Autumn TV Preview
Well, it seems autumn has arrived with a vengeance; the weather’s chilly, the nights are drawing in and the reality shows have started on Saturday night TV. So it seems a perfect time to have a look at some of the TV series due on our screens over the coming months and no, I don’t mean any reality shows.
Dave Gorman’s Modern Life Is Goodish, Dave, September 17
I’ll be honest, Dave Gorman makes me laugh. I like his stand-up, his books and his TV shows. So I’m quite excited by his new show looking at modern life. The trailer’s been running on TV for the last week or so and sees him berating a news presenter for asking viewers to send in their thoughts. ‘I just want you to tell me what happened, that is the whole point of the news!’ Fair point, Dave.
Downton Abbey, ITV, September 22
I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but after a major plot shake-up last Christmas, I’m intrigued to see where ITV’s Sunday night juggernaut goes next. Can it carry on without Dan Stevens? Will the new characters work? And can creator Julian Fellowes slow down the break-neck speed of the last couple of series (actually yes, this series will take things a lot slower in terms of time). I’ve already seen the first episode and while it still has a bit of dodgy acting, there’s enough there to make me want to see more.
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Channel 4, September 27
Joss Whedon. On telly. Doing Marvel? What can possibly go wrong? Well, for a start, will audiences be willing to watch a show about superheroes with no established superheroes? And can Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson) transfer to leading man? Again, I’ve been lucky enough to see the first episode and I don’t think fans will be disappointed. It looks very impressive, TV produced on a film budget. Whedon’s brought the funny and there are enough insider jokes for fans of the Avengers. I also like the fact it’s a show the whole family can sit and enjoy, hence Channel 4 deciding to broadcast it at 8pm on a Friday. (Check out the video below where Joss Whedon teases Agents of SHIELD!)
Atlantis, BBC One, October
BBC One’s new big-budget Saturday teatime show should be on air next month. It stars Jack Donnelly, Robert Emms and Mark Addy and follows Jason (Donnelly) as he arrives in the city of Atlantis and begins ‘an epic adventure’. It fills the hole left by Merlin (and Doctor Who) and should help the BBC in its usual Saturday night ratings battle with ITV. I suspect we might see it on screens around the same time that singing show reaches its live stages.
Masters Of Sex, Channel 4, October
Michael Sheen and Lizzie Caplan star in this new US drama about Dr William Masters and Virginia Johnson, two pioneering researchers of human sexuality. Whilst some of his film choices have been a bit dodgy, Sheen always seems to bring his A-game to TV. Plus Beau Bridges and Allison Janney are in the supporting cast and Janney can do no wrong.
The Escape Artist, BBC One, autumn
In Broadchurch, David Tennant’s already had one TV drama that’s gripped the nation this year. Can this new thriller about a talented barrister who’s never lost a case do the same? The cast also includes Toby Kebbell, Sophie Okonedo and Ashley Jensen.
Hello Ladies, Sky Atlantic, autumn
Stephen Merchant breaks away from Ricky Gervais with his own comedy series following an Englishman looking for love in Los Angeles. The show’s been made for HBO in the US, with Sky picking up the UK rights as we all know HBO’s pedigree. Merchant’s co-created the show with Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, who both worked on the American version of The Office.
Fleming, Sky, autumn
Dominic Cooper stars as Ian Fleming, the man who created James Bond. Sherlock star Lara Pulver plays Ann O’Neill, a woman whose wartime encounter with Fleming would change the writer’s life. The four-part drama also features Lesley Manville, Samuel West and Anna Chancellor.
Doctor Who: The Day Of The Doctor, BBC One, November 23
Oh, you didn’t know Doctor Who is 50 this year? Too busy flying around the universe in your police box, huh? Well, if you didn’t know (and how could you not), David Tennant (10) and Matt Smith (11) team up in this very special episode from current showrunner Stephen Moffat. Jenna-Louise Colman, Billie Piper and John Hurt co-star. The 75-minute show also sees the return of the Daleks.
An Adventure In Space And Time, BBC, November
Moffat’s Sherlock mate Mark Gatiss has written this one-off drama about the creation of Doctor Who in the early 1960s. David Bradley is the original Doctor, William Hartnell. Actor Brian Cox co-stars as BBC Head of Drama, Sydney Newman, who is credited with the creation of the show.
Now I know I’ve gone a bit Doctor Who-tastic at the end but I can’t leave this autumn preview without a mention of the DW Christmas special. I know a lot of fans are sad to see Matt Smith go, but personally I cannot wait to see Peter Capaldi make his debut as 12, however briefly. Roll on Christmas. (Yes I did just write that!)