Well, folks, summer 2016 is all but behind us at this point. September is here and that means a great many things like school, the US open, and the return of college football! But more important than those things (oh yes, I’m going there) is the return of fall TV! Yes with every September comes a new crop of TV shows, most of which will be canceled so fast you’re liable to have commitment issues for the rest of your life. So which ones should you watch? Here are five shows who’s trailers, premises, cast, and creative talent impressed me enough to get a spot on my watch list:
1. Designated Survivor (ABC)
This one had me at Kiefer Sutherland. 24 was a show that I greatly enjoyed and a large part of that was because of Sutherland’s portrayal of Counter-Terror Agent Jack Bauer. So from the get-go, Designated Survivor had my attention.
Designated Survivor follows Tom Kirkman (Sutherland) a low-level member of the US Cabinet who after a terror attack wipes out the nation’s leadership, finds himself thrust into the role of President. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Hannah Wells (Maggie Q) sets out to uncover who is behind the attack.
24 this show is not. Sutherland is not playing the confident agent who has the answer to every situation (which was usually a copious amount of bullets). I’m excited to see him in what I hope is a different kind of role for him. The trailer indicates that many of the surviving members of The White House do not believe Kirkman to be up to the task of being President. That sounds like some good drama to me. While I love Maggie Q, I can’t say I’m too drawn to her part yet but I’ll save judgment until I see the pilot. Kiefer Sutherland opened the door for this show, but we’ll have to see if the show itself is good enough to keep around.
Designated Survivor premieres Wednesday, September 21 at 9 p.m on ABC.
2. The Good Place (NBC)
Coming from Mike Schur (creator of Parks and Recreation) and starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, The Good Place tells the story of Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman who suddenly finds herself dead and transported to “The Good Place.” The problem is, Eleanor was a pretty terrible person in real life and believes her placement to be a mistake. So now Eleanor must decide if she’s worthy of “The Good Place” or if she’d rather return to her boring life on earth.
I’m not as into comedy as I am drama but when you combine this creator and those two leads; that is a winning combination right there.
The Good Place premieres Monday, September 19 at 9 p.m. on NBC before moving to its regular Thursday at 7:30 p.m. timeslot on September 24.
3. Timeless (NBC)
Coming from Shawn Ryan (creator of The Shield) and Erik Kripke (creator of Supernatural), Timeless is about a history professor (Abigail Spencer), a soldier (Matt Lanter), and a scientist (Malcolm Barrett) who time up to track down a criminal (Goran Visnjic) who steals a time machine with the intent of changing history.
If that sounds a little crazy to you, that’s because it is. Timeless has one of those crazy high-concept premises that could either sustain the show for an exciting run or crash and burn quickly. The danger with any serialized drama (especially one that will no doubt produce 22 episodes a year) is there not being enough story to sustain the show. But, Kripke and Ryan are such prolific showrunners that I trust in their ability to tell a story. My other red flag with this show is that it will become more invested in the mysteries than the characters but for now, Timeless has my attention.
Timeless premieres Monday, October 3 at 9 p.m. on NBC.
4. Luke Cage (Netflix)
As the third of five planned Marvel shows for Netflix, Luke Cage comes with a great deal of promise attached to it. I loved both Daredevil and Jessica Jones when they premiered and Mike Coulter proved during his time on Jessica Jones that he can carry a show of his own.
Set in Harlem, Luke Cage follows the titular hero as he returns home after his run in the Jessica Jones and attempts to rebuild his life. Naturally, things don’t go quite as planned and Cage is drawn into a battle “for the heart of his city” (that’s from the official logline, I can’t make that sort of thing up). Based on what I’ve seen, Luke Cage certainly promises to continue Netflix’s hot streak when it comes to Marvel properties.
All 13 episodes of Luke Cage are set to premiere September 30 on Netflix.
5. Westworld (HBO)
Now here’s the big one. I’ve been waiting for this show for a very, very long time. From J.J Abrams, Jonah Nolan (Person of Interest), and Lisa Joy and based on the book by Micahel Crichton I think the best way to describe Westworld is with HBO’s own description:
WESTWORLD is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin, exploring a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged.
This show has been in the works for a very long time, having gone through a full stop in production and multiple delays. There’s a lot of hype behind this show and with a cast that includes Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Ed Harris, Jeffery Wright, and freaking Sir Anthony Hopkins, I think you can see why.
On Person of Interest, Jonah Nolan gave us a thoughtful examination of the modern surveillance state and the rise of artificial intelligence. With Westworld, he seems primed to once again delve into the realm of AI but this time from a more human perspective. Westworld promises to look at what it truly means to be human and what we might look like in a world without consequence.
Westworld premieres Sunday, October 2 at 9 p.m on HBO.
Bonus Mid-Season Honorable Mention – 24: Legacy (FOX)
I know, I know. The headline says five shows but there’s one coming up this spring that I just had to mention.
24: Legacy comes to us from the same network and creative team as the original show but this time with a completely new cast. I see this as an attempt to see if the 24 franchise can extend beyond Jack Bauer. If it can promise the same breakneck pace and if the characters are engaging than I’m all aboard!
Set three years after the events of 24: Live Another Day, Legacy follows Army Ranger Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins) who is targeted for assassination after his team successfully eliminates a terrorist leader. Carter then turns to CTU for help in protecting his wife and in turn gets wrapped up in stopping a large-scale terror attack on the US. The cast also features Mirando Otto (a stand out from season 5 of Homeland) and Jimmy Smits as the former head of CTU and her husband (who is running for President) respectively.
We’re a long way away from this one but I’m quite excited for it.
24: Legacy premieres Sunday, February 5, 2017, after Super Bowl 51.
There you have it! Five shows coming your way this fall (plus one at midseason) with a ton of promise! Are you interested in checking one of them out? Let me know in the comments below