New to TV – Fall 2013 (The Seventh and Final Part… For Now)

It’s that time of year again… the fall television schedule is here!  And as always, the networks have a lineup of many new programs to accompany our returning favorites.

Some of the series have promise, while others may flop—but, regardless, we’ll tune in to check them out!

In today’s seventh and final part (for now), we’re mixing it up with comedy, mystery, fantasy, and a few supernatural dramas…

*****

Reign

The CW Summary: A young Mary Stuart, whose life was spent in the concealment of a monastery, finds herself thrown into a world of seduction and deception following her consignment to live with the dashing Prince Francis of France, who she has been promised to marry.

Mary Stuart (Adelaide Kane, Cora from Teen Wolf), the woman the world would later know as Mary, Queen of Scots, is sent to France with her four friends to formalize her arranged marriage to the French prince, Francis (Toby Regbo).  As with most arranged engagements of the time, it has nothing to do with love, but instead politics and secret agendas.  As one would expect, the prince doesn’t want to get married, especially when he has another lady with whom he is in love… but that’s not to say there’s not an attraction between he and Mary.

And let’s not forget about Francis’ half-brother, Bash (Torrance Coombs, Heartland), who also develops feelings for Mary…. something the queen is well aware of and not very happy about.

But despite it all, Mary readies herself to rule the land.

The new series also stars: Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables) as Queen Catherine; Alan Van Sprang (The Tudors and the Living Dead films) as King Henry II; Rossif Sutherland (Kiefer’s younger brother) as Nostradamus; and Anna Popplewell, Caitlin Stasey, Celina Sinden, and Jenessa Grant as Mary’s ladies-in-waiting.

Reign premieres Thursday, October 17th on the CW.

*****

Ravenswood

ABC Family Summary: Tormented by a deadly curse lingering for generations in a small Pennsylvania town, five strangers search for its origins to put it to an end. 

I’ve made no secret of the fact about how much I love Pretty Little Liars… and now, I *kinda* have a second hour of PLL to watch every week.  How’s that?  Because Ravenswood is a Pretty Little Liars spinoff!

For those of us who watch PLL, we’ve seen a sneak peek into the town of Ravenswood.  And I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can’t wait to see why the entire town gathers at the statue when the bells ring.  Creepy!

But with the spinoff comes the sad realization that Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) is leaving Rosewood for Ravenswood.  Does this mean he and Hanna are breaking up?  Who knows…?

Joining Caleb are four strangers: Miranda, played by Nicole Anderson from Beauty and the Beast; Remy, played by Britne Oldford from American Horror Story: Asylum; Luke, played by Brett Dier from The L.A. Complex; and Olivia, played by Merritt Patterson from Kyle XY.  Together they must dig into the town’s past to uncover its secrets.

Ravenswood premieres Tuesday, October 22nd on ABC Family.

*****

Dracula

NBC Summary: In late 19th century London, a man named Dracula arrives, bringing promises of illuminating the night with the new technology of electricity, a useful tool in his plan to take revenge upon those who had cursed him with immortality centuries earlier. 

Dracula… where our love for vampires truly begins.  Or at least it did for me.

The premise for the new series reminds me of ABC’s Revenge… with bite.  Dracula, also known as Alexander Grayson (see, Grayson… another Revenge similarity), moves to London under the false pretense of bringing modern science applications to the city, but instead plans to seek revenge against all those who wronged him before… centuries before.

And it wouldn’t be Dracula without love, right?  Much like the love story in the ‘90s version of Dark Shadows, Dracula will encounter a woman who inexplicably looks like his dead wife and he falls in love with her all over again.

Oh, and did I mention Alexander/Dracula is played by the sexy Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors)?

The series also stars a few other familiar British and Irish actors: Katie McGrath (Merlin), Nonso Anozie (Game of Thrones), and Victoria Smurfit (Trial & Retribution).

Dracula premieres Friday, October 25th on NBC.

*****

Almost Human

FOX Summary: In a world where police officers are partnered with androids, Detective John Kennex, a scarred cop battling PTSD, partners with Dorian, a discontinued droid with unexplained emotions. 

Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban from The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the new Star Trek films) spent two years in a coma and he’s now trying to get back on the police force…with his new, futuristic prosthetic leg.

Every officer is assigned an android, or synthetic.  Detective Kennex’s “partner” is Dorian (Michael Ealy from FlashForward and Common Law), a synthetic who wants to be as human as possible.

The new Fox crime drama promises to be different from all the other police procedurals out there.  Each episode deals with a theme or question it is tacking… in a glimpse of what our future might hold.

The series also stars: Lili Taylor (Mystic Pizza, Say Anything, Ransom, The Haunting, etc) as Captain Maldonado; Mackenzie Crook (The Office, Game of Thrones) as Rudy Lom, a technician for the synthetics; Michael Irby (The Unit) as Richard Paul, a detective who’s not thrilled to see Kennex back on the force; and Minka Kelly (Charlie’s Angels and The Roommate) as Valerie Stahl, a human intelligence analyst for the police.

Almost Human premieres Monday, November 4th on FOX.

*****

Enlisted

FOX Summary: An army-set single-camera comedy about three brothers reconnecting with one another.

Pete Hill (Geoff Stults from Seventh Heaven, Happy Town, and The Finder) is the oldest of three brothers.  He also happens to be a super soldier.  But when he messes up, he is assigned a group of misfit soldiers as his punishment—a group that includes his brothers, Randy (Parker Young from Suburgatory) and Derrick (Veronica Mars and Private Practice).

Randy is in love with the Army, while Derrick is jaded with the military and his family.  But these three brothers love each other… they just may not get along all the time.

The comedy also stars Keith David (There’s Something About Mary, the Riddick films, Barbershop, and many other feature films) and Angelique Cabral.

Enlisted premieres Tuesday, November 8th on FOX.

*****

If I had to rank these in order of which one I’m most looking forward to, I’d put Ravenswood at number one.  That was a no brainer.  I mean, c’mon.  You knew I would rank it first… right?  Considering how much I love Pretty Little Liars and YA mysteries…  Dracula follows at number two.  I have been waiting for this series for what feels like forever!  Finally, NBC has decided to give it to us.  Almost Human falls in at number three.  I’m usually not HUGE on sci-fi type shows, but I do love police procedurals, plus I could stare at Michael Ealy’s eyes for hours.  Fourth goes to Reign.  If the recent years have proven anything, it’s that I LOVE the CW’s programs, even though they target a teen audience.  This means Enlisted comes in last.  But don’t let the placement fool anyone; I’m looking forward to this comedy.  I’m glad FOX is giving Geoff Stults another series!

What do you think?  Will you tune in to watch any of these new shows?  Which one most interests you?  I’d love to hear from you!

Successful Motion Picture Film Ideas Move to Television – Genius or Lazy?

In my lifetime, I’ve witnessed many popular TV programs move to the Hollywood big screen.  Just off the top of my head, I think of the Transformer movies, the Star Trek movies, the Brady Bunch movies, the Mission Impossible movies, and the Charlie’s Angels movies.  Heck, there have even been a few great stand-alones, including Starsky and Hutch, The Fugitive, and The Untouchables.

So why be surprised that several successful motion picture film ideas are moving to television?  I’m not.

It takes very little to pique my interest when a new pilot premieres on television; I’ll watch pretty much anything.  But there are a few things that instantly attract me to a new show: the concept, the actors and actresses, and the attention to detail, particularly the music and dialog.

Today, let’s talk about the concept behind a few of the upcoming 2013 releases… TV premieres that also happen to have been successful motion picture films at one time or another.

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In Bates Motel, we revisit the Alfred Hitchcock favorite… only this time we’ll see how it all began with a young Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Spiderwick Chronicles ) and his very-much-alive mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga from Safe House and Orphan).

The series also stars a few familiar faces from the horror genre: Max Thieriot (House at the End of the Street), Keegan Connor Tracy (Final Destination 2), and Mike Vogel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)… as well as few from recent television mysteries: Nestor Carbonell (Ringer) and Richard Harmon (The Killing).

Bates Motel premieres on A&E on Monday, March 18th.

*****

Dracula… where our love for vampires truly begins.  Or at least it did for me.

The premise for the new series reminds me of ABC’s Revenge… with bite.  Dracula, also known as Allen Grayson (see, Grayson… another Revenge similarity) as far as his life and business are concerned, moves to London under the false pretense of bringing modern science applications to the city, but instead plans to seek revenge against all those who wronged him before… centuries before.

And it wouldn’t be Dracula without love, right?  Much like the love story in the ‘90s version of Dark Shadows, Dracula will encounter a woman who inexplicably looks like his dead wife and he falls in love with her all over again.

Oh, and did I mention Allen/Dracula is played by the sexy Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors)?

The series also stars a few other familiar British and Irish actors: Katie McGrath (Merlin), Nonso Anozie (Game of Thrones), and Victoria Smurfit (Trial & Retribution).

Dracula is scheduled to premiere on NBC this fall.  Production should start soon if it hasn’t already…

*****

One of the most fascinating and chilling characters in literary and cinematic history is coming to TV—Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

Only this time, audiences will get to experience more of Special Agent Will Graham’s (Hugh Dancy from Blood & Chocolate) hunt for a serial killer and his collaboration with a top psychiatrist (Lecter, played by Mads Mikkelsen from The Hunt) as he builds his criminal profile.

I personally loved the character of Will from the film adaptation of Thomas Harris’s novel, Red Dragon.  But then again, I adore Edward Norton.   I hope to like Mr. Dancy just as much…

The series also stars: Caroline Dhavernas (Off the Map) and Lara Jean Chorostecki (Camelot)… and a few other familiar faces in recurring roles: Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix trilogy and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation), Gina Torres (Firefly and Suits), Scott Thompson (Kids in the Hall), Ellen Greene (Pushing Daisies), and Gillian Anderson (The X-Files).

Hannibal is scheduled to premiere on NBC at some point this year.  Hopefully *crosses fingers*.  We’ll just have to wait and see…

*****

There’s no available image for the upcoming TV series since it’s still in the early developmental stages… so let’s remember Axel…

We finally have the next installment of our favorite Detroit cop taking over Beverly Hills… only this time we’ll see a true continuation of the film series.

Instead of Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy), television viewers will watch his son Aaron (Brandon T. Jackson, Tropic Thunder and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightening Thief) as he works the streets of Beverly Hills, following in his father’s footsteps as a cop, while also trying to escape his father’s shadow and be his own man.

And now envision Mr. Brandon T. Jackson as Axel’s son…

Murphy will serve as executive producer along with Shawn Ryan (co-creator The Shield and producer of The Unit) AND also guest star in a recurring role as the character he made famous in the ’80s.

Production is still in the very early stages of this project; however, it has been announced that Kevin Pollak (Shark) has joined the cast… as has David Denman (The Office), who is rumored to star in a role similar to the one Judge Reinhold played in the film series.

Rumor has it that all five major networks made a play on this series with CBS winning out.  And considering the casting is still underway, we’ll have to wait a while for this one to hit the telly.  But won’t it be exciting when it finally does?

*****

So, there we have it.  Four upcoming projects undoubtedly brought to us because of the successes of their predecessors, whether it is literature or film.  But are these projects truly genius… or just lazy? Are we losing a bit of our creativity where television and film are concerned anymore?  It seems more and more remakes and/or continuations of very popular movies and/or earlier TV series are in high demand…

Like I said earlier, I plan to watch all of these new series.  It doesn’t take a lot for me to check out a new TV program, and I especially enjoyed the books and flicks these projects are following, but I can’t help but think we’re failing in the originality category here lately.

What do you think?  Are these new TV adaptations pure genius?  Or just lazy?  Which one are you most looking forward to and why?  I’d love to hear from you! 

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