Upfronts Roundup 2013 Part 2 – Drama After The Bloodbath

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12 May 13

Welcome to the 2nd part of our Upfronts Roundup (part 1 is here), where we look at the shows that will fill the voids left by the US network’s annual culling. Here’s a rundown of some of the upcoming tv drama series we think sound the most interesting.

Please bear in mind, these have only just been picked up in the US, so we don’t have any news on UK pick ups yet. The titles do link through to their show pages though, so you can click through to see the latest info. You can also keep an eye on the UK Air Dates page for up to the minute info!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (ABC)

Agents of SHIELD

Agents of SHIELD

Not only does Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D mark the return of Joss Whedon to the small screen, it’s also set in the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’, meaning it’ll have a direct tie in to the various MCU movies (Iron-man, Thor, Captain America etc.. and of course Avengers Assemble). The ability to tie together their various properties is something Marvel has really done well (unlike their DC counterparts who seem to go out of their way to have no over-seeing arc… I really wish they’d sort that out!)

The show is co-written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, and sees Clark Gregg reprise his role as Agent Phil Coulson heading up the team which includes, Ming-Na Wen (Stargate Universe, Eureka) as Agent Melinda May, Iain De Caestecker (The Fades) as Agent Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge (Hollyoaks!) as Agent Jemma Simmons, Brett Dalton (Killing Lincoln) as Agent Grant Ward,  Chloe Bennet (Nashville) as civilian hacker Skye, and Angel’s J. August Richards as… an unspecified role at the moment, although given his connection to Joss, and the fact his ID has been kept a closely guarded secret, I suspect he could be playing someone significant to the Marvel universe!

UPDATE: Trailer is here!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is due to air in the US in the Autumn.

GT Anticipation Rating: 10/10 – Obviously! It’s Joss, it’s Marvel, and it’s a spin-off from the highest grossing movie of all time!

Almost Human (Fox)

Almost Human

Almost Human

From one scifi giant to another, this is the first of the JJ Abrams produced shows this season. Set 35 years into the future, police officers have been partnered with highly evolved human-like androids. Karl Urban (Star Trek, Judge Dredd) stars as John Kennex, a cop with an aversion to robots , who forms and unlikely bond with his new android partner (Michael Ealy – FlashForward, Californication) who shows unexpected emotional responses as they investigate cases in this brave new world.

The show is created by J. H. Wyman (writer and show-runner on Fringe), with JJ Abrams and fellow Bad Robot-er Bryan Burk as exec producers. Almost Human is a working title, so may change.

UPDATE: Trailer is here!

GT Anticipation Rating: 9/10 – Cop show with androids from the guys behind Fringe, staring Dr. Leonard McCoy? Count me in!

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC)

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

With the success of the fairy-tale based ‘Once Upon a Time’, I guess it’s no great surprise ABC wanted to spin it into a larger franchise. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland starts in Victorian England, and tells the tale of Alice (Sophie Lowe), a seemingly disturbed young girl who’s stories of invisible cats, smoking caterpillars and and talking playing cards has people convinced she’s in need of serious medical help! But just as she’s ready to believe her doctors and face that the world is all in her head, the sarcastic Knave of Hearts (Being Human’s Michael Socha), and rhapsodical White Rabbit (played by the equally irrepressible John Lithgow), arrive to take Alice on a new trip down the rabbit hole…

Additional cast includes Peter Gadiot as Cyrus, Alice’s long lost love, and Emma Rigby (Hollyoaks… again!) as the Red Queen. Whedon-alumna Jane Espenson (Buffy, BSG, Warehouse 13) is acting as consulting producer, with fellow Once Upon a Time staff Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis continuing as exec producers.

GT Anticipation Rating: 8/10 – I really enjoy the main show, and this looks to be an interesting little off-shoot.

Sleepy Hollow (Fox)

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

When I first read about this modern day retelling of Washington Irving’s classic novel, I really wasn’t that interested. Then I realised the guys writing it are Alex Kurtzman & Bob Orci, the men behind Fringe, Star Trek, and Hawaii Five-O, and my interest sky-rocketed. Tom Mison (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, and Frank in our beloved Slingers), plays 18th century revolutionary war captain Ichabod Crane, who is flung into the modern day town of Sleepy Hollow, where he becomes mistakenly accused of murdering a police officer. Unable to prove his identity (and claiming to be from the past…), Detective Abby Archer (Nicole Beharie – The Good Wife) is understandably skeptical of Crane’s story. However, when Archer’s partner is brutally murdered in a bizarre attack, only Crane can corroborate her story.

Additional cast include Orlando Jones (Rules of Engagement) who plays Lt. Frank Williams – sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the double murder, and Katia Winter (Dexter) who plays Crane’s wife. John Cho also guest stars.

UPDATE: Trailer is here!

GT Anticipation Rating: 8/10 – I’ve loved every show Kurtzman & Orci have written so far, so i’m hoping this will be no different.

Believe (NBC)

Believe

Believe

An unlikely relationship develops between a young girl named Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) with a gift, although her ‘powers’ won’t manifest fully for 7 more years. To keep her safe a man named Tate (Jake McLaughlin – In Plain Sight, Crash) is sprung from prison and been tasked with protecting her from the evil elements that hunt her power.

I have mixed feeling about this show, and i’m not sure why… On paper it looks good. It’s the 2nd from JJ Abrams & Bryan Burk, and it’s written the great Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Harry Potter) and Mark Friedman (The Forgotten) with Cuarón directing, but there’s something that bothers me about it… May just be that it’s on NBC, and they have a horrible reputation for mishandling this sort of genre show.

GT Anticipation Rating: 7/10 – Could be interesting, we’ll see how it goes…

Legends (TNT)

Based on a novel by Robert Littell, Legends stars Sean Bean as Martin Odum, a member of the FBI’s Deep Cover Operative team, who has the uncanny ability to transform himself into a completely different person for each job. However, this frequent changing leads him to question his own identity when a mysterious stranger suggests to Martin that he may not actually be the man he believes to be…

Other cast includes Ali Larter (Heroes) as Crystal Quest, a fellow operative who has a history with Odum, Rob Mayes (90210, The Client List) as Troy Quinn – hard-ass special ops agent, Tina Majorino (Bones, True Blood) as DCO’s newest member, and Steve Harris (Awake, Friday Night Lights) as DCO’s director.

GT Anticipation Rating: 7/10 – Interesting concept, although not sounding totally original, but it’s adapted from a respectable novel, and it does have Sean Bean in it, who’s very watchable.

Intelligence (CBS)

Centers on U.S. Cyber Command, a unit that has been created around one agent (played by Lost‘s Josh Holloway) with a very special gift: a microchip that has been implanted in his brain that allows him to access the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Additional cast include CSI’s Marg Helgenberger and Meghan Ory (Red in Once Upon a Time),. Exec producers are Michael Seitzman and David Semel with Seitzman also writing.

GT Anticipation Rating: 6/10 – Again, a watchable lead, and potentially interesting concept, but there’s too little info out there about the show at the moment to make a decent judgement call.

Mind Games (ABC)

Mind Games - ABC

Mind Games – ABC

Mind Games is show about two brothers played by Christian Slater (Breaking In, My Own Worst Enemy) and Steve Zahn (Treme), who head up an organization unique agency designed to attack their clients’ problems using the real science of human motivation and manipulation. Ross (Slater) is a slick ex-con trying to put his skills to better use, and Clark (Zahn) suffers from bipolar, and is prone to manic episodes, but is also a genius. The show’s writer and creator is Kyle Killen, the man behind ‘Awake’ and ‘Lone Star’.

GT Anticipation Rating: 8/10 – It does sound a little like ‘Lie To Me’, but then I loved that show, so that’s no bad thing. Plus Killen has a habit of writing shows that are interesting, even if they don’t find an audience. Hopefully this one will!

The Originals (The CW)

Another spin-off, this time from The ever popular Vampire Diaries, which centers on Niklaus Mikaelson (Klaus) and the original family of vampires, as he returns to the supernatural crucible that is the French Quarter of New Orleans, a town he helped build centuries ago, and is reunited with his diabolical former apprentice Marcel… Stars Joseph Morgan, Claire Holt, Daniel Gillies, Daniella Pineda, Phoebe Tonkin, Charles Michael Davis, Danielle Campbell, and Leah Pipes.

GT Anticipation Rating: 7/10 – I’m kinda a bit over the vampire thing at this point, but if you’re a fan of the main show, I’m sure this is going to be one to watch.

Resurrection (ABC)

Resurrection

Resurrection

Based on a novel by Jason Mott, Resurrection asks what if your deceased loved ones suddenly turned up on your doorstep as though nothing had happened? That’s what the people in the town of Arcadia are about to find out. Stars House’s Omar Epps, Devin Kelley (Cover Affairs, The Chicago Code), Matt Craven (NCIS), Frances Fisher (Touch), Samaire Armstrong (The Mentalist, Dirty Sexy Money), Nicholas Gonzalez, Sam Hazeldine, Mark Hildreth, Kurtwood Smith, & Landon Gimenez.

GT Anticipation Rating: 7/10 – A zombie-less zombie show?

The 100 (The CW)

97 years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization, a spaceship housing the lone human survivors sends 100 juvenile delinquents back to Earth to investigate the possibility of re-colonizing the planet. Based on the forthcoming The Hundred book series written by Kass Morgan. Stars Eliza Taylor-Cotter (Neighbours), Henry Ian Cusick (Lost), Kelly Hu (Arrow), Isaiah Washington (Grey’s Anatomy), Eli Goree (Emily Owens M.D.), Bob Morley (Neighbours… again!), Marie Avgeropoulos (Cult), Paige Turco (Person of Interest), Thomas McDonell (Suburgatory), and Christopher Larkin.

GT Anticipation Rating: 7/10 – It’s on The CW, and feels firmly aimed at their teen demographic.

 

This of course is not a full list of new dramas that got picked up from the upfronts, just the ones I thought were interesting. For a more complete list, visit  the UK Air Dates page.

Comedy list is coming soon!