Monday, 14 June 2010

The Fall Guide

With Lost and 24 now having come to an end and Heroes and FlashForward being unceremoniously axed from schedules, there is a huge gap in the market for a network US show to break through on this side of the pond and really capture the imagination of casual viewers.

There are great shows out there: Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad and Rescue Me to name but three, yet these shows, tragically, haven’t cracked the ‘mainstream’ in the UK like shows from the big networks tend to.

With that in mind, as the networks in the States recently revealed some of the shows that would make up their fall schedules the question is: are there any new shows due to hit screens from the big networks (NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, The CW) that can pick up the mantle of the aforementioned fallen shows?

Here we pick out five shows set to debut later this year in the US that just might be the next big thing:

- The Event - It certainly looks as though NBC have the strongest hand going in to the 2010 fall season and their crown jewel would appear to be conspiracy thriller The Event.

With a plot reading more like a big budget Hollywood thriller, The Event definitely has potential to fill the void Lost left in posing its audience an unparalleled plethora of questions.

The late, great John Ritter’s son Jason Ritter takes the lead as Sean Walker a man whose investigations into his wife’s mysterious disappearance lead him to uncover the biggest conspiracy in American history, which amongst other things involves an assassination plot against the President (played by Blair Underwood).

Also in the cast are the brilliant Zeljko Ivanek and Scott Patterson of Saw fame.

As you can imagine with a show of this nature, plot details remain tightly under wraps, but The Event, if you’ll excuse this dreadful pun, definitely looks set to be the TV event of the autumn.

- The Cape – Another new show that sounds as though it would be more at home on the big screen, The Cape is further proof that TV is continuing to rival film for high concept and production values these days.

The Cape is essentially a superhero tale, but is more Darkman than Superman. Vince Faraday is a cop with a wife and son who is suddenly framed for a series of murders and then left for dead.

As you can probably guess, he doesn’t die and with the help of a mysterious circus ringleader (what is about circuses and superhero TV shows?) he obtains special abilities and decides to try and clear his name and bring down those who wronged him, under the guise of superhero The Cape.

The cast is eclectic with 24 vet James Frain (R.I.P. Paul Raines) playing the main villain, Keith David cropping up as The Cape’s circus based mentor, geek hottie Summer Glau cast as, yep you guessed it, a geek and Vinnie Jones playing a guy called ‘Scales’ who has, again: you guessed it, scales all over his body.

The Cape is definitely shaping up to look like it could be a natural successor to Heroes and originating from the same network, NBC must be hoping that The Cape can equal the critical and financial success of Heroes’ early days. With Vinnie Jones as a lizard man how can this not succeed…?

- No Ordinary Family – Another superhero based show, this time with ABC trying to get in on the act. No Ordinary Family might sound like a live action version of The Incredibles, but I would say the casting definitely points to a darkly comic tone.

The main selling point for me is Michael Chiklis back in a TV leading role after the end of one of my favourite shows of the last decade The Shield came to an end. Chiklis plays the Father in a family who all develop superpowers after their plane crashes in the Amazon.

Dexter’s Julie Benz plays his wife and Tate Donovan and Autumn Reeser, both formerly of The O.C. also have roles as characters outside of the titular family. I’m also pleased to see Romany Malco in the cast as Chiklis’ character’s best friend – I always enjoy his performances and he will no doubt be the light relief.

The idea might be derivative to say the least but a very nice cast makes this one of the more intriguing offerings in the new fall schedule.

- Chase – Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, but don’t let that put you off, Chase is from the pen of former Lost writer Jennifer Johnson.

The show will follow the exploits of a female US marshal and her team as they chase down bad guys. Kelli Giddish, who I’m not too familiar with, takes the lead in this third show from NBC to make the list.

It is her team that I am more intrigued by: with Cole Hauser, who can be slightly wooden but I do like as an actor and Amaury (Sucre off Prison Break) Nolasco forming part of it, along with Desperate Housewives mimbo Jesse Metcalfe.

Chase could either be very, very stupid and not even see out the season (likely) or it could just be good looking and big budget enough to catch on in a Las Vegas kind of way (unlikely, but hopefully).

Either way, you can almost guarantee an explosion an episode.

- Ride Along – If No Ordinary Family has me excited because of Michael Chiklis then Ride Along has me practically ejaculating because it is created by Shawn Ryan – the genius behind The Shield.

Worryingly, Ride Along will air on FOX, which almost guarantees cancellation but hopefully the good faith Ryan must get from The Shield will give Ride Along a fair crack at establishing itself as potentially one of the grittier shows on network television.

Following both cops and politicians in Chicago, Ride Along may suffer from inevitable comparisons to The Wire, but there will never be another Wire or even another Shield for that matter. We can only hope that Ride Along can fill the void there is on TV at the moment for a tough cop show.

Jason Clarke, Jennifer Beals, Delroy Lindo and Billy Lush of The Black Donnellys and Generation Kill are some of the more prominent cast members in the one show on this list I can imagine myself becoming a big fan of.

So there you have five new shows from the Fall schedules Stateside which we will inevitably get at some point in the UK, which if any do you think will make a big splash on this side of the Atlantic?


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