We’re well into the fall television season – some shows have already gone on their midseason hiatus – and nearing the time for winter premieres of new series. This year I didn’t have as much time to catch all the new pilots (as opposed to 2012 and 2013) and had to focus on the shows I was particularly excited to watch. However, even though I gave many new series a chance, I didn’t stick with all of them (there’s only so much time in the day!). These are the four new fall shows that I’ve kept up with each week and will be excited to see how they progress through their debut seasons.
Gotham is set in the fictional DC Comics city that is home to one of the most famous superheroes: Batman. However, Gotham doesn’t follow Batman. Instead, the Fox series focuses on Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), a member of the city’s police task force, who is set to investigate the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. In addition to Jim Gordon, Gotham also follows his partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), member of the Falcone crime syndicate Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), manipulative and power hungry Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), street kid Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova), and a young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz).
Although Gotham has its low points – anytime it tries to take itself too seriously – the show can often be fun as a campy, procedural take on the typical Batman storyline. As a fan of Joel Schumacher’s campiest Batman installment, Batman & Robin, I’m enjoying the first season of Gotham so far. That being said, though, I find myself laughing at times when I probably shouldn’t be laughing.
Gotham still needs to figure out how to balance the campy, unbelievable aspects of its world with the more grounded story elements. Hopefully the series will find its footing sometime in season 1, although Gotham’s midseason finale didn’t bolster my confidence in the show’s ability to do so.
From producer Shonda Rhimes, How to Get Away with Murder focuses on defense attorney Analise Keating (Viola Davis) and her team of law students: Wes Gibbins (Alfred Enoch), Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King), Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza), and Asher Millstone (Matt McGorry). The group of students helps Keating defend Rebecca Sutter (Katie Findlay), who is on trial for murder, but get wrapped up in their own murderous predicament.
I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a die-hard fan of Shondaland in general (I gave up on Scandal in season 2 when it got a little too hard to believe) but I was hooked by How to Get Away with Murder from the very first promo. At first, I thought the flash forwards brought down the series, but as they started to form a more complete picture, I enjoyed them. It will be interesting to see what happens in the second half of the show’s season as both storylines finally met up in the show’s winter finale.
Other than that complaint, I very much enjoyed the first half of season 1. The characters are dynamic and fun to watch, and I like the weekly cases in addition to the overarching murder case. What I like best is that I’m often surprised by the show, so I’m excited to see where it goes next. The plot and the characters are what keep me coming back to How to Get Away with Murder each week.
Spun off from The CW’s Arrow, The Flash tells the story of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who receives superhuman speed after being struck by lightning. Once waking from a coma and discovering his powers, Barry teams up with Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), and Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) at STAR Labs to protect Central City from other metahumans. Soon Barry finds himself balancing his new life with his relationships with his family and friends.
After Barry first appeared in an episode of Arrow’s second season, I was excited to see what Gustin could do with his own series. Now that we’re well into the season of both shows, I can safely say I enjoy watching The Flash even more than Arrow – although I enjoyed watching the Flash/Arrow crossover episodes more than either series alone, to be honest.
The Flash has a much lighter tone than its predecessor, and develops its characters in a way that feels more genuine inside a world full of superpowers. Although The Flash can often venture a bit too much into teen drama (Barry’s pining for his best friend, Iris West, played by Candice Patton), it is often balanced by more compelling drama (Barry’s relationship with Joe West, played by Jesse L. Martin). As much as I wish The CW’s two superhero series could crossover more often, I’m very much enjoying watching Barry come into his own as The Flash.
After a mixup at the doctor’s office, a virgin named Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) winds up pregnant. But, to make matters worse, the father of Jane’s baby is Rafael (Justin Baldoni) a former fling, which doesn’t sit well with her boyfriend Michael (Brett Dier). Additionally – to make this adaptation of a Venezuelan telenovela even more complicated – the father Jane has never met, telenovela star Rogelio De La Vega (Jaime Camil), comes into her life. He attempts to join Jane’s family, which has solely consisted of her mother Xiomara (Andrea Navedo) and grandmother Alba (Ivonne Call) for most of her life.
I didn’t know what to expect from Jane the Virgin because the premise is a bit outside the box for American television, even in the realm of teen-geared TV which features shows about vampires, superheroes, and post-apocalyptic worlds alike. However, after watching the pilot, Jane the Virgin was easily the most engaging and entertaining new series to premiere this fall.
Rodriguez absolutely shines in the lead role and brings all the attitude and heart to her character that is needed to sustain a show with such a complicated premise. I wasn’t convinced I would enjoy Jane the Virgin – even though early reviews raved about it – but I’m glad I gave it a shot because it became my favorite new series this fall.