By Sean Harris ’11 and Eric Villanueva ’11
Gangsters and zombies and lawyers oh my!
This fall television lineup brings all this and more to the small screen, which has slowly been gaining respect over the years for character development and scope that cannot be rivaled by any movie.
Below are a few shows that perked our interest.
Well, the search for the next “Lost” certainly is on, isn’t it?
The earliest contender, “Flashforward,” wasn’t exactly a huge success, loudly proclaiming itself to be the next big thing just in time for it to shrug off the stage in disappointment.
“The Event,” a science-fiction ensemble show that takes its namesake from a mysterious event said to change the face of mankind, is next up to the plate. It should make viewers experience déjà vu from just last year; practically the same premise, a gigantic ad campaign and what looked like a fairly disappointing TV experience.
But if “Flashforward” is like the little brother who fails to fit in his older brothers’ shoes, then “The Event” would be the even younger brother on a sugar high, bouncing off the walls and bursting with ideas.
Granted he may get annoying after a while, but he is still fun to watch.
It’s a bad show alright; plot holes constantly rear their ugly head, the story and characters have all been done to death.
The survival of the show will depend on viewers trusting that the writers know what they’re doing when it’s clear that they just like mimicking the “Lost” cliffhanger format and thinking of an answer later.
So why is this so much fun? Because its actions are so ludicrous, it’s purpose so shameless and every once in a while it’s possible to see a little potential in it.
Will this be the next “Lost”? No. However, with little expectations and a semi-functioning brain, it might become its own unique thing. It might be a guilty pleasure, but even that might be giving it too much credit.
“Boardwalk Empire” might just be the most anticipated new show of the fall season, and it’s not hard to understand why.
All the elements are there with a lot of reliable names attached, such as Martin Scorcese (director of “Goodfellas”) and Terence Winter (writer of “The Sopranos”). Also, the show is being aired on HBO, which has long been the gold standard of TV.
The plot, taking place in 1920’s Atlantic City, is centered on Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi), a corrupt city treasurer who sees the potential in the liquor business after prohibition. From there, it is all about the rise of the gangster.
So what’s the verdict? Well, with any show being placed under godlike expectations, it’s reasonable to expect “Empire” to falter. But it’s still one of the best new shows on TV, with amazing production values and an incredible turn by Buscemi as Nucky.
What’s holding “Empire” back for now is the pace, which can be glacially slow at times. However, just from the pilot, one could tell that payoff is coming; and when it all pays off, “Empire” might have a shot a TV excellence.
“Law and Order: Los Angeles”
When “Law and Order” wrapped up its decades-long run last year, some “Law and Order” fans felt sure whatever replaced the 20-season TV crime drama would shrivel in comparison.
NBC must have agreed, and so brought on Dick Wolf, creator of “Law and Order,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” and “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” to write and produce a fourth “Law and Order” knockoff series set Los Angeles. Besides, what’s better than replacing a successful, beloved show with a duplicate?
Consensus was that another duplicate would be the bullet through the gut of the “Law and Order” universe, but after watching the pilot of “Law and Order: Los Angeles,” many fans now withdraw their initial ruling for further consideration.
The pilot, “Hollywood,” caters to both diehard “Law and Order” fans and new viewers.
Evidence A: Wolf brings back the old witty banter between the two detectives and the trademark chime between scenes is a nod to longtime “Law and Order” fans.
Evidence B: Wolf also keeps the show’s format true to the original: the first half of the show follows the detectives investigating the crime and the second half concentrates on the prosecution of the crime in court.
However, it seems Wolf is already hard at work writing the characteristics and intricacies unique to Los Angeles into the show.
Evidence C: Already, the District Attorney, played by Alfred Molina, seems to be of a different breed than “Law and Order” fan-favorite Executive A.D.A Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston).
Evidence D: The crimes in the City of Angels, like the celebrity mother-daughter burglary gang in the pilot, seem to take on a life of their own.
“Law and Order: Los Angeles” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.
“The Walking Dead”
Enough already with the teen-vampire and other teenage mythical creature dramas; there’s only so many ways one can spin it.
Now there’s finally a breath of fresh air in this garlic-smelling, bloodsucker-infatuated world: zombies.
In the new TV series “The Walking Dead” on AMC, zombies are a 360-degree turn from the other horror and magical creatures who have dominated TV and film for the better part of the last decade.
Zombies can’t think, love or make themselves sparkle in the daylight. They’re dead, wandering creatures driven to hunt in numbers for their prey: humans.
The show follows a Detroit police officer who wakes from a coma to a zombie apocalypse (reminiscent of the movie “28 Days Later”) and sets off to find his wife and son after the end of the world.
From watching the trailer and behind the scenes bits on the show’s website, the show, based on Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel, looks ready to impress.
Before filming, the show’s producers held zombie school where the actors and actresses learned how to behave like zombies.
What shows the true scope of this show is the work of the make-up artists.
When the police officer walks out of the hospital, he sees a torn-apart zombie girl on the lawn, the make-up for which took more than three hours to put on.
If this is the extent to which the producers go to in only the first minutes of the pilot, one can only imagine how the rest first season will play out.
“The Walking Dead” premieres Halloween Night, Oct. 31 at 10 p.m. on AMC.
If there are any new TV series we haven’t review but you would like to review yourself, please e-mail your ideas to The Roundup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, make sure look online for a full review of the new AMC zombie TV series “The Walking Dead” after its premiere Halloween Night, Oct. 31.