The major television broadcast networks unveiled their fall and midseason schedules last week and when it comes to new dramas, mystery is definitely afoot. Whether it’s far-reaching government conspiracies or cunning and lethal serial killers that make your pulse pound, the 2012-2013 TV season has something for everyone.
Last Resort (Thursdays at 8, ABC) is my pick for the most promising new drama. With Shawn Ryan (The Shield, Chicago Code) at the helm, this military thriller’s trailer was an action-packed knockout akin to a mashup between Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October and J.J. Abrams’ Lost. When the U.S. government issues a suspicious order to one of its naval subs to fire on Pakistan, the commander (the impressive Andre Braugher) questions it and the ship soon comes under attack . . . from our own Navy. And that’s just the beginning. An impressive supporting cast featuring Scott Speedman, Daisy Betts, Dichen Lachman, and Robert Patrick offer more great reasons to tune in.
What would happen if someone turned off the world’s electricity? Revolution (Mondays at 10, NBC) from J.J. Abrams (Lost, Mission Impossible) and Eric Kripke (Supernatural) shows us a civilization that’s been in the dark for 15 years and has returned to primitive ways. But when a militia group kills a man who was involved with the power loss and kidnaps his son, a teenage girl embarks on a quest to get her brother back and find out what really happened. Director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) helmed the pilot episode, giving it a distinctly cinematic feel.
The DaVinci Code-esque Zero Hour (Midseason, ABC) stars ER’s Anthony Edwards as the publisher of a conspiracy magazine whose wife is suddenly kidnapped. An antique clock-cum-treasure map is his clue to finding her and he must decipher its symbols, but he soon discovers the clock has connections to a centuries-old mystery. However there’s a dastardly villain pursuing him and the clock that he must stay a few steps ahead of.
Cults & Killers
He’s baaack! After several movie adaptations, Thomas Harris’s literary mastermind Hannibal (Midseason, NBC) finally gets his own TV show. Penned by Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls), the show finds Hugh Dancy’s criminal profiler Will Graham joining forces with the as-yet-uncast Dr. Hannibal Lecter, an eminent psychiatrist and, unbeknownst to Will, brutal serial killer.
Cult (Midseason, CW) features double the mayhem of your usual suspenser, with a clever show-within-a-show premise. Life might be imitating art a little too closely when a fan of a hit TV series featuring an LAPD detective (Supernatural’s Alona Tal) tracking a charismatic cult leader (Robert Knepper, who was the perfectly heinous T-Bag on Prison Break) disappears after claiming the show was trying to harm him. His brother, investigative journalist Jeff Sefton (Vampire Diaries’ Matt Davis), sets out to find him and soon discovers the darker side of fandom.
Kevin Bacon stars as a retired FBI Investigator called back to work when the serial killer he’s responsible for sending to jail 14 years ago (and more than a little bit obsessed by) escapes from prison in The Following (Midseason, FOX). Complicating his recapture is the fact that the psychopath has managed to cultivate and communicate with a cult of serial killers while jailed. With Kevin Williamson (Scream, The Vampire Diaries) helming and Bacon onboard, this drama promises some quality chills .
In a season without any new cop procedurals, there are still detectives to be found. CBS is putting a modern twist on the infamous Baker Street sleuth and his sidekick with Elementary (Thursdays at 10, CBS). Jonny Lee Miller plays a fresh-from-rehab Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu plays his addiction specialist Dr. Joan Watson. To monitor her patient, she follows him on his job as a police consultant, but soon they find themselves to be a dynamic detecting duo.
Take the sudsy, wealthy-family drama of Revenge and add a young female police detective investigating a murdered heiress and you get Infamous (Midseason, NBC). The daughter of the family housekeeper, Joanna (Meagan Good) has some close and personal ties to the Bowers family. Her job is to get close and find out who killed eldest daughter Vivian, once her best friend. But Joanna’s personal life might get in the way as she’s torn between two men from her past—a sexy fellow cop and the dashing playboy son of the family. With the always delightful Victor Garber (better known as Alias’ spydaddy!) as the Bowers patriarch, things could get dangerous in a hurry.
Mobsters, Gangsters, Racketeering, Oh My!
Based on real events, the slick-looking Vegas (Tuesdays at 10, CBS) tells the tale of Sin City’s rise in the 1960s as mobsters and corruption begin to take over the desert town. Sheriff Ralph Lamb (Dennis Quaid) brings a little outlaw-and-order to the rough and tumble town on the verge. (He rides a horse, people!) The always excellent Michael Chiklis (The Shield) plays the ruthless Chicago gangster Vincent Savino, who plans to wrest control of the city from Lamb. Jason O’Mara (Brotherhood) as Lamb’s brother and deputy and Carrie Anne Moss (The Matrix) as an assistant district attorney who grew up with Lamb round out the stellar cast.
The oh-so-creatively titled The Mob Doctor (Mondays at 9, FOX) features Jordana Spiro as a smart young neurosurgeon who is secretly indebted to Chicago’s southside mob. By day she works at the ER, by night she’s stitching up gangsters on the sly as a trade off for their settling her brother’s life-threatening gambling debt. The sneak preview trailer reveals some unintentional humor for this potentially ham-handed drama, but some heavyweight casting (Zeljko Ivanek, William Forsythe, Zack Gilford) could make it worth tuning in.
In Red Widow (Midseason, ABC), Radha Mitchell plays Marta Walraven, a woman who grew up in a life of organized crime and never managed to escape. When her husband is killed by rival gangsters, she must take his place in the crime syndicate to protect her children and stay one step ahead of both the FBI and the mob in hopes of ultimately breaking free.
Something wicked comes our way with 666 Park Avenue (Sundays at 10, ABC) as Terry O’Quinn (Lost) plays yet another morally gray charmer. Rather than an island prophet, this time he’s the Faustian manager of the lavish Drake apartment building, where the residents find that all their dreams just might come true . . . at a very dangerous price. The struggle for good and evil could be just the right kind of campy fun with O’Quinn and Vanessa L. Williams (Ugly Betty) as his wife and co-owner of the Drake.
He may not have the superpowers of some of his fellow comic book Avengers, but the CW is banking on Arrow (Wednesdays at 8, CW) to bring a dash of heroism to its lineup. Stephen Amell plays billionaire playboy Oliver Queen, aka the green-hooded vigilante looking to save Starling City from evil and corruption under the cover of darkness. This one promises some flash, fun, and plenty of eye candy for CW’s primarily female audience.
Finally, Beauty and the Beast (Thursdays at 9, CW) stars Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk as Catherine Chandler, a homicide detective who is haunted by her mother’s murder years earlier. The night of the attack, Catherine was saved from death by a mysterious man and now, investigating a new case, she finds out his identity and discovers his secret—when enraged he becomes a terrifying beast with super-strength and heightened senses. But she is drawn to him and the two begin a complicated relationship as they work to piece together the clues of who killed her mother.
Tara Gelsomino is a reader, writer, pop culture junkie, and Internet addict. You can tweet her at @taragel
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