2014 Fall Television Preview

summer_tv

by A.C. Hall

With the fall television season just a few weeks away, a lot of new shows are about to premiere.  This is the time of year when the networks march out a huge group of shows hoping one of them will be the next big hit.  With over sixty-five percent of all new shows getting canceled within their first season, it can be tough to know which shows are worth investing in and which are best skipped.  Luckily, TV critics have been talking about the upcoming TV schedule and here are some of the shows that are getting the most buzz.

Comic books are big business at the theater, and they’re starting to make a push to become big players in television as well.  With the success of their show Arrow, The CW network is debuting a new show on Oct. 7 called The Flash.  Set in the same universe as Arrow, The Flash follows the adventures of the fast running hero Barry Allen, who splits his time between being a forensic specialist for the police and being a speedy hero that fights crime.

While Arrow can be a dark series, The Flash is expected to be more lighthearted.  Much of the show’s success will depend upon the quality of the special effects, something TV series aren’t always known for.  The Flash will have to make the super sonic speed of Barry something that’s interesting visually and also something that doesn’t look corny.

The cast could be a major selling point of The Flash.  Star Grant Gustin already debuted in a few episodes of Arrow and seems to be the perfect mix of lovable and nerdy for the series.  With supporting actors like Jesse Martin, John Wesley Shipp (who played The Flash in the 1990 TV series) and the excellent Tom Cavanaugh, The Flash could definitely be worth checking out.

The Fox Network is getting in on the comic book game as well with the debut of Gotham on Sept. 22.  Instead of focusing on Batman, this show will focus on the origin of many of the iconic Batman characters when they are younger.  The main character of the series will be a young Jim Gordon as he joins the Gotham Police Department.  Picking up when Bruce Wayne is still a young child, the show will take a more real world approach as hard boiled cops take on burgeoning super villains.

Just the name gives this show a big edge as the Batman universe is hugely popular.  Being able to anchor a show around the crime ridden city and see how the cops handled things before Bruce Wayne grew up to Batman could make for a fantastic show.  Add in the fantastic actor Ben McKenzie (Southland, The OC) as the star and give him fantastic supporting actors like Donal Logue and this could be one of the biggest hits of the upcoming season.

NBC is debuting a comic book series of their own on October 24 but it’s difficult to tell how successful this one will be.  Constantine is based on a lesser known comic book series known as Hellblazer and tells the story of a British man who is a master of the occult and specializes in hunting demons and performing exorcisms.  He’s got plenty of demons of his own, but when the balance between good and evil threatens to tip in favor of evil he has no choice but to do what he can to stop it.

The network has already shown some signs that they might not have a lot of faith in this series and it’s Friday night timeslot is another sign that it may be destined for an early cancellation.  But with strong horror themes and a unique leading man, Constantine might be worth a look.  Moving away from series inspired by comic books, Fox could have another hit on their hands with the 10 part series Gracepoint that debuts on October 2.  Based on the acclaimed British series Broadchurch, Gracepoint tells the story of a murder in a small town and the passionate cops who investigate the case’s many twists and turns.  This one will rely heavily on the acting of David Tennant, who is best known for his time as the iconic BBC character Doctor Who.  The always amazing Michael Pena co-stars as the father of the murder victim in what should be a captivating series.

Political dramas can be hit or miss but when they hit they represent some of the biggest shows on television.  Madam Secretary premieres September 21 on CBS and looks like it could be one of those big shows.  Tea Leoni stars as an ex-CIA agent turned housewife who finds herself pulled back into serving her country when she is named as the new Secretary of State.  Echoing past hit shows like The West Wing, Madam Secretary looks to marry real world events with dramatic political storytelling to make this a must see show.  Leoni is very strong in the series in what could be a career defining role for her.

NOTABLE CANCELLATIONS

Not every show from last season will be back in the coming months as some notable series got the axe at the end of last season.  The Fox series Almost Human was almost a good sci-fi show, but unfortunately the quality wasn’t enough to sustain the audience and thus this promising show was canceled.

The beloved but ratings challenged sitcom Community was finally canceled by NBC but fans of the show will be relieved to hear that there will be a shortened sixth season.  The show got picked up by Yahoo who will bring back the cast for a 13 episode season that will air online at some point in the coming year.

The star power wasn’t enough to carry some other sitcoms as The Michael J. Fox Show and Sean Saves the World were both canceled.

The espionage thriller Intelligence will not be returning as the show never quite attracted a steady audience.  Post apocalyptic thriller Revolution was also canceled after a creative bounceback in season 2 wasn’t quite enough to draw ratings.

Simon Cowell tried many different times to overhaul and reboot his talent show The X Factor but it too was canceled.

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