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 James Gordon’s rise in the Gotham Police, Agent Carter ass-kicking through history, or some space bounty hunters. Part One covers titles alphabetically A through K for the Fall 2014 through 2015 season. (Please note, all premiere dates and channels are for US)
The After (Amazon, ‘early’ 2015)
The plot is mostly under wraps, so all we really know at this point is it’s another post-apocalyptic TV show. If you have Amazon Prime, the pilot episode is still available to watch, which does give a good hint at what apocalyptic event has taken place and I’ll just say it involves demons. Unfortunately, you have to get past the trope filled, stereotypical-laden characters to find some enjoyment: like the gorgeous woman is a religious hooker, jerk lawyer, rookie cop, wrongfully accused escaped prisoner, drunk and belligerent Irishman, a rich and lonely but diabetic old woman, and a young aspiring actress ‘too old’ for a role, but there is a gay clown…played by Jaime Kennedy (which is so far the most original part of the show). I’ll be checking out the second episode, but things aren’t looking good. Head over to Amazon and give it a shot yourself.
Marvel’s Agent Carter (ABC, premieres January 2015)
Airing during Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD‘s winter break, Agent Carter gives us an 8 episode odyssey back in time to Peggy Carter’s rise through the Strategic Scientific Reserve while she works behind the scenes with Howard Stark. Hayley Atwell will reprise her role as Peggy, first seen in Captain America: The First Avenger, and it’ll be similar in tone to the Marvel One-Shot Agent Carter, which this series (and us) owe for getting the show greenlit and made in the first place. Not much is known on who or what will all show up from the Marvel universe, but as long as Hayley Atwell gets to hand out more ass-kickery, I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t tune in.
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (ABC, Season 2 airs September 23rd, 2014)
I watched every episode of this show and I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy from time to time. It had it’s strengths with the eclectic team assembled and the Clairvoyant’s plot, but it shouldn’t have taken till Captain America: The Winter Soldier shook up the roost and revealed Hydra had infiltrated SHIELD for the show to finally pick up. However, it ended stronger than it started and with Agent Coulson becoming Director Coulson, here’s hoping for a stronger season throughout, as they pick up the pieces and find out what carrying on in the wake of Hydra’s reveal means. Also, with no films releasing during it’s run (I think it’ll be over by Avenger’s 2) it won’t get to rely so heavily on the films this time around. Whether or not that’s a good thing remains to be seen.
American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX, Season 4 airs October 8, 2014)
If you haven’t been watching this anthology horror series, it’s time to jump on the wagon (because in fact, every new season is the perfect time). The problem with joining this year, however, is if you have a fear of clowns or other circus related things, since this season is all about one of the last ‘freak shows’ around back in 1952. The plot, as usual, is largely unknown, but it’ll include a bearded lady (of course!) and the world’s smallest woman (for reals, she’s in the Guinness Book of World Records!). It’s fun to watch returning actors and actresses playing dissimilar and new roles, which has given this series its fair share of Emmy nominations (and wins). Just be ready for anything, because just when you think you understand the rules of season, this show has a nasty habit of flipping things on (or off) it’s head. UPDATE: Here’s not only a new cast member, but a list of all the other returning or new cast and their roles.
Arrow (CW, season 3 airs October 8, 2014)
There’s been a lot of praise for Arrow, specifically it’s dark take on Oliver Queen and the city around him. It’s first season is on Netflix now and the second season appears September 14th, so you’ll have plenty of time to binge-watch it before season 3. For most DC fans this series has been a must, and since it’ll be awhile before the DC universe takes off on the big screen, enjoy it’s success on the small screen in the mean time. And with seminal villain Ra’s Al Ghul joining the fray (Liam Neesen would appreciate a call!), the stakes look to be raising this season.
Ascension (Syfy, December 15th, 2014)
Syfy is attempting to do something remotely close to the exceptional Battlestar Galactica series with Ascension, a story about a group of people in the remote reaches of space aboard a spaceship sent out to populate a new world. This six-hour event series is about a ship sent out way back in 1963, where things were pretty hunky dory until some 50 years later when the first murder on-board occurs. With stars like Tricia Helfer (Cylon Six from BSG), Andrea Roth (Rescue Me), and Brian Van Holt, with the creator/showrunner/writer being the man behind Smallville (Philip Levens), there looks to be some good reasons to check this out. Sure, it won’t be another BSG, but it can at least make Syfy feel more sci-fi again.
Atlantis (BBC America, Season 2 airs late 2014/early 2015)
Jason, a young man from the present, goes searching for his father in a submarine. Like most underwater searches, Jason finds himself transported to the ancient city of Atlantis, where mythology comes to life. And Hercules is played by the always hilarious Mark Addy (A Knight’s Tale), who turns out to be an overweight drunk who tells tall tales about his life. Okay, it’s not like most underwater searches but it looks to be a fun take on Greek mythology, which I’ve always been a sucker for. The first season aired back in 2013, but the second season is underway and scheduled to be back ‘soon.’
Constantine (NBC, premieres October 24, 2014)[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPE2oBnzROY&w=525&h=290]
Promising to stay closer to the source material than the Keanu Reeves led flick of the same name, Constantine certainly has a lot to prove in trying to bring such a popular and dark character to broadcast TV (it can be done, if Hannibal is anything to go by). Initial reactions to an advanced screening of the pilot have been encouraging, while only naming one weak spot: the character Liv. The people behind the show felt the same way, writing her out of the series and instead introducing a Hellblazer character Zed Martin much earlier. Either way, Matt Ryan looks like he’ll be having fun in the lead role, which should help make for an entertaining series.
Marvel’s Daredevil (Netflix, premieres May 2015)
Defenders, assemble! Daredevil is the first of four Netflix-exclusive Marvel series, all taking place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which will lead up to the small screen’s version of the Avengers, the Defenders. The blind superhero’s Defender cohorts will be Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. Expect Daredevil to drop in May, and much like all of Netflix’s series, all 13 episodes will be available at the outset, just for all you binge-watchers out there.
Doctor Who (BBC America, series 8 started August 23, 2014)
Before everyone hurts me, just let me say I’ve seen at least one episode of the show. Though I haven’t starting watching it since, Doctor Who is certainly quite the phenomenon, no matter which side of the pond you’re on. Peter Capaldi has taken over as the Doctor, after Matt Smith’s long run with the character, so it’s probably not a bad jumping on point (one day I might join you Whovians…one day).
Falling Skies (TNT, season 4 ended August 31, 2014. Final season summer 2015)
The little alien invasion show that could, Falling Skies has had an identity crisis as of late, which is probably why we’re heading into the final season next year. The story of the Masons and the 2nd Massachusetts has come a long way, but not always for the better. The series’ take on aliens has been somewhat fresh: malevolent and lanky Espheni overlords (who can communicate on a ‘shadowplane’), who attacked Earth and began harnessing our children to be their slaves (which has now been replaced by a Nazi Youth camp-type storyline), the Espheni’s spider/lizard Skitter underlings, and the so-far helpful Volm (see picture). It’s got that going for it, at least. The 4th season ending gives our survivors the chance to finally go on the offensive, though we might be introduced to a new species (or a evolution of one) for the final season. Tune in to find out if the ever resourceful Masons continue to represent humanity and win the war next year.
The Flash (CW, premieres October 7, 2014)[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj0l7iGKh8g&w=525&h=295]
After the success of Arrow, and the backdoor pilot for The Flash deemed a go, it’s not too surprising to see this show on the air. While it doesn’t look to be as dark as Arrow, as someone who runs really fast doesn’t lend himself well to quiet brooding, it’s humor and brighter tone look to be a winning combination. If you like your DC heroes wrapped up in CW levels of drama, this one is a sure hit for you.
Game of Thrones (HBO, season 5 airs spring 2015)
What is there to say that hasn’t already been said about this gigantic fantasy series? Besides the recent revelation that the show has free reign to deviate from the books, you’ll be tuning in no matter what spoilers you might hear out there on the internet. It looks like some of the characters might be getting a break this season, but that’s expected as some storylines have gotten further than the books and as the show expands to Dorne with new characters. The show, and it’s character driven story, are just too hard to pull away from once you’re under its spell. Plus, there’s dragons. Who doesn’t love dragons?
Gotham (FOX, premieres September 22, 2014)
A series set in Batman’s hometown and it won’t star Batman? It might sound crazy at first, but making it a series that functions as a origin story for James Gordon, the commissioner we all know and love, and Batman’s rogue gallery’s origins as well, makes for an appetizing concept. Check out the four part video preview to understand the world of Gotham more, even though I’m sure many of us already know Gotham very well in one way or another. Plus, after Netflix bought the exclusive streaming rights to the series before it aired (never been done before) that extra cash will likely ensure at least a second season.
Halo: Nightfall (Xbox, November 11, 2014) and Halo the series (Showtime, late 2015)
Nightfall is a ‘feature’ set to premier with the release of the Master Chief Collection for Xbox One consoles in November. Executive produced by Ridley Scott, Nightfall uncovers background for a key character in the upcoming shooter’s next game, Halo 5: Guardians. The other series, appearing on Showtime, will have Steven Spielberg’s name attached as executive producer, but outside of that we have no idea what it’ll be about. For those who can’t get enough Halo, and still feel bitter about not getting a movie, things are finally looking up.
Hannibal (NBC, season 3 airs spring 2015)
This is a prime example of letting a show loose, allowing it go where it wants to, no matter the body count, blood, or grisly crime scenes. Hannibal might not be pulling in the viewers, but it really should due to the excellent performances across the board and slow-burn style which pays off in big dividends. The season two finale is one of the more shocking ones in recent TV history, and the show runners look like they’ll be having fun with viewer expectations, especially if you’ve read the books. Let this show take a bite out of your time next year.
iZombie (CW, premieres 2015)
Based off a comic series of the same name, iZombie follows a recently undead girl, Olivia “Liv” Moore, just trying to live a normal life balancing love, life, school, and family as she works at a coroner’s office, satiating her hunger for human brains on those already dead. The brain’s Liv consumes give her their memories and she sets out to solve the crimes committed against them. Sure, it might sound a little like Veronica Mars (same producer) as a zombie, but who doesn’t want to see that?
Killjoys (Syfy, premieres 2015)
An original series about a group of bounty hunters doing their job the best they can out in the Quad, “a distant system on the brink of a bloody, multiplanetary class war,” Killjoys sure sounds hard to pass up. With the producers from the excellent Orphan Black and the creator of Lost Girl (Michelle Lovretta) behind it, plus leads in Hannah John-Kamen, Aaron Ashmore (Warehouse 13), and Luke Macfarlane, all this still needs is an appearance from Nathan Fillion and we’re golden.
Be sure to check out Part Two (L-Z) for the rest!
(Please Note: The focus of these guides is live-action sci-fi, fantasy, comics/books/graphic novels adaptations, not animation. One year I might work on that)