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The Movies/TV 8 Ball: Top 8 Most Anticipated Fall Shows

September 12, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
The Punisher

Top 8 Anticipated Fall Shows

Welcome, one and all, to the 8 Ball in the Movie Zone! I’m your host Jeremy Thomas and as always, we will be tackling a topic and providing you the top eight selections of that particular category. Keep in mind that this list is meant to be my personal opinion and not a definitive list. You’re free to disagree; you can even say my list is wrong, but stating that an opinion is “wrong” is just silly. With that in mind, let’s get right in to it!

The fall television season has basically arrived! After a summer that included some great shows like Game of Thrones and Orphan Black, very good ones like The Defenders and other…well, less good ones, the networks have a whole new slew of series to try and sell us on. There are a ton of shows coming out, from revivals of classic series to major genre show returns and a few new concepts being brought to the table. This week, we’re taking a look at my most anticipated shows of the fall season.

Caveat: I’m only looking at those shows which have their season or series premieres in the fall. I’m defining that period as from now until the end of November. That’s when fall shows tend to go on a midseason break (or get cancelled, in low-performing new series’ cases) and new shows sub in. In terms of ranking, it’s nice and simple: which shows am I looking forward to more than the rest? Doesn’t get much easier than that.

Just Missing the Cut

The Walking Dead (AMC) – October 22nd
Happy! (Syfy) – November 29th
Supergirl (The CW) – October 9th
Riverdale (The CW) – October 8th
Star Trek: Discovery (CBS/CBS All-Access) – September 24th

#8: The Exorcist (FOX)
September 29th

First on our list is a show I didn’t expect to be writing about for the new season at the beginning of the year. FOX’s The Exorcist was a very pleasant revelation when it premiered last year, a smart and surprisingly well-crafted continuation on the classic novel by William Peter Blatty. Serving as a sequel of sorts to the 1973 film, the series took a strong psychological thriller tone but never had much momentum in the ratings. Thus, it was a welcome semi-surprise when the broadcast network renewed it for a second season thanks to strong international sales.

The second season will move away from the Rances and follow the three priests — Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera), Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels), and Father Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan) — as they move on to Seattle. There they will visit a foster center with lots of supernatural evil going on. John Cho, Brianna Hildebrand and Li Jun Li are among the new cast members, all of whom are fine actors who will likely have plenty to work with. The possibility of members of the Rance family showing up has been teased as possible, but only if “there’s a story reason behind it and not a gratuitous one,” per EP Jeremy Slater. I don’t expect The Exorcist to become a big hit all of a sudden, and this season could very easily be its last. But it’s a horror show well worth watching and one I’m happy to see return.

#7: Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
October 10th

Television is flush with revivals over the last few years, with more set to debut this season. Roseanne is arriving later in the season and Will & Grace returns on NBC in September. While I am looking forward to both of those, Curb Your Enthusiasm has to be higher on the list. I’ll be upfront and say that I wasn’t into the show when it aired first-run on HBO. I was never a huge Seinfeld fan and the little clips of Curb I saw didn’t seem like much to me. But since then I’ve given it a shot and I found out why everyone I knew that had seen it loved it. David’s a phenomenal comic actor and the writing’s greatness almost goes without saying.

As such, when HBO finally announced that Curb was making its long-awaited return, I was excited. Technically the show never officially ended; it just went on a long, long hiatus. The new season promises a great cast of guest stars that include Bryan Cranston, Lauren Graham, Jimmy Kimmel, Nick Offerman, Elizabeth Banks, Ed Begley Jr., Carrie Brownstein, Nasim Pedrad and Elizabeth Perkins. With HBO having a relatively blank spot in their schedule over the next few months (with all due respect to Vice Principals, it’s no Game of Thrones or Veep), I’m glad that Curb has returned to fill the void.

#6: Lore (Amazon)
October 13th

Lore may not be the highest profile series coming out this fall, but it is one of the most intriguing. To be fair, I say that because I am a listener and fan of the podcast that it’s based on. Since March of 2015, Aaron Mahnke has been telling tales about real-life stories that delve into the dark side of humanity and the folklore, urban myths and real stories that have gained infamy over the years. Often described as a campfire story-like experience, Lore has told stories about everything from World’s Fair serial killer H.H. Holmes to The Greenbrier Ghost.

As much as I love the podcast, I was a little skeptical when the anthology series was announced. Mahnke’s storytelling style fits a podcast incredibly well, but a television style could easily strip all of that away. That said, the trailer looks to have all the right elements in place to live up to the podcast’s critically-acclaimed and award-winning series. With only six episodes in the first season (each focusing on a different tale), it won’t be a huge commitment but will give viewers plenty to get creeped out over. October looks to be a creepily good time on TV.

#5: The Gifted (FOX)
October 2nd

While Marvel has been largely killing it on the airwaves over the past several years, this year is going to be their most prolific and interesting season yet. Several series have premiered or continued this season and they range from very positive (Defenders, Agents of SHIELD) to…much less so (Inhumans, Iron Fist). The most interesting of the Marvel series yet to debut this year is not an MCU jam, though. Instead, it is an X-Men series from FOX. FX gave us our first great X-Men series adaptation in February’s Legion, and the main network looks to land a second success with Gifted.

Much like Legion, Gifted won’t rely on appearances from the main X-Men film cast. Instead, it focuses on a family who have to go on the run when their two children are discovered to be mutants. Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker are playing the parents to mutants played by Natalie Alyn Lind (Gotham) and Percy Hynes White. The rest of the cast includes established comic book characters like Blink (Jamie Chung), Polaris (Emma Dumont) and Thunderbird (Blair Redford). Early buzz has been quite strong and while the show is up against strong competition on Monday night, it could become a real hit for FOX.

#4: Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu)
November 21st

Speaking from a strictly personal level, few show adaptations have built quite as much excitement in me as Runaways. Hulu’s newest and highest-profile series to date is an adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan’s young anti-superhero comic book, which was one of my favorite books of the early 21st century. Runaways focuses on five teenagers — Alex Wilder (Rhenzy Feliz), Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano), Karolina Dean (Virginia Gardner), Gert Yorkes (Ariela Barer), Chase Stein (Gregg Sulkin) and Molly Hernandez (Allegra Acosta) — who go on the run after discovering that their parents are members of a supervillain team.

Vaughan’s series subverted and satirized a lot of superhero tropes without divesting itself of Marvel’s comic book continuity and received many well-earned accolades as a result. The series looks to do the same, explicitly set within the MCU but not relying on those ties for success. The Pride members are portrayed by a cast that includes James Marsters (Buffy), Annie Wersching (24), Brigid Brannagh (Army Wives) and more. Creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage seem to have a strong take on the material, giving this the potential to rank high among the MCU shows released to date.

#3: Stranger Things (Netflix)
October 27th

Stranger Things was one of the biggest television phenomenons of 2016. The series seemingly came out of nowhere, much as most Netflix series do, and captured the imagination of audiences thanks to its adroit mix of a 1980s-set Amblin Entertainment-like story and a Stephen King tone. Turning its talented young cast into instant stars and thrusting its adult cast back into the spotlight, the Duffer Brothers’ first season is rightfully considered to be a front-runner among its fellow nominees for Best Drama at the Emmy Awards.

It isn’t too much of a surprise then that Stranger Things‘ second season is at the top of most people’s lists of must-see shows of the new season. Leaping ahead about a year from the events of last season, season two will start up around Halloween of 1984 and explore the larger mythology surrounding Will’s disappearance as he, his family and the town try to get back to normal. But that won’t be as easy as they hope, and with a lot of backstory to explore on Eleven she is sure to make a return. We’re just over a month and a half away from the second season’s premiere and I expect that Netflix’s traffic will spike considerably on October 27th.

#2: This Is Us (NBC)
September 26th

The other biggest television phenomenon of 2016 was undoubtedly This Is Us. Let’s face it: it isn’t easy for the broadcast networks to get a lot of buzz for shows these days. The broadcast nets are just too far behind the pack of their cable brethren for a variety of reasons. Most notably among those reasons is their need to appeal to a larger and more mainstream audience, which means that they can’t take as many risks. Their best bet is to create a superhero show, something that has helped the CW considerably. But even that doesn’t always work, and Inhumans is likely to prove that true for ABC considering its negative buzz.

That NBC managed to buck that trend with This Is Us is incredible. Dan Fogelman’s series is basically a multi-generational family drama, which is hardly an automatic recipe for success. But after critics were ecstatic in early reviews for the first episode, audiences tuned in in droves. What’s more, they stayed. The show relies on fantastic performances by a cast including Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore as the parents during the late 1980s and Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz and Justin Hartley as their children in the modern day. It’s cliché to praise a show by referring to its heart, but that’s exactly what This Is Us has in spades. There are plenty of questions still to be answered about the past and all of the modern-day characters still have plenty of places to go in their stories. It can be really hard for what is essentially a melodrama to gain this level of affection, but This Is Us has earned it and I’m looking forward to seeing where it continues to go.

#1: Marvel’s The Punisher (Netflix)
TBA

Technically, The Punisher doesn’t have a specific release date yet beyond “2017.” As such, I considered not putting it on here, as it could premiere in December and fall outside of my timeframe. That said, it’s a qualified risk and seems likely to bow during the now to November timeframe. And when you consider it eligible, it is very hard not to put it among the most anticipated shows of the year. Jon Bernthal was one of the best things about a slightly uneven Daredevil season two, taking the role of Frank Castle and making him someone we not only were impressed by and feared, but felt for. That’s the perfect representation of Marvel’s iconic vigilante, and once Daredevil’s second run had ended it seemed to be a given that he would get his own show.

And of course, that’s what happened. Bernthal will play Frank Castle again alongside Deborah Ann Woll, who reprises her role as Karen Page. Frank continues his quest to fight crime. Bernthal has said the show will have “a military component” and lean more onto Castle’s experiences as a soldier. The supporting cast is stellar on paper, with Ben Barnes playing Castle’s best friend Billy Russo (who will become Jigsaw) and Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Castle’s tech friend Micro. Series creator/showrunner Steve Lightfoot earned his stripes on the fantastic Hannibal and will have plenty to work with here. Among all the new and returning shows of the 2017 – 2018 season, The Punisher has to stand among the most anticipated for many.

And that will do it for us this week! Join me next week for another edition of the 8-Ball! Until then, have a good week and don’t forget to read the many other great columns, news articles and more here at 411mania.com! JT out.