After the success of the TV in 2012 roundtable, most everyone wanted to keep chatting about television, so we figured we’d roll it all over and talk about TV’s future in the coming months. This is the predictions roundtable.
Cory Barker: Welcome to 2013 everyone! Let’s kick off the predictions roundtable with a discussion of the new show we expect to be great/surprise/make an impact.
Greg Boyd: The new show I’m looking forward to the most (by far) is The Americans. Why? Well, there are several reasons. For one thing, there’s FX’s extremely solid track record. This is a channel has given us a number of good to great shows over the past few years, and I wouldn’t expect this one to be any different. In addition, it boasts an extremely intriguing premise and a cast that includes Keri Russell and Margo Martindale. Making predictions about new shows is always a risky proposition (I don’t think anyone expected Ben and Kate to become the best new comedy of the fall, or that Smash would wind up being such a major disappointment), but all signs point to this one being a winner.
Emma Fraser: I’m also eager to see The Americans and think it could be a hit, but another show I have high hopes for is The CW’s The Carrie Diaries. It’s probably both a blessing and a curse that it’s coming from well-established material as Carrie Bradshaw is a much beloved character. I think that AnnaSophia Robb is an excellent casting choice in the lead role as she’s proved how charming she is in films such as Bridge to Terabithia (*sob*). Robb might not look exactly like a young SJP, but she can definitely pull off the kinds of clothing choices that we can expect from this fashion forward characters.
Now that Gossip Girl is over (I know we’re all very sad about that) there is an opening for a high school show on The CW and one that ventures to Manhattan is a bonus. The 80s setting will give it that something different from the current batch of teen shows and I think this will shine a positive light on the Sex and the City franchise after the much derided movie outings.
Cameron White: I don’t necessarily have one new show that I’m interested in so much as a few new shows, all on the same network: BBC America. I was mildly surprised when the network decided to go solo, working with Tom Fontana of Oz fame to produce a new original series. But Copper is quite an interesting show, and one that leaves a good mark for the network to follow. The network’s 2013 trailer includes three new upcoming series to watch out for in the new year: Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan, which appears to be a wildlife/nature reality show featuring Charlie Pace of LOST; Orphan Black, which appears to be a sci-fi/supernatural series of some kind; and Ripper Street, a miniseries set in Victorian England six months after the last Jack the Ripper attack that actually aired its first episode on BBC1 in 2012, but which comes to BBC America on January 19th. That’s not even counting the fact that, after several successful specials, the network has finally decided to greenlight a series of The Nerdist, based on Chris Hardwick’s podcast of the same name. Together with the return of Copper, Luther, and Top Gear, plus the new season of Doctor Who (and fingers crossed, some 50th anniversary stuff too!), 2013 is coming up BBC America.
Les Chappell: 2013 does look like a good year for BBC America, but the entity that I’m expecting to break out this year is Netflix. They stuck their toes into the waters of original programming with Lillyhammer last year, and now they’re staking a more serious claim with House of Cards, my pick for most anticipated new show. Netflix outbid both HBO and AMC for this, and based on all indicators the series could do for Netflix what The Sopranos and Mad Men did for its competitors respectively. The trailer makes it look like a hell of a lot of fun, a darker, more adult version of what USA’s Political Animals attempted last year, sure to slake the thirsts of political junkies drained after an election. David Fincher’s delivered some terrific films in recent years, and I have no doubt that with his direction this will be one of the best looking pilots of the year; and I’m incredibly psyched for the return of Kevin Spacey to TV almost 25 years after he came to everyone’s attention as Wiseguy‘s Mel Profitt. (His line in the trailer “We’ll cleave you from the herd, and watch you bleed” gives me chills.) And beyond quality, there’s all sorts of interesting questions this model asks: Does Netflix get a seat at the Emmys now? How is the model of releasing all episodes at once going to work? Are we going to get any indications of how successful this is in comparison to other shows? After a year of promising series that went down early (RIP Luck, Awake and Last Resort) I like knowing we’re going to get 26 episodes of this guaranteed, especially if it’s as good as it seems.
Cameron: Between House of Cards and Arrested Development, there’s a kind of house-building theme in Netflix’s strategy. Maybe their secret plan is to revive Home Improvement.
Andrew Rabin: I’ll be honest. I’m not looking forward to most of the new television shows set to debut in 2013. That’s not to say I won’t be watching House of Cards and The Following and that weird food version of The Voice with Anthony Bordain. But I’m not overly excited. Except for one show. One show I fear will flop.
I like How I Met Your Mother. I know that’s not cool anymore, and it definitely is past its prime, but I still enjoy it. I’m also a straight guy, so I enjoy having Becki Newton on my television. I thought Scott Foley was enjoyable in his arc on Grey’s Anatomy. And T.J. Miller is a fellow GW Alum, so I’m all for that. And so, despite the complete lack of buzz and the episode order cut, I’m highly anticipating The Goodwin Games. When the networks released all those trailers during upfronts, this was the one I found most entertaining. The concept seems fun, and while I’m not thrilled with the direction recent HIMYM has taken, I trust Bays and Thomas more than your average sitcom showrunners to handle long term storytelling. And there’s one other thing- after the past couple years of Bent, Apartment 23, and Happy Endings, I’ve discovered that the sitcoms networks choose to burn off at the end of the season are often the ones I enjoy the most. So while I have no expectations of ratings success (sure A23 and Happy Endings got renewed, but for each of those there is a Best Friends Forever and a Friends with Benefits), I’m looking forward to what we get out of The Goodwin Games.
Wait though: Arrested Development isn’t considered new, right?
Chris Castro: S.H.I.E.L.D., if it premieres this year, of course. It will be interesting to see what happens when a Joss Whedon show is tied to a ridiculously successful franchise and has the full support of a major network. Will it be as risk-taking and thematically rich as his other series? Or will Joss’ involvement on the show be so limited that whoever ends up running the show turns it into nothing more than a low-rent procedural with occasional super-villains? Whatever the case may be, I truly have my hopes up for this show and can’t honestly think of any other new show to get even slightly as excited about.
Well, I mean, besides Girl Meets World.
Wesley Ambrecht: I’m stupid excited for The Carrie Diaries to premiere next week, because I’ve seen the pilot and it’s awesome. Also, I have gigantic crush on AnnaSophia Robb. Still, the new show I’m most excited for is actually Bates Motel. I have affection for both Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin, who have teamed to write and showrun the series. Their work on Lost and Friday Night Lights, respectively, has bought them enough goodwill with me to last a lifetime. Furthermore, because I’ve never seen Psycho, and thus have no connection to established IP, the modern day setting doesn’t bother me in the way it might otherwise. A&E has been careful about parsing out footage from the show, but I’m confident enough in the writing staff and Vera Farmiga to put Bates Motel atop my list.
Mark Waller: I can’t say I’m extremely optimistic that Fox’s new Kevin WIlliamson-helmed- serial killer drama The Following is going to be an awesome show, but I’m truly excited to see what it brings. For one, I’m a sucker for anything Kevin Williamson, from the maudlin-yet-heartstring-pulling theatrics of Dawson’s Creek (although the show actually got better in many ways when he left) to the hyper-verbose and self-aware Scream franchise (even Scream 4, or Scre4m, as they call it, which seems to have been unfairly maligned). And although he certainly deserves credit for co-showrunning The Vampire Diaries, this is his first foray into solo showrunning since the short-lived Hidden Palms. (R.I.P. Hidden Palms, which briefly gave Taylor Handley, aka Oliver from The OC a starring vehicle.) And I’m curious to see how Williamson’s stated his goal of bringing a cable aesthetic to broadcast networks goes (while skewing way more mainstream than Lone Star did). Oh, and it stars a bored-looking Kevin Bacon, perhaps half-heartedly channeling his inner Jack Bauer. It’s entirely possible, given he and wife Kyra Sedgewick had most of their money invested with Bernie Madoff, he is in it for the regular paycheck more than the acting gig. But if he can ham it up the way Kiefer did on 24, all will be right.
On a personal level, my wife & I somehow won a trip to NYC to attend the premiere party in a couple weeks where the entire cast & crew will be mingling with peons like me, which brings my excitement level up another notch, even if I’m not entirely optimistic that the show itself will be good. And yes, that means that all of you are allowed to say you’re One Degree from Kevin Bacon.
Noel Kirkpatrick: Um………..none of them? Like Chris mentioned, the S.H.I.E.L.D. could be interesting, and Les may be onto something as Netflix makes its big headlining splash in original programming with House of Cards and Arrested Development, but I can’t say that I’m really excited about any of the shows that have been announced for 2013 so far, let alone what impact that they might have. Aside from the zeitgeist changing The Jenny McCarthy Show on VH1, I mean.
Cory: I can be anticipating a disaster the most, right? Because there’s nothing I’m looking forward to more than The CW’s Cult. From all the released information, including a glorious four-minute preview, it looks like Cult is doing to be the C-Dub’s answer to Fox’s The Following, only somehow more convoluted, silly, and tone-deaf. No offense to Kevin Williamson and Kevin Bacon, but that’s an accomplishment. The Cult script set on the shelves for years after being discarded at the tail-end of The WB’s existence, only to be resurrected once Mark Pedowitz took control of the flailing network. The good news is that, based on the trailer, the script doesn’t seem to have been updated much. It’s a show about a cult of serial killers, inspired by a TV show about a cult of serial killers and just so you know we’re in 2012/3, people watch the show-within-the-show at bars, as if Twitter, Hulu or the last 10 years of developments in media consumption happened. The cast is intriguing, but I’m not sure Matt Davis’ hair gel can save this. I. cannot. wait.
Mark: They killed Alaric for THIS?! (I can’t wait!)
Kerensa Cadenas: I saw the pilot. And I kind of liked it. But I watched Gossip Girl for its entire run, I probably can’t be trusted.
Andrew Daglas: Shouldn’t you be in some sort of treatment facility? Maybe the twist on Cult is that everyone in the Cult snapped after watching the entire run of Gossip Girl.
Danny Grinberg: As Troy McClure once said, “‘Spinoff!’ Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul?” Apparently not, because I’m choosing to ignore an infamous history of failures like Joey, Three’s a Crowd, and Baywatch Nights and remaining excited about the latest offshoot to try to replicate the magic. It helps that Newsreaders is being spun off from the loopy and absurdist Childrens Hospital. Childrens, which improbably centers on an Anglophone children’s hospital founded by Arthur Childrens in Brazil, skewers medical show tropes and embraces and abandons its bizarre continuity with equal glee. In the third season, Newsreaders, an in-show parody of programs like60 Minutes and Dateline, even mocks the notion that the cast of Childrens could ever successfully spin off. For example, in the episode’s mythology, Dr. Cat Black moves on to the none-too-promising The Ghost Doctorer and Dr. Lola Spratt stars in the bleak Dr. Mole People Doctor.
In what I believe is actual reality, Newsreaders has a somewhat better chance of bucking the odds. It was created by Rob Cordry, David Wain, and Jonathan Stern, the creative team behind Childrens, and is being led by Jim Margolis, formerly of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The show’s fatuous anchor, Louis LaFonda (Mather Zickel) is also reprising his lead role. Based on the first-season trailer, it looks like Newsreaders has attracted fun stars like Lizzy Caplan, Dave Foley, and Thomas Lennon to appear in its fake stories as well. My chief concern is that, while Childrens’ upending of doctor soaps forged new territory, Newsreaders’ satire will have to compete in a field crowded with The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and The Onion News Network. If it does manage to draw from Childrens’ anarchic humor but still establish an original voice, it could become one of the better new shows of 2013.
Andrew R.: Damn. From that intro I really thought someone was excited about getting to still see that Schrute Farm backdoor pilot.
Jamiesen Borak: Getting to see The Farm‘s backdoor pilot is honestly the main reason I still watch The Office.
Eric Thurm: I’m definitely with Noel on this – for the most part, the only new series I’m really excited about is House Of Cards, which just looks like a ton of fun. If I had to pick something else I’m kind of excited for, it’d be The Following, but mostly because I’m fascinated to see what Kevin Williamson does with the relatively serious, un-Kevin Williamson subject matter, and to see how many degrees of Kevin Bacon all of the members of the cast have. Woo serial killers!
Kerensa: Much like Noel and Eric, I’m not really particularly excited for any of the new series premiering. I’ve seen a couple of the pilots which didn’t really help garner much excitement, even for my beloved CW shows. If anything I would say that I’m intrigued by The Americans and Red Widow, Melissa Rosenberg’s new series about a housewife who goes into the family business of organized crime. I’m also vaguely interested in House of Cards, mostly for seeing how this Netflix original series model pans out.
Sabienna Bowman: Does a miniseries count? I’m not terribly excited about any of the upcoming network offerings, but I am already in full fangirl mode over Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake for one reason and one reason only: Peggy Olsen, super cop. Elisabeth Moss is consistently my favorite part of Mad Men, so the fact that she’s getting a showcase all her own has me psyched. (Okay, fine, Campion is a major selling point too.)
Heather McLendon: I’m joining the not-overly-excited crowd — none of the new shows announced for 2013 sound very appealing. If anything, I’m intrigued to see Showtime’s Masters of Sex. While the premise of real-life sex researchers in the 1950s leaves the doorway open for potentially gratuitous material, Showtime has been on a roll lately with its programming (the most recent season of Homeland notwithstanding). It could be interesting and fun to shine a scientific light on a subject that is typically either exploited and exaggerated or ignored on television. Sex scenes? We’ve got those aplenty. Sex research and scientific investigation into sex—such as this one—aren’t as frequent. It’s also an opportunity to showcase a smart female scientist on television (Virginia Johnson played by Lizzy Caplan). We need more depictions of women in the STEM fields on TV.
Les Chappell: Masters of Sex does look like a good time—Kinsey is a personal favorite film of mine, and adding Lizzy Caplan to the field expands my interest. And speaking of Showtime, I know I already offered my choice, but since nobody else has mentioned it I want to add Ray Donovan to the list. It doesn’t look like it’s doing anything extraordinary, but the cast it’s assembled—Liev Schreiber, Paula Malcolmson, Elliot Gould, Jon Voight—and the L.A. aesthetic it’s going for means I’ll absolutely be checking in for a few episodes. (Though as a fixer who can fix anything but his own life, this is setting off every Vocational Irony Narrative alarm there is.)
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