As you well know, they can’t all be winners, but, fortunately, with top Hollywood talent in acting, writing, directing, and producing shifting their focus to TV land, many of the upcoming shows have a pretty good shot at succeeding.
Since we’re still in the early days for many of the upcoming programs, a simple plot line summary and a few casting confirmations is all we have for now on some of these programs. But in some instances, that’s enough to get us thoroughly excited. Here’s a roundup of 10 new show pickups that we think have the most promise.
Designated Survivor, ABC
While he won’t be strapping on that signature Jack Bauer messenger bag from 24, this role marks Kiefer Sutherland’s return to TV. The premise of this show has us at the edge of our seats before even seeing it come to life: A low-level political figure (Sutherland) is forced into the role of president after a terrorist attack kills everyone ahead of him in line for the job. It’s brilliant. The stellar cast that also includes Natasha McElhone (Californication), Kal Penn (Deadbeat, How I Met Your Mother), and Adan Kanto (Second Chance, Mixology) adds to the excitement. And given ABC’s stellar reputation in the drama genre, with programs like Scandal, How I Met Your Mother, and Quantico, this show seems like a shoe-in for becoming the network’s next big hit.
Feed the Beast, AMC
We’re more curious than excited about this upcoming show, which marks the return to TV of David Schwimmer, best known for playing the character of Ross on Friends. While the plot of two friends finally fulfilling their dreams of opening up a restaurant doesn’t exactly have you counting the days until the show’s release, the behind-the-scenes star power makes us hopeful that the show will deliver. Clyde Phillips, who worked on hit shows Dexter and Nurse Jackie, will serve as executive producer and showrunner, and is adapting the story. It’s based on a Danish series called Bankerot, which translates to “bankrupt.” And with mobsters and a “ruthless and racist” father as the descriptions of supporting characters, there’s bound to be some interesting storylines. Production reportedly begins this month.
Rillington Place, BBC One
It’s only a three-part series, but this interesting take on gruesome murders that took place in London in the ‘40s and ‘50s caught our attention. It looks at the situation from the perspective of the serial killer, his murdered wife, and the man who was wrongfully convicted and hanged for some of the crimes. With viewers’ fascination with crime and wrongful convictions, this series will likely be a hit should it make its way to air in the U.S. It’s too early in the game for a sneak peak, but have a look at this subtle-but-creepy trailer from the 1971 film 10 Rillington Place that was also based on the killings.
There are bound to be tons of laughs in this upcoming series, which will star comedian Margaret Cho as a woman fresh out of rehab and moving back in with her family. Oh, did we mention that they run a marijuana dispensary? That shouldn’t cause any problems at all, right? Dubbed a family comedy/drama, there may be some unexpected serious undertones to the comedic elements. But with Cho at the helm, including both starring in and serving as executive producer of the show, chances are it will, first and foremost, elicit the giggles.
Deep S.I.X., HBO
This show almost sounds like a parody version of The X-Files mixed with Ghostbusters. From the producing team of Adam and Naomi Scott (the former of whom is best known for his role as Ben Wyatt in Parks and Recreation) comes this original series which follows a homeland security team that investigates paranormal threats. But here’s the catch: no one else actually believes that these supernatural threats exist. Anthony King, who wrote Wet Hot American Summer, serves as writer. Will we see cheesy ghost figures, or more realistic-looking CGI threats? It’ll be interesting to see how the visuals are approached in this show, and whether it falls more toward the comedy or frightening side of television genres.
A rebellious former president’s daughter is blackmailed into accepting a position with a group focused on proving the innocence of those who have been wrongly convicted. Like Designated Survivor, this show will be able to ride on ABC’s reputation for having a knack for choosing hit dramas. But beyond that, the writer is known for her work on Netflix original series Jessica Jones, and CBS show Elementary – both of which have become big hits. And the story fits right into our penchant for political, legal, and criminal dramas, seemingly tying all of these themes together into one neat, but potentially riveting, program. With Netflix documentary Making a Murderer recently reigniting our interest in the topic of wrongful convictions, this drama couldn’t come at a better time.
Search Party, TBS
With serious potential to appeal to the new generation of viewers, this show follows a group of millennials in the Big Apple who are trying to figure out what happened to their missing college friend. And, it seems, we also watch them navigate the trials and tribulations of their own lives along the way. The annoying boyfriend and ditzy best friend add to the relatability factor for any 20-something (or person who remembers their 20s.) The show may demonstrate a fresh, new take on TV, having been created by a pair of former New York University students and SXSW winners. And with Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) heading up the cast, it’s bound to be hilarious. Check out the teaser video. Read more here.
Altered Carbon, Netflix
The return of The X-Files has reinvigorated our interest in sci-fi on television. And shows that peer into the future, Minority Report style, like BBC’s/Netflix’s Black Mirror, have sparked our interest in the genre as well. It would make sense, then, that this Netflix original could capitalize on that trend to gain some attention. By the screenplay writer for Shutter Island, and based on the book of the same name written by Richard K. Morgan, the show looks at a 25th century world where the human mind is completely digital, and we can transfer our souls from one body to another. Similar to another Netflix original, Sense8, which has been renewed for a second season, chances are viewers will tune in just to see what on earth it’s all about.
Imaginary Mary, ABC
Imagine a single, 30-something-year-old woman with a successful career in Public Relations who finally finds the man she wants to settle down with – but he’s divorced with three kids. And that isn’t even the most trying part of the scenario: as Alice (played by Dharma & Greg’s Jenna Elfman) attempts to move forward into this new life, her childhood imaginary friend Mary resurfaces and tries to convince her not to do it. What makes this show particularly intriguing is the plan to combine live action comedy with CGI, a strategy that we’ll be seeing more of in the primetime sitcom hours with a few other shows as well. Mary, of course, will represent he CGI portion of the show, and, according to The Hollywood Reporter, a “high-profile” actress is being sought out for the voice-over. The show hails from the team who brought us The Goldbergs, which gives it high hopes for success.
Netflix Presents: The Characters, Netflix
In what looks like Key & Peele meets Saturday Night Live, this series will highlight eight new comedians, each of whom gets free reign to write their own 30-minute episode. The no-limits approach means that viewers will not know what to expect, or can pretty well expect anything. The exposure to eight fresh, young, new comedic minds, including Lauren Lapkus, who keen-eyed viewers may recognize from her short-lived role as the softie Officer Susan on Orange is the New Black, will give viewers a glimpse into the future of comedy. The question is posed at the beginning of the trailer: “What if Netflix gave the next generation of comedians their own show?” We’ll find out come March 11.
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