The 10 Most Promising New Shows of the 2014/15 Network Season

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The 10 Most Promising New Shows of the 2014/15 Network Season

By Dustin Rowles | Trailers | May 16, 2014 | Comments ()


Now that the upfronts are over, and all the networks have unveiled their new shows (and the trailers for most), we can officially make slightly more informed assessments about which shows we should look forward to, and which should we should probably not bother with. Actually, I did the math on last year’s new series, and less than 25 percent of all the freshmen series made it to a second season, so don’t get too attached to any of these. There’s a 75 percent chance that they’ll be cancelled, starting with the most promising new show of next year.

1. Galavant (ABC, midseason) — It may be swiftly cancelled, but the prospect of a fun, quirky, and snarky medieval musical with Timothy Omundson is too irresistable. This was my favorite pilot trailer of the bunch. By a mile.

2. Gotham (Fox, Mondays) — Look, it’s Batman without Batman, so we’re all going to watch it, probably for five or six seasons, even if we don’t like it. The trailer, however, suggests that it may actually be good, though I’m not thrilled the Batman universe will be reduced to monsters-of-the-week episodes. My biggest concern here is the presence of Donal Logue, because he’s a huge showkiller.

3. Flash (The CW) — Those who watch Arrow are already onboard, and those who are behind on Arrow (like myself) will probably spend the summer catching up, so we can prepare ourselves for both season three of that show and Flash. Network television is clearly only good for superhero series now.

4. Gracepoint (Fox, Thursdays) — It looks like a frame-for-frame remake of Broadchurch. With the exception of Anna Gunn, they even picked actors who looked similar to the Broadchurch version. I also do not like Tennant’s American accent. At all (as I said on Twitter, it sounds like a black guy doing a lame white guy impression). That said, Broadchurch was so good that I’m not against watching it a second time with a different cast, especially if — as rumored — the ending is different.

5. Constantine (NBC, Fridays) — With this, and Hannibal returning at midseason, apparently Friday is the only place left on NBC’s schedule for the cool kids to hang out.

6. Backstrom (Fox, midseason) — It’s Hart Hanson (Bones) and Rainn Wilson as the Gregory House of detectives. On network television, that’s good enough for me. My standards have clearly dropped.

7. Black-ish (ABC, Wednesdays) — The coveted post-Modern Family slot went to Black-ish, which doesn’t look outstanding, but of the new sitcom pilots, it’s about the only one I could stomach (I do hope to eventually like Mulaney, but that trailer was dreadful, and buried against Sunday night dramas, I’d be surprised if Mulaney makes it to midseason).

8. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NBC, midseason) — Likewise, there’s no trailer for this, but Tina Fey created it, Ellie Kemper and Jane Krakowski star, and it’s a sitcom about a woman who reclaims her life after 15 years living in a cult. How can that go wrong (so many ways)?


9. Marvel’s Agent Peggy Carter (ABC, midseason) — We haven’t seen a trailer for this yet, either, but assuming it manages to be as good as the good episodes of Agents of SHIELD, there’s definitely a lot of promise, especially since it won’t have to fill 22 episodes (it will bridge the fall and spring seasons of Agents of SHIELD.


10. Mr. Robinson (NBC, midseason) — There’s no trailer for this series yet, which is probably why I don’t yet hate it. The midseason comedy will star Craig Robinson in what is essentially a sitcom version of School of Rock. Fingers crossed.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Annarrogance

    "...Rainn Wilson as the Gregory House of detectives." So, as Sherlock Holmes, then?

  • Johnnyseattle

    Hayley Atwell. Once a week. Boing!

    As someone who loved The Flash with all his boyhood heart, I have high hopes for it. Someone already said earlier in the comments that the kid playing Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) is a delight to watch - he absolutely stole most scenes when he showed up on Arrow - and it's got Tom Cavanaugh (Ed!) as the director of S.T.A.R. Labs too. He's certainly moved up in the world since Stuckey Bowl. If I hadn't seen Arrow, I'd instantly dismiss it for being on CW and looking slightly cheesy, but they've made Arrow into the second best DC product behind only Batman Begins, for me at least. I'll trust them for now. :)

  • Uriah_Creep

    "From the creator of Bones" does not exactly inspire confidence.

  • e jerry powell

    1. nope
    2. nope
    3. nope
    4. nope
    5. nope
    6. nope
    7. possibly, but probably not
    8. nope
    9. nope
    10. nope

  • Parsnip


  • Sara_Tonin00

    The Gracepoint trailer looks amazing, but also made me almost cry in the office, so I don't think I can take it. I do like that the town appears to made up of normal looking people.

  • Jim

    I will watch Agent Carter because watching her kick Nazi butt will be cap 'A' Awesome. Took them long enough to get her on the air.

    I will also watch the hell out of Galavant, for however long it lasts, for obvious reasons

  • Matt C.

    In addition to the ones on the list that I'll be watching, my most anticipated are:
    Marry Me (please be a new Happy Endings)
    Mission Control
    Angie Tribeca
    Last Man on Earth
    Cabot College
    Benched (Eliza Coupe/Ted from Better Off Ted/created by Michaela Watkins)
    Fresh Off the Boat

    If How and Why, the Charlie Kaufman-created FX show, ends up airing during this coming season then that's gotta be my number 1. Also, Old Soul from Amy Poehler, High Moon from Bryan Fuller (even if it is on SyFy, it's Bryan Fuller), Sense8 or however you say it from the Wachowski's on Netflix, and Preacher cause I loved/liked the books. I don't know when any of those are going to air but they all sound like things I'd watch.

  • stella

    Why did they make Tennant do an American accent? Couldnt his natutal one be written in pretty easily? And I think Im going to be genuinely upset if/when Galavant gets cancelled.

  • Yeah, I feel like his American accent doesn't seem to convey the range of emotions that he conveyed so well in Broadchurch.

  • AsdffAnon

    Holy cow, Galavant looks amazing and I hate musicals. How is it I've never heard of this before?

  • cox

    holy shit. you were not kidding about "frame-by-frame" about gracepoint. holy shit. there was not one original camera angle even. this just made me so weirdly angry. also, tennant without accent? the fuck is the point of that?

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I'm not angry, but I fail to see why I should watch the same show, but with Skyler substituted for the female lead. (I like Anna Gunn, and I'm sure she'll do a fine job, but what's the point?)

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I am ridiculously excited for the two episodes of Galavant that will air before it's removed from ABC's schedule! Other than that, I'll give Constantine a try, but I was burned pretty badly by the movie.
    And I'll watch anything with Laurence Fishburne in it (even CSI), so Blackish will get a viewer.

  • Berry

    I'm one of the select few who wasn't enamored with Ellie Kemper's character or her acting in The Office, so that prejudices me against her new vehicle as well, unfair as that may be.

  • JenVegas

    I am incapable of arguing with any show that brings Rainn Wilson back to my teevee. Especially gritty, beardy, drunky, assy Rainn Wilson.

  • I'll be watching Peggy Carter to pick up tips on how to pull off a red lip with a firm lipline.

  • Muhnah_Muhnah

    What's a firm lipline? She does look pretty awesome with that red lipstick. I wish I had any interest in make-up, looks so good when done right.

  • Christine Walsh

    There is just something about CW produced series that makes me disengage, it is like they wrap them in plastic, no heart, no grittiness just too polished.

    I love some of the ideas they have had but time and time again that overly stylised approach makes me disconnect.

    Even though your subject matter is fantastical doesn't mean you can't be real.

  • BWeaves

    RE: Gracepoint.

    Without the panty melting Scottish accent, David Tennant is dead to me.

    Also, I predict the female cop did it, since with everything else exactly the same, they have to do something different for the ending that would be shocking.

    And, the trailer looks so exactly like the original, that I feel like I can just watch the last episode to find out if they really changed the killer or not.

  • Drake

    Broadchurch was brilliant, but also painful to watch. Each week was like sloooowly pulling off a bandaid. I'm with you, I'll probably just watch the last episode of Gracepoint to see if they change anything.

  • John W

    Constantine, Ellie Kemper, Agent Carter.

    I'll give Flash a shot.

    I really have no desire to watch Smallvi...Gotham.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    I know that trailer for 'The Flash' suffers from CW-esque dialogue but I'll be damned if it doesn't look fun in a silly way and the kid who played Barry Allen on thoses two episodes of 'Arrow' is absurdly charismatic. And the effects actually look quite good, not just for a TV show.

    Because as good as 'Arrow' can be it is, at best, fun melodrama with some solid acting and consistent momentum. Not the best show on TV by a huge margin but it's my palette cleanser between the brilliance of 'Hannibal', 'Mad Men' and the likes.

    As for 'Gotham' it seems like the type of show whose concept already painted itself in the corner, but I'll give it a chance. Because Donal Logue.

  • Aaron Schulz

    Despite my reservations im willing to give Gotham a chance because superheroes give me boners. That was to much information, Ill let myself out.

  • emmalita

    If by show killer you mean someone who chooses good, but quirky, projects too good for tv, then sure, Donal Logue is a show killer.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Well, to be fair, good shows tend to have a rather short lifespan on television. So maybe he's show suicidal instead of a show killer? Is that a thing?
    RIP Deadwood, Firefly, Pushing Daisies, Terriers....

  • emmalita


  • "If by 'cold-blooded serial killer' you mean someone who guns down people in parking lots before heading to practice, then I guess my client is a murderer."

    -- Aaron Hernandez's legal team

  • Extant is the most intriguing show to me out of the bunch, even though it's destined to run off the rails by the sixth or seventh episode.

  • I fear I'm moving firmly into "get off my lawn" territory because from what I've seen of these (Gotham, Flash, Constantine) these superhero/comic book shows all look like garbage to me. I have yet to give Arrow a try though & I hear it's very good. I think the basic problem is that outside of Superman and Batman the DC universe has really very little to offer, or they just have no idea how to package it. Gotham should be great, but that trailer makes it look like Batboy and seems obsessed with winking at who the villains were before they were villains rather than building any kind of mythos around the character of Gordon (except as a guy who apparently couldn't stop any of these people from becoming super villains). If they all end up great I'll be the first to say I was wrong.

  • foolsage

    It's fine not to like comics, and I don't care in the slightest whether you enjoy them or not, or whether you enjoy films or TV shows based on them. For those of us who do like comics though, that kind of ignorant dismissal is particularly grating. I say "ignorant" because you admit up front that you know little of the topic, and also because you made a fairly silly generalization by claiming that "outside of Superman and Batman the DC universe has really very little to offer". Had you only qualified that by adding "to me" at the end, I wouldn't feel the need to ask you to get the hell off MY lawn. :)

  • Sorry - I thought we all sort of agreed that "IMO" was implied at this point. But you're right - I'm certainly not as well versed in what DC has to offer as I was years ago as I'm a couple decades removed from any sort of avid comic fandom.

    Looking at it as a casual fan though, it's tough not to argue that Marvel has found a way to bring their properties to various screens with a vision and world building strategy that DC has yet to crack. I don't think that's too much of a stretch. And I'm not even arguing that DC should ape Marvel's show. They need to find their own vision and chart their own course. At this point everything just feels desperate from the Warners camp (and I say that as someone who enjoyed Man of Steel more than most).

    Speaking specifically to these trailers:

    Flash just looks goofy to me. As a casual observer and a fan of event TV and films, based on this trailer, I don't think they've successfully made "guy who runs really fast" into something worth watching in 2014. I don't think they've figured out a way to make it feel cool or relevant.

    Constantine just looks poorly executed all around from effects to performance. Tough to tell if the story will hold up with just the trailer so I'll reserve judgment on that. This does look the most promising of the lot.

    And I've already explained why I thought the Gotham trailer was less than what I hoped it would be.

    All IMO of course.

  • foolsage

    Now this I can get behind. Thanks for qualifying. :)

    I absolutely agree that Marvel has had better success with feature films than DC has, overall, and especially of late. On the other hand, DC has a strong track record with TV shows that Marvel would love to emulate. Even Captain Marvel (the Shazam one, not the Kree one) and Wonder Woman had extended and popular runs on TV once upon a time, and I'd argue that Arrow is one of the strongest comic properties ever brought to live-action TV.

    Along the same lines, Batman: the Animated Series was remarkable, and of uniformly high quality. The follow-up Superman animated series of the 90s was likewise excellent, though I'm using the two examples you cited as DC's strongest properties. Both the "Teen Titans" of the early aughts and "Young Justice" more recently have showcased a large and diverse cast of characters, many of whom remain quite popular today. Marvel has had very few TV shows of similar quality.

    In terms of movies, DC's record is spotty of late. "Superman Returns" was disappointing in every sense, and while I enjoyed "Man of Steel", it remained generally inferior to "Superman II" (which it copied) from decades ago. "Green Lantern" was a misfire. I loved the first two Nolan Batfilms, but even a lifelong Batfan like me felt let down by most of "The Dark Knight Rises". The less said about "Catwoman" the better. DC's actually had much better luck with animated movies than live action ones, I'd argue, from their enjoyable "Wonder Woman" to several fun Justice League movies such as the incredible "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths".

    Having said that, Marvel certainly isn't batting a thousand in feature films, either. For every "Iron Man" that Marvel puts out, they also put out an "X-Men Origins: Wolverine". For every "Avengers" there's also an "Electra". And since Sony owns Spider-man, and needs to keep putting out movies to keep the license, they have motivation to keep repeating the same stories, which doesn't please anyone except maybe a few executives. The new X-films are fun, but then the previous trilogy ended with a whimper. The Fantastic Four are a potentially amazing property, but their movies have always tended to suck. To be fair, part of the difference is that the movies directly controlled by Marvel, today, tend to be of high quality, while those controlled by Sony and Paramount tend to be of lesser quality.

    Overall, I have more faith in Marvel's movies now, generally, than in DC's. In terms of TV though, DC arguably has a stronger track record. OK, "Smallville" had a lot of issues, granted, but they seem to have learned from that, and avoid the "freak-of-the-week" problem now.

    In terms of those specific trailers you listed, fair enough. I'm kind of with you there.

    The Flash trailer has a strange vibe to it, and honestly that character has always been difficult to write for. Barry Allen is a forensic scientist; he's an immensely clever guy. His power isn't to run fast, but rather to essentially slow down time for himself, meaning he can take hours to solve a problem in his head, while a few seconds have passed in real life. That kind of overwhelming advantage results in few real challenges. I've never yet seen a Flash onscreen that I felt did justice to the character, from the goofy-but-fun TV run on the 90s through the Justice League cartoons. Even in "Justice League: Flashpoint" (which IMO was by far the best Flash onscreen yet), they slowed him down arbitrarily at times so he didn't just fix everything immediately. I liked Grant Gustin's work as Barry Allen in "Arrow" but have reservations about the show. We'll see.

    Constantine looks great to me, but that's from the perspective of a long-time fan, spotting homages to the original comics throughout the trailer. That suggests that the character will be treated with respect, and some of the good story lines from the comics will appear in the show. Someone who isn't a fan, and who maybe only knows the property from the craptastic movie, wouldn't see what I saw there, and fair enough.

    Anyhow, thanks for being polite even when some grumpy geezer guy told you to get off his lawn. You can stay on my lawn. :D

  • More qualifying - I know that DC has a really strong reputation in the world of animated film and television. I've always wondered why they've had so much difficulty in having that quality bleed over into their live action offerings. Maybe it's that in animation there is a more of a license to embrace the ridiculous and just go for it with these characters while the live action fare has overcorrected in favor of realism (and gritty - so much gritty). That's actually one of the reasons I liked the newest Spiderman movie - because it wasn't afraid to be silly in parts and it didn't feel the need to ground every scene in reality - it looked and felt like a superhero story (which isn't to say it doesn't have it's own issues, but I think generally speaking that lots of us are judging these movies through an incorrect lens, but that's another story all together).

    Also, when I talk about "Marvel" having their shit together I mean Marvel since Iron Man - the stuff produced under their own tent. That is when they seemed to coalesce around an idea that they have sort of fearlessly stood behind to great success - Iron Man 2 and The Dark World not withstanding). This is a studio so confident right now that they are bringing an arguable third tier title like Guardians of the Galaxy and launching it as a possible tentpole while making the latest X-Men offering look like The Iron Lady (as far as promotion is concerned).

    Which brings us to your point about the X-Men movies having far more misses than hits. I really can't remember a comic book movie I was less excited for than Days of Future Pass - it was probably First Class come to think of it (which was better than I expected, but still solidly 'Meh" to my eyes). X2 is really the only home run in the series and it's a shame that they seem content to keep trying to fix the world they've created rather than blowing it up and starting fresh. Yes, Hugh Jackman looks great as Wolverine - but at what cost?

    I have a hard time envisioning Fantastic Four working today. it gives me the same vibe as The Flash (which you did a better job building up as something I'd like to watch in 1 paragraph than CW did in their million dollar plus trailer). I just think some characters are too dated to translate (which underscores the genius of the first Captain America movie to me). Make it a period piece like First Class and I think you might be on to something.

    I really have to devote some time to watching Arrow. That seems like the right tone and the right feel for the current TV landscape - glad to hear it's worth seeking out.

    Now if someone would just figure out what the hell to do with The Punisher (I mean Warzone pretty much did, but more of that sort of thing please).

  • foolsage

    Not only are you welcome on my lawn, but I'm going to make us some lemonade.

    Do check out Arrow. From the sounds of it, we actually share a lot of preferences for this kind of entertainment. Arrow is a curious mixture of being completely serious about its subject matter, and still having fun with it.

    The FF really have to be hard scifi to work properly. They aren't superheroes, after all; that's not how they identify or act. They're really more like science explorers, always popping off to alternate dimensions or deep space. Sure, they fight villains often, but generally it's because they stumbled onto something in the course of exploring/researching, or because someone has a longstanding grudge with Reed.

    To return briefly to the problem with the Flash onscreen, we have a character who moves faster than the eye can follow. If we can see him moving, that means he's not moving "fast enough" to do justice to the character. But there's the problem: if we can't see the character, the audience will lose interest. Sure, it's fun to just see the real-time effects of the Flash doing something (i.e. everything changes in the blink of an eye) but that won't sustain a TV show or movie ("Here's the villain! Now he's in prison!"). IMO the only valid approach is heavy use of slomo, which of course has its own problems. Were it up to me, when he's at full speed, I'd show the Flash moving so fast you can barely see him; he'd be a red streak. Everything else would be barely moving, a world of statues. That's expensive though and probably wouldn't test well with most audiences, so we get this ridiculous middle ground where he's quite visibly only moving around 200mph but we're told he's moving at Mach 10 or whatever.

  • Aaron Schulz

    Paul Dini has a shit load to do with the animated side doing so well.

  • foolsage

    Hells yes he does. Dini is a mastermind.

  • Aaron Schulz

    The Gotham show bothers me by having all the nods to these villains. Also that Gordon had anything to do with Bruce becoming Batman. The villains exist because of Batman and Gordon starts policing in Gotham around the same time as Batman.

    Arrow is worth watching though, Laurel and Thea are terrible terrible terrible. As is the chick they get to play the Huntress, but otherwise its excellent. Felicity and Diggle are a pretty badass duo of normal people helping Oliver.

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