Okay, it may seem like I’m writing this post too late, but I like to give shows a while to settle in before I decide to commit or jump ship. And considering my list has a few shows that started late, it only seems fair to give them a little time to develop. Here, in no particular order, are my favorite new shows of this fall.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fox
Considering this show was created by the Parks and Recreation team (which just happens to be my favorite show) and stars SNL alum Andy Samberg, I was destined to enjoy it. This police comedy serves as a bit of a spoof of cop dramas, especially considering the casting of Andre Braugher, whose acting career has included such shows as Homicide: Life on the Streets and Law and Order: SVU. Like Parks, this show features an ensemble cast in a workplace, but the characters are not yet up to par with the Parks crew. My biggest problem with the show is the women, who I often find completely unfunny and not distinct enough to distinguish one from another. However, knowing the progress Parks made from it’s first and second seasons (which were still pretty good) to their current standards makes me willing to give this show the time it needs to develop into a strong comedy. The chemistry between Samberg and Braugher is enough to keep viewers interested.
This show is only three episodes into its first season, but I’m already hooked. After streaming The Tudors this summer I became a quick fan of Jonathan Rhys Meyers (those blue eyes of his are enough to draw in audiences). This new show certainly seems to be borrowing from Meyers’s past of playing darkly charismatic characters, and the campiness/sex appeal of the show reflects elements of HBO’s True Blood. This is entertaining regardless of your knowledge of Dracula, but a small background helps in trying to understand the characters whose names you’ll certainly recognize. It looks to me like NBC is trying to emulate some of its cable network counterparts by offering a darker, edgier, sexier show, and as far as I can tell, it’s working.
Masters of Sex, Showtime
Masters of Sex is by far my favorite new show of the season. Based on a true story, Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan give stellar performances as Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson who conducted studies on human sexuality in the 1950s. This show is like Mad Men with more sex, but the sex rarely seems gratuitous (despite the nudity) because of the scientific scope through which it’s presented. The various storylines are consistently compelling as you see both the complicated personal lives of Masters and Johnson while also rooting for their success in their attempts to conduct this controversial study. As much as I look forward to every new episode, I also feel a little sad knowing that each passing episode only brings us closer to the season finale and a year of waiting for season two.
Reign, the CW
I very rarely find myself at all compelled to watch new shows on The CW, but when Entertainment Weekly featured Reign at the center of the bull’s eye recently, I decided to give this show a shot. I think the producers have done a fantastic job here of presenting a dramatized version of Mary Queen of Scots (whose time on the throne occurred in the 1500s) on a show that’s closer to shows like Gossip Girl than something on The History Channel. Even though this is based on a true story, the show still feels more like an exciting teen drama than a biography, and the beautiful Adelaide Kane is a great leading lady. If you’re looking for a juicy drama that isn’t too serious, Reign is a great option.