With 2014 comfortably behind us and the year starting anew, Vulture Hound takes a look at the new shows being prepped for what will hopefully be a triumphant 2015.
Sky Atlantic is the place where the British get to see all the HBO shows in one place, instead of scattered all over the schedule. But to make sure we’re not feeling totally inferior to our American cousins, Sky have been trying to make programs that can compare to the quality of the world’s most exciting content provider. But America’s a big place with access to a continents worth of resources. To compete we must bring along a continent of our own. That’s why, like The Tunnel, if we are to match HBO for scope we have to make an international effort. While The Tunnel was a collaboration of Anglo and French talents, Fortitude recruits the help of the Danish actress Sofie Gråbøl who played Governor Odegard. Fortitude takes place in the arctic community of the same name as the inhabitants are forced to deal’s with the town’s first violent crime ever. Written by Simon Donald of Low Winter Sun, the show promises to be a suspense filled thriller, as chilling as it is chilly.
Following in the footsteps of Fargo, 12 Monkeys is the first of two programs on this list that seek to recapture the magic of an old cult classic. Syfy’s 12 Monkeys updates the brilliantly disturbed Terry Gilliam original where a man is forced to travel back in time to stop the release of a plague that wipes out seven billion people. However, time travel takes a toll on a person’s mental stability and it will be fun to stretch the protagonists decent into madness over a full six episodes.
Westworld is the second of these shows that are bringing a science fiction classic to a millennial audience. Chris Nolan’s brother Jonathan directs his second pilot after the intriguing but flawed Person of Interest. The series is based on the 1973 thriller of the same name, written and directed by suspense master Michael Crichton. Described as “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin,” Westworld, named after the fairground of the future, aims to look at how humanity will get its kicks when it can use and abuse inorganic lifeforms for its own amusement.
War & Peace
The BBC have decided to adapt a doozie of a novel with this lavish and star studded version of Tolstoy’s epic. There Will Be Blood’s Paul Dano plays opposite the newly announced Cinderella and will be joined by Stephen Rea and The Young Ones’ Adrian Edmondson; it has also been picked up by notorious Oscar hunters The Weinstein Company for distribution in the US. The story (in case you’re out of step with your 19th century Russian literature) tells of how Russian society is forever changed by Napoleon’s failed invasion through the tangled lives of its aristocracy.
After the success of The Walking Dead comic books that wouldn’t have been touched by the networks with a ten foot barge pole have suddenly become gold dust to executives. The next show based on a graphic series set to make waves is iZOMBIE by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred. It’s a detective show with a difference. I’ll let you take a moment to figure out what that difference is. Did you get it? Yes, in this show the detective is a zombie. Olivia “Liv” Moore (Liv is like Live, get it?) becomes part zombie after unwittingly attending a feeding frenzy. Now she must eat one brain a month to maintain her humanity. Good thing she’s a medical resident at a coroner’s office. Now she’s got an unending supply of brains all belonging to unsolved murder victims. Also, she has visions of that person’s past life when she eats their brains. So she clears her conscience by solving their deaths. All falls into place doesn’t it?
Jason Isaacs has played a plethora of TV tough guy detectives in shows such as Awake and Case Histories. Now he plays an FBI agent who is on the case of a two-thousand year old mystery in the heart of Jerusalem. Filming was taking place in that volatile part of the world until it had to be relocated to New Mexico after it became apparent that continuation would pose too many safety risks. Like death.
Dynasty for the Hip-Hop nouveau riche. If that doesn’t wet your beak you’re a hard heart to please. Created by Precious’s Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, this drama has Oscar nominated talent all over it (I wonder if any of them would get those nominations today?). Terrence is the patriarch of Empire Enterprises and former drug dealer. He finds out he has ALS and starts choosing a successor. But complications arise when his ex-wife, who has been serving time for the drug dealing they were both doing, gets out of jail. Now if you’re still not interested please leave this publication and never come back.
You’d only move to a place like Schitt’s Creek as some kind of sick joke. Well then, Johnny and Moira Rose must have a hell of a lot of disposable income because they haven’t just moved there, they’ve brought the whole town. Forced to integrate themselves into the rural Canadian community, this school-of-fish-out-of-water provide us with plenty of opportunities to laugh at the arrogance of the super-rich and fantasise about their downfall. Featuring the talents of Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara this has already been getting rave reviews in its native Canada.
HBO’s next slice of TV brilliance comes courtesy of Jay and Mark Duplass, and Steve Zissis. HBO have started a new creative trend in Hollywood by trusting incredible creatives to make incredible shows. It’s worked so well for them Disney, Netflix and Fox have all regained credibility by doing the same thing. Amanda Peet especially looks great in the role of Tina, a divorcee who is deathly afraid of ending up alone.
Poor DC. They’ve just started finding their groove. In films they’ve been getting hammered by the quality of Marvel’s cinematic offerings since The Dark Knight. Then they get a huge following in TV thanks to Arrow and were just following it up with The Flash. That’s two, three if you count Gotham, which I’m not sure anyone is doing. Now Marvel is set to premier three series in one year! Agent Carter is a Captain America spin off centred around his lost love from World War II. Daredevil tells the story of Matt Murdoch who lost his sight as a boy but now fights crime with super sensitive hearing and unbelievable acrobatics. A.K.A. Jessica Jones tells the story of a former super hero with PTSD who helps other heroes with their problems. If you couple these last two with Iron Fist and Luke Cage who are hitting Netflix in 2016 and their team up special The Defenders, Marvel could be looking to run rings around DC both on the big and little screens.