by Matthew Thompson
The new Fall Season is almost upon us, so I thought I’d give a quick rundown of the new shows I will be watching this season. It is hard to say what exactly I will stick with and there is always the chance I will end up watching something I overlooked when compiling this list, but this is the plan for now. The first six I feel pretty solid on and the batch I talk about in the end I will be sampling to see how they are. Also this is just Fall stuff (the rest of 2014). Any midseason/2015 stuff (iZombie, Kimmy Schmidt, etc.) I will talk about at a later date. Here it goes.
Red Band Society (Sept. 17th, FOX)
Red Band Society’s pilot is definitely my favorite of the handful I have watched so far this season. The Breakfast Club comparisons I made when I saw the trailer seem apt even if the cast of characters feels younger. I like that it feels like a different take on the hospital drama by focusing more on the children living there than the doctors. It shows a good mix of dark humor and drama while feeling very sincere. It all helps it feel like a unique show in the TV landscape, but the biggest reason I’m excited to see this is that I enjoyed watching the first episode so much. It’s a wonderful pilot.
Gotham (Sept. 22nd, FOX)
More than anything I love the talent involved here. The leads are great. I’ve liked Ben McKenzie’s work since his OC days but he really showed some acting chops in TV’s most underrated drama of recent years, Southland. And Donal Logue is good in just about anything I’ve seen him in over the years. I also have faith in showrunner Bruno Heller after watching his excellent series Rome earlier this year. The premise also holds potential as well, exploring the city of Gotham, the life of a young detective Gordon and the origins of some of the Batman series most famous characters. I do still have reservations about several young actors playing such important roles (Bruce Wayne, Selina Kyle and a young Poison Ivy) and that it feels like they might be going overboard trying to shoehorn so many of the prominent characters in the story so early. But I am hoping those end up being no big deal and we have a winner on our hands.
A to Z (Oct. 2nd, NBC)
This was another great pilot I was able to watch early (and you can too here). It feels like a classic romcom movie in TV form. Mainly it is a fun episode of television, but it is boosted by two really charming leads whose chemistry comes through right away, a clever framing device to give it an interesting hook, and some quality narration. I definitely got vibes of How I Met Your Mother (you know… before I hated it) and 500 Days of Summer, neither of which are bad things. My only complaint is Andrew’s friend who reminded me of a Bruce-from-Mixology-lite. For those lucky enough to have not suffered through any of Mixology, that isn’t a good person to be compared to. Otherwise this was a great start.
The Flash (Oct. 7th, The CW)
Despite Laurel’s best efforts to bring it down, Arrow is a very good show and I’m hoping the same holds true for The CW’s upcoming superhero drama, The Flash. I wasn’t too enamored with the lead character based on his appearances in Arrow, but hopefully he will grow on me. I do like that it seems this show will have a bigger focus on super powers as opposed to Arrow’s more Batman-esque heroes and villains. That will give it a decidedly different feel than Arrow and make it a nice companion to it I think.
Marry Me (Oct. 14th, NBC)
You couldn’t ask for much better leads in a comedy than Ken Marino and Casey Wilson and the supporting cast in Marry Me isn’t so bad either. While this is by no means a high-concept comedy, David Caspe did amazing things with Happy Endings whose premise was also pretty basic and I’m hoping he can do similar things here. And the trailer was pretty funny which is a plus.
Marco Polo (Dec. 12th, Netflix)
Not a lot to go on here so far, but it seems like my kind of show. I like my historical dramas to be of a much older variety and this fits the bill. Ancient explorers is another subject I can get into. And as silly as it sounds, my love of Uncharted 2 makes me interested in seeing a show about Marco Polo’s time in Kublai Khan’s court. Again, not a lot to go on, but I am intrigued and the first photos look great. Hoping this can be another successful drama for Netflix.
Here are some other new shows I’ll sample:
Constantine: I tend to like genre shows of this ilk, but find myself unenthused about this one for whatever reason. I will give the pilot a try though. Apparently Neil Marshall directed the first episode which doesn’t hurt.
Selfie: I didn’t hate the pilot like most people seemed to. And I feel like it will never be as obnoxious as the first half of that episode was, so things should improve. Jon Cho is always a solid performer and I have a soft spot for Emily Kapnek because of Suburgatory, so I will see how this develops.
Mulaney: Mulaney is a funny guy, but not so funny that it changes my initial impression of this show’s trailer which looked really bad. I’ll check it out, but if it does not impress, I am out.
The Affair: This just doesn’t seem like my kind of show, but the trailer intrigued me for some unknown reason and the cast is great. Maybe it will surprise me. Worth a shot.
Benched: I LOVE Eliza Coupe from her work in Scrubs and Happy Endings, so I’ll give this a try, but my expectations aren’t too high.
That will do it for now. I’m hoping to do some mini-reviews of pilots at some point this Fall once we have a good sampling to let you know what is worth a watch. I’ll also be talking about the returning shows I’m most looking forward to this Fall next week some time. Feel free to let me know new shows you’ll be tuning into this Fall in the comments below or on Twitter. Thanks for reading!