Fall TV: Top Ten New Shows
by IMDb-Editors created 04 Sep 2012 | last updated - 13 Jun 2013
Wondering which new series to watch? Take a look at our list of ten new series worth checking out. Some are keepers. And others?....Well, at least you can say you gave them a try.
“ "Last Resort"
The plot: When the crew of the U.S.S. Colorado refuses to fire a nuclear missile at a foreign country without receiving proper authorization, Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) and XO Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman) are suddenly declared enemies of state after being hit by a missile fired by a fellow American vessel.
Out of options, the Colorado's crew takes refuge on an island that holds promise of a fresh start, as well as an assortment of new dangers.
Why we're excited:This taut action thriller's opening salvo asks us to consider how far a person would (and should) go to serve the ideals of his country as opposed to obeying those who are purportedly in charge of it.
Of course, that's skipping a bit ahead on the list of why it's one of the best -- some might strongly argue it's the best --new entries for 2012-2013. The premise alone is bound to reel in viewers still mourning the loss of "Lost" and "24", although "Last Resort" draws influence from Tom Clancy's oeuvre as well. A government conspiracy drives the story, one that literally blindsides the Colorado in open water. The island where the injured submarine lands is far from being a paradise, but the crew's greatest threat on land is a dangerous strongman, as opposed to a smoke monster.
More than anything, "Last Resort" is just great fun to watch. The action sequences grip you, which is not surprising given executive producer Shawn Ryan's expert usage of tension in his writing. Ryan and co-creator Karl Gajdusek pepper in just enough of those edgy, grab-the-couch-cushion moments without overpowering the nascent character development unfurling in the show's opening hour.
But the performances are what close the sale here, with a cast headed by the always-excellent Andre Braugher as the "rogue" submarine's captain, and Scott Speedman, who believably conveys a sense of concern and confusion as XO Sam Kendal. Sam first battle is internal, as he wrestles with whether to remain loyal to his commanding officer, mentor and friend, especially if that means sacrificing the life -- and love -- he has waiting for him at home, in order to serve a greater purpose.
We can't wait to see more.
Series Premiere: 8pm Thursday, Sept. 27, on ABC. ”
The plot: Billionaire playboy Oliver Queen was missing and presumed dead for five years, before being discovered alive on a remote island in the Pacific. When he returns home to Starling City, his family and closest friends are overjoyed, but they sense Oliver has changed. As Oliver reconnects with those closest to him, and tries to make amends with his former girlfriend, Laurel Lance, he introduces Starling City to a vigilante known as Arrow.
Why we're excited: Comic book heroes enjoyed a very successful summer at the box office, but in primetime television nothing has filled the gap left behind when "Smallville" went off the air.
Enter "Arrow", which gives us a hero whose canon is largely unknown to the average pop culture addict (giving the writers plenty of wiggle room to create a mythology unique to the series), and that bears more than a passing similarity to a certain well-known caped crusader. Add Stephen Amell, a likeable actor who trained in parkour and archery to realistically sell the action sequences -- which he really does, to jaw-dropping effect. The result? One of the most surprising new shows this fall.
When his character is not brutalizing evildoers, Amell also proves he's more than just a pretty face by believably making the transition between dark, brooding avenger and self-centered pretty playboy. Mind you, he may not display the range of Christian Bale in this first hour, but he's far better than Tom Welling was in season one of his series.
Lastly, while we believe that "Arrow" has the potential to please the fanboy and fangirls of the universe, we would not be surprise if other tune in simply to enjoy the heaping servings of eye-candy. If you don't believe us, may we suggest that you check out the official series poster. Or watch the "Arrow - Extended Look" video available currently available on this site -- and, specifically, the magic on display at the 1:21 mark. Bullseye.
Series Premiere: 8pm Wednesday, Oct. 10, on The CW. ”
“ "The Mindy Project"
The plot: All Mindy Lahiri ever wanted was for life to mirror the rosy glow portrayed in the many romantic comedies she grew up watching. But as an adult, the single and emotionally frantic OB/GYN finds herself re-evaluating the actions and choices that lead her to drunkenly steer a bicycle into a swimming pool. But she has resolved to become a better person and create her own happy ending, one worthy of her favorite love stories.
Why we're excited: There are so many reasons that we fell in love with this comedy, but at the center of it all is Mindy Kaling herself. Kaling already demonstrated her comedy skills as part of the ensemble of actors and writers on "The Office". Here, we're treated to her unfiltered voice -- and not surprisingly, Kaling's comedic style is intelligent, occasionally brutal and absolutely hilarious.
"The Mindy Project" feels like the perfect accompaniment to "New Girl", the anchor of Fox's Tuesday night comedy line-up. But one thing that Kaling's Fox comedy can never be called is "adorkable". Thank goodness for that. The fictional Mindy is a handful, but she's not fluffy; she doesn't need saving or nurturing, and there's a fair chance that at her most sexually ravenous, she would probably scare the most predatory TV bachelor into a long period of celibacy.
As anyone who recalls the incredibly pointed initial reception that "Girls" endured, female characters who don't have their lives together, who aren't polished or politically correct, who are unabashedly searching for love and making terrible decisions in the process -- female characters like Mindy Lahiri -- make some viewers uncomfortable.
But that is the point: Mindy Lahiri represents, to a cartoonish degree, the perils of buying into the unrealistic expectations that rom-coms sell to the lovelorn. Mindy is a mess. But she refuses to give up the quest to find her own happy ending. Well, for the most part. "Maybe I won't get married. Maybe I'll do one of those 'Eat, Pray, Love' things," she muses for a moment, before concluding, "Ugh. Nah, I don't wanna pray. Forget it. I'll just die alone."
Here's hoping you'll tune in and ensure that Kaling's comedy does not suffer that fate.
Series Premiere: 9:30pm Tuesday, Sept. 25, on Fox. ”
The plot: Country music legend Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) realizes that her star is quickly fading as she sees a new generation of talent climbing the charts. And Rayne's most significant threat is Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), a calculating sex kitten who is long on image but, as Rayna observes, doesn't have the vocal skills to make it as her back-up singer. As Juliette claws her way to the top, the label she shares with Rayna gives the older singer a tough ultimatum... and Rayna must choose to accept their offer or reinvent her career on her own terms.
Why we're excited: Where to begin? Britton's performance is astounding, Panettiere is perfectly cast as an evil caricature of Taylor Swift, and the sparks they throw off when they're together are just short of rivaling a holiday firework display.
The above plot description is just the appetizer, by the way. Series executive producer and creator Callie Khouri also works in a subplot that promises a collision between the music industry and Nashville's political machine, driven by tensions between Rayna and her powerful, control-hungry father (Powers Boothe) whose plans seem guaranteed to stretch his daughter's marriage to the breaking point. In the midst of all of this, Rayna finds a sparkle of hope in the form of an undiscovered singer-songwriter who might be the key to her career's renaissance.
Yes, beneath these wonderful performances and juicy stories hums the engine of a good old fashioned primetime soap. Finish it off with music by T Bone Burnett, and don't be surprised if you find yourself getting upset with ABC for making you wait a week for the next new episode.
Series Premiere: 10pm Wednesday, Oct. 10, on ABC. ”
The plot: The latest version of literature's most celebrated detective gives us a Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) that is tattooed, slightly punk-rock and fresh out of a stint in rehab, and a female Dr. Watson -- first name Joan (Lucy Liu) -- who initially signs on as his sober companion before becoming Holmes's partner in crime-solving and his confidante.
Why we're excited: Be aware that this Sherlock Holmes is probably not going to please purists, and contrasting Jonny Lee Miller's version of the detective with the much-loved portrayal by Benedict Cumberbatch is, frankly, a waste of time. But if you can accept off the top that "Elementary" is not "Sherlock", isn't trying to be "Sherlock" and, indeed, is more concerned with fitting in with CBS's crimetime line-up than it is with adhering to canon, you're likely to find the pilot quite enjoyable.
Miller injects a bit of dirty sex appeal into his version of Holmes -- a necessary update, considering that the show is taking over the timeslot previously occupied by the seductive Patrick Jane of "The Mentalist" (which has moved to Sundays). And while we can't say that Liu's performance in the pilot displayed the full range of her talent, we are curious to see what the writers have in store for Watson in coming episodes.
Series Premiere: 10pm Thursday, Sept. 27, on CBS. ”
“ "Ben and Kate"
The plot: Kate Fox (Dakota Johnson) is a highly responsible single mother with no life, and the complete opposite of her immature older brother Ben (Nat Faxon). But when Ben surprises Kate with a visit, he realizes that this time his sister needs his help with injecting more fun into her life.
Why we're excited: Each of Fox's new comedies (the other being "The Mindy Project") proved slightly polarizing to critics who got an early look at them, which is not surprising -- they're appealing on very different levels. There's very little to intellectualize about "Ben and Kate's" appeal -- it's just sweet and slightly stupid, with real heart at its center.
And while Johnson and Faxon have adorable sibling chemistry, Lucy Punch is the scene stealer here. Provided that the show catches on, don't be surprised if people start referring to her as the new Schmidt.
Series Premiere: 8:30pm Tuesday, Sept. 25, on Fox. ”
“ "Go On"
The plot: Sports radio show personality Ryan King (Matthew Perry) is anxious to put the recent death of his wife behind him and get back to work. Before he can do that, his boss Steven (John Cho) requires him to get grief counseling. So Ryan finds himself a group that he believes will be the easiest to endure...and ends up becoming a part of a circle of oddballs, each coping with varying degrees of loss.
Why we're excited: Is excited the right description? Perhaps it's better to say we're cautiously optimistic. By now most viewers have seen the pilot and the second episode, perhaps getting a sense of whether the show is on track to live up to its initial promise. And let's give Matthew Perry some credit: playing smarmy characters is almost second nature to him. But his naked displays of heartache, and the montage of the toll that every else's losses has taken on their lives, elevated the pilot from just another snappy sitcom into a half-hour that explored the guts of what happens when a person breaks, and the comedic tragedy involved in healing.
But...That said, this is not HBO. And it's much more likely that the glimpses of soulfulness that we got in the pilot will be sacrificed for laughs, laughs, and more laughs to win higher ratings.
Must-see? More like, "we'll see."
Timeslot Premiere: 9pm Tuesday, Sept. 11, on NBC. ”
The plot: Sam Hunter (Melissa George), an operative for an underground private firm involved in global intelligence and espionage, survives an attempt on her life that may have been orchestrated by the people closest to her. Now she has resurfaced and is back on the job -- but she doesn’t know who to trust.
Why we're excited: As Cinemax continues to rebrand itself as a premium action-thriller destination, this new series from "The X Files" writer and producer Frank Spotnitz fulfills the unspoken "girls with guns" part of the deal. Grant you, this is a simplistic way of explaining the appeal of a show like this which, admittedly, we're a lot more excited about in concept than in the pilot's complete execution.
What makes us want to see more of "Hunted" is Melissa George, who already established herself as a formidable action heroine (or, rather, villainess) as Sydney's rival in "Alias". George has tremendous physical ability (apparently attributable to her extensive training as a roller skating champion -- go figure!), which shows in the opening episode's solidly executed fight choreography.
Other familiar faces in the cast give us an added incentive to see where this goes, including Stephen Dillane, Indira Varma, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
Series Premiere: 10pm Friday, Oct. 19, on Cinemax. ”
The plot: Inspired by the true story of former Las Vegas Sheriff Ralph Lamb, a rancher who became a Las Vegas lawman in the 1960s, Lamb (Dennis Quaid) is called upon by the Mayor to investigate a murder, bringing him into the same orbit as Chicago gangster Vincent Savino (Michael Chiklis), who has planted his flag on the burgeoning gambling mecca and will not back down easily.
Why we're excited: CBS is stepping outside of its comfort zone with this period piece about a particularly unglamorous period in the history of the nation's glitziest town. With this take that pits cowboys against the mob, "Vegas" is more cinematic than anything else on the network's schedule, from the meticulously rendered sets to the slow-burning tension in the plot. Quaid is very much in his element here as a leathery ranch man who can take a few punches before leaving his opponent on the floor, and who tends to solve problems with determination, reason -- and, when required, a rifle.
But... A well-made pilot does not guarantee that "Vegas" will be CBS's next big hit. For one thing, the pilot's atmosphere may prove too dry for the average CBS viewer. The somewhat ambiguous title won't help either; we suspect a fair share of viewers will tune in expecting the likes of "Las Vegas" or even a reboot of "Vega$" and will be disappointed by what they get instead.
All of which is to say, "Vegas" a lot of attractive elements working in its favor. But we'd advise against going "all in" on this one. Don't be surprised if this show's critical acclaim is much higher than its ratings.
Series Premiere: 10pm Tuesday, Sept. 25, on CBS. ”
The plot: Years after a worldwide blackout turned off every single piece of technology forever, a girl struggles to stay alive in a lawless landscape as she hunts for her kidnapped brother. Along the way she enlists the help of a long-lost uncle who helps her dodge a corrupt, ruthless militia -- and may be able to find a way to turn the power back on.
Why we're excited: We're suckers for genre series. We're suckers for the work of Jon Favreau. We also still have faith in the storytelling ability of J.J. Abrams -- which some might say makes us even bigger suckers.
That said, the idea of "Revolution" makes us very excited, and the first few minutes of the premiere are simply jaw-dropping. The dystopian return to the Wild West, with tones of American revolutionary spirit tossed in for good measure, certainly makes the show look like a lot of fun, and Billy Burke cuts a believable figure as the rumpled, swashbuckling hero.
But... As always, the devil is in the details...and there are lots of tiny devils dancing in the background of "Revolution's" pilot. The fight sequences are elaborately planned but almost laughably executed. The costumes, and cast, are just a little too clean and well-scrubbed to believably reflect living in a society struggling to eke out an existence with no technology. It's as if Gap, Banana Republic and the Pantene factory were somehow immune to Earth's catastrophic techno-fail.
Lastly, we can't escape the sinking feeling that "Revolution" will fall victim to the same kind of high initial interest followed by a fast ratings fade that felled past one-season-wonders like "Terra Nova", "The Event","Flashforward","Invasion","Surface"... you get the idea. Have hope, but give it a few episodes before emotionally investing in this one.
Series Premiere: 10pm Monday, Sept. 17, on NBC. ”