daniel ferrer returns to pop-break with a look at five new shows debuting this fall that he’s looking forward to…
I know, I know; I’ve been watching the promos, too. This upcoming season is looking a little bleak. But while Go On insists that Matthew Perry remains employed and The New Normal insists that gay couples remain sassy, you can rest easy knowing that TV is still worth watching. I’ve assembled a short list of my most anticipated shows this season, and while none of them feature a capuchin monkey in a lab coat, they all feature a fighting chance to stand out amongst their flimsy competitors, especially the one with a capuchin monkey in a lab coat.
1. Vegas (CBS)
Last season, the networks tried their hand at the Mad Men era with the one-two punch of Pan Am and The Playboy Club. Both were abysmal failures, lacking the sharp insight of their cable counterpart and preferring to focus on glitz, glamour, and nostalgia rather than telling a truly human story. Perhaps network television is still too sanitized to offer us an honest period piece worthy of Mad Men, or perhaps Vegas is the show we’ve been waiting for. A 20th century western, Vegas centers on a rodeo cowboy turned sheriff who tries to take down a Chicago mob boss looking to expand in the city of Las Vegas (naturally). Of all the shows you could watch this fall, few have as much talent on and off screen as Vegas. With an A-list cast of Dennis Quaid, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Michael Chiklis, the impeccable talents of writer Nicholas Pileggi (Goodfellas, Casino), and the vision of director James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma), Vegas is poised to become the best drama of the new season.
2. Last Resort (ABC)
Veteran show runner Shawn Ryan returns to TV with one of the most wildly inventive and outrageous premises since Breaking Bad. A renegade Navy crew is declared an enemy of the United States after refusing orders to launch nuclear missiles at Pakistan, causing them to secede and form their own sovereign nation on a small island, nuclear weapons still at their disposal. It’s a gloriously pulpy concept that abandons all predictability in favor of high stakes and thoroughly enticing improbability, not to mention a cast led by the underrated and underused Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age). It’s hard to tell where a show as grand and preposterous as Last Resort will find itself past season one, which, in my book, is all the more reason to tune in.
3. Revolution (NBC)
Another show of behemoth scope produced by the master of behemoth scopes (J.J. Abrams), Revolution is a post-apocalyptic nightmare where the planet lives without electricity for 15 years. Helmed by Supernatural creator Eric Kripke, the show is sure to have an attention-grabbing pilot with Jon Favreau in the director’s chair (plus the always brilliant Giancarlo Esposito in a supporting role), but like Last Resort there’s a question of exactly how such an immense show could thrive in a one-hour weekly time slot. Naturally, the show involves an enigmatic conspiracy, which hopefully indicates that the writers are in this for the long haul. If not, we can enjoy the fun while the show stays fresh, Heroes style.
4. The Mindy Project (FOX)
If you’ve already written off The Mindy Project for its cheesy rom-com premise, you’re going to have to reconsider. The story of a hopeless romantic struggling to find a balance between her hectic career as an Ob/Gyn and her comically difficult love life seems pretty trite on its own, but in the hands of creator and star Mindy Kaling, it has real potential to be the best new comedy of the season. Kaling’s cynical and irreverent sense of humor helped to elevate The Office from BBC Xerox to a bona fide American classic, penning such classic episode as “Diversity Day” and “Booze Cruise.” The promos promise equally heavy doses of awkward comedy, making The Mindy Project worth your attention.
5. Arrow (CW)
In the Smallville spin-off that no one was asking for, Stephen Amell portrays B-list DC hero the Green Arrow, billionaire playboy who hones his archery skills and becomes an urban Robin Hood. This is the very first leading role for the Arrow outside of the pages of the DC universe, which is great news for fans like myself. Oliver Queen is a unique and complex character who can certainly hold a story on his own, despite the fact that he fights crime with obsolete technology. Arrow’s success rest heavily on the shoulders of its direction; will they favor the gritty flavor of Nolan’s Batman or the campy fun of its Superman predecessor? Either way, this is sure to be my guiltiest pleasure until its inevitable cancellation.