Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fall 2016 Preview: Westworld, Black Mirror, and Luke Cage are Some of the Shows Worth Checking Out This Fall

With over forty shows on the Fall 2016 schedule, that’s a full-time job if you want to keep up with all of them. I don’t believe too many of us have that much extra time for TV watching, so I will point out what I believe are some of the best bets from the upcoming crop of shows. I will be checking in on the ones below and a few others here and there as the season progresses. Note that this is just covering the shows that will be debuting in the Fall months and I will cover the mid-season entries at a later time.  And feel free to chime in with your own suggestions in the comments section.

(Links are to the show pages on our partner site where you can get more information as well as season to date ratings results and status updates once they are airing.)

Westworld (HBO) – Imagine this: a reboot that actually makes sense and that will work well on its network because it will have the freedom to explore its adult themes. Plus, it has a killer cast. Everything I have been hearing about this one is good so far and I’m definitely pumped for its debut.

The Man in the High Castle (Amazon) – This was an excellently crafted alternate history tale in its first season that emphasized all of the strengths of the Phillip K. Dick book and threw out most of the weaknesses. I’m a little concerned that Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) stepped back as the showrunner because I credit him for the high quality in the show’s first year. But he is still onboard as executive producer, so hopefully his influence will continue to be a strong guiding force. If you haven’t seen the first season yet, you should binge that one now before the second year gets started.

Black Mirror (Netflix) – Finally, a true anthology series is back on television! This show killed it over in Britain with its first two seasons and the same creative team has carried over to the Netflix version. This one is near the top of my must-watch list for the Fall.

Luke Cage (Netflix) – Netflix has done a hell of a job with the first two entries in its Defenders series (Daredevil and Jessica Jones) and the early previews of Luke Cage look quite promising. Expect another Marvel hit for the streaming service with this series.

Channel Zero (Syfy) – While this show veers away from Syfy’s return to science fiction, it looks truly creepy and could turn into a decent series if it doesn’t lose itself in the weirdness-overload that has made American Horror Story such a mess. It’s definitely worth a look.

Timeless (NBC) – I have no idea why time travel became the trendy theme for new genre shows this year, but this one at least sounds interesting. And the early previews for it look pretty good. Eric Kripke’s last sci fi show for NBC (Revolution) failed to live up its promise, but maybe he will get it right the second time around.

Agents of SHIELD (ABC) – The quality of this show has been wildly uneven through its three season run, but it is going through yet another reboot of sorts and looks to be bringing in more characters from the Marvel stable starting with Ghost Rider. It should be worth a look to see if it finally gets things right in its fourth year.

The Flash (CW) – The CW superhero shows have been frustratingly rife with soap opera side-stories as well as copy-and-paste dialog and scenes. But The Flash was the most fun of the lot last season (even if it has delivered some downright bad episodes from time to time). Plus, it is bringing in the “Flashpoint” storyline from the comics that will shake things up a bit in the Arrow-verse, so it should be worth seeing what they do with that.

The Librarians (TNT) – I’m not going to tell you this is a great series, but it has been a ton of fun through its first two seasons. With all the dark and grim sci fi we have these days, it’s nice when a show doesn’t take itself too seriously and just sets out to give us a fun adventure with sci fi & fantasy elements. Consider this a good guilty pleasure show (and I want Bruce Campbell back as Santa).

Ash vs. Evil Dead (Starz) – And speaking of Mr. Campbell, he was definitely having plenty of scenery chewing fun with AvED in its first season and expect that to continue into its second year. If you were not a fan of the Evil Dead movies, this may not be your thing. But if you like some good cheesy blood and guts and plenty of one-liners, be sure to tune in.

The Walking Dead (AMC) – Yeah, we will get to see the battle between Rick’s people and Negan as well as the introduction of the Empire in Season 7 of this show. The world is definitely getting bigger for TWD and opens up plenty of story possibilities. But AMC did some really unforgivable tinkering with the show last season and that has me very wary going into the current year. Still this one has delivered a high level of quality more often than not and it definitely counts as an important genre entry.  But perhaps I will wait and binge this one after the season is done, spoilers be damned.

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