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Fall TV Preview: 15 Shows To Look Out For In The Coming Season

by Oliver Lyttelton
August 24, 2012 11:56 AM
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And Five From Across The Pond:

1. "Hunderby"
Aside from very brief roles in things like "Love Actually" and "Four Lions," Julia Davis isn't especially well known in the US, but in the UK, she's become one of the most distinctive voices in British comedy, thanks to her collaborations with Steve Coogan, and her own, often dark and bleak creations "Human Remains," "Nighty Night" and "Lizzie And Sarah." She's gone over to Sky for this new show, a six part parody of Bronte-esque period dramas with an all-star cast. The story invovles the shipwreck survivor Helene (rising star Alexandra Roach from "The Iron Lady"), who marries a pastor (Alex MacQueen of "In The Loop") only to clash with his maniacal housekeeper (Davis herself). Familiar faces for UK comedy fans like Rebekah Staton, Alexander Armstrong and Kevin Eldon also feature, the production value looks strong, and between Davis' impeccable track record, and the impressive stuff that Sky have been comissioning recently, this could be a real gem.
When? It starts airing at 10pm on August 27th on Sky Atlantic in the UK. No word on a US airing yet.

2. "Dancing On The Edge"
Stephen Poliakoff is probably Britain's most lauded TV dramatist, but came unstuck a little with his venture onto the big-screen a few years ago, with the disappointing "Glorious 39." But he's back on TV soon with his first full series "Dancing On The Edge," a five-parter that focuses on a black jazz band in the 1930s, who get caught up in the murder of their singer. And Poliakoff has assembled a tremendous cast for the BBC production, with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Matthew Goode leading things, and John Goodman, Wunmi Mosaku, Jacqueline Bisset, Janet Montgomery, Tom Hughes, Anthony Head, Jane Asher and Mel Smith also involved. A trailer popped up briefly a while ago, and looked like handsome, sterling stuff, and while Poliakoff doesn't hit it out of the park every time, his work is almost never uninteresting.
When? It's been in the can for almost a year, but the BBC haven't yet indicated when they're showing it. Christmas might be a good bet.

3. "Peaky Blinders"
It seems that movie stars making a move into TV isn't just a US phenomenon. Even though he's featured in a couple of the biggest hits of the last few years, with "Inception" and "The Dark Knight Rises" (the latter admittedly only briefly), Cillian Murphy is set to topline "Peaky Blinders," a new six-part drama series for the BBC. And he's not the only one migrating from the movies. The show is created by Steven Knight, the screenwriter behind "Eastern Promises" and "Dirty Pretty Things," who recently made his directorial debut on Jason Statham picture "Hummingbird." Murphy will play the dangerous brother of a crime family in Birmingham in 1919 who has to deal with a police chief from Belfast, and a mysterious woman who are both new in town. It sounds somewhere between "Lawless" and "Boardwalk Empire" with a British spin, and Knight's skillset seems particularly well suited to TV drama, so this could be very promising indeed.
When? Shooting starts in September, so likely to air sometime in 2013.

4. "The Fear"
Despite many amazing performances, from his Cannes-winning turn in "My Name Is Joe" to last year's "Tyrannosaur," Scottish actor Peter Mullan isn't necessarily an actor who's had a lot of chances to carry things, particularly on the small screen, but that could change when he headlines Channel 4 drama "The Fear" later in the year. Penned by "Wallander" writer Richard Cottan, and directed by Michael Samuels ("Any Human Heart"), the series sees Mullan play a Brighton crime boss diagnosed with early onset dementia, just as Albanian  mobsters try to muscle in on his territory. It's a dramatic, "King Lear"-like premise, and the supporting cast, including Paul Nicholls and "Game Of Thrones" star Harry Lloyd as his sons, and Richard E Grant as an old enemy, is very promising.
When? Shooting is currently underway, so perhaps by the end of the year, or in 2013.

5. "Utopia"
Dennis Kelly isn't yet a household name, as far as writers go, but he's certainly one to keep an eye on. The playwright, who co-wrote excellent sitcom "Pulling," won acclaim for writing hit musical "Matilda," and this new TV series that he's created sounds extremely promising. Revolving around four strangers who find themselves with fragments of a mysterious and legendary graphic novel, and are forced to go on the run from a powerful conspiracy, Channel 4 have put together an outstanding ensemble cast, including Alexandra Roach ("The Iron Lady"), Paul Higgins ("In The Loop"), Nathan Stewart-Jarrett ("Misfits"), Neil Maskell & Michael Smiley ("Kill List"), James Fox ("Performance"), Simon McBurney ("Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy") and Geraldine James ("Sherlock Holmes"). Kelly is a tremendous talent, and with "The Crimson Petal And White" director Marc Munden at the helm, this could be something very special indeed.
When? Filming is just getting going now, so keep an eye out in 2013.

Honorable Mentions: After a few years of lagging behind, things are looking more promising than they have for a long time in British TV. The BBC are soon to offer up conspiracy thriller "Hunted," starring Melissa George and Stephen Dillane, from "X-Files" writer Frank Spotnitz," as well as period procedural "Ripper Street," starring Matthew MacFayden, Jerome Flynn and MyAnna Buring. On Sky, Marton Csokas stars as Spanish detective Falcon, with Hayley Attwell and Bernard Hill in support, while Chris O'Dowd created and starred in the upcoming comedy "Moone Boy," about a young boy with an imaginary friend. Finally, ITV are offering up the ten-part "Mr. Selfridge," starring Jeremy Piven as an American department store magnate in London.

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  • Braden | September 21, 2012 12:17 AMReply

    I adore Live Schreiber’s work as an actor because he never ceases to amaze me! This is the first I’ve heard of Ray Donovan, but since it does have a star-studded cast, I’m sure that I’ll see posters around the DISH call center I work at advertising Showtime’s newest series. Of the many shows listed, I’m mostly looking forward to The Mindy Project. I think Mindy Kaling’s new series is going to be a huge success. I’ve already set my Hopper’s Primetime Anytime feature to record the whole season because I want to enable my Auto Hop to skip over the commercials. I’d hate to see a wonderful new show be ruined with constant advertising interruptions, so I’m glad that I have the choice with this one! Thanks for the BBC listings; after following The Office, I realize that I might like British humor.

  • Ty Webb | August 26, 2012 11:36 AMReply

    Wow what a great Fall TV Preview! I can't wait to watch all of these promising Fall shows - in the winter of 2013... Doink.

  • abcshopping891 | August 25, 2012 9:39 AMReply


  • Tabitha | August 24, 2012 10:33 PMReply

    New series with Aaron Paul?? Yes please! I may be able to handle my severe Jesse and Breaking Bad withdrawals if he is back on my TV soon. He is the best young actor on television today and deserves a billion Emmys.

  • Berk | August 24, 2012 6:16 PMReply

    Hunderby looks tremendous. Julia Davis is also starring in a comedy pilot with Sharon Horgan (Pulling/Todd Margaret) and Olivia Coleman (Tyrannosaur/Twenty Twelve). It is called Bad Sugar and is in the style of Spanish telenovelas. Charlie Brooker's (Black Mirror) parody of the British police dramas, A Touch of Cloth, is also airing in the UK this weekend as part of Channel 4's comedy fortnight.

  • Atlee | August 24, 2012 2:14 PMReply

    TWO Bryan Fuller shows, and others with Mark Strong, Eddie Izzard, Cillian Murphy, Michael Sheen, Hugh Dancy, Liev Schrieber, Laurence Fishburne [!!!]. Brain explodes, jaw drops.

  • Mike | August 24, 2012 1:46 PMReply

    Good stuff, but perhaps the title shouldn't say "Fall TV preview" when most of these will either be in 2013, or may or may not even happen yet. True Detective was announced this year, HBO sometimes takes 3 years before they're ready to unveil a show they announced. If we see it by fall of next year that would be a quick turn around for them.

  • ArcherSlyce | August 24, 2012 12:59 PMReply

    I must admit Breaking Bad has set my radar on anything from an ex X-files writer (though the one I'd love to here from is Darin "Jose Chung" Morgan) so I look forward to see Hunted. Other than that nothing really fascinates me here except Hannibal, because of Mikkelsen and mostly because I was such a huge fan of Pushing Daisies (and even though the last Lecter movies kinda ruined the character for me). Maybe The Fear and Utopia for the cast...

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