Over the past two weeks, theTVaddict.com’s Senior West Coast Correspondent extraordinaire Tiffany Vogt has the unenviable task* of covering the summer portion of the bi-annual 2013 Television Critics Association Press Tour. Which means, when she isn’t busy hobnobbing at an endless array of cocktail parties and pressing the flesh with some of your favorite (and what the networks and studios certainly hope are soon-to-be-favorite) shows, she’s busy “working.” Case in point, this just filed report direct from the ballroom at the beautiful Beverly Hilton Hotel [Editor’s Note: It’s tough work, but somebody’s gotta do it!] See for yourself, after the jump.
Make no “bones” about it (all puns intended), Fox knows how to take chances on ground-breaking genre shows. This Fall it launches two new extraordinary series: SLEEPY HOLLOW and ALMOST HUMAN. Both are highly appealing, full of adrenaline-pumping excitement, mystery, and fantastic character chemistry. SLEEPY HOLLOW makes its grand debut on Monday, September 16th at 9:00 p.m. following Fox’s hit series BONES. Then ALMOST HUMAN will take the BONES timeslot in early November as BONES shuffles into its new timeslot Friday nights. SLEEPY HOLLOW comes from the “Star Trek” minds of Orci/Kurtzman as they seek to modernize the classic tale of Ichabod Crane by bringing him into today’s world along with the seemingly indestructible headless horseman. With hints of the supernatural, occult, Biblical themes, and man crossing through time in search of his cursed beloved, SLEEPY HOLLOW is a dazzling adventure. It also co-stars the very appealing and likable cast of Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, and Orlando Jones. Then ALMOST HUMAN comes also from “Star Trek’s” JJ Abrams and FRINGE’s J.H. Wyman. It is a futuristic buddy-cop tale of a man and an android who team up to solve crimes and perhaps a bigger mystery or two. With the fun casting of Karl Urban (who played the character “Bones” in Trek) along with Michael Ealy, the chemistry between the two is hilarious and captivating. Because their characters live 35 years in the future, humanoid androids are an accepted part of society; yet just because one walks and talks like a human, does not make them human. There is an undercurrent of tension, suspicion and even jealousy between the two paired detectives as they learn to work together on crimes. Kudos to Fox for taking a chance on these fun shows and allowing viewers the chance to discover such magnificently envisioned worlds.
THE MINDY PROJECT
Another shout-out to Fox for staunchly standing behind its successful comedy series from the hilarious Mindy Kaling. Overshadowed a bit by the lackluster season for comedies as a whole last year, everyone seemed to overlook the one sure-fire hit that broke out. Anyone familiar with Mindy Kaling knows that her comedic voice is undeniably worthy of attention. First to admit that she needed to make her character more likable as “unlikable” characters tend to turn off audiences, Kaling strove to help make her character a woman that everyone could identify with and would want to spend time with. The end result was a show that pulled in viewers of all ages from all walks of life. Everyone wanted to see what Mindy would do as the rom-com addicted Mindy Lahiri in THE MINDY PROJECT. Invited to the set to peek behind the curtain of the show, press were tickled to find a few spoilerish items right in plain sight. There were balloons and a cake celebrating an occasion that the show’s producers hope the press will keep under wraps ’til the new season debuts. Suffice it to say, fans are going to enjoy the surprise. A few delicacies we can share were the custom-made fortune cookies provided that offered such bits of wisdom as: “You sound pretty, like you lost weight,” “Catch you on the slime,” and “Your warrior name is Beyonce Pad Thai.” With such sharp, fun humor to look forward to and perhaps another funny adventure as Mindy tries to live out her Jane Austen/rom-com fantasies, Season 2 of THE MINDY PROJECT returns on Tuesday, September 17th.
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Coming off a high from last season where CBS scored the enviable Number One position in both viewers and the coveted 18-34 year old demograph, CBS is playing it safe launching the new drama series HOSTAGES this Fall. Starring Toni Collete, Dylan McDermott and Tate Donovan, the series microscopically examines the life of one family held as hostages while terrorists try to assassinate the U.S. President. The drama takes place over a 2-week period and examines each of the characters secrets and exploitable flaws as they try to outwit one another to prevent a national tragedy. HOSTAGES is a finely-tuned mystery that will have viewers on the edge of their seats as they try to guess what is really going on. Then also returning for its fifth season is CBS’s stellar drama THE GOOD WIFE. Play to its strengths, the show explores how Alicia Florrick will extricate herself from her current firm Lockhart Gardner and make the leap to the new firm with her co-conspirator Cary Agos, and continue to dance the fine line of attraction with her boss Will Gardner and her duty as a wife to the new state governor. Alicia’s world has never been more treacherous and tricky to navigate — and we cannot wait to see how it all plays out! THE GOOD WIFE returns on September 29th and HOSTAGES premieres September 23rd.
Coming back for its 3rd season, the scorching hot series HOMELAND is still a force to be reckoned with. Having swept the Emmys last year, it stands poised to do so again this year. Daring to end its second season with a literal bang as the show blew up a good portion of the CIA building and a number of its characters in the process, HOMELAND returns with vengeance on everyone’s mind — or better yet, with the question: where’s Brody? The most hated/hunted man in the world at the beginning of the 3rd season, suspicions and tensions are high amongst the survivors. Carrie’s unorthodox relationship with Brody is in the spotlight and Brody’s family is left with the unenviable fall-out of being related to a traitor and a terrorist. The show comes back strong and with even more intense issues of honor, loyalty, crime and punishment and whether or not Brody will ever be able to come back alive. HOMELAND in a word is riveting. When it returns on September 30th on Showtime, fans will be glued to there TV sets (assuming the lambasted standoff between CBS/Time Warner has been resolved by then).
If there is anything the CW knows, it is how to cast some of the most attractive and appealing young actors in Hollywood in its shows. Debuting three new sizzling new series this fall, the CW is hoping to lure in a few million viewers to check-out the lush and inviting worlds of REIGN, THE TOMORROW PEOPLE, and THE ORIGINALS. All three series hold enormous appeal and are sure to score well with their intended audiences. REIGN is through and through a delicious historical romance featuring the tale of Mary, Queen of Scots as she travels to France to wed her betrothed, the French Prince. Yet with intrigue, political scandals and perhaps a forbidden romance or two, REIGN seeks to seduce its viewers with a modern feel to the classic tale. Starring Adelaide Kane, Torrance Coombs, and Toby Regbo, these young actors shall woo audiences right through their TV screens. Plus with the use of real castles to backdrop the visually stunning series, viewers shall soon find themselves fully entranced by the REIGN world, which debuts October 17th. Then taking a page from its cousin series ARROW, the new supernatural series THE TOMORROW PEOPLE actually cast ARROW star Stephen Amell’s cousin Robbie Amell to star in the new series. Knowing that two Amells are sure to make a dynamic TV duo, the CW has paired the two shows to air back-to-back Wednesday nights this Fall. Clever! THE TOMORROW PEOPLE explores a world where telepathy, teleportation and telekinesis exist and a groups of special young teens are on the run from a big, bad government agency seeking to exterminate them. Robbie Amell along with castmates Peyton List, Luke Mitchell, Aaron Yoo and Mark Pellegrino offer a fun array of characters that we can cheer for and want to get to know as THE TOMORROW PEOPLe debuts on October 9th. Then fans of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES are already familiar with the new series THE ORIGINALS, which spins off with Klaus, Elijah and their sister Rebekah at the center of a vampire-werewolf-witches world where supernatural beings rule by day and night. Helmed by the core strength of its desirable cast starring Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies and Claire Holt, THE ORIGINALS is certain to lure fans as it debuts on October 10th and then moves into its regular timeslot on October 15th.
The network that holds itself out as offering “fearless” television shows certainly lives up to its name with its latest series THE BRIDGE, as well its rock-solid continuing series SONS OF ANARCHY and AMERICAN HORROR STORY. FX series are not for the faint-of-heart. Yet for those who can withstand drama with a darker edge, FX offers some of the most gripping and addictive shows on television. It’s new summer series THE BRIDGE starring Diane Kruger and Demian Bichir is the tale of boiling tensions both sides of the U.S./Mexico border when a body is discovered, one-half the body of a U.S. white woman and one-half the body of a Mexican girl. As the threads tying the murders together are unraveled, a bigger hot-bed of political issues and criminal oversights is brought to light. But not before many more bodies are found. Serial killer or political activist, the body count piles up and everyone’s lives are caught in the cross-fire. To say that the series is riveting is under-selling it. But it is also not an easy show to watch, so viewer discretion is advised. That’s a warning that could be equally applied to FX’s other core series SONS OF ANARCHY and AMERICAN HORROR STORY. Yet despite their willingness to depict grisly and off-putting subject matter, both remain some of the highest rated and highest regarded dramas on television. Both easily win their timeslots with viewers and being the number one in social media for their respective nights. FX knows what topics and shows will capture the attention of the national zeitgeist; not to mention Emmy voters attention as AMERICAN HORROR STORY swept the Emmy nominations for the 2nd year in a row. SONS OF ANARCHY returns on September 10th with its penultimate 6th season. With an opening episode that will certainly shock, horrify and turn a few stomachs, SONS OF ANARCHY sets the bar high this next season in exploring the underbelly of the harsh world that its SAMCRO anti-heroes live amongst. Then AMERICAN HORROR STORY will attempt to take a more fun tone in exploring the world of witches, covens and all the things that go bump in the night when it returns with its 3rd season in October.
Dipping its toe into the noir world, TNT’s new series LOST ANGELS comes from former WALKING DEAD producer Frank Darabont, who coincidentally cast two former WALKING DEAD co-stars Jon Bernthal and Jeffrey DeMunn in this new drama series. Fleshing out the remarkable cast are co-stars Neal McDonough, Milo Ventimiglia, Robert Knepper, Alexa Davalos, Edward Burns and Jeremy Luke. The show explores the dark tale of the L.A. police force versus the encroaching mobsters of the late 1940’s. Mob warfare has taken a toll and the time has come to eradicate the cancerous criminals ruling the streets. With a rare invitation to the set, press explored the authentic feeling sets of the police precinct and a smoke-filled lounge bar, while chatting briefly with the cast about their new series. Most seemed smitten with the chance to work together and step into the snazzy shoes of such famous characters. But given the camaraderie and general feeling of pride amongst them in the fine work they have been invited to be a part of, TNT’s LOST ANGELS is certain to be a gripping drama that will invoke nostalgia for a bygone era of opulence seeded with violence. Look for LOST ANGEL’s to debut in 2014 on TNT.
Wholeheartedly embracing adventure tales with its two new series BLACK SAILS and OUTLANDER, Starz is looking to draw audiences with larger than life tales of pirates and time-travel back to the time of Scottish warlords. With audiences today looking for television shows to capture their imaginations and take them on grand adventures, Starz’s new series are certain to be a dazzling display of drama, romance, and adventure. Alas, both series are slated to debut in 2014, so there is a bit of a wait for those chomping at the bit to see these new series.
Also catching our attention were the announcement of AMC’s new drama series HALT & CATCH FIRE and TURN. HALT & CATCH FIRE stars Lee Pace (PUSHING DAISIES) and TURN will star Burn Gorman (TORCHWOOD). Without much more than casting to catch our attention, AMC has managed to ensure that we will be impatiently waiting more about both series. After all, this kind of key casting is again to the phrase, “You had me at hello.” But then to add a little more excitement and buzz to each, HALT & CATCH FIRE will focus on the 1980’s tech boom, and TURN will explore the world of the Culper Ring spies in Washington D.C. in 1778. Coming from the network that brought us MAD MEN, BREAKING BAD, HELL ON WHEELS, THE KILLING and THE WALKING DEAD, these two new series are certainly ones to add to your watch list.
Finally, looking to satisfy viewers cravings for wholesome goodness with a touch of romance, the Hallmark Channel debuted its first original scripted series CEDAR COVE this summer and will debut the made-for-television film THE THANKSGIVING HOUSE this Fall. CEDAR COVE stars Andie MacDowell as a small town judge tentatively embarking on a new romance while trying to keep the peace in cases both in and outside of the courtroom. Backdropped against the beautiful and rugged scenery of the Pacific Northwest, CEDAR COVE is a fun family series that has already scored with viewers looking for something charming to watch on Saturday nights. Everyone should also keep an eye out for THE THANKSGIVING HOUSE, which stars Emily Rose of Syfy’s hit series HAVEN. THE THANKSGIVING HOUSE shall air this November on Hallmark Channel.
This summer’s Television Critics Association tour has been a wonderful showcase of many existing, returning and new shows on the television horizon. It is exciting to see what each offers to entice audiences to discover the new shows and keep up with the existing shows. In this era of more and more television shows, it is harder and harder to shift through them all and find out which are worthy of our attention. These were just a few that we chose to highlight and hope that you will take the time to discover them too.
Tiffany Vogt is the Senior West Coast Editor, contributing as a columnist and entertainment reporter to TheTVaddict.com. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).