Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Monday, September 02, 2013

Flipping through the fantasy options for fall TV

Happy Labor Day,folks,and with the start of the fall season comes a fresh crop of TV programming. Our focus for today is on a handful of debuting shows that all share a fantastical theme with plot lines straight out of classic scare fests, a well known children's tale and comic book lore. Let's take a look and if all that glimmers is really gold:

SLEEPY HOLLOW: The legend of the Headless Horseman gets a modern day upgrade,as this Fox series has Ichabod Crane(Tom Mison) as a secret agent for George Washington who seems to die on duty but is revived in present day Sleepy Hollow.

Also returning from the beyond with him is the horseman,who may have been summoned by an occult group seeking to bring about the end of the world(don't they always?). Crane teams up with newly appointed sheriff Abbie(Nicole Beharie) and also gets a little assistance from the ghost of his wife Katrina(Katia Winter). Granted, Tim Burton has covered this territory on film before,with Johnny Depp being his usual odd as a cod self, but that was strictly a period piece and this clash of cultures concept might work for the short term.

How long they can keep this going should be interesting to see and it doesn't hurt that Mison is pretty easy on the eyes(hey, I'm not made of stone,okay?). At the very least, the pilot might be worth checking out:

DRACULA: Another easy on the eyes actor,Jonathan Rhys Meyers, stars here as the iconic vampire king who arrives in Victorian London under the guise of an American business man.

His main objective is to take revenge on those who betrayed him in the past but while doing so,is falling in love with a woman who may be the reincarnation of his dead wife(quite an old Drac trope to haul out of storage there!).

This series is being touted as a "limited run"(only ten episodes were given the go-ahead) and it does look like a hefty chunk of change was invested in this production. Rhys Meyers had both the talent and the looks to pull this off but it's going to take a solid set of scripts to see if Dracula is ready to rise from the tomb yet again:

ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND: This spin-off to the surprisingly successful Once Upon a Time has it's heroine in a mental asylum in Victorian London, where her tales of living in another world are
not believed by the staff.

Alice(Sophie Lowe) is offered a "cure" for her woe,particularly her heartbreak over losing the the love of her life,a genie named Cyrus(Peter Gadiot). Before she is able to go through with it, the appearance of the Knave of Hearts and the White Rabbit opens a door back to Wonderland where her true love may still be alive.

While I'm not into OUAT and much of this story reminds me of Zack Snyder's ill conceived Sucker Punch, this might appeal strongly to Alice in Wonderland fans(which are legion) as well as the regular fan base for the original show. Wait and see sounds like the right approach for this one:

AGENTS OF S.H.E.I.L.D.: Marvel has decided to return to television with Joss Whedon on deck to bring this action packed series to small screen life.

 While most of the crew from The Avengers movie will not be directly part of this show,other than Agent Phil Coulson(Clark Gregg) and Maria Hill(Cobie Smulders), there will be references made to them as well as other superhuman characters being introduced. Most of the focus is intended on the very regular human agents trying to save the world from the forces of evil in any form.

High hopes are on this one,especially with Whedon on board and bringing a few friends with him such as J. August Richards(who played Gunn on the Buffy spin-off Angel) as a newly emerged superhero and Ron Glass(an alum from Firefly).

Others will follow,no doubt and since Whedon hasn't really worked before with ABC since his days as a staff writer on Roseanne,there are no burnt bridges to be rebuilt here,unlike at Fox. Plus, having the considerable weight of Marvel on your side may be a great help in flexing any creative muscle needed. I will give this a shot and cross my fingers for it to last-I resisted watching Dollhouse because I didn't want to fall in love with another doomed Whedon series but AOS sounds like it's worth the risk:

Well,we will soon see which of these flights of fancy can truly spread it's wings and fly. Besides, fan boys and girls need something new to argue about,now that the big summer movie season is over:


Thaddeus said...

I have to say that I'm less excited for this season than I was for prior ones. Part of it is down to having lost steam for some shows I liked - The Vampire Diaries, mainly. The other part comes from starting to get interested in other shows that I missed too much of to catch up on - Elementary and Person of Interest, namely.

Also, two other series had season finales which put me off a bit - Grimm, Haven - while another one flagged in quality and was also cancelled (Nikita).

I think based on the premise - which is like Life on Mars and that show with Jason Isaacs - Sleepy Hollow will be a hard sell unless the early reviews are very solid. I haven't seen Once Upon, so the spinoff means nothing to me. Agents of Shield, though, is a lock.

Wow, to be honest, I can only think of one series whose return I eagerly await...

Great write-up!

lady t said...

Thanks,Thaddeus-I'm a Vampire Diaries fan,too and willing to see what they do with the spin-off The Originals(despite finding Klaus to be a total tool).

I also watch Elementary and you can catch up easily online,I think(not too complicated and I love what they did with Moriarty). Do agree that Sleepy Hollow will be the show with the toughest row to hoe but who knows, it might surprise us all:)

Thaddeus said...

Oh, if you don't mind my admitting this: I ignored this show until early into the third season. I gave it a shot and was blown away by this horror show, its insane, fun story, and how incredibly well this ludicrous premise was executed.

The Klaus stuff left me disinterested. I felt the more he was used, it got... kind of exhausting and unrewarding. Part of it is that I'd rather he be an unstoppable juggernaut in the background of these various small mystic town goings-on - maybe appear as the big bad 2 finales ahead, then the show moves.

So the other part is that he's an unstoppable juggernaut and virtually all he does is whine. Even his hybrid plan thing seems silly. "Why need an army, you're just 1 pair of laser eyes short of being superman!"