This year’s San Diego Comic-Con got me really excited for this upcoming TV season. Last season, I think I added one new show to my watch list, not a lot got me excited, but this season there are some fun shows coming up, with a nice level of diversity that could, of course, get better, but keeps me invested. Let’s take a look at five brand new series that I’m looking forward to this season and one returning show I’m excited to return to.
We’ve already expounded upon the ways in which Luke Cage is gonna be the best and blackest show on Netflix, so we don’t really need to say much more, but it’s, of course, top of my list (if I were ranking these, which I’m not). Don’t forget to block off September 30th and sit down with your bae or some ice cream and watch as Luke Cage takes Harlem by storm.
Powerless is a comedy coming to NBC about the non-supers in a superhero world. It’s very The Incredibles meets The Office if we spent more time with Bob Parr at his insurance company. Vanessa Hudgens stars as an employee at RetCon Insurance (HOW AWESOME is that name??!) who helps people when their house or car is destroyed by an act of God — (“Wonder Woman counts as an act of God right?” “Well technically she’s a demigod. it’s a grey area.”) — or Super. (Yes, that Wonder Woman line means it’s set in the DC universe.) She and Danny Pudi (from Community!) must rally their quirky office mates against their new boss who can’t tell the difference between supervisor and supervillain. I got to watch the entire pilot at SDCC and it had me laughing at a show on NBC for first time since Parks and Recreation left the air. I hope episode two remains as funny, but it’s a must watch for me. It’s a midseason show, so it’s not airing until January, but I’m really trying to figure out which show I need to get canceled for Powerless to move up a couple of months. Let’s figure this out.
I guess because it’s a midseason replacement, NBC has yet to officially drop a trailer or teaser. I hope they’re not throwing this show under the bus…
Most fantasy fans, as many of us are at BGN, have come across Neil Gaiman’s work at some point. He’s a prolific writer for novels, short stories, and comics, and he’s ventured into TV before with Doctor Who. American Gods, one of Neil’s most popular novels, has been getting the almost there treatment with regard to its TV adaptation for a long time, and it’s finally here. One thing that impresses me most about Neil was his insistence that the racial make-up of the characters remains true. So in addition to the story being about gods from multicultural backgrounds, meaning a demand for people of color, the main character (Shadow) is ambiguously, but assuredly brown. Neil’s biggest demand (which wasn’t a battle thanks to the understanding production team, including Hannibal and Pushing Daisies’ Bryan Fuller) was for Shadow to remain a person of color.
For a white author to show that must insistence in the choice they made is powerful. It shows us that authors could make the choice if they really wanted — even if it means their adaptation takes longer to produce. Often it’s a matter of wanting to get it down NOW and with the people who approached you, but imagine if Suzanne Collins had insisted Katniss be brown (even ambiguously as she is in the books). Or if JK Rowling had said, “I’d love for Hermione to be black” in the casting of the original film series? Or any author of any of our favorite, but very white or whitewashed books, had made a choice to tell the producers they wouldn’t allow their book to be adapted unless they made a conscious choice to include more people of color? Neil definitely impresses me with his insistence — and maybe he just has that privilege, but if everyone with privilege used it to better the life of an underprivileged group, wouldn’t the world be a better place?
All of that to say, I’m excited to watch American Gods when it premieres this winter on Starz.
One of the most surprising shows for me was Emerald City. I hadn’t heard anything about it but have been seeing ads for it all around New York City. It’s a retelling of The Wizard of Oz with darker themes and really interesting takes on the story that we already know. So while Disney’s Oz, the Great and Powerful showed us the same story but from the Wizard’s point of view, this is more SyFy’s Tin Man from a few years ago, where they twist the story in unusual ways (the Scarecrow appears to be a man left to be crucified but never died from the torture… Watching the reveal in the teaser reel made me audibly say, “Woah!”).
What I loved most about it was that the actress playing Dorothy (Adria Arjona) is Puerto Rican. What a wonderful show for diversity and it’s great when the main character is a person of color because their family tends to be around and they are PoC as well! It just really gives more opportunities to PoC and extends beyond the token loner “minority” (I use that term in the context of the show/Hollywood, not the world at large). Also we get to see more of Florence Kasumba who wowed everyone in Captain America: Civil War as the “Move or be moved” member of the Dora Milaje. And Daredevil’s Vincent D’Onofrio will be playing the Wizard! It’s also being directed — all 10 episodes — by Mirror Mirror director Tarsem Singh, who is Indian-American. (Once again, the teaser was SDCC exclusive, as I cannot find it online.) Look out for it on NBC this fall.
I didn’t see any special looks at Designated Survivor at SDCC, except for the giant White House replica they had on the show floor, but this show has been on my radar for a while. It stars Keifer Sutherland being as un-Jack Bauer as we can maybe imagine in a Jack Bauer world. He’s the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and is the “pick a guy” choice (for any West Wing fans reading this), who is left behind during the State of the Union. The SoTU is attacked leaving this man, far down in the chain of command, as surprise president. I love the idea of this show that’s 24 meets The West Wing.
My only gripe is how are they going to convince us that Jack Bauer isn’t going to punch someone? My thinking is that we’ll learn by the end of the pilot that this seemingly harmless man has some Liam Neesons (shout out to Key and Peele) type skills, but maybe Keifer is just going against type? Either way, I’m excited to see how this show goes down. (The show will also feature Maggie Q and Kal Penn — who has actually worked at the White House.
I didn’t plan on playing attention to anything during the Teen Wolf panel at SDCC. I was only in there so I could camp out for Luke Cage, but then they played the Sweet/Vicious trailer. It’s basically a white teen movie, but the trailer was funny and showed two girls in college teaming up to save their school/town from evil rapists. It’s basically Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Veronica Mars if Buffy and Veronica literally decided to work together. The two girls are at opposite ends of the popularity spectrum but share this one thing: a desire to fight crime. The teaser was funny, pulled me, and I really like the idea of a show on MTV that could pass the Bechdel test (::crosses fingers that it passes the Bechdel test::)
In lieu of being able to find the trailer online (I guess the Sweet/Vicious and Powerless bits they gave us at SDCC really were exclusive), here’s the IMDb description:
Princeton University student OPHELIA MAYER is an edgy, hip young trouble magnet: she works in a vintage record store, sells weed on the side, and is on a first-name basis with Campus Security. JULES is a member of the posh, socially connected Tri Delt sorority — but she has a secret identity as a masked superheroine who dishes out rough justice to campus rapists. When Ophelia learns all about Jules and her clandestine operation, she insists on playing Batgirl to — well, to Batgirl.
One returning show that I wanted to add to this list was The Flash. I love the Flash. I think it gives me a sense of joy and hope and optimism that few other current shows give me (past: Parks and Rec; current: Jane the Virgin). And I love the PoC representation between the West family and Cisco Ramon that the show brings to a very white CW network. This season, as you may have heard, is taking on Flashpoint. And while we don’t want to compare it too much to the original Flashpoint storyline (because we know they’re going to take it their own way), I love the idea that it’s going to give the actors on this show basically new characters to play. We’ve already seen the phenomenal Tom Cavanagh play two-three different versions of Professor Harrison Wells (is trying to pull a Tatiana Maslany??), and he’s about to play another one.
The actors on the show are actually really good — it can be hard to see that when we have a bias against CW as a teen, tropey network, but Tom Cavanagh, JESSE FREAKING L MARTIN, and Grant Gustin give consistently good performances, and we’ve seen how great Candice Patton can be when the writers give Iris something to do. The CW-verse’s version of Flashpoint is going to be really interesting to watch not only in the performances it brings out of this talented cast, but how it affects the other Berlanti-verse shows over the course of the season (eventually bringing in Supergirl). The trailer for Season 3 of The Flash had me excited all over again; it was a great way of bringing something fresh to the show and I can’t wait to see where they take it.
Also we get Wally West as Kid Flash!! Yesss.
Were there any shows that dropped trailers this summer that excited you? It could be super/sci-fi/fantasy or not. We BGNs will watch any TV that’s good, so let us know what you plan to watch this 15-16 TV season!