By this time next week I’ll have watched the final ever episodes of two of my favourite TV shows of recent times. So I’ve been looking at the US networks’ recently-announced 2010-2011 line-ups for something that might be able to replace 24 and Lost.
There aren’t really any direct equivalents, that’s for sure. And there have been some big-name casualties, with much-touted Flash Forward and the initially-popular Heroes both cancelled. But there are a few that might well be worth a look. I’ve picked three that I’m particularly interested in, with two from NBC and one from Fox:
‘THE EVENT’ — “The Event” is an emotional, high-octane conspiracy thriller that follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter, “The Class”), an Everyman who investigates the mysterious disappearance of his fiancée, Leila (Sarah Roemer, “Disturbia”), and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history. Sean’s quest will send ripples through the lives of an eclectic band of strangers, including: newly elected U.S. President Martinez (Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, “Dirty Sexy Money”); Sophia (Emmy Award nominee Laura Innes, “ER”), who is the leader of a mysterious group of detainees; and Sean’s shadowy father-in-law (Scott Patterson, “Gilmore Girls”). Their futures are on a collision course in a global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind. Ian Anthony Dale (“Daybreak”) and Emmy winner Željko Ivanek (“Damages”) also star in the ensemble drama. “The Event” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Steve Stark Productions. Stark (“Medium,” “Facing Kate”) serves as executive producer, Nick Wauters (“The 4400,” “Eureka”) is creator/co-executive producer and Jeffrey Reiner (“Friday Night Lights,” “Trauma”) is the director/executive producer; Evan Katz (“24″) also is an executive producer. http://www.nbc.com/the-event/
‘UNDERCOVERS’ – Acclaimed writer/producer/director J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek,” “Fringe,” “Lost,” “Alias”) serves as co-writer, executive producer – and also directs – his first direction of a TV series pilot since “Lost” in “Undercovers” with executive producer/writer Josh Reims (“Brothers and Sisters”). “Undercovers” is a sexy, fun, action-packed spy drama that proves once and for all that marriage is still the world’s most dangerous partnership. Outwardly, Steven Bloom (Boris Kodjoe, “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion,” “Soul Food,” “Resident Evil: Afterlife”) and his wife, Samantha (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, “Doctor Who,” “Bonekickers”), are a typical married couple who own a small catering company in Los Angeles and are helped by Samantha’s easily frazzled younger sister, Lizzy (Jessica Parker Kennedy, “Smallville”). Secretly, the duo were two of the CIA’s best spies until they fell in love on the job five years ago and retired. When fellow spy and friend Nash (Carter MacIntyre, “American Heiress”) goes missing while on the trail of a Russian arms dealer, the Blooms are reinstated by boss Carlton Shaw (Gerald McRaney, “Deadwood”) to locate and rescue Nash. The pair is thrust back into the world of espionage as they follow leads that span the globe — and Steven and Samantha realize that this supercharged, undercover lifestyle provides the excitement and romance that their marriage has been missing. Also starring is Ben Schwartz (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”). “Undercovers” is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television. The pilot was written by J.J. Abrams & Josh Reims and directed by Abrams. Abrams, Reims and Bryan Burk (“Fringe,” “Lost, “Alias”) are the executive producers. http://www.nbc.com/undercovers/
From executive producers Steven Spielberg, Peter Chernin, Brannon Braga (24, “Star Trek: Enterprise”) and David Fury (“Lost,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) comes an epic family adventure 85 million years in the making. TERRA NOVA follows an ordinary family embarking on an incredible journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a massive experiment to save the human race. In the year 2149 the world is dying. The planet is overdeveloped, overcrowded and overpolluted. With the majority of plant and animal life extinct, devotion to science has brought mankind to the brink of destruction, but has also provided its only hope for salvation. Knowing there is no way to reverse the damage to the planet, a coalition of scientists has managed to open up a fracture in the space-time continuum, creating a portal to prehistoric Earth. This doorway leads to an amazing world, one that allows for a last-ditch effort to save the human race…possibly changing the future by correcting the mistakes of the past. The series centers on the Shannon family as they join the tenth pilgrimage of settlers to TERRA NOVA, the first colony of humans in this second chance for civilization. JIM SHANNON, a devoted father with a checkered past, guides his family through this new land of limitless beauty, mystery and terror. Jim’s wife, ELISABETH SHANNON, is a trauma surgeon chosen through a global lottery as a new addition to Terra Nova’s medical team. JOSH SHANNON is their son, mourning the girl he left behind, as he’s torn between two role models – his father and the charismatic COMMANDER FRANK TAYLOR, the leader of the settlement, and the heroic first pioneer through the time portal. MADDY SHANNON, Jim and Elizabeth’s teen daughter, is as independent and adventurous as her parents, but her distrust of authority soon leads her on a dangerous path. In addition to blue skies, rolling rivers and lush vegetation, TERRA NOVA offers new opportunities and fresh beginnings to its recent arrivals, but the Shannons have brought with them a familial secret that may threaten their citizenship in this utopia. Additionally these adventurers soon discover that this healthy, cptfc vibrant world is not as idyllic as it initially appears. The areas surrounding Terra Nova are filled with dangerous dinosaurs, and other prehistoric threats, as well as external forces that may be intent on destroying this new world before it begins. But perhaps even more threatening than what lies outside the protective walls is the Shannons’ realization that something sinister may be happening inside TERRA NOVA as not everyone on this mission has the same intentions of how best to save mankind.
PRODUCTION COMPANIES: 20th Century Fox Television, DreamWorks Television, Kapital Entertainment, Chernin Entertainment
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Steven Spielberg, Peter Chernin, Craig Silverstein, Kelly Marcel, Brannon Braga, David Fury, Aaron Kaplan, Katherine Pope, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank
The Event makes it in thanks to a tremendously exciting trailer (click the link in the blurb above) that promises thrills and plenty of intrigue. As JJ Abrams’ first TV directing gig since Lost’s pilot, Undercovers has a pedigree that’s hard to ignore. Then there’s Spielberg’s Terra Nova, which not only has the involvement of the bearded one himself but David Fury, who almost certainly deserves credit for his part in 24’s recent upturn.
Elsewhere, Fox and ABC appear to have similar cop shows in Ride-Along, the latest drama from The Shield’s Shawn Ryan, and Detroit 1-8-7, both offering a documentary-style approach to the police procedural. ABC’s No Ordinary Family sounds like a live-action take on The Incredibles, and NBC’s Outlaw is an interesting legal drama with a great cast, with Jimmy Smits making a welcome starring role.
There’s plenty of more light-hearted material too, but I’m looking for at least one long-running drama to fill the sizeable gap left by Lost and 24. Fingers crossed one or more of the above will manage the plug that hole.