With the 2011 US Fall Season starting, there’s a huge amount of new TV shows doing the rounds at the moment. But sadly for some of them, they won’t make it to finish their full season run… That’s why the US networks has a whole bunch of other TV shows waiting in the wings as ‘mid-season replacements‘, to fill in the gaps left by those Fall shows that have been removed from the schedule for one reason or another. Mid-season shows will air at some point between air Jan to March 2012 in the US, and hopefully arrive here not too long after.
The following list is a selection of shows to watch out for, which should make it to UK TV screens in 2012.
Awake stars Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter, Green Zone, Black Hawk Down) as detective Michael Britten, a man who is seemingly jumping between 2 realities. After a terrible car accident whilst out with his family, he wakes to find that his son survived, but his wife has been tragically killed in the crash. As he tries to come to terms with this loss, and piece his life back together, he wakes again, to find his wife very much alive, but his son is dead. As he returns to work, each day waking in one reality or the other, he finds himself solving cases that seem to be intertwined across both realities, whilst trying to live in both worlds, and still keep hold of his sanity.
What we think:
Awake has a air of ‘Life On Mars’ about it. Which reality is real? Are they both real, or maybe neither of them are! We also see Michael trying to balance both lives. He’s seeing shrinks in both realities, each of which tells him the other is a dream, but what incentive is there for Michael to ‘cure’ himself if it means losing his wife or his son?
This is J.J. Abrams 2nd new show this season, and has his fingerprints all over it. In 1963, 302 prisoners and guards vanish from Alcatraz prison. Back in the present day, one of them has appeared again, having not aged, and he’s out of revenge. Detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones – Huff, The Riches) discovers this mystery after finding the fingerprint of former (and supposedly dead) Alcatraz in-mate Jack Sylvane (Jeffrey Pierce), at the scene of a brutal homicide. Trying to unravel the puzzle, Madsen enlists the help of Alcatraz geek Dr. Diego Soto (Lost’s Jorge Garcia), whilst also having to deal with enigmatic government agent Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill), who clearly knows a lot more than he’s letting on.
What we think:
Alcatraz is much closer to Fringe in its style than his other new show ‘Person of Interest‘, and the few people who’s managed to sneak previews of the show are saying it could be as big. The show is based on a screenplay by Deadwood and Lost writer, Elizabeth Sarnoff, and developed with Steven Lilien & Bryan Wynbrandt, both writers of Kyle XY. Alcatraz is a cop show with a mythological/scifi twist, and that’s a sandbox both J.J. and the writers know extremely well. Definitely will be one to watch for.
Smash is a show based around the ‘trials and tribulations’ of setting up a Broadway musical – in this case a show based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. It’s very much an ensemble cast, with Will & Grace’s Debra Messing as the musical’s co-writer, Jack Davenport (Coupling, FlashForward) as the show’s director, and Anjelica Huston as the producer. The 2 main rivals for the coveted role of Marilyn are Broadway & TV actress Megan Hilty, and America Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee.
What we think:
The original logline I heard for Smash was ‘it’s Glee for adults’, but it seems like its way more than that, and they have worked really hard to add authenticity to the show. A number of the cast are established Broadway stars. It’s written by American playwright Theresa Rebeck (who I suspect knows a thing or two about the nightmare of setting up a new Broadway show), and will feature original songs from Tony and Grammy Award winning composers Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman. It’s also exec-produced by Steven Spielberg, and developed by Robert Greenblatt (chairman of NBC), so there’s some pretty heavy hitters who have faith that Smash will be a smash!
If your a fan of Bones, chances are you’ve already seen the pilot for The Finder as they snuck it in as an episode of Bones in season 6. The Finder centres around Walter Sherman (Geoff Stults), an ex-solider who suffered a brain injury during an overseas op. This has left him quite paranoid and skeptical of everything, but also with the ability to find anything! Walter is backed up by his ‘legal advisor’ Leo Knox (Michael Clarke Duncan) and Deputy U.S. Marshal Isabel Zambada (Mercedes Masöhn), who also also his ‘friend with benefits’.
What we think:
Having seen the pilot and being a huge fan of Bones, i’m really looking forward to seeing The Finder go to series. Geoff Stults is extremely likeable as the lead, and Michael Clarke Duncan makes a great counter to Stults’s eccentric performance. Thankfully, one of the changes made from the pilot is the ditching of Saffron Burrows Ike character as the female lead. She just didn’t work, and the accent grated on me every time she opened her mouth… I don’t think i’ve ever heard a less convincing English accent from an English person. ;)
After beloved TV show wildlife expert Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) vanishes in the Amazon, it’s thought he’s lost forever. That is until 6 months later when his wife Tess (Leslie Hope) receives his emergency beacon signal. Desperate to track down the source in the hope that Emmet is still alive, Tess, her son Lincoln (Joe Anderson), and a TV crew head out into the Amazon to find the beacon, only to be be in for a horrific surprise…
What we think:
The River was originally conceived by Oren Peli, the man behind Paranormal Activity, so he’s got some form for scaring the bejesus out of an audience, but it’ll be interesting to see how that works in the shorter form of an hour long tv drama. The story was heavily re-written by comic book writer Michael Green, and to be honest, i’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. I’ve not been a huge fan of his comic work, his screenplay for the Green Lantern movie was less than well received, and the previous TV shows he’s worked on (Smallville, Heroes) could be a bit ‘hit & miss’. Still, based on the trailer, I still think it’ll be worth checking out to judge it properly.
Created by Heroes’ Tim Kring, Touch sees Kiefer Sutherland star as Martin Bohm, a former journalist who is a single parent raising his autistic son Jake (David Mazouz). Jake is obsessed with numbers, and also fond of climbing things… So when Jake gets caught climbing a telecoms tower by a surveillance camera at 3:18 (coincidentally, the same time Jake had reset the clocks their the house to), social services threaten to take Jake from his father before he harms himself, or anyone else. Thankfully, with the help of social worker Clea Hopkins (Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Doctor Who, Undercovers) Martin manages keep hold of his son, but is still desperate to find Jake some help, which leads him to seek out Professor Arthur DeWitt (Danny Glover). DeWitt discovers Jake’s remarkable talent for numbers enables him to predict the future…
What we think:
Touch sees Kiefer Sutherland‘s return to the small screen in his first major TV roll since the fantastic 24 ended. It also teams him with Tim Kring, and whilst Heroes may have been a bit up and down in quality, the overall concept was a great one. There’s been a huge buzz about the show ever since it was first announced, although I am slightly concerned that Fox still haven’t officially picked it up yet – which i’m guessing is why there isn’t an actual trailer for Touch yet. Assuming Fox do green-light it, Touch will go in as a mid-season replacement.