A friend was asking me yesterday what new TV series I was looking forward to. I didn't really have a great answer. I haven't been paying close attention, in large part because I tend not to watch new shows until a few weeks into the season. That's because I don't want to start enjoying a show, only to have it cancelled so soon. Alas, these days networks do have the itchy trigger fingers, so since there's a lot of fall-out early on I figure the Few Week Rule keeps things safe. And if you then want to, you can catch up with the earlier shows On Demand or online.
But a few series have creeped through my Maginot Interest Line.
Probably the one that intrigues me most is The Blacklist, It seems to have an interesting premise, as long as they don't get bogged down too much in being overly bleak and too repetitive. I have no reason to think they will, just that it looks like the kind of show that can be wonderful, or go off the tracks. But mainly, I'm interested because it looks like an amazingly perfect role for James Spader.
(I had reason to interview him several years back, when I was doing publicity. I had to write a presskit for a film he was starring in, Jack's Back, a Jack the Ripper-type story. It was just a phone interview, but what I most remember is that for a guy who so often plays characters who are creepy, off-beat, weird and deeply anti-social, he was an absolutely charming joy.)
I also have good wishes for the new Michael J. Fox Show. He's been so wonderful in guest-starring roles in recent years, here's hoping they found a premise that's perfect for him that will be watchable each week. The few promos I've seen give it that possibility, but it's too hard to tell. But I'm really pulling for it.
I also hope the Robin Williams show, The Crazy Ones, is inventive and something than can be built on for the long haul. Plus it looks like too Sarah Michelle Gellar in it, and a good role compared to her odd comeback series. My fear is that it looks like it can easily get sucked into leaden and dated. If they rely on just trying to be "zany" each week, I don't think it will last. But if they have the confidence to really develop the characters and the situation, then Williams's natural talents can blend into it wonderfully. We'll see which direction they go.
Though I don't suspect I'd watch much, I have reasonable expectation for Sean Saves the World. Sean Hayes is a richly talented performer, loaded with charm. I know next to nothing about the show other than that, and its title, and a billboard I passed by. But the three miniscule things together give it a good starting point.
To be clear, none of this is an aspersion against any of the other new TV shows coming along. As I said, I just try not to pay close attention until a fallout a few weeks in. But that's just me.
By the way, back here I noted my profound reticence about the series, Hostages. I hold to those opinions, though I've subsequently heard two things. One, as noted here by reader Douglass Abramson, that this isn't a full, ongoing series, but a limited one of just 15 episodes. That's encouraging, though still strikes me as potentially too long. But the other thing came from a friend far more "in the know" about such things than me. He said that "there is a twist that hooks you beyond what you're expecting." If that's so -- and the series goes off into a different direction -- and if they get to that twist while there are still viewers, then Hostages might have an interesting life.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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