TV premieres bring promising pilots, returning favorites

Just like with cinema, fall marks a fresh time for television. The turning of the calendar from August to September represents perhaps the biggest time of year for networks: premiere season, the three or four weeks when familiar favorites return with new episodes or when networks take a gamble on premiering new series. This year’s slate of fall TV premieres features a seemingly strong slate of new shoes as well as some highly anticipated returns. Here’s the five fall premieres I’m looking forward to the most.

(Photo courtesy of NBC)

(Photo courtesy of NBC)

5. “Constantine” Premieres Friday, Oct. 24, on NBC

John Constantine has always been one of the most fascinating characters in the DC Comics Universe. Having been featured on the comic series “Hellblazer,” “Constantine” is a seasoned demon hunter and expert of all things occult. The show follows him after he gives up being in the business due to his failure to save a young girl’s soul from Hell. After an angel informs him that the balance between good and evil is off, Constantine is thrust back into the world of the occult. Matt Ryan (“Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior”) plays the titular character and, from the short teasers I’ve seen, has absolutely nailed the performance, portraying the perfect “who gives a damn” attitude needed for the character. Additionally, he looks so much like the character does in the comics, it’s actually a bit frightening. To be successful, the show will have to find a way to prevent itself from getting too silly. Hopefully it does so and reminds the world that John Constantine is actually a really awesome character and will give him a storyline he’s worthy of, unlike the unbearably awful Keanu Reeves film.

(Photo Courtesy of HBO)

(Photo Courtesy of HBO)

4. “Boardwalk Empire” Returns Sunday, Sept. 7 on HBO

Although I missed most of last season, “Boardwalk Empire” has long been one of my favorite shows on HBO’s slate of current hits. Steve Buscemi’s run as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson has more than proven that the character actor, who is usually thought of for playing scrappy supporting characters, is more than capable of sinking his teeth into a meaty leading role. I believe his work on the show will go down as some of the best in his career. HBO announced that the upcoming season will be the last of the prohibition era mobster show, and with the tagline “No One Goes Quietly” it would seem that tumultuous times are ahead for Nucky. Here’s hoping that the show wraps up in a satisfying manner and that my personal favorite character Nelson van Alden (portrayed by the always excellent Michael Shannon) sees more screen time. Shannon’s schedule has been packed as of late, but hopefully he found time to give to the show’s insane former government agent.

 

(Photo Courtesy of Fox)

(Photo Courtesy of Fox)

3. “Gracepoint” Premieres Thursday, Oct. 2 on Fox

While perhaps not a traditional series, “Gracepoint” is a 10-part mystery event that boasts an intriguing premise and a promising cast. Former “Doctor Who” star David Tennant and recent Emmy winner Anna Gunn star as a pair of cops investigating the death of a young boy in a quiet, seaside California town. Nick Nolte, Michael Peña (“End of Watch”) and Jacki Weaver (“Silver Linings Playbook”) also star. It’s hard to predict what the show will hold as Fox is holding their cards close to their chest, revealing the bare minimum in the teasers, but the premise and cast make the show one to look out for.

(Photo Courtesy of Fox)

(Photo Courtesy of Fox)

2. “Gotham” Premieres Monday, Sept. 22 on Fox

One of the most hyped shows of the fall TV season, “Gotham” certainly seems promising. The show puts a new spin on the origin of the infamous city that Bruce Wayne calls home, showing James Gordon’s rise through the ranks of the Gotham Police Department. Ben McKenzie (“Southland”) plays Gordon in an exceptional casting decision. Jada Pinkett-Smith stars as Fish Mooney, a Gotham Gang Boss. Classic villains such as The Riddler, The Penguin and Cat Woman’s origins will also be explored. While everything revealed thus far makes the show appear promising, the idea of rewriting some of the most well known origins in comic book history do give some pause. We’ll see how things go when the show premiers later this month.

(Photo Courtesy of AMC)

(Photo Courtesy of AMC)

1. “The Walking Dead” Returns Sunday, Oct. 12 on AMC

I’ll flat out say it: “The Walking Dead” is my favorite show on TV. The characters are dynamic, the performances are extraordinary, the writing is amazing, and the show is the perfect blend of action and horror. Last season’s cliff-hanger finale left viewers on the edge of their seat, and I can’t wait to see what happens to Rick Grimes and the rest of the group at Terminus. All signs point to this season being violent, dark and brutal. As a fan of the show, I wouldn’t have it any other way. “The Walking Dead” is one of the few shows (in fact I think it may actually be the only show) to make me cry over a character being killed off. With that said, and with a show where nobody is safe, I’m nervous for the season to begin, so Oct. 12 can’t get here fast enough.

 

Reach the reporter at seweinst@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @S_Weinstein95

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