TV

New Fall TV 2013 Previews

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A celebration of science fiction.  With the success and staying power of shows like “Person of Interest,” “Arrow” and “Revolution” (debuted at Comic-Con in years past), TV creators are going geek with a bunch of new shows with a sci-fi bend this fall. I attended this year’s Comic-Con’s pilot previews and caught a few gems.

MV5BMjExNTY0ODgyNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjA1MjE1OQ@@._V1_SY317_CR165,0,214,317_“Almost Human” (FOX).Starring: Karl Urban, Michael Ealy

In the future, law enforcement teams up with androids to help maintain law and order.  A detective returns to work after a leave of absence; he was ambushed and his team killed on assignment a couple of years ago.

First the human detective is assigned a robot partner, whom he humorously disposes. Then finds himself partnered with a synthetic, a human-like android. Not only he’s not 100% functional physically, he has to accept that synthetics (and robots) are now fully integrated into the police force, and he has to learn to trust and work with his synthetic partner. There’s good buddy humor, where he’s trying to communicate with a non-human partner built with a human-like, emotional response. On a personal level, there’s also the mystery of his girlfriend suspiciously gone missing. He soon realizes that there are major advantages of working with a synthetic. Synthetics possess computer-like ability, which is proven to be useful during interrogation. Together they successfully solve a crime against cops.

Produced by the prolific J.J. Abrams, this high-concept procedural, action-packed show has a lot of potential.

***

“The Hundred” (CW).Starring: Henry Ian Cusick, Eliza Taylor

Post-nuclear war, surviving humans live in space stations. 97 years in the future, the lawMV5BMTk5MzE0MzU2NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjc5NzI1OQ@@._V1_SY317_CR175,0,214,317_ enforcer ships 100 juvenile delinquents, expendable and monitored via electronic bracelets, back to earth. To avoid overpopulation, any crime committed by an adult age 18 and over is punishable by death. They’re sent to earth to test the air and survive the wild.It’s also a social experiment; a new civilization with no rules. Cliques emerge, with those who want to remove their monitoring bracelets and go off on their own, and those who want to follow through with their mission and hopefully bring their families down to earth. The first scene on earth is a breath of fresh air. Green forest, water streams and sunlight give new hopes, although danger lurks. It’s alive and a contrast of colors with the cold, grayish-bluish shade up in space.

While the concept is intriguing, the story would have been better executed with adults.  The drama is better in space with adults.  There’s a crime, cover-up and near execution.  On earth, cheesy scenes abound.  Teenagers fit into the stereotypes; the jock, the tough chick, the nerd, the followers, and so on.  Whether or not this show could last remains to be seen.

***

“Sleepy Hollow” (CW).Starring: Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie

MV5BMTA1OTk3ODI2MDNeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDEyNTIxNTk@._V1_SY317_CR116,0,214,317_The scene opens in 1776, where the protagonist beheads a soldier, a horseman in the woods.  He falls down unconscious and wakes up in our time, nearly getting struck by passing vehicles in the village of Sleepy Hollow.  An officer sees a headless horseman killing his partner and pursuing the 18th century man.  The man is linked to the killing and imprisoned.  He claims he was a spy and worked under George Washington during the revolution.  There are fish-out-of-water scenes between him and the female cop, considering events that have taken place over a couple hundreds years, like modern inventions, civil war and civil rights.  While the cop remains skeptical, she has seen something mystical as a child, and now seeing proofs that there’s truth to his story, she begins to side with him.  They team up to solve a mystery that involves four headless horsemen of the apocalypse, demons, a witch and a bible. 

This is the one show that I had no interest in and didn’t think could work.  But it does.  Director Len Wiseman and writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci create a pilot that defies logic.  It’s hard to describe, but somehow all the elements, supernatural, mystery, fantasy, adventure, hauntingly work, creating an suspenseful show that blows past any pre-conceived notions.

***

MV5BMjEyMDA4NjY0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDgzNDIxMDE@._V1_SX214_MV5BMTM4Nzc4MDQ3OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTYzMTAwMDE@._V1_SY317_CR12,0,214,317_While I didn’t get to see the pilots of two shows in particular that I’m looking forward to, “The Tomorrow People” (CW; starring Robbie Amell, Amanda Clarke) and Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” (ABC; starring Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen), put these on your must-see list if you’re a sci-fi fan.  “The Tomorrow People” reminds me of “Heroes.”  Several young people with special powers, such as teleportation and telepathy, band together to defeat dark forces.  Director Joss Whedon parlays the popularity of the billion-dollar movie, “The Avengers” into “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”  S.H.I.E.L.D. stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.  The division is headed by Agent Coulson, who’s last seen dead in the movie.  Unlike their superhero counterparts, this is a story about ordinary people, albeit with exceptional abilities, who undertake extraordinary missions to protect the world. 

***

The most exciting TV season is around the corner…  to all TV fans out there, happy watching!

Copyright (c) 2013. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, film columnist and travel/lifestyle writer.  She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com.  Nathalia owns a movie blog, The MovieMaven (http://sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: http://twitter.com/the_moviemaven

"Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven (sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com."

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