The genre palate of upcoming TV series, new and old, is one of the most appetizing in years. Here’s a look at what’s all coming from the fall onward and when you can enjoy things like the Clone Club from Orphan Black, zombies gore-galore, or some Wachowskis’ made TV. Part Two covers titles alphabetically L through Z for the Fall 2014 through 2015 season. (Please note, all dates and channels are for US)
The Leftovers (HBO, season 1 ended September 7, 2014; season 2 airs 2015)
Adapted from a book of the same name, the show looks at a world where 2% of the planet’s population disappeared without a trace. Set 3 years after the ‘Sudden Departure,’ instead of focusing on the fallout of such of an event from a top-down perspective (where we’d be looking at people in ‘power’ like the President working on solving the mystery), we get a look at how the Departure changed the people in a small town. It’s been rather haunting, giving characters a real human (see: damaged) feel, though seemingly supernatural things begin occurring in this new world. Comparisons to LOST aren’t without their merits, Damon Lindelof was/is behind both series, but it’s an ultimately more focused affair at this point.
Legend of Korra (Nickelodeon, Book 4 “Balance” October 3rd, 2014)
Lauded for it’s mature storytelling, well-written characters, and appealing animation, the Legend of Korra series is one not to be missed by Avatar fans or fans of good television alike. With each season telling condensed, separate stories called ‘Books,’ they’ve been able to tell a more focused tale, giving the characters a spotlight. While it’s 3rd Book had declining ratings and was forced to air it’s final episodes online, it’s still receiving the promised 4th book, which is looking to be online early 2015 (All three books are streaming at Nick.com as of this writing)
The Librarians (TNT, premieres December 2014)[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBQjXMRxIl8&w=525&h=295]
The Librarian series of TV movies aren’t anything spectacular nor are they bad by any means, but they’re certainly worth stopping your channel surfing on. Noah Wyle (Falling Skies) helped sell the movies, which is awfully close to Warehouse 13, where a library is secretly watching over supernatural historical artifacts for centuries. The titular Librarian goes out to procure or rescue artifacts, and now TNT is making a TV series out of the premise. Since Warehouse 13 is off the air for good, it’s worth checking out The Librarians to see if it can be a worthy replacement.
Lost Girl (Syfy, first half of final season airs December 7, 2014)
With the 5th season recently announced as the final one, and the entire series up on Netflix, it’s time to catch up to watch the send off to this little supernatural show that could. Lost Girl is about Bo (Anna Silk), a bisexual succubus coming to terms with her powers, and honestly seems like one of the braver shows on TV, considering their lead isn’t a male and isn’t straight. That alone should be a reason to support it.
The Messangers (CW, premieres late 2014-early 2015)
Get this one: mysterious object crash lands on Earth, kills a few random people, but they re-awaken only to be told they prevented the Apocalypse. That sounds like a pretty unique premise to me, but I’ll be awaiting more information and a trailer before deciding to take the plunge. And if they prevented the always cool zombie apocalypse, should we really be happy?
Olympus (Syfy, premieres mid-to-late 2015)
Unlike the cheesier take on mythology in BBC’s Atlantis, Olympus doesn’t sound as cheery: a group of men and women have managed to banish the Gods to a realm of unconsciousness they call the Underworld (or Kingdom of Hades). The series will follow a protagonist just called Hero at this point who goes from fresh faced gentleman to a possible contender of the Gods themselves. If you like your mythology brutal, like say the video game series God of War, then Olympus looks to be in your ballpark.
Once Upon a Time (ABC, season 4 airs September 28th, 2014)
The magic word this season is Disney’s mega-hit Frozen will be transporting it’s characters to the live-action world of Storybrooke. Leaked photos showed some of the actors in character and they’re looking awfully close to their animated counterparts, plus those who loved the film should know their stories here are basically a sequel to the movie. But don’t worry, the Charmings, Emma, Henry, Captain Hook, the Evil Queen and more continue their own adventures as well. Here’s a sneak peek of the upcoming season.
The 100 (CW, season 2 airs October 22, 2014)[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DM_2LwEtgkg&w=525&h=295]
Some 97 years after a nuclear war makes living on Earth practically impossible, a group of juvenile delinquents are sacrificed to determine if Earth is habitable again. The 100 who were chosen to go soon find out that Earth isn’t just survivable, but that people have been living on it for quite some time. As trouble brews on the space station called the Ark, where the rest of humanity lives in exile, the 100 face a variety of challenges not only from without, but within each other as well. Sure, you might write it off as just another CW drama, but check out the reviews and you’ll see it’s more than that.
Orphan Black (BBC America, season 3 airs summer 2015)[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjnwweTyOPw&w=525&h=295]
Once you start watching, it’s hard to not want to be part of the Clone Club. After Sarah, largely a drifter in life just trying to raise her child, sees someone who looks just like her kill herself, she makes the decision to take over that person’s life. What unfolds is a twisty path of amazing clone drama, which has expanded in ways many of us didn’t think possible in season two. While not as strong as the first season due to expanding the universe of the series, it’s still anchored by the stunning performance of Tatiana Maslany. It’s easy to forget the clones are played by the same actress, thanks to the great writing and Maslany’s engrossing performances, but it won’t be easy to get the clones out of your head. Especially Allison. It’s been a downright sham that Maslany hasn’t received at least an Emmy nomination these past two years, but many other awards have recognized her excellence. Check this one out, pronto, especially since they added another person who’s been cloned to the mix.
Outlander (Starz, season 1 started August 9, 2014)[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAS01FFj1fQ&w=525&h=295]
If you thought you’ve had hiccups in your relationships, how about trying to survive being temporally displaced about 200 hundreds years from the one you loved. Outlander‘s Claire Randall is a married WWII nurse who is transported back to 1743 Scotland, finding herself impossibly far away from her life and within reach of some fine Scotsmen. Produced by Ronald D. Moore of Battlestar Galactica fame, reviews for the show have been overly positive, so if you like your romance with a bit of sci-fi, this show could be right up your alley. Or just a good way to show your loved one things could always be worse.
Powers (PSN, premieres December 2014)
Much like Xbox is getting some Halo programming, PlayStation is going for some programming of it’s own, starting with an adaptation of the Powers comic series. Both the show and the comic follow two detectives on the homicide division who solve crimes involving superheroes and supervillains, called Powers. It sounds like a fun premise and has the full backing of the comics’ creator Brian Micheal Bendis, though it was originally meant for FX and was recast and reshot a few times until it’s current iteration. Sometimes that smells trouble, but with a cast consisting of Sharlto Copley (District 9, Elysium) and the newer Susan Heyward (The Following) as the leads, and backed up by Eddie Izzard and Michelle Forbes, this could mean we’ll at least get great performances no matter the material. If you have a PlayStation Plus subscription (PlayStation’s premium gaming service) you’ll get the entire series for free, while everyone else will at least get the first episode free. UPDATE: USA Today has a preview of the upcoming series, as long as a pic of the show’s two leads in character.
Sense8 (Netflix, premieres 2015)
The Wachowskis’ finally try their hand at television with Sense8, a Netflix exclusive series. In it, 8 total strangers, consisting of people from all over the world, share a violent vision and are afterwords linked telepathically. These 8 have the friendship of Jonas, but must worry about Mr. Whispers, who plans on assassinating them all. Look, I’d be pissed if my parents called me Mr. Whispers too. The cast is widely diverse, featuring some recognizable names and a lot of smaller ones many will probably know once the ambitious Sense8 airs next year.
South Park (Comedy Central, season 18 airs September 24, 2014)
As usual we know absolutely nothing about the contents for South Park’s 18th season, besides the fact that it’ll be topical and full of crude, brass, witty, biting, and downright dirty humor. It’s definitely not for everyone, but you can’t hide from it anymore. No matter your views or opinions, this pop culture icon will be referenced in any walk of life so be prepared. Up until the premier of S18, they’re streaming the entire series online for free, after that, select episodes will be free to view, along with the newest ones.
The Strain (FX, season 1 ends October 5th, 2014; season 2 airs 2015)[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqcuyXeN8O8&w=525&h=295]
With Guillermo del Toro, one of the best horror/monster filmmakers out there, being the mastermind behind the book the show is based on and the show itself, there’s some great vampire fighting to be had. It kind of feels like this show is trying to reclaim vampires after all the ‘sparkling’ they’ve done recently and making a horror TV show about them certainly is a smart way to go about it.
Star Wars Rebels (Disney XD, 1-hr special=October 3rd on Disney, series= October 13, 2014 on Disney XD)
Set about five years prior to Ep. IV: A New Hope, Rebels tells the story of a group people looking to right injustices done by the Empire against the people of the galaxy one small step at a time. There’s been hints that it’ll lead to the eventual formation of the Rebel Alliance and, if it stays on the air long enough, could lead up into the opening moments of A New Hope. There’s a lot of footage of Rebels out there now, from some video shorts, the first 7-minutes, and an amazing trailer, plus there were a ton of positive reactions to a sneak peek of the premier one hour movie, ‘Spark of Rebellion.‘ And a tie-in novel, A New Dawn, was just released and my review was very positive.
Supernatural (CW, season 10 airs 2015)
It feels like someone was just telling me about this new show called Supernatural only yesterday, but it turns out that was a lot longer ago than I remember. The series is back for it’s 10th season, and has had a plethora of awards for it’s great cast and crew over the long years. Supernatural also hasn’t been afraid to have some 4th wall breaking fun, showing it’s doesn’t always have to be about revenge and demon hunting. As with many shows on this list, Netflix is ready to let you watch most of the entire series whenever you want.
12 Monkeys (Syfy, premieres January, 2015)[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPNHIz1-8aM&w=525&h=295]
It’s been awhile since I’ve watched the movie, but I can remember Brad Pitt doing his great ‘crazy man’ acting and Bruce Willis, well, being Bruce Willis. In the film, Bruce Willis’ character Cole is sent back in time to study a virus that forced the Earth’s population to flee underground. The show isn’t a retread of the movie, but will tell it’s own version of a very similar story, this time starring Aaron Stanford (Nikita, X2) as Cole and Amanda Schull (Pretty Little Liars, Suits) as Kathryn Railly (Cole’s love interest in the film).
The Walking Dead (AMC, season 5 airs October 12, 2014)
The zombie drama is one of the most watched series in television history, and for the most part, it’s rightly deserved. We’ve endured some hardships with the survivors this past season, especially after the rather heartbreaking episode which gave “putting them out to pasture” a whole new meaning, but our survivors aren’t out of the horrors just yet. While on their way to delivering a man who possible knows how to cure the walker plague, everyone decided it was a good idea to make a pit stop at the only place with a marketing budget post-apocalypse called Terminus. Things didn’t go well and everyone is currently locked in a train car, which is where the next season picks up. The trailer shown at SDCC might be a tad spoilerish, but things look to stay just as crazy as usual in The Walking Dead.
Westworld (HBO, 2015)
A remake of the 1973 film, the series is set in a futuristic amusement park full of life-like androids where people visit to fulfill tons of various fantasies. The fact that the androids will be shut down and brought back with different personalities has attracted a ton of stars, including big names like James Marsden (X-Men series), Thandie Newton (Mission Impossible II), Ed Harris (A History of Violence, The Right Stuff), Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen), and Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale) to name a few. Oh, and Anthony Hopkins as a series regular (a first) playing the man behind the park. Yeah, that’s right, Anthony Hopkins. Sounds like it’ll be a fun trip to the park when this airs (which as of this writing hasn’t been officially picked up yet, though with a cast like this, it’s only a matter of time).
Z Nation (Syfy, premieres September 12, 2014)
The comparisons to The Walking Dead are inevitable, but ultimately the free sneak peek over at Amazon shows Z Nation won’t be as hopeless, though if it’ll be any good is a different story. Z Nation’s plot picks up 3 years after the zombie outbreak, where a group of people are trying to get the only known survivor of a zombie bite to a viral lab to make a cure (which the TWD just started it’s own version of ‘transporting someone to make a cure’ plotline).
Check out Part One (A – K) for more!
(Please Note: The focus of these guides is live-action sci-fi, fantasy, comic/book/graphic novel adaptations, not animation. One year I might work on that)