Saturday, 1 January 2011

Incoming TV: Winter/Spring 2011

Saturday, 1 January 2011

I've embedded the BBC's preview of shows coming in 2010 above (which includes clips from Doctor Who and Outcasts), and below is a list of UK and US TV shows airing in winter/spring that have my attention. I've indicated the likelihood that I'll be reviewing them every week, but that's really just a gut instinct when it comes to brand new shows I haven't seen yet. Feel free to let me know about any shows you think I've missed here, or what you're excited about yourself.

Bedlam (Living/BBC America) Six-part horror about a mental asylum that's being converted into an apartment block, awakening nasty spirits. Stars former-X Factor winner Will Young. UK TX: 7 February US TX: TBA [LIKELY]

Being Human (BBC3) The third series of the supernatural comedy-drama will likely debut January, with a change of location from Bristol to Wales. There's also last year's cliffhanger to resolve, with ghost Annie having been whisked to the afterlife and requiring rescue from vampire Mitchell and werewolf George. Guest stars this year include Lacey Turner (EastEnders) and Robson Green. UK TX: TBA US TX: TBA [DEFINITE]

Being Human (USA) (Syfy) American remake of the aforementioned UK series, which should be very interesting from a British perspective. The premise should translate just fine, but will the original's balance of horror and comedy remain intact? And, more importantly, will the American actors have the same winning chemistry? This could potentially air at the same time as the BBC version's third series, which may get very confusing! US TX: 17 January UK TX: TBA [LIKELY]

Camelot (Starz) This is a 10-episode retelling of the Arthurian legend, with Jamie Campbell Bower as Arthur, Joseph Fiennes as Merlin and Eva Green as Morgan. It's airing on cable network Starz, so I'm expecting a gritty Spartacus-style take on the usual iconography. Is this the show that will render the BBC's Merlin inert? Or can the two shows co-exist? The showrunner is Chris Chibnall (Torchwood, Law & Order UK). US TX: (25 February preview) 1 April UK TX: TBA [LIKELY]

The Cape (NBC) From the promos, it looks like a farcical mash-up of '60s Batman, Darkman and Heroes. If it's intentionally silly and uproarious fun, that's good. If it's unintentionally silly and plain ridiculous, that's bad. It could go either way, although I'm still predicting camp tosh, but I'll give it a chance. US TX: 9 January UK TX: TBA [POSSIBLE]

The Chicago Code (Fox) Formerly known as Ride-Along, this is the new Chicago-based cop show drama from Shawn Ryan (The Shield), which has a particularly energetic and immersive trailer. Now, the cop show isn't a genre I'm especially drawn to, unless there's something unique about it (a sci-fi twist, a unique lead character, an unexpected tone), but I'll give this show a chance. Sky1 have the UK rights, so I may wait for them to air this. US TX: 7 February UK TX: TBA [UNLIKELY]

Doctor Who (BBC1) The sixth series of the sci-fi adventure is being split into two halves for 2011; episodes 1-7 to air in the spring, and 8-13 in the autumn. Treats to look forward to: a two-part premiere set in America, the return of River Song, an episode written by Neil Gaiman, and an apparently monumental mid-series cliffhanger. The BBC haven't set a return date for the rubber-faced Time Lord, but it's usually around Easter. UK TX: Spring US TX: Spring [DEFINITE]

Episodes (Showtime/BBC2) A US/UK co-production about a British couple (Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig) who travel to the States to get involved with the remake of their highly-regarded British sitcom, but soon realize the American adaptation is a Matt Le Blanc-starring disaster zone. Episodes will be airing the day after its US premiere, so I'll be following the BBC2 broadcast. US TX: 9 January UK TX: 10 January [POSSIBLE]

Game Of Thrones (HBO/Sky Atlantic) Medieval fantasy series based on the books by George R.R Martin. I know next to nothing about the books or, consequently, what this series will entail. But several people have claimed it's essentially a Lord Of The Rings-style epic without the magic. I'll definitely give it a fair crack of the whip, but who knows if I'll review more than the pilot. It could be this year's Pillars Of The Earth for me (a show I enjoy, but don't have enough enthusiasm to write about) Or maybe it'll have me itching to clatter away at my keyboard when the credits roll. We'll see. UK TX: 18 April US TX: 17 April [POSSIBLE]

Glee (E4) The second season of the musical "dramedy" finally gets underway in the UK. I wonder what the ratings will be like, knowing how popular this show is as a download. I've been reviewing Glee at US-pace this season, so my archive can be explored. UK TX: 10 January

The Good Wife (More4) The second season of this legal drama gets its UK premiere. This show was one of my favourites last year, even if I didn't review it, so I'm quietly excited by its return. Julianna Margulies is just fantastic as Alicia Florrick, with tremendous support from the other actors, and a great balance of serialized family drama with legal-case-of-the-week plots. UK TX: 6 January. [UNLIKELY]

The Hour (BBC2) Six-part drama set in 1956 about the launch of a British news programme, from Abi Morgan. Stars Romola Garai, Dominic West & Ben Whishaw. I'm mainly interested in this because the buzz surrounding The Hour is that it's "the UK's version of Mad Men." If it's half as good, I'll be happy. UK TX: TBA. [POSSIBLE]

Justified (FX) I watched the first season last summer when it aired on FiveUSA here in the UK, and found it to be a pleasant experience. It's perhaps the best example of how to balance episodic storytelling with a serialized mytharc, and I've always enjoyed Timothy Olyphant's performances. However, it's not the kind of show I'm naturally drawn to, as I tended to let batches of episodes stack up on my DVR before eventually getting around to them to fill random hours in my week. So, while I will very likely watch season 2 when it crosses the Atlantic, I won't be seeking it out before then, or reviewing it. It's one of those shows I like to watch as a time-filler, but doesn't inspire me to write about it. US TX: 9 February UK TX: TBA. [UNLIKELY]

The Killing (AMC) This is a brand new 13-part series from the cable network, based on the Danish miniseries Forbrydelson, about the investigation into a young girl's murder. Stars Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Michelle Forbes, Brent Sexton & Billy Campbell. While nothing about this premise sounds very unique, my interest stems from the fact it's the latest offering from AMC -- home of Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Rubicon. US TX: March UK TX: TBA [POSSIBLE]

Lights Out (FX) This is a new drama about a boxer on the comeback trail. Rocky Balboa for the smallscreen? Everyone loves a good underdog story, so this has potential, but can it sustain itself past a season? Holt McCallany (CSI Miami) plays the former heavyweight champ, trying to provide for his wife and three daughters in retirement. US TX: TBA UK TX: TBA [POSSIBLE]

Luck (HBO/Sky Atlantic) David Milch's horse racing drama, executive-produced by Michael Mann, starring Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Ian Hart and Michael Gambon. I have zero interest in horse racing, but that's a wonderful gathering of talent, so Luck has got my attention. US TX: January TBC UK TX: TBA [UNLIKELY]

Mildred Pierce (HBO/Sky Atlantic) Kate Winslett headlines this new miniseries, playing a single mother during the Great Depression. Co-stars Evan Rachel Wood, Guy Pearce, Melissa Leo, Hope Davis & Mare Winningham. I will very likely check out the first episode and decide if it's strong enough to review every week, but my gut says I'll probably admire from afar. US/UK: Spring [UNLIKELY]

No Ordinary Family (Watch) The US family superhero drama makes its UK debut. I've been reviewing at the US pace, so you'll have to check out my archive if you plan to follow along. UK TX: 11 January

Outcasts (BBC1/BBC America) After the cancellation of Survivors last year, here comes the BBC's high-concept replacement. The premise is something we've seen before (remember Earth2?), as a group of futuristic astronauts colonize an alien world called Carpathia. Very interested in this, are you? UK: 7 February US TX: Spring (TBC) [LIKELY]

Primeval (ITV1/BBC America) The fourth series of the monster action-adventure series will be reviewed. It'll be interesting to see what the response is here, as American fans will be seeing episodes on the same day. (Note: episode 2 debuts the very next day, 2 January) UK/US TX: 1 January [DEFINITE]

Rubicon (BBC4) I'm assuming AMC's thriller is going to premiere sometime in the spring, but nothing's official right now. I know next to nothing about the plot, but I've heard that the glacial pace is a struggle early on, but that things pickup after episode 4. It was unfortunately cancelled, and I've heard the finale is disappointing, but I'm still prepared to give this a whirl. UK TX: TBA. [POSSIBLE]

The Shadow Line (BBC2) Thriller about a group of diverse people drawn together after the murder of a drug varon by a mysterious puppetmaster. Stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Christopher Eccleston & Sir Antony Sher. This sounds dark and delicious, so I can't wait to taste it. UK/US TX: TBA [POSSIBLE]

Spartacus: Gods Of The Arena (Starz, Sky1) Having been won over by Spartacus: Blood & Sand last summer, I'll be reviewing this six-part prequel at the US pace for 2011. Expect political intrigue, double-crossing, violence, sex, full frontal nudity, beheadings, and blood... lots and lots of blood. US TX: 21 January UK TX: March[DEFINITE]

Touch (BBC3) This is a supernatural comedy from Jack Thorne (Skins, This Is England '86) about a boy called Paul who realizes he can see the dead; which comes in handy when the dead wage war on the living and Armageddon is threatened. UK TX: TBA. [LIKELY]

True Blood (FX) The disappointing third season of this vampire drama finally reaches British shores. You can read my archive of reviews here. UK TX: 14 January

V (ABC, Syfy) Season 2 has already been slashed from 12 episodes to 10, which isn't a great vote of confidence on ABC's part. Hopefully the sci-fi invasion show will hit its stride this year, bolstered by actors from the '80s original (Jane Badler, Marc Singer) to draw in veteran fans, with more action and a more confident tone. Well, that's what they say. US TX: 4 January UK TX: 24 March [POSSIBLE]

Zen (BBC1) Three-part crime mystery drama starring Rufus Sewell as Italian detective Aurelio Zen, based on the novels by Michael Dibdin. I've heard this is very similar to Wallander (in that it's English-language, but filmed abroad), and hopefully Sewell can be as mesmerizing as Kenneth Branagh was in his acclaimed series. UK TX: 2 January US TX: TBA. [POSSIBLE]

In order of confirmed release:

1 January
Primeval (S4, US/UK)

2 January
Zen (UK)

4 January
V (S2, US)

6 January
The Good Wife (S2, UK)

9 January
The Cape (S1, US)
Episodes (S1, US)

10 January
Episodes (S1, UK)
Glee (S2, UK)

11 January
No Ordinary Family (S1, UK)

14 January
True Blood (S3, UK)

17 January
Being Human USA (S1, US)

21 January
Spartacus: Gods Of The Arena (US)

7 February
The Chicago Code (S1, US)

9 February
Justified (S2, US)

1 April
Camelot (S1, US)