Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fall Preview Part 2: What to Watch this Fall and Beyond!

If you thought I already overloaded you to-be-watched list with my last post you ain't seen nothing yet. There are many more shows coming that look promising. While I haven't seen their pilots I have their trailers and I can't wait to watch them. I'm also cheating and adding in shows that aren't set to premiere until early 2016, but I doubt you'll complain once you see how amazing they look. Bring on the trailers!

Quantico (ABC)
Premiere September 27th, 2015

Priyanka Chopra in the leading role of an American tv show? Hell yes! Fans of Bollywood films already know Chopra, who is not only one of the biggest stars in India cinema, but also one of the highest paid actresses. Quantico is a mystery-thriller following a group of FBI recruits going through training, and features an extremely diverse cast of characters that is so damn refreshing to see. Chopra's character, Alex, is at the center of the story. A confident and capable woman, who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it. Considering she will be thrust in to the heart of a dangerous mystery she's going to need every ounce of that her strength and skill to survive. I'm an easy sell for a show like this, and I really hope I'm not the only one who will tuning in to watch. 

Into the Badlands (AMC)
Premiere November 15th, 2015

Loosely based on the 16th century Chinese novel 西 (Journey to the West) this show has the distinct style of a Western with dashes of Steampunk for a flare of fantasy. What sets it apart from both those genres is an Asian man, Daniel Wu, in the leading role. Wu's character, Sunny is a hired sword denied a full life of his own by the laws of this world. And oh what a brutal and beautiful world it is. As a huge fan of fantasy and Hong Kong cinema in particular Into the Badlands looks like it was custom made for my heart. Did I mention Sunny's love interest is played by a black woman? I am so watching this show.

The Shannara Chronicles (MTV)
Premiere January 2016

I'm just so damn excited to see this show. Based on the best selling Terry Brooks novels, this 10 episode series, I believe, is supposed to cover the events of the first book. This is a bold endeavor, especially for MTV which has only just dipped it's toes into producing original content, but based on the Comic Con trailer this might just be the show to give Game of Thrones a run for it's money. Bold claim, I know, but just watch the trailer and tell me it doesn't give you chills. The production value is on par with big budget film franchises, it has a built-in fanbase, and it is far more accessible to a younger audience (MTV's bread and butter). This is my #1 must watch of 2016.

The Magicians (SyFy)
Premiere early 2016

Based on the Lev Grossman novel of the same name, The Magicians is about a group of college students who not only discover magic is real, but that they have abilities. The show is being sold as a Harry Potter meets X-men, for adults. The trailer feels like it has so much more going for it than a cash grab for popular media tropes. Let's hope the SyFy markets it to the right audience, because this looks damn good. Did I mention is Manu Bennett plays Allanon? Yeah, we need this show NOW! 

The Man in the High Castle (Amazon)
Premiere January 15th, 2016

I went to the San Diego Comic Con panel for this show and I have to tell you I'm considering getting Amazon Prime just to watch it. The Man in the High Castle, Based on Phillip K. Dick novel by the same name, is a dystopia set in an alternate universe American where the Allied forces lost World War II. America has be cut into two pieces the East Coast and MidWest are controlled by the Nazis and the West Coast is controlled by Japan. The series follows a diverse cast of characters on both coasts as they live their lives in this altered version of the 1950s. The man, referenced in the title, is a mysterious figure who makes and distributes films of a possible reality of what a free America could look like, that closely resemblers real life history).

Now, I know a lot of people will be very concerned by the potential for mishandling pretty much everything involved in this premise. I mean, considering the loaded history of WWII and current events happening today in America, how can you not be worried? I myself had those same reservations, until I listened to the cast and show creators talk about the show and their intentions to not only address the problematic themes in the show premise but to use it as a vehicle to pointedly comment on contemporary America.

With the exception of a swastika would the 1950s version of the American dream look all that different under Nazi rule? There are very obviously racial implications to a Nazi controlled America that the show will explore. Likewise, on the West Coast we will get to see a more complex exploration of the blending of Japanese and American culture, and see much more racial diversity than in the Eastern part of the country for very obvious reasons. Despite, the very notable "Yellow Menace" imagery in the trailer, there is diversity in cast which includes Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, in what the panel and actor himself says to be a very important and central role.

Alternate history is one of my absolute favorite sci fi/fantasy tropes. I love the potential for commentary on real history and contemporary attitudes. I'm very hopeful The Man in the High Castle will meet or even exceed my expectations. Watch the trailer and see if it gets you excited and intrigued. 

These are just a small sampling of upcoming shows that have me super excited. I hope I've infecting you with my enthusiasm. Please feel free to share you recommendations with me. 


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