Thursday, January 28, 2016

Coming Up: 2016 in television

tv talk

Instep takes a look at some of the most anticipated new (and revived) television series of 2016

Legends of Tomorrow
While DC’s small screen offerings have been far from spectacular, they have still been entertaining enough to attract viewers and build a considerable following, which is why the CW is adding another project to its DC roster this January. Legends of Tomorrow, a spin-off from Arrow and The Flash, brings together some familiar faces from the Arrow-verse – including Firestorm (Victor Garber), The Atom (Brandon Routh), White Canary (Caity Lotz), Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell), and Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) – as time-travelling rogue Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) recruits a team of heroes and villains to help prevent an apocalypse.

Neil Gaiman’s Lucifer gets his own Fox series starting this January. The dark comedy – based on the character that was created for the comic book series The Sandman and then given its own spin-off – follows the adventures of Satan (Tom Ellis), as he abandons Hell and starts helping the LAPD punish criminals. One Million Moms may not be pleased with the premise, but Gaiman fans are still very likely to enjoy this amusing fantasy.

Luke Cage
The partnership between Marvel and Netflix has given us two terrific series so far and that number will hopefully go up to three upon the release of their upcoming offering Luke Cage. The latest addition to the MCU tells the story of its titular superhero, a former convict with superstrength and unbreakable skin who fights crime. Mike Colter – who previously appeared as Cage in last year’s Jessica Jones – reprises the role.

Big Little Lies
Big stars are finding more and more reasons to embrace the small screen, so it is hardly surprising that two Oscar winners will soon be seen in an HBO series. Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon are set to star in the comedy Big Little Lies, which is based on Liane Moriarty’s 2014 book of the same name, and tells the story of a group of moms whose lives begin to unravel.

Aliens are in charge of planet Earth in Colony, Lost co-creator Carlton Cuse’s return to sci-fi which finds the human race coping with an extraterrestrial invasion. The series focuses on a couple, Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Will Bowman (Josh Holloway), and their two children, who must make difficult decisions in order to survive. It’s not the most original idea, but if the show is handled with some competence, Colony could still be worth a watch.

Angie Tribeca
Nancy and Steve Carell have created a new comedy for our viewing pleasure, and we can’t wait to see how it pans out. A (hopefully hilarious) police procedural spoof, the TBS series premieres with a ten episode marathon in mid January, and stars Rashida Jones as the titular Angie Tribeca, a detective with the LAPD’s Really Heinous Crimes Unit.

American Crime Story
The true crime anthology series American Crime Story brings the murder trial of O. J. Simpson to television for its first season, subtitled The People v. O. J. Simpson, which commences in February on FX. The impressive cast includes Cuba Gooding Jr. as the footballer who was a suspect in the murders of his ex-wife and her friend; Sarah Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark; and John Travolta and David Schwimmer as the defense lawyers Robert Shapiro and Robert Kardashian respectively.

While his latest film is busy decimating box office records around the world, J.J. Abrams has been focusing on producing a number of television projects, including the Cameron Crowe drama Roadies, the action thriller Westworld, and the thriller 11.22.63, all three of which are among the most anticipated releases of the year. We’re particularly looking forward to 11.22.63, which is based on Stephen King’s bestseller about a man (portrayed by James Franco) who travels back in time and attempts to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Everyone who was left disappointed in Comedy Central for not picking Samantha Bee as Jon Stewart’s replacement on The Daily Show will be pleased to know that she has earned her own late-night talk show on TBS. Starting February, the comedienne will be putting her deadpan reporting style to good use on the weekly Full Frontal, using her sharp wit to dissect current issues, and will hopefully be a fresh addition to the all-male late-night environment. Her husband Jason Jones will also be seen on TBS, later in the year, in the comedy The Detour which has been created by the couple.

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders
The success of Criminal Minds led to the creation of the short-lived spin-off Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior in 2011 which wasn’t a success and lasted only one season. The CBS procedural now spawns another spin-off, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, which begins in March and will hopefully fare better than Suspect Behavior. The series will focus on an elite team of FBI agents solving cases regarding American citizens on international soil. The cast is led by Gary Sinise and no longer includes Anna Gunn who has left the project since it was introduced in its parent series last year.

Fuller House
If you want to instantly feel very old, then just think about the fact that it’s been more than 20 years since the sitcom Full House went off air! Now, over two decades after they signed off, the Tanners return in February’s Netflix spin-off Fuller House, which focuses on eldest sister D.J. Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure) trying to raise her three sons with the help of her sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and best friend Kimmy (Andrea Barber). Along with Bure, Sweetin, and Barber – none of whom have made much headway in their acting careers in the intervening decades – all the other principal cast members (except the Olsen twins, of course) will reprise their roles. Netflix has been doing well with its original series, and its solid track record gives us hope that it will be fun to revisit the cheesy goodness of the popular sitcom.

Prison Break
From its first to fourth season, Prison Break managed to go from gripping to grating. There are only so many prisons you can break into and out of before you lose the plot, but despite the fact that the series had nothing left to work with but conspiracies and hogwash by the end of its run, Fox has still revived the drama for a 10-episode limited series. Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell are reprising their roles, although there is the small matter of Michael Scofield being slightly dead; the writers will have to creatively – or feebly, as the case may be – explain how he is still alive.

The X-Files
After running for nine seasons from 1993 to 2002, Fox’s The X-Files ended with a less-than-satisfying wrap-up, and even a follow-up movie wasn’t as exciting as fans would have hoped. Now the supernatural drama returns for a six-episode miniseries this January to take us down memory lane and hopefully leave us with a better resolution. Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) return to try and find the truth, which is hopefully still out there. We want to believe that it will be worth a watch.

Also on our radar: an attorney (Paul Giamatti) goes after a hedge fund king (Damian Lewis) in Billions; a clown (Zach Galifianakis) struggles to keep his dream alive in Baskets; a man embraces a controversial faith in The Path; a criminal (Giovanni Ribisi) steals another man’s identity in Bryan Cranston’s brainchild Sneaky Pete; a young man attends a college of magic in The Magicians; Vinyl looks at the music industry in the ‘70s; Lewis and Clark tells the story of the American explorers; fantasy drama The Shannara Chronicles; and the War & Peace mini-series.

- By Sameen Amer

Instep Today, The News - 28th January, 2016 *

No comments: