There’s been a splurge of new shows this year – some much anticipated (Agents of SHIELD, anyone?) some seem to have slipped quietly under the radar. So what should you be setting your Sky Plus for? Here’s my highly subjective list of hits and misses…
I gave up on the Vampire Diaries a while back – there really is only so long you can sustain a love triangle without it getting ridiculous, and TVD reached that point some time ago, and not even Damon’s snarky eye rolling was enough to keep me watching. So will relocating the original vampire family to New Orleans and freeing them from the constraints of the high school, small town trappings reinvigorate the mythology? So far, the jury is out. The characters have all undergone somewhat of a personality shift – necessarily so, perhaps, in moving from the bad guys in one show to the protagonists in another – but there are some clever ideas in play, and the show has the potential to be dark and sexy. Not sure about the whole miracle baby storyline, though…
Agents of SHIELD
I can’t recall ever being this excited about a new show and I’m obviously not the only one, and so the first few episodes coasted somewhat on viewer goodwill, but dropping ratings illustrate there’s only so long that can work before you actually need to deliver the goods. The fact is, as it stands, this just isn’t a great show: generic, forgettable characters (Coulson and May aside), monster of the week plots and the glaring realisation that for a crack team of operatives, Coulson’s gang… aren’t actually very good. I’m not jumping ship just yet – my love of Coulson and the Marvel Universe is keeping me on board for now – but it really needs an injection of the Whedon-fuelled Avengers magic that we were hoping for to make this a must-see.
If vampires are really over, someone in TV land didn’t get the memo, and one of the other new fang-based shows this season is this fresh take on the most famous undead of all, Dracula himself. It’s early days in the UK so hard to tell how well having Dracula turn himself into a 19th century American businessman will work, but Jonathan Rhys Meyers brings a pleasing amount of crazy to the role, and it definitely has potential. And if you get bored, the show is a veritable ‘who’s that guy?’ fest for Brits, seeing as it’s packed with stalwarts of UK TV shows past.
This show got a lot of pre-publicity for being unusual in daring to have a woman of colour as one of the main protagonists (sad that this is actually news, still, but there you go) but while it is refreshing in its casting (and Nicole Beharie is great, bringing a real emotional heft to the role), there’s much more going for it than that. The supernatural storylines are dark and interesting, and there’s a huge amount of fun to be had with Tom Mison’s fish-out-of-water Icabod Crane, and his chemistry with Beharie’s smart, no nonsense policewoman is a joy. Possibly the breakout hit of the season for me.
I’m a little bored of both the trend for anti-heroes (I don’t want to side with the bad guy, anymore, thanks) and the willingness of US TV shows to endorse the idea that, to be effective, law enforcement must be happy to employ torture and flagrantly disregard the rights of anyone it even suspects to be guilty (seriously, I blame 24) but despite this show liberally utilising both tropes, it’s massively enjoyable, mostly due to slickly villainous James Spader. Once you’ve got over the fact that this once most beautiful of men is now old, bald and fat, he’s utterly compelling as the criminal mastermind who has decided, for murky reasons of his own, to open his little black book to the FBI. Definitely worth checking out.
What are your thoughts? Any great new shows I’m missing?