Blockbusters are fine and dandy while they last, but summer is over and it’s time to get excited about television once more. The fall season promises drama and comedy, mystery and reality, all over a variety of networks and genres. This year, both familiar faces and new talents will be running the gauntlet of the dreaded first season, which will determine which shows will be back in the spring, and which will join the ranks of the cancelled and forgotten. Here are a few new shows that we at the Technique think, or at least hope, will make the cut.
The Michael J. Fox Show
(NBC) – He was a star on both film and television in the ‘80s, and continues to make award-winning guest performances on shows like The Good Wife, but now Michael J. Fox will make his long-awaited return to the entertainment spotlight. As the eponymous character in this upcoming comedy, Fox plays a fictionalized version of himself, Parkinson’s disease and all; the show will focus on the character’s attempts to reenter the work force after being diagnosed. Fox has proven more than capable of leading a comedy series (if his three Emmy awards for Family Ties have anything to say about it), and viewers can only hope that he still has the comedic spark after all these years. Breaking Bad’s Betsy Brandt co-stars, with the pilot airing on Sept. 26.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
(ABC) – Here it is at last. Weekly installments of Avengers level action, starring everyone’s favorite secret government agent in charge of superhero relations. At least, that is what every Marvel fan hopes to find in this upcoming superhero action-drama. Marvel Cinematic Universe regular Clark Gregg makes the leap from film to television to play Agent Phil Coulson once more; however, instead of the secondary character who has inspired so many comedic and tearful moments on the big screen, Coulson is taking center stage. The mystery-a-week style show will reveal the small-town superhero action not seen in blockbusters like Iron Man, a formula that may work out well so long as it doesn’t stray into the over-complicated narrative hellhole that shows like Heroes have fallen prey to. The supporting cast is relatively unknown, which could mean fresh faces or grueling inexperience. But ultimately, with literally decades of source material to pull from, the possibilities of this show if handled correctly look truly promising.
(CBS) – For all the lovers of thrillers and action, this new suspenseful drama will surely be appealing. Just after top-notch surgeon Dr. Ellen Sanders (Toni Collette, Little Miss Sunshine) is called to perform a procedure on the president of the U.S., her worst fears are realized when her family is taken hostage by a group of mysterious terrorists. The only way to save her family: purposefully botch the procedure and assassinate the president. Sanders must make a choice on either following the directions of her family’s captor Duncan Carlisle (Dylan McDermott, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), or sacrificing her loved ones to save the president. This sure-to-engage show provides a prolific cast and a complex storyline that may fare well amidst the raunchy comedies that air on Monday nights. Whether or not the show can carry itself into a multi-season staple is still to be seen; however, the show has the ingredients for suspense.
(Fox) – Let the kids’ era of reality TV thrive on. This spin off of Fox’s hit series MasterChef brings in the top 24 child cooks from around the country, allowing them to broadcast their culinary skills on primetime TV in front of world-renown judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot. With the drama that many classical cooking shows bring, it will be interesting to see how children can cope with high pressure and harsh critics for extended periods of time. Without the eye-popping entrées and with relatively simple competitions, Junior MasterChef might not appeal to food buffs and enthusiasts, but it is sure to find fans within the younger crowds and families. And won’t it be a sight for us college students who struggle to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Masters of Sex
(Showtime) – What a year it has been for Showtime. The terroristic drama Homeland has raked in awards across the board, raising the underdog cable channel to compete with HBO and AMC, and paving the way for dramas to come. This fall, Masters of Sex takes us to the world of Dr. William H. Masters (Michael Sheen, Underworld), a 1950s-era American doctor who is researching the mysteries of sex during a time when it is the ultimate taboo. Labeled a pervert by his colleagues in the scientific community, Masters must rely on an equally daring and passionate woman (Lizzy Caplan, Mean Girls) to complete his study and solve the many mysteries of the beginning of life. Raunchiness will undoubtedly abound.
American Horror Story: Coven
(FX) – Fear has never really gone out of style in the American entertainment industry, and nothing proves that more than FX’s yearly terror-filled miniseries. Although Coven is not necessarily a new show this season, it sports an entirely new group of characters in accordance with the non-continuous nature of the series. This year, the setting is 1830s New Orleans, home to voodoo, murder and mystery. Stars Jessica Lange and Lily Rabe return to roles that will undoubtedly be as chilling as ever, in addition to fresh newcomers Kathy Bates (Harry’s Law) and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), among others. The show has been known for its crazed plot twists and for crossing the boundaries of audience comfort; fans will have to wait until Oct. 9 to find out if this new season measures up.