Television refuses to take a backseat to film these days. With dozens of new shows scheduled to premiere this fall, we explore those with the most potential.
Each fall, a new crop of television shows joins established network programming and more risque premium channel offerings in an attempt to compete for viewership. While most new shows inevitably end up facing cancellation, we explore 10 freshman concepts that we’re most excited about.
The Bastard Executioner
Air Date: September 15
Why we’re excited: From the twisted creator of Sons of Anarchy, Kurt Sutter, The Bastard Executioner trades Charming, California for 14th century Northern Wales during a time rife with rebellion and political upheaval. Telling the story of of Wilkin Brattle, his life is forever changed when a divine messenger beseeches him to lay down his sword and lead the life of another man: a journeyman executioner.
In Deadline‘s review of the pilot, they noted, “TBX covers a lot of familiar Sutter territory with themes of loyalty, loss, brotherhood, betrayal and vengeance. Similar to SOA, it is a tale of redemption in many ways but the road it travels and the manner in which it gets there is different from Sutter’s last FX offering.”
The Man in the High Castle
Air Date: January 15
Why we’re excited: As Amazon attempts to even the streaming wars with Netflix, it seems they have a real winner in the forthcoming book adaption of Philip K. Dick’s alternate history novel.
Set in 1962, The Man in the High Castle explores what would have happened if the Allies had lost World War II and the effect it would have on the United States in the 15 years since the last bullet was fired. As the synopsis details, “The United States has been divided into three zones after losing the war: The German-occupied East called the ‘Greater Nazi Reich,’ the totalitarian, Japanese-held West called the ‘Japanese Pacific States,’ and a neutral zone in the middle.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, executive producer Frank Spotnitz said of the show “the three questions viewers should ask while watching are: What is it to be human, and how do you remain human in an inhuman world? What is freedom, and what would you do to get it? And finally, for the science-fiction fans, what is real?”
For those wanting to get a jump on the series, the pilot can be viewed here for free.
Master of None
Air date: November 6
Why we’re excited: Master of None marks Aziz Ansari’s return to television following his successful run as Tom Haverford for seven seasons on Parks and Recreation.
Co-created by fellow Parks alums Alan Yang and Michael Schur, Ansari says of his character, “He’s in his early 30s, he has good friends, and realizes, ‘Oh shit, I’m an adult now.’ He has to figure out if he wants to get married, have kids. This show is like dumping my head and heart out,” Ansari continued. “We took care to slow it down a little, and make it a conversation. It’s not too jokey.”
The Last Kingdom
Air date: October 10
Network: BBC America
Why we’re excited: BBC America has already established a trusted relationship with its viewers by ushering shows to the public like Luther, Broadchurch and Orphan Black.
With The Last Kingdom, the producers of Downton Abbey have once again focused their attention on the past – this time forgoing the exploits of the Crawley family in the 20th century – in retelling the history of King Alfred the Great and his desire to unite the many separate kingdoms into what would become England.
Air date: October 9
Why we’re exited: Amazon scored a huge victory when they snagged a project from Hollywood heavyweights Steven Soderbergh and David Gordon Green who collectively are responsible for films like the Ocean franchise, Traffic and Pineapple Express – as well as successful television forays like The Knick and Eastbound & Down.
Set at a tennis club in the mid ’80s, most people will think it’s an homage to Caddyshack. Even those involved in the project like actress Jennifer Grey see the similarities, saying, “I felt like it was a movie, as if Caddyshack and Dirty Dancing had a baby raised by John Cassavetes.”
Ash vs. Evil Dead
Air Date: October 31
Why we’re excited: Much like the recently released Netflix series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, another film with cult origins is seeing a continuation of what happened in the film universe.
Starring Bruce Campbell as an older version of his original, chainsaw-handed monster hunter character, Ash, from the Sam Raimi film, the plot centers on his exploits 30 years later when a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind.
For those who like to know what they’re getting into prior to binging, there are complete synopsis available for every episode except the finale.
Air date: September 21
Why we’re excited: Admittedly, there’s a lot of skepticism when it comes to latching onto a new network show because of their reputation for being risk-adverse as well as the threat of early cancellation for a show that might of otherwise survived on premium channels. However, NBC’s Blindspot seems like a show with a unique premise and strong mystery which is often the right recipe for drawing in viewership.
Using a familiar plot device as Fox’s Prison Break – where as a person’s tattoos are the key to unlocking the mystery – Blindspot forgoes any daring escapes in favor of the FBI’s attempt at deciphering how each tattoo foreshadows a clue to a crime they will have to solve.
Into the Badlands
Air date: November 15
Why we’re excited: With a lead-in from their flagship program, The Walking Dead, it’s easy to assume that AMC executives are banking on martial arts drama, Into the Badlands, to be their next genre hit.
Loosely based on the Chinese tale, Journey to the West, co-creator Alfred Gough spoke at the TCA panel in July, saying, “There wasn’t a martial arts show on television, and we wanted to do a show that would make us jealous if it was on TV.”
Air date: September 22
Why we’re excited: Whether you’re 13, 23 or 53, chances are that you have some kind of positive memory attached to watching The Muppets. While CGI has eliminated much of the whimsy attached to our childhood characters, ABC is banking on Kermit and friends to lead their fall charge.
As the trailer suggests, there’s a good deal of meta humor attached to the series – promising behind-the-scenes footage, explorations of the characters’ personal lives (as if a reality show), and several filmmaking devices indicative of successful shows in the past like Parks and Rec and The Office.
Flesh and Bone
Air date: November 8
Why we’re excited: As of right now, Breaking Bad’s “Ozymandias” episode from its final season has a 9.9/10 rating on IMDb – making it the best reviewed show on the entire site.
The woman responsible for the content, Moira Walley Beckett, presents her first original series as showrunner with Flesh and Bone. Set in the glamorous yet gritty New York ballet world, the cast includes 22 accomplished ballet dancers as well as a team behind the scenes who has worked on the likes of Breaking Bad, House of Cards and Inglorious Basterds.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones
Air date: November 20
Why we’re excited: Marvel is another studio banking on the potential success of another Breaking Bad alum. Starring Krystan Ritter as the titular character, the source material for the show comes from the adult-rated Marvel “Max” banner which allowed almost complete freedom when it came to sexual innuendo and violence. In turn, many in the industry liken Jessica Jones as an extension of the grittiness they’ve already established with Daredevil in the Netflix universe.
Additionally, Ritter’s chief nemesis, Kilgrave, will be played by David Tennant who continues to display that he has some of the widest range in all of Hollywood.