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US TV Preview 2013: The 20 New Must-Watch Shows

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The nights are drawing in and our thoughts our turning to the new telly delights approaching from the States. Here’s our look at what’s hot and what might not be in terms of the new American shows…

What is it? We’ve really heard very little about this one. Does it have something to do with super… we kid. Yes, Joss Whedon is back with a new TV show, playing in the pool that has treated him both well (Buffy, Angel) and badly (Firefly, Dollhouse). This time, however, he has the backing of Marvel/Disney and the success of the Avengers, from which the show spins off. Clark Gregg returns as the laconic Agent Coulson, who is miraculously resurrected and tasked with assembling a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives to investigate strange events and protect those of us who are not so super from those who are and who wish to use their powers for evil. We’re in.

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: ABC, Tuesdays starting September 24
In the UK: Channel 4, airdate September 27 (TBC)

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Coulson lives in a new Joss Whedon wonderland spun off from The Avengers.

ABOUT A BOY
Man-child learns he has to grow up in this adaptation of the Nick Hornby book/Hugh Grant film.

ALMOST HUMAN
Buddy RoboCop? Karl Urban stars as a technophobic future law keeper paired with a quirksome droid.

BELIEVE
A young girl with special powers. A wrongly convicted man broken out of prison. Can he save her from the forces of evil?

THE BLACKLIST
James Spader is a fedora-sporting master criminal who agrees to help the Feds catch America's Most Wanted. For a price...

BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
Andy Samberg is Noo Yoik's wackiest detective. But he's also one of the best, as his new boss learns.

DRACULA
We dare you to look into Jonathan Rhys Meyers' eyes as he becomes Bram Stoker's famous blood-leecher.

GANG RELATED
Terry O'Quinn leads an LA gang-busting squad who learns one of his own might be a mole.

HOSTAGES
Dylan McDermott is a rogue FBI agent with his own agenda who kidnaps Toni Collette's surgeon and her family.

INTELLIGENCE
Lost's Josh Holloway is an agent with a high-tech chip in his head fighting crime.

IRONSIDE
Blair Underwood takes over Raymond Burr's wheelchair as the tough cop in this update.

MASTERS OF SEX
Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan are real-life sex researchers in a new drama.

MIND GAMES
Christian Slater helps his clients with a combo of psychology expertise skills and criminal wiles.

RAKE
Greg Kinnear stars as a charming, screwed up-but-successful lawyer. Court-House, anyone?

SLEEPY HOLLOW
The legend is brought bang up to date as Ichabod Crane chases the headless horseman to 2013.

THE CRAZY ONES
Robin Williams is allowed to go riff-crazy as the boss of an advertising agency.

US & THEM
Gavin & Stacey: US as Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel meet, mate and deal with their mad families.

BAD TEACHER
Ari Graynor inherits Cameron Diaz' role as a foul-mouthed drunk educated on the hunt for a rich hubby.

THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW
Michael J. Fox plays a sort-of Michael J. Fox dealing with Parkinson's as he returns to work.

RESURRECTION
A boy returns to the small town where his dad lives. Trouble is, everyone thinks the lad's been dead for years...

What is it? A new adaptation of Nick Hornby’s comic tome about successful, happily single songwriter Will Freeman (David Walton) who enjoys life as a man-child. But his blissful world is turned upside down when single mother Fiona (Minnie Driver) and her lonely, odd son Marcus (Benjamin Stockham) move in next door. Can a single camera comedy compete with the Hugh Grant / Nick Hoult film? Well, it has the backing of Friday Night Lights / Parenthood producer Jason Katims, so there’s a good chance the quality will be high and the writing solid. What's more, Walton is one of those under-served actors waiting for a breakout show to make them a star.

About A Boy

In the US: NBC, Tuesdays Midseason
In the UK: No channel yet

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What is it? The Bad Robot production line keeps churning out high-concept shows. In this one, Karl Urban plays John Kennex, a cop in a not-too-distant future world where humans and androids pair up to protect and serve. But Kennex is a distinct technophobe and none too happy about his new cohort, a lifelike droid named Dorian (Sleeper Cell’s Michael Ealy). But he soon finds that Dorian is not like other robots, and might be more Pinocchio than RoboCop. Shades of Verhoeven’s film and I, Robot are definitely present, and with luck it’ll be as entertaining as Fringe, only hopefully with a larger audience.

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: Fox, Sundays starting November 4
In the UK: No channel yet

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What is it? Another Bad Robot show (they’re the Dick Wolf of sci-fi and fantasy television at the moment), this time it’s the story of a young girl born with special abilities she can’t fully comprehend or control. The people trying to protect her turn to someone outside their inner circle: a wrongfully convicted death-row inmate who must be broken out of prison. While he’s initially suspicious of his new charge, the two soon bond and must fight the evil forces that have their own plans for the girl. It sounds a little formulaic, but this was created by Alfonso Cuaron and features Sienna Guillory and Kyle MacLachlan among the cast, so we’ll give it a chance.

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: NBC, Sundays Midseason
In the UK: No channel yet

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What is it? Who is Red Reddington? Well, we know a little about him: in the show, he’s one of the most wanted criminals in the world, and he’s just surrendered to the FBI. Quickly locked up, he offers the authorities a list of dangerous criminals that he’ll help the Bureau catch. But there’s a catch to all the catching: he’ll only speak to rookie profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone). We know one more thing about Red: James Spader plays him in a role that appears designed to let him snack on scenery. While the trailer for the pilot was a little spoilery, the show could be fun, and Joe Carnahan directed that first episode, which has our interest piqued.

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: NBC, Mondays starting September 23
In the UK: Sky Living, airdate TBC.

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What is it? After leaving SNL (and popping over here to star in Cuckoo), Andy Samberg is set for his first leading US TV role. The series is a single-camera cop comedy featuring the Lonely Island veteran as Detective Jake Peralta, a childish but highly skilled officer who solves plenty of crime when he’s not horsing around – and sometimes while he is. Then he gets a new captain in the no-nonsense Ray Holt (Andre Braugher, showing some comedy chops), who decides that Jake needs to shape up. With Terry Crews and Joe Lo Truglio also in the cast, this one is from Dan Goor and Mike Shur, who co-created Parks & Recreation, so we’ll definitely be giving this a look.

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: Fox, Tuesdays starting September 17
In the UK: No channel yet

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What is it? This is not, perhaps the most original idea for a series, but approximately the 6007th iteration of Bram Stoker’s famous bloodsucker, but one with a few new twists on the character. It’s one of what US networks like to call a “Limited Series” (so, er, a miniseries, then?), which sees Drac (Jonathan Rhys Meyers, finding the ideal outlet for his stare-happy eyes) arriving in Victorian London claiming he wants to bring modern science to the people. In reality, he’s seeking revenge for those who ruined his life. Just one tiny hiccup: he ends up falling for a woman (Jessica De Gouw) who could be the reincarnation of his dead wife. Will it bite our interest, or will it – we’re going there - suck? We’ll watch the first episode, at least.

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: NBC, Fridays, starting October 25
In the UK: Sky Living, airdate TBC.

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What is it? With shades of The Departed and (it looks like) cop TV classic The Shield, Gang Related finds Ramon Rodriguez as Ryan Lopez, a member of Los Angeles’ elite Gang Task Force who – shocker – is actually a plant by one of the criminal groups the team investigates. The trailer screams style over substance, (especially when you learn the basic idea comes from Fast & Furious script man Chris Morgan) but with Shield veteran Scott Rosenbaum in charge of the writer’s room and Terry O’Quinn, RZA and Jay Hernandez among the ensemble, we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: Fox, Midseason
In the UK: No UK channel yet

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What is it? Jerry Bruckheimer, the one man who can rival Bad Robot for prolific development, offers up a new dramatic thriller. This one, like Homeland, is adapted from an Israeli show, although that original version didn’t actually make it to screens. CBS will be hoping for better with this one, which features Toni Collette as a surgeon tasked with working on the President who's taken hostage along with her family. Kidnapping head honcho is Duncan Carlisle (Dylan McDermott), a rogue FBI agent with his own agenda. This is one of those concepts where you’re not sure there’s much longevity, unless they turn this into an American Horror Story-style series where each season has a different premise.

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: CBS, Mondays starting September 23
In the UK: Channel 4, airdate TBC

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What is it? Meet Gabriel Black (Lost’s Josh Holloway), an intelligence operative given a high-tech upgrade. Thanks to a microchip in his brain, he can access and detect anything and anyone, and has the ability to connect to any system to help his mission. Unfortunately, he’s also a loose cannon with a habit of breaking the rules (go figure), so his handlers assign him a Secret Service Agent (Meghan Ory) to keep him out of trouble. Wonder how well she’ll do? Sounds a lot like Chuck to us (minus the laughs) but that could be a good thing if done properly.

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: CBS, Midseason
In the UK: No UK channel yet

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What is it? Not, sadly, a show designed for Michael Ironside to rove around America dishing out swift justice. Instead, this is a remake of the 1960s series (you know, the one with Raymond Burr as a detective who battles the bad guys from his wheelchair). This time, Blair Underwood is the lead, overseeing a handpicked team dedicated to taking down nasty criminals. This has come in for some flack already for casting an able-bodied actor in the lead, but apparently that’s because there will be lots of flashbacks to the days before he gets injured in a shooting. Sounds procedural to us, but Underwood’s charismatic, so it could work.

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: NBC, Wednesdays starting October 2
In the UK: No UK channel yet

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What is it? Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan star… We’re in. But in case you need more details, Sheen and Caplan star as Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson, who became pioneers of sexual research and whose work helped spark the sexual revolution across the pond and around the world. This one’s from Showtime, which should mean A) high production values, solid writing, great direction (Michael Apted and John Madden are among the roster) and B) lots of nudity. Given the subject matter, were you expecting anything else?

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: Showtime, Sundays starting September 29
In the UK: Channel 4, airdate TBC

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What is it? Steve Zahn and Christian Slater play brothers who run an agency dedicated to solving its clients’ problems through the science of human motivation and manipulation. We’re intrigued by this one, as it comes from the brain of The Beaver writer Kyle Killen, a man who comes up with great ideas for shows but has had little success convincing America to embrace them. He saw his first series, Lone Star, unfairly cancelled after two episodes, and the Jason Isaacs-starring Awake lasted only a season. Perhaps this will be third time lucky.

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: ABC TBC 2014
In the UK: No UK channel yet

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What is it? The success of House’s grumpy-yet-brilliant central figure has spawned a number of recent copycats, and this would seem to be the latest to take on the template of irascible types who are nonetheless on top form when the moment calls for it. Our anti-hero is Keegan Joyce (Greg Kinnear), a charismatic, self-destructive criminal defence lawyer who battles wits with his ex-wife, his bookie, the assistant district attorney and even the taxman. Sam Raimi directed the pilot, which Peter Duncan adapted from his own Australian series.

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: Fox, Midseason
In the UK: No UK channel yet

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What is it? “From the writers of Transformers and Star Trek Into Darkness…” Wait! Come back! This one actually looks like it could be demented fun. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci have cooked up a series that finds Ichabod Crane (Tom Milson) dying in 1790 and somehow awakening in Sleepy Hollow circa 2014. Unfortunately for Crane and plucky sheriff Abbie Mills (Nichole Berharie), the Headless Horseman has also made his way to the modern world, and there's some gubbins about witches to figure out as well. Cue fish-out-of-water antics for Ichabod and lots of head jokes. The trailer has us morbidly fascinated by the sheer madness on display. Can the slightly campy tone survive?

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: Fox, Mondays starting September 16
In the UK: No UK channel yet

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What is it? Robin Williams hasn’t been a TV regular since Mork And Mindy back in the 1980s, but apparently David E. Kelley has managed to lure him back. Here, he plays Simon Roberts, the wacky, beloved head of an ad agency that is nowadays run by his daughter Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar), who's exasperated by her father's unpredictability. We also meet Zach Cropper (Mad Men’s James Wolk), a charismatic copywriter who must deal with both of them. Crazy Ones appears to live and die on Williams’ riffing, so depending on your taste for his style, adjust your expectations accordingly.

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: CBS, Thursday starting September 26
In the UK: No UK channel yet

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What is it? Another US TV remake, this time of Gavin And Stacey, this is hoping to do for the rom-com what The Office did for, er, The Office. Gavin (Jason Ritter) lives in New York and is romancing Stacey (Alexis Bledel) online because she lives in Pennsylvania. When they decide to meet in person, they have to deal with their crazy friends and family. You know the drill on this one, but at least it has some fun casting, including Kurt Fuller, Jane Kaczmarek and Michael Ian Black.

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: Fox, TBC 2014
In the UK: No UK channel yet

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What is it? The Cameron Diaz / Jason Segel / Justin Timberlake comedy becomes a TV series. Extrapolate the husband-hunting ways of Diaz’ Elizabeth Halsey, match her characteristics to Ari Graynor’s telly version and… you’re done. Sony is clearly hoping to capitalise on the film's success with the show and a planned sequel to the movie, but might it be too much Bad Teacher for us all to take? It’s still early days on the show, so details are limited – there isn't even a confirmed airdate yet.

Bad Teacher

In the US: CBS, Midseason TBC
In the UK: No UK channel yet

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What is it? Like Robin Williams, Fox is another telly star-turned-bona fide movie man returning to the small screen, though Fox at least had Spin City since his breakthrough. This effort, co-created by Will Gluck, is loosely based on Fox’s own life. He plays Michael “Mike” Henry, a news anchor who gave up his career after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease to focus on his family (including wife Annie, played by Breaking Bad’s Betsy Brandt) and health. But when he tries to get back to work, comedy ensues - judging by this snippet, at least. We hope this doesn’t keep him so busy he can’t keep up his show-stealing appearances in The Good Wife.

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: NBC, Thursday, starting September 26
In the UK: No UK channel yet

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What is it? It sounds like a US take on Les Revenants, the French drama about the dead returning that has had us hooked recently. However, that was based on a 2004 film and this series is taken from Jason Mott’s 2013 novel. Omar Epps stars as Marty Bellamy, a Federal agent who retrieves what he thinks is a missing child. But when the boy, Jacob, asks to be taken back to his hometown of Arcadia Missouri, he discovers Jacob apparently died years ago. His return causes consternation for the residents...

brightcove.createExperiences();In the US: ABC, Sundays starting March 9, 2014
In the UK: No UK channel yet

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