As network television continues its Death Spiral – churning out warmed-up plot lines featuring impossibly good looking federal agents and more B-List Celebrity Dancing – we’re looking ahead to some original TV programming, which seems to have moved down to the other end of the station guide.
TV has been in the doldrums of late, in our opinion (unless you like those shows we mention, in which case you may think things are just fine), and those of us who appreciate a good plot line, interesting characters and some innovative production values are looking for something, anything we can sink our teeth into during those wee small hours when we have time to watch an hour of television.
In fact, things have been so quiet we think those master of the tease at AMC and HBO have quietly arranged it, waiting for the end of Mr. Robot and the dull reception shown the spinoff Fear the Walking Dead (will someone just bite these people and get it over with?) before bringing in the Big Guns to sweep everyone off their feet.
So, yes, we’re waiting for Rick and Morgan and Carol and Daryl the Soul-Trippin’ Hillbilly to come back and restore order to LEED sanctioned Alexandria – maybe killing off a few of the mollycoddled and weak original townsfolk and a couple of battalions of walkers in the process. Life in dystopian Georgia – now a blend of This Old House, Doomsday Preppers and any one of a half dozen survival shows – returns this Sunday, Oct. 11, and watch for the unearthly glow of Big Screens and shrieks from the Watching Undead as America tunes in.
Turns out we have to wait a little longer for a show we have a real hankering to see, and not just because Terence Winter, Marty Scorsese and some has-been rocker named Mick Jagger are behind it, but because we were actually alive in the 70s and really dig the music – and change in music – occurring at the time.
Vinyl, a drama created by the aforementioned heavyweights and featuring Bobby Cannavale – an actor whose work we also happen to dig – airs sometime in early 2016, it’s creators remaining tightlipped about specifics and wisely letting expectations and excitement build for what insiders swear will be a “surefire hit” and new leader in the HBO lineup.
Proving that even HBO is now above a sequel fans of Westerns, robotics, and Yul Brynner will be happy to learn that a revitalized Westworld will also be joining the HBO lineup and, while we know how that one ended previously, reinvigorated special effects and jazzed up plot lines could make it special.
And, just to show that HBO is not the undisputed king of TV Land, we look to WGN America and the second season of Manhattan, a show set against the backdrop of the greatest scientific race against time in history – the super-secret government mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, N.M.
We weren’t sure about this one at first, knowing a few of the families brought to Los Alamos when the government built a dusty town in the desert and trucked in some of the world’s most brilliant minds to build a device capable of bringing a long, murderous war to a swift end – but we ended up liking it. The writers play fast and loose with history, writing out some of the biggest eggheads who actually pulled off the assignment in the desert entirely and creating a few of their own. And while we doubt there was as much down-and-dirty sex on the floorboards of the Explosives Hut as depicted, there’s enough gritty reality and extrapolation of personality to make it interesting.
Get ready for a second season of scientist sex and occasional bomb-making on October 13.
Have a favorite new or returning show we didn’t mention? Mention it… we’re always looking for undiscovered gems.