With September comes not only a break from the crushing heat of the summer months, but also (and more importantly) the beginning of fall TV! Yes, it’s time for old favorites to come back, and new shows to debut. This week’s Roundtable question is simple: What fall TV shows are you looking forward to watching?
Either new or returning shows are fair game here.
Note that, because the Mrs. and I are currently on vacation as you read this, the Roundtable was compiled in advance. Some of these shows may have already premiered in the meantime.
- ‘The Walking Dead‘ – Zombies. On TV. Hellz yeah, I’m there! Is the zombie fad over? Not for me, it’s not. What’s amusing is that I’ve never read the (reportedly excellent) comic book that AMC’s new horror series is based on, and I’m not even particularly a fan of producer/director Frank Darabont. (Nope, not even ‘The Shawshank Redemption‘.) But AMC has pretty much a sterling track record for developing interesting new series so far, and just the prospect of ongoing weekly adventures in the zombie-pocalypse is enough to have me salivating. Bring it on!
- ‘Terriers‘ – FX’s ‘Terriers’ is by far my most anticiapted new show. Take the creator of ‘The Shield’, throw in the engaging and funny Donal Logue, and add Michael Raymond-James from ‘True Blood‘. Then put it on a network known to push boundaries and I’m all in. ‘The Shield’ was appointment viewing for me. (If you haven’t watched it yet, go get the DVDs. I’ll wait.) I’m interested to see where executive producer Shawn Ryan will take us next. The limited previews seem to suggest that this will be somewhat lighter fare (it would be hard to get much darker than ‘The Shield’) but still with a bit of his trademark grit. The lead actors are both likeable, and the small snippets in the previews suggest that they have a good chemistry. It’s always hard to predict what’s going to catch on, but I’m thinking that ‘Terriers’ has the potential to be must-see viewing at our house. AND… I just noticed that the pilot was directed by Craig Brewer of ‘Hustle & Flow‘. I think this show was made specifically for me.
- ‘Bored to Death‘ – I love the fall. The leaves turn color, I get to turn off the A/C and save some cash on the electric bill, and most of my favorite TV shows are on. ‘Bored to Death’ is an HBO comedy starring Jason Schwartzman as the author Jonathan Ames, and featuring both Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson in supporting roles. It’s one of the absolute funniest, smartest and most relatable shows on television. At least, the first season was. Ames is a writer who can’t – or isn’t willing to – write. He wants to do other things, like start his own private detective business, a job for which he is incredibly ill suited. He runs into situations where he’s in over his head and has to try to cope. The show is a little formulaic, but incredibly well done. The initial eight episode run was fantastic, and it even made me like Ted Danson, which is a challenge I didn’t imagine any show would be up to. Will it hold up in Season 2? I certainly hope so.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
- ‘The Venture Bros.‘ – Gotta admit: I’m one of those terrible people who wait for TV shows to wash up on Blu-ray rather than catching ’em as they air. Because of that, I don’t really have much of a “What I’m looking forward to next season!” list. I’m already so behind on favorites like ‘Mad Men‘ and ‘Supernatural‘, and I probably won’t catch any of the shows about to debut until they hit DVD/Blu-ray this time next year. One of the exceptions to that rule is ‘The Venture Bros.’, a series I’m obsessed with enough to slog through in standard-def through my terrible, terrible cable provider, even. I’m not really sure how to condense the brilliance of the show into a few words for those sad, deprived people who’ve never tuned in. I guess annotating this preview of the next stack of episodes might do the job: a character very aptly named Girl Hitler is addressing the U.N.; there’s a riff on G.I. Joe’s Shipwreck who was ousted from one super-secret government agency for violating its don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy and then did the whole born again thing to become Holy Diver; a pint-sized conjoined twin is welding together part of a space station; an embittered, middle-aged Johnny Quest former boy adventurer type is chatting up a sword slinger who exclusively slays Blaculas; a one-time kiddie game show superstar with one eye and a massively oversized head is being seduced by three female assassins; and…yeah, a tarantula-skull-shaped island lair; a gaggle of COBRA knockoffs; a kinda-sorta-recovering pedophile snuggled up in a cot next to an albino game show host…the list rambles on and on from there. ‘The Venture Bros.’ might be the most deliriously hysterical show on the air right now, so tune in or you’re off my Christmas card list or something.
- ‘Conan‘ – Long story short, this has been a crap year. I need some laughs. I always enjoyed Conan O’Brien in college and for eight years after. For a short time last year, I used to put Hulu repeats of ‘The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien’ on the TV while I had lunch. It was the perfect midday break if I had missed the previous night’s airing. Then all hell broke loose in the late-night world, and Conan drew the short straw. Since then, I just haven’t wanted to watch the old, run-of-the-mill late night offerings. They just seem stale. And in the case of a certain former Pat Morita co-star, kind of pathetic. After seeing Conan on his live tour in April, I really started getting excited for his new show to hit the airwaves (or rather, the TBS cable wires). It has been a long wait from January to November 8th, and a lot of difficult water has passed under the bridge since then. Like I said, I could really use some laughs! Thus, Conan is the show I’m most excited to see come November!
- ‘Boardwalk Empire‘ – Remember a few years back when Joss Whedon’s ‘Firefly‘ made waves because its ambitious, movie-length pilot had to be reshot and re-jiggered, to the point that it ended up as the most expensive pilot in television’s history – around $29 million all told? Well, that seems like a pittance compared to the premiere hour of ‘Boardwalk Empire’, which was directed by Martin Scorsese to the tune of $54 million. Everything about this production shouts “Opulence!” (Also: “Tivo me!”) The series was created by ‘Sopranos’ producer Terence Winter from the nonfiction book of the same name by Nelson Johnson. With a cast that includes Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Michael Stuhlbarg (of ‘A Serious Man‘), Michael Shannon, Michael Pitt and my current crush Paz de La Huerta, this is a one-stop shop for the country’s best character actors. It also has the most tantalizing premise of any series this season. It’s set in the heady Prohibition Era days of Atlantic City, New Jersey, with a swirl of both real and fictionalized events. It looks like it could be the ideal middle-ground between the period ballsiness of something like ‘Deadwood‘ or ‘Rome‘ and the wise guy thug-life bravado of ‘The Sopranos‘. Is there anything cooler than Prohibition Era gangsters? Nope. Well, unless one of them is played by Steve Buscemi.
Now tell us which shows you’re eagerly anticipating.