For Rock Paper Watch, the fall premiere season is up there with Christmas. To celebrate our holiday season we are counting down the most exciting new shows. To summarize, it seems that NBC has the most exciting line-up for the fall season. After cancelling most of it’s shows in 2013 to make room for more promising pilots, one would hope they have some killer debuts shows ready for release. After a thorough review of promos and plot summaries, it seems that NBC has finally found its footing following the format established by Parenthood and Hannibal — high quality, plot driven, dramatic shows. Will it work?
CBS has a few interesting shows in the mix, breaking their usual format (see The Crazy Ones and Hostages). ABC is continuing it’s theme of soapy, female-targeted dramas. Surprisingly enough, FOX is expanding on it’s comedies, instead of offering thrillers similar to The Following. The CW is broadening its horizons with a variety of content-driven pilots, no real unifying theme here.
What shows are you most excited about? Are there any missing from our list that you can’t wait to watch?
1. The Crazy Ones (CBS)
Thursday, September 26 at 9pm
A single-camera, half-hour workplace comedy about a father-and-daughter team in the world of advertising. (Oscar winner Robin Williams plays the dad, while Sarah Michelle Gellar is the daughter.) Ally McBeal’s David E. Kelley will write the pilot and executive-produce with Arrested Development’s Dean Lorey and McBeal’s Bill D’Elia. James Wolk, Amanda Setton and Hamish Linklater will also star.
Reasons to Watch – It’s Robin Williams in his first regular TV role since Mork & Mindy. If you need another reason, majority of the show is improvised. Also, I love seeing Sarah Michelle Gellar back and judging by the promo, these two already have amazing chemistry. Did we mention James Wolk? Anything with him and I’m in.
Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s on CBS, which tends to skew older. This means great things for attracting an audience via Robin Williams, but what about the younger crowd? Will it be “crazy” enough to keep their interest? Majority of the promo follows this overly sexual jingle that Kelly Clarkson wants to perform, and it does seem a bit risqué. If they can keep that tongue-in-cheek humor it might work. Also, I’d watch for a glimpse into the advertising world. Bad news, it competes with the powerhouse Grey’s Anatomy and three other shows on our list.
2. Reign (CW)
Thursday, October 17 at 9pm
Watch as a 15-year-old Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) arrives in France, betrothed to Prince Frances (Toby Regbo). She must survive fierce foes, dark forces and a world of sexual intrigue. Outlaw’s Stephanie Sengupta and CSI: Miami’s Laurie McCarthy will write and executive-produce. Celina Sinden, Torrance Coombs, Jenessa Grant, Anna Popplewell,Megan Follows, Rossif Sutherland and Caitlin Stasey will also star.
Reasons to Watch – Going through period-drama withdrawals since the end of The Tudors? Me too.
Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s competing with Grey’s Anatomy, The Crazy Ones, and The Michael J. Fox Show. The good news is that it has a great lead-in with The Vampire Diaries. It’s on the CW, which means a younger audience with little competition. But is the plot too “old” for the viewer?
3. Master of Sex (Showtime)
Sunday, September 29th at 10pm
Michael Sheen and acclaimed actress Lizzy Caplan star in a new drama series that chronicles the unusual lives and romance of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the pioneers of the science of human sexuality. Their research took them from a midwestern teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of Time magazine and nearly a dozen appearances on Johnny Carson’s couch. Created by Michelle Ashford, the series also stars Caitlin Fitzgerald, Nicholas D’Agosto and Teddy Sears. Beau Bridges, Allison Janney and Margo Martindale will recur.
Reasons to Watch – This one is easy. It’s Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen and sex. What more do you really need?
Reasons to be Skeptical – I don’t have any skepticisms. It’s true that some audiences might not have an interest but the show is being recognized for breaking barriers and tackling taboos. I’ll be watching, will you?
4. Dracula (NBC)
Friday, October 25 at 10pm
Inspired by the classic Bram Stoker novel, this drama stars The Tudors’ Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the title role. Based on a script from co-executive producer Cole Haddon, this version finds Dracula in London posing as an American entrepreneur who wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. But his true plan — to seek revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier — is thwarted when her falls hopelessly in love with a woman named Mina (Jessica DeGouw ), who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife. Dracula will be executive-produced by Colin Callender, Tony Krantz (24), Gareth Neame (Downton Abbey) and Anne Mensah.
Reasons to Watch – Remember when we said we missed The Tudors? Well this show brings Jonathan Rhys Meyers back for another period drama, just more fangs and less wives (that we know of). Remember that time he ate the pomegranate in season one of The Tudors? I feel like this show is going to a lot of that and I’m perfectly fine with it.
Reasons to be Skeptical – Friday night death slot, never good.
5. The Originals (CW)
Premieres Thursday, October 3 at 9pm, airs regularly Tuesdays at 8pm
This Vampire Diaries spin-off focuses on the show’s Original Family. Klaus (Joseph Morgan) returns to New Orleans — a town he helped build centuries ago — to reunite with his diabolical former protégéMarcel (Charles Michael Davis). Diaries executive producer Julie Plec will write and executive-produce, alongside Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo. Daniel Gillies, Claire Holt, Phoebe Tonkin, Daniella Pineda, Leah Pipes and Danielle Campbell will also star.
Reasons to Watch – Producer Julie Plec says where Diaries was a coming-of-age story, “this is a show that is not about struggling to be a vampire, it’s about embracing vampirism. It’s about reveling in it. … We’ve graduated high school and went to college, and they’re getting their master’s degree in The Originals.” Oh, and did we mention Klaus? HOT.
Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s a spinoff. However, many show’s have had very successful runs as spinoff’s. Especially in the vampire category. Look at Angel for example, it had 6 successful seasons as a spin off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and continues to have a cult following. We are a bit skeptical about the show taking some of our favorite characters out of play, but that does open up the door for crossover episodes. PLUS Julie Plec has not ruled out the option of a Klaus/Caroline reunion…of sorts. We vote YES.
6. The Blacklist (NBC)
Monday, September 23rd at 10pm
The world’s most wanted criminal (James Spader) mysteriously turns himself in and offers to give up everyone he has ever worked with. His only condition: He will only work with a newly minted FBI agent (Megan Boone) with whom he appears to have no connection. Perfect Stranger‘s Jon Bokenkamp will write and executive-produce with Alias‘ John Eisendrath. Ryan Eggold, Diego Klattenhoff, Harry Lennix and Ilfenesh Hadera will also star.
Reasons to Watch – James Spader. What’s interesting about this show is that it has this Silence of the Lambs Hannibal/Clarice feel without being Hannibal by adding a dash of White Collar, basically it’s a mash-up of really great pop culture with Steff from Pretty in Pink. Really, what more could you want?
Reasons to be Skeptical – Is it too formula? Will it get old fast? With a lead actor like James Spader, can the practically unknown Megan Boone counter his on-screen brilliance? Only time will tell.
7. Hostages (CBS)
Monday, September 23rd at 10pm
Toni Collette plays a surgeon who is recruited to operate on the president (James Naughton), an assignment that propels her family — Tate Donovan, Mateus Ward and Quinn Shephard— into a grand political conspiracy. Dylan McDermott is an FBI agent tasked with helping the family. Based on an Israeli series, the pilot is written and executive-produced by Jeffrey Nachmanoff (The Day After Tomorrow). Jerry Bruckheimer will also executive-produce. Sandrine Holt, Rhys Coiro and Billy Brown will also star.
Reasons to Watch – Political Dramas are hot right now (Scandal, House of Cards) and CBS has some big shoes to fill. Hostages has a stellar cast of Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott, plus with the extra fire power of Jerry Bruckheimer, the series is bound to be a thrill ride. Will she murder the president for her family? What is McDermott’s motive?
Reasons to be Skeptical – Where exactly can this plot go? It seems kind of dead ended, however, it seems like writers can take plot lines anywhere they want nowadays. It wouldn’t hurt our feelings if this show did tank. We do love Dylan McDermott on American Horror Story…(hint, hint).
8. Us & Them (Fox)
A couple’s (Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel) long-distance, budding romance is constantly disrupted by their friends and family in this comedy based on the British series Gavin and Stacey. David Rosen (I Just Want My Pants Back) will write and executive-produce. Dustin Ybarra, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Jane Kaczmarek, Kurt Fuller and Ashlie Atkinson will also star.
Reasons to Watch – There’s nothing more we LOVE than a good RomCom and Jason Ritter. Also, I think we’ve all experience or know someone who’s experienced the pain of online dating, so we are hoping the show will be something people can find relatable. I mean, not everyone can be an an Agent in S.H.E.I.L.D….because thats relatable.
Reasons to be Skeptical – Bledel can kind of come off pretty flat as an actress. Also, chemistry is key to this show. Will they, or will they not have it? Here’s hoping!
9. Marvel’s Agents S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
Tuesday, September 24th at 8pm
Based on Marvel Universe’s fictional and secret law-enforcement agency. Avengers’ Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen will write and executive-produce. Clark Gregg will reprise his Avengers role, joined by Ming-Na, Brett Dalton, Elizabeth Henstridge, Ian De Caestecker and Chloe Bennet.
Reasons to Watch – Did you see The Avengers last summer? Of course you did.
Reasons to be Skeptical – It seems like a cheap ploy to attract a built-in audience. Will it last?
10. The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC)
Thursday, September 26th at 9pm
Michael J. Fox returns to TV as Mike, a former New York news anchor who goes back to work but still manages to find time to drive his wife (Betsy Brandt) and three kids crazy. The show is executive-produced with Fox by Sam Laybourne and Will Gluck and also stars Conor Romero, Juliette Goglia, Jack Gore, Kate Finneran and Wendell Pierce.
Reasons to Watch – In 2009, with Michael J. Fox: Adventures Of An Incurable Optimist Fox erased any cynicism about his ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease by charming the world with his innate likability. Furthermore, the actor has dominated the small screen lately with his guest appearance on The Good Wife. The Michael J. Fox Show promises to make light of Fox’s everyday struggle and hopes to create a dialogue among viewers about optimism when struggling with the effect’s of Parkinson’s. Bring it on Marty McFly.
Reasons to be Skeptical – Against Grey’s Anatomy, it has tough competition for it’s demo. Do you think viewers are ready to watch the side effects of Parkinson’s every Thursday night? Even though it’s a comedy, will it make people uncomfortable?
11. About a Boy (NBC)
After writing a hit song, Will Freeman was granted a life of free time, free love and freedom from ﬁnancial woes. Now he’s single, unemployed and loving it.
So when Marcus (the oddly charming 11-year-old next door neighbor) stops by, Will’s not so sure about being a kid’s new best friend… until Will discovers that women ﬁnd single dads hot. Well, that changes everything. A deal is struck: Marcus will pretend to be Will’s son, and in return Marcus is allowed to chill at Will’s house, playing ping-pong and gorging on steaks – something Marcus’ single, needy (and very vegan) mother would never allow.
Before he realizes it, Will starts to enjoy Marcus’ visits and even ﬁnds himself looking out for the kid. Could it be that maybe there’s something to be said for being a (sort of) responsible adult – at least in a young boy’s eyes?
Starring Minnie Driver (“Good Will Hunting”) and David Walton (“Bent”), based on the best-selling book by Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity,” “An Education”) and written/produced by Jason Katims (“Parenthood,” “Friday Night Lights”) comes a different kind of coming-of-age story. Half-hour comedy (single-camera).
Reasons to Watch – David Walton is fantastic and one of the most underrated actors on tv. I loved the show he did with Amanda Peet a few years back, Bent. It was cancelled before ever really given a chance so I’m hopeful that this show will find its footing with Walton in the lead role. Also, with Jason Katims producing you know its going to tug at your heartstrings.
Reasons to be Skeptical – It hasn’t been given a premiere date yet by NBC. With the right promotional campaign it could go far, I guess it is in NBC’s hands.
12. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
Tuesday, September 17th at 9:30pm
A group of detectives — including Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher,Terry Crews, Joe Lo Truglio and Melissa Fumero — form an odd family in a police precinct in the outermost neighborhood of New York City. Parks and Recreation’s Mike Schur and Dan Goor will write and executive-produce with 30 Rock’s David Miner. Samberg will also produce.Stephanie Beatriz and Chelsea Peretti will also star.
Reasons to Watch – If Andy Samberg in a speedo isn’t enough to watch I don’t know what is.
Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s sharing the night with 3 major Fox comedies, 2 of which are heading into a sophomore and junior seasons with high ratings. If it doesn’t bring the people in with its time slot, it will have the axe in no time.
13. Crisis (NBC)
Washington’s most powerful players, including the president, find themselves blackmailed into an international conspiracy by an unlikely puppeteer. The FBI and a rookie Secret Service agent (Lance Gross) must unravel the mystery. Life’s Rand Ravich will write and executive-produce with Far Shariat. Gillian Anderson, Rachael Taylor, Dermot Mulroney, Max Martini,Michael Beach, James Lafferty, Halston Sage, Max Schneider, Joshua Erenberg and Stevie Lynn Jones will star.
Reasons to Watch – It has a stellar cast! With this kind of line-up, it’s hard not to have high expectations. And as a girl who grew up watching One Tree Hill I love seeing Nathan (James Lafferty) back on the small screen.
Reasons to be Skeptical – Past the initial kidnapping, where can the show go?
14. Dads (Fox)
Tuesday, September 17th at 8pm
From Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, this live-action comedy stars Seth Green and Giovani Ribisi as two successful thirtysomethings who have their lives turned upside down when their fathers (Martin Mull and Peter Riegert) move in with them. Vanessa Lachey, Brenda Song and Tonita Castro also star. Alec Sulkin, Wellesly Wild, Mark Cendrowski will executive-produce alongside MacFarlane.
Reasons to Watch – This needs no convincing. Its Seth McFarland, Seth Green, and Giovani Ribisi. Remember the scene in Ted when Giovani Ribisi is dancing in front of the TV to Tiffany’s, ‘I Think We’re Alone Now?’ How could we forget? A match made in comedic heaven.
Reasons to be Skeptical – Vanessa Lachey?…Unless its a major failure in the plot department I don’t think there are any vices. It has a great time slot around New Girl and The Mindy Project. PS-did you guys see how fab Mindy Kaling looks on this week’s issue of EW?
15. Believe (NBC)
An unlikely relationship develops between a young girl (Johnny Sequoyah) with a gift and a man (Jake McLaughlin) sprung from prison who has been tasked with protecting her from the evildoers who covet her power. Harry Potter’s Alfonso Cuaron and The Forgotten’s Mark Friedman will write and executive-produce with Lost’s J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk. Kyle MacLachlan, Delroy Lindo, Sienna Guillory, Arian Moayed and Jamie Chung will also star.
Reasons to Watch – Critics are raving about how gorgeous the imagery is on this show. It’s not set to premiere until 2014 and is already getting a lot of attention.
Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s a mid-season premiere and the biggest name attached is J.J. Abrams as executive producer. Jake McLaughlin is great, I remember him from a few minor roles but is he strong enough to carry a show?
16. Mind Games (ABC)
From Awake’s creator Kyle Killen, the project is a provocative workplace ensemble about the complicated relationship between two brothers — Steve Zahn and Christian Slater — who head an agency that uses the real science of human motivation and manipulation to solve its clients’ problems. Megalyn Echikunwoke, Gregory Marcel, Wynn Everett and Cedric Sanders will also star. Ron Rifkin will guest-star.
Reasons to Watch – It’s from Awake creator Kyle Killen. Awake was acclaimed for being one of the most innovative pilots in 2012. After watching the promo, the chemistry between Christian Slater and Steve Zahn seems to be incredible. It’s like a twisted version of Scandal.
Reasons to be Skeptical – Christian Slater hasn’t had the best luck with tv shows lately, it doesn’t seem like hopes are high.
All plot summaries were gathered from TV Guide.