joanna's long-estranged sister Wendy (Amick) shows up with a warning that could change the Beauchamps' fate forever, forcing Joanna to reveal to her daughters they are, indeed, immortal witches who possess great untapped powers. With their idyllic small town life now turned upside down, and a formidable and ancient enemy intent on ending the Beauchamp family line, will Freya and Ingrid be able to accept their true potential before it is too late?
Thoughts: I think it's a bad sign when it takes a paragraph to tell a potential viewer what the show is. I accidentally watched the trailer for the book. Witches of East End is perfect for Lifetime. All its missing is sexually active teenagers contracting STDs.
Created By Ricky Gervais
Premiere Date: Thursday, September 12 at Midnight
Premise: (from Netflix's press release, May 2012) A bittersweet comedy-drama about a group of outsiders living on society's margins, "Derek" centers around Derek Noakes (Gervais), a tender, innocent man whose love for his job at a retirement home shines through. Derek cares deeply for the home's residents, because they are kind and funny and tell him stories of what life used to be like. Working alongside Derek is Dougie (Pilkington) , his landlord who is one of life's unlucky individuals; Kev (Earl) , a loveable train wreck; and Hannah (Godliman), a care worker in the home and Derek's best friend. She is smart, witty and hard-working, but unlucky in love, and, like Derek, always puts other people first.
Thoughts: A better term should be coined for watching many episodes in a row without a break. Binge-watching is annoying to hear and to read. How about we state that we watched show x and enjoyed it? Why does it matter how fast one got through a series? Derek's another Netflix series created by a big name talent. Ricky Gervais' newest series will be available at midnight. I didn't get a good sense of the series from the trailer. It's like a different aspect of Gervais' persona. I'll get crap for this, but Gervais' look reminded me of Adam Sandler's Little Nicky. Just the look.
LAST TANGO IN HALIFAX
Created By Sally Wainwright
Premiere Date: Sunday, September 8 at 8PM
Premise: (from PBS's press release, July 2013) LAST TANGO is an uplifting comedy/drama about romance and second chances. Full of zesty humor, authentic characters and glorious dialogue, it's about timeless love in a very modern setting.
Thoughts: The biggest surprise about Last Tango is its modern setting. I didn't think PBS bought anything from the BBC that didn't tell a World War II story. There are avenues to watch the series without relying on PBS. A 31 second preview depicted a series similar to some of Woody Allen's films.
Premieres in October
Premise: (from PBS's press release, May 2013) This adaptation of Emile Zola's beloved French novel is a rags-to-riches story of a young woman seduced by the dangerous charms of the modern world set against the Victorian splendor of a British department store.
Thoughts: When will The Hollow Crown run on PBS? Can anyone tell me? Oh, it premieres September 20. The adaptation seems like it could've been a 19th century novel. Oh, it was.
THE HOLLOW CROWN
Premieres Friday, September 20 at 9PM
Thoughts: The Hollow Crown series looks badass. I love Shakespeare's plays. I wrote my best college essays about Shakespeare. I compare reality TV shows to Shakespeare. I'm about to read every Shakespeare history play because I've only read Henry IV, part 1. I've been excited about The Hollow Crown for over a year. Seeing Henry IV dramatized will be special, especially with Tom Hiddlestone as young Hal, the future king of England. I watched a Shakespeare Uncovered on Richard II which completely opened up the text for me. Gillian Jacobs, from Community, panned it, but her panning of it got me even more interested in it. She described it as basically early existentialist. Watch this!
MOTHERS OF SEX
Created By Michelle Ashford
Premiere Date: Sunday, September 29 at 10PM
Premise: (from Showtime's press release, August 2013) MASTERS OF SEX stars Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, who will portray the real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality, William Masters and Virginia Johnson. The series chronicles the unusual lives, romance and pop-culture trajectory of Masters and Johnson. Their research touched off the sexual revolution and took them from a mid-western teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of Time magazine.
Thoughts: Good ol' sexual intercourse.
TOMORROW: I preview the new shows on The CW and CBS.
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Photo Credits: BBC, PBS, Lifetime