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2013/14 TV Preview
By Bert Ehrmann
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Fort Wayne Reader
There's nothing new about sci-fi and horror series on network TV. But for every hit series like Star Trek, Lost or The X-Files there are three forgettable ones like Space Rangers, Threshold and Strange World. However, with the success of cable series like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones and the COLOSSAL success of movies like The Avengers, regardless of the probability of success the networks are set to roll out at least TEN new sci-fi-superhero-horror-fantasy series next season.
Debuting Mondays starting September 16 is Sleepy Hollow and later on November 4 Almost Human, both on Fox. In Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) falls asleep in the 1700s and awakens in 2013 ready to do battle with monsters and ghouls while in Almost Human, it's the year 2048 and cops are partnered up with robots. Why? Because that's apparently a thing in the future. John Kennex (Karl Urban) doesn't get along with his robot-partners until he meets robot-cop outcast Dorian (Michael Ealy) in which he finds a plastic pal. Oddly enough, Almost Human is not the first future cop teams up with robot TV series, that distinction goes to the dreadful 1992 series Mann & Machine.
Tuesdays starting September 24 is Marvel Agents of SHIELD on ABC. This series takes the covert, behind the scenes spooks of the Marvel movies and brings them to network TV. Here, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) returns from the dead (he was killed-off in the movies) in order to investigate the weird and wacky goings on in the rest of the Marvel universe. Think The X-Files meets The Avengers and that seems to be what ABC is going for here. Honestly, the only reason I'm excited by this show is that it's being produced by Joss Whedon who wrote and directed The Avengers and created the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly as well.
Also on Tuesdays starting October 15 on CW is The Vampire Diaries spin-off series The Originals about a family of vampires living in New Orleans. Wednesdays starting October 9 is The Tomorrow People also on CW. Based on a British series of the same name, this one looks like it's going for a "the world just doesn't understand us" X-Men vibe, but with gorgeous-looking CW actors.
The Once Upon a Time spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland debuts Thursdays October 10 on ABC. If Once Upon a Time deals with all sorts of fairy tale characters from Snow White to Rumplestiltskin to Jiminy Cricket, the Wonderland series deals with characters from the Alice in Wonderland stories. TOTALLY different and unique.
Also on Thursdays beginning October 9 is Reign on CW. Reign follows 16th century teen Mary Stuart as she grows into the woman who would eventually become Mary, Queen of Scots. But with gorgeous-looking CW actors.
Just in time for Halloween on Friday, October 25 the series Dracula debuts on NBC. This period piece set in London in the the 19th century stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the title role as the lead blood-sucker. This one seems part Downton Abbey (it's in England around the turn of the century) mixed with Twilight (here, Dracula isn't a bad guy, but a doey-eyed misunderstood vamp who pines for the love of a woman).
In February Intelligence on CBS looks to be a cross between the Six Million Dollar Man, Chuck and The Bourne Identity with a lead character who seems very much to be taken from the mold of Sawyer from Lost. Which is lucky for CBS since Intelligence stars Josh Holloway who played Sawyer in Lost.
I think the main challenge these sci-fi-superhero-horror-fantasy series are going to face next season is that they're entering an already crowded marketplace of shows that are all already kind'a popular like Revolution, Arrow, Grimm, Falling Skies, etc. So if they fail to bring something new to the genre, I can't really see them lasting too long.
If I were the betting kind, I'd place my money on Marvel Agents of SHIELD as being the one series of the bunch above that gets renewed for the 2014-15 season. It's got Marvel clout behind it and some name recognition with Clark Gregg as Coulson too. Heck, I'd watch Gregg read the phone book. Visit me online at DangerousUniverse.com.