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Monster guide II: 25 new TV shows to start obsessing over

Aleesha Matharu | Updated on: 25 August 2015, 9:56 IST

Ready or not, new TV series are on their way.

If you're still whining about some favourites from last year that were cancelled, now might be a good time to stop - because there's an epic new lineup waiting to take their place.

Also read: Binge-watched Netflix? Here's a monster guide for returning TV shows

The numbers, in fact, border insane. FX Networks boss John Landgraf recently said that during 2015, the growing number of scripted series on air is likely to surpass 400.

Global TV, clearly, is where all the action is, where new stars and trends and memes are born.

Binge-watchers of course know this. But for those who have yet to catch on to just how dramatically the world of entertainment has changed, this is the season to clue in.

Last week, we kicked things off with the monster list of fall's most-anticipated returning shows, the ones whose fans have been gritting their teeth and waiting for the next season to kick off.

This week, though, is all about the new. It's about shows that will go on air this fall and play out a host of possibilities.

In this list could be the next cult, like Breaking Bad, Dexter or Firefly. Or even just the ridiculously popular, like Friends, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory.

Either way, unlike years past when we had to wait for Star Wars, AXN, FX, Zee Cafe and their like to decide what TV viewing was in our fate, we now have the power of streaming and the satisfaction of instant access.

And with this monster list of new shows, the only thing you now need is enough free days to fit in all the binge-watching that's called for.

01
Blunt Talk

Starts: 22 August

Network: Starz

More than 20 years after Star Trek: The Next Generation, Patrick Stewart is finally returning to headline another US TV series. Stewart plays Walter Blunt, a British newscaster forced to rebuild his credibility after he's arrested while driving drunk with a prostitute. Created by Jonathan Ames, who previously ran HBO's Bored to Death, and executive-produced by Seth MacFarlane, Blunt Talk offers the same distinctive mix of debauchery and pathos.

02
Fear the Walking Dead

Starts: 23 August

Network: AMC

From the creators of The Walking Dead, comes this new addition to the ever-expanding universe of zombie television. The show, which looks quite promising, goes back to the beginning of the end - an origin story of sorts but not really a prequel. Starring Kim Dickens (Deadwood and Gone Girl) and Cliff Curtis, Fear the Walking Dead isn't going to show ground zero exactly, but it will display, in full detail, a big metropolitan city (Los Angeles) slowly falling apart. The producers have said that they are "taking a slow burn approach to the story".

Thanks to this, the lucrative zombie nightmare will live on.

03
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Starts: 8 September

Network: CBS

The longtime host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report takes over the late-night chair that was vacated by David Letterman in May. There are a lot of questions left to be answered about Colbert's move to mainstream late-night: How much will he break from Late Show's conventional format? And how will viewers respond to seeing Colbert outside of the "Stephen Colbert" character he played so successfully?

04
Life In Pieces

Starts: 21 September

Network: CBS

Fargo and Dexter actor Colin Hanks is trading in his police badge for a diaper bag in CBS' comedy Life in Pieces. The star-studded family sitcom also stars James Brolin and Dianne Wiest. The producers said that each episode would feature four independent stories but with a realistic "rule of continuum" - for example if a character gets punched in the nose in one story line, you would see the bruises if he turned up in another story line. Umm, thank you that sounds like a pretty basic TV rule. It looks a bit like a mashup of Parenthood and Modern Family but could be worth a watch.

05
Blind Spot

Starts: 21 September

Network: NBC

NBC's new action/drama is as high-concept as it gets: a woman (Jaimie Alexander) wakes up nude, covered in tattoos, in the middle of Times Square, with no idea who she is or how she got there. Oddly, one of the FBI agents who discovers her (Sullivan Stapleton) has his name stamped on her body. Series creators Martin Gero and Greg Berlanti have invited comparisons to The Bourne Identity, which offered similar spy-fi thrills. Blindspot's Achilles heel, if there stands to be one, is in fact expressed aloud multiple times in the pilot: why would someone cover this woman with clues to stoppable crimes, instead of just phoning in the tips?

And given its procedural-with-a-twist DNA, Blindspot is poised to be more The Blacklist than State of Affairs.

06
The Muppets

Starts: 22 September

Network: ABC

The Muppets are back! And, for the first time ever, you probably won't want your kids watching it. The Muppets franchise is being rebooted as a television series geared towards adults. Who said your childhood can't grow up with you?

The series will be an Office-style take on the muppets, following their personal lives in the backdrop of the gang trying to launch a new network series. The ongoing complexity of the Kermit-Piggy relationship, a host of adult jokes and a series of celebrity guests make this an experiment that could go oh-so-well.

07
Scream Queens

Starts: 22 September

Network: Fox

All hell is about break loose with this comedy-horror series made by the creators of Glee and American Horror Story. The premise: a devil-clad killer begins targeting those involved with Kappa House, the most popular, sought-after, and sadistic sorority on campus, causing everyone to question who the killer is and if they could be his or her next victim. The ladies of Kappa Kappa Tau are called the Chanels, after their tyrant, Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts). The star-studded cast includes Ariana Grande as Chanel No. 2, the original 'Scream Queen from Halloween Jamie Lee Curtis and Glee's Lea Michele. The 13-episode first season will explores a mystery that stretches back 20 years.

One thing you can be sure of: there's gonna be a lot of different kind of screams - hoarse, pitched, group, and bloodcurdling. Can't wait for the grisliness to begin!

08
Limitless

Starts: 22 September

Network: CBS

A kind of small-screen sequel to the 2011 thriller of the same name, Limitless stars American Sniper's James McDorman as a regular joe whose life is upended when he takes the miracle drug NZT, which allows its users to unlock the full potential of their brains. Bradley Cooper, who starred in the original Limitless, is slated to make occasional appearances. It also stars Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter) as Rebecca Harris and veteran actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Scarface) as Nasreen "Naz" Pouran.

09
Heroes Reborn

Starts: 24 September

Network: NBC

NBC is taking another stab at the superhero TV genre in general, and the Heroes franchise in particular. Five years after the existence of superhumans was revealed in the previous series, the government hunts those with powers. But a cast of new and returning Heroes must band together to save the world from a new threat. The 13-episode sequel series looks promising, but must ensure that there are no random, convoluted like those from the first franchise.

10
Quantico

Starts: 27 September

Network: ABC

Indian actresses still haven't made it big in Hollywood movies, but the small screen is a different matter. After Nimrat Kaur killed it as a Pakistani ISI agent in Homeland, Priyanka Chopra is trying her luck with Quantico.

Priyanka's actually managed to land the role of the series' protagonist, Alex Parrish. The generic-looking series revolves around a group of FBI trainees and the backstories that lead to them joining the agency. So where's the drama? One of them is suspected to be plotting a terror attack bigger than 9/11. Will the series creators take the predictable route and blame the terror angle on the token brown person (Chopra)? You'll have to tune in to find out.

11
Grandfathered

Starts: 29 September

Network: Fox

John Stamos is back! Grandfathered has the former Full House star playing a version of himself: a longtime bachelor whose life is upended after he learns he's a father and grandfather. The cast also includes Josh Peck, Paget Brewster, Christina Milian, Kelly Jenrette and Ravi Patel. What looks like it will work is Stamos for sure - with his natural charm, he'll have the ladies swooning. A few "DILF" lists for the upcoming TV season have already made their way online and he figures pretty high up.

12
The Grinder

Starts: 29 September

Network: Fox

The premise is quite simple: Rob Lowe plays an actor best known for playing a hotshot lawyer on a TV series titled The Grinder. When it ends, he decides to actually try being a real lawyer, to the chagrin of his real-lawyer brother (Fred Savage) - whose actual legal career gets overshadowed by his famous brother's fictional one.

13
Dr Ken

Starts: 2 October

Network: ABC

Did you know that Ken Jeong (Community, The Hangover) was once a real doctor? In this offering from ABC, we're going to see the good doctor crack jokes at the workplace and then at home. Exciting. Not. The annoying (live?) studio laughter also exists to purely annoy the viewer as always. Still, it's biggest sin seems to be that it managed to rope in the talented Albert Tsai (Bert from Trophy Wife) - and that they'll definitely underutilise him and play up Jeong's over-the-top stuff.

14
Red Oaks

Starts: 9 October

Network: Amazon

Amazon's promising new comedy series riffs on the coming-of-age comedies of the '80s with the story of a college kid (Craig Roberts) who spends his summer working at a country club in 1985 to avoid working for his father. Directed by Pineapple Express' David Gordon Green and executive produced by Steven Soderbergh, Red Oaks looks like a bit like Dazed and Confused met The Wonder Years, but it may be one of the stronger shows to emerge from Amazon. You can judge for yourself and click on the trailer above.

15
Crazy Ex- Girlfriend

Starts: 19 October

Network: The CW

Those who hate musicals be warned: there will be two-three musical numbers in each episode. Originally meant to be a racy half-hour show on Showtime, it went through an odd transformation at The CW. The plot? Fairly simple (but creepy too): Rebecca Bunch, played by comedian Rachel Bloom, is a successful, driven, and possibly crazy young woman who impulsively gives up everything - her partnership at a prestigious law firm and her upscale apartment in Manhattan - to chase an ex-flame all the way to suburban West Covina, CA.

16
The Catch

Starts: Date unannounced

Network: ABC

Shonda Rhimes is hoping to have her fourth successful show with the release of The Catch - after Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, and the long-running Grey's Anatomy. The show will star the amazing Mirielle Enos (The Killing), who will play Alice - a fraud investigator who loses everything when she finds out that her fiance is just after the money she's made. It looks like a cat and mouse game between the investigator and her con-man husband.

17
The Family

Starts: Date unannounced

Network: ABC

Formerly titled 'Original Sin', this thriller follows the return of a politician's (Joan Allen) young son (Liam James), who was presumed dead after disappearing over a decade earlier. As the mysterious young man is welcomed back into his family, suspicions emerge - is he really who he says he is? At its core, it's a family drama, a very human one, more than a mystery or a detective show, or even a soap. With Alison Pill, Rupert Graves and Zach Gilford part of the cast, this one looks reasonably interesting.

18
Into the Badlands

Starts: 15 November

Network: AMC

With its premiere months away, AMC's martial arts drama is still largely shrouded in mystery - but the ambition and scope is certainly intriguing. Danny Wu stars as Sunny, a warrior escorting a young boy across dangerous territory, in a story loosely based on the 1592 novel Journey to the West, which is widely regarded as one of China's greatest novels.

19
Angel from Hell

Starts: November

Network: CBS

Jane Lynch is finally free from Glee and will soon be seen as a homeless, substance-abusing guardian angel. Literally. But a drunk, brash one at that neurotic doctor Alison (Maggie Lawson from Psych). Creator Tad Quill says the show was conceived as a contemporary answer to Bewitched and I Dream Of Jeannie. The trailer describes Lynch's character Amy as "really strange", "kinda drunk", and "very inappropriate" - all words that sound promising in our book. After all, any show that's willing to just let Jane Lynch go full Jane Lynch is worth a viewing.

20
The Man in the High Castle

Starts: 20 November

Network: Amazon

Philip K Dick's famous book about an alternate reality where the Nazis and Japanese won World War II is getting a lavish adaptation, produced by The X-Files' Frank Spotnitz and Ridley Scott. The United States stands divided into two large territories controlled by Germany and Japan. It's an unsettling, enormously elastic premise that allows for essentially infinite stories. The utterly brilliant pilot went online in January, and we cannot wait to see the rest of it.

21
Childhood's End

Starts: 14 December

Network: Syfy

Syfy is trying to leave fluff behind in favour of substance, and a huge step in that direction is adapting Arthur C Clarke's famous novel about aliens called the Overlords who peacefully take over Earth. Humans become prosperous under their watch. But there's a catch of course. Screenwriter Matthew Graham (Life on Mars) and director Nick Hurran (Doctor Who) assured us they're staying true to the book. But see for yourself - here's a trailer.

22
Hot & Bothered

Starts: Date unannounced

Network: NBC

If you think the steamy sex, sensational scandals, and wrenching heartbreak on Latino soap operas are a little extreme, just wait until you see what happens behind the scenes. Hot & Bothered stars Eva Longoria as Ana Sofia, a sizzling TV superstar and her lively family of cast and crew all competing to steal the spotlight. When the cameras turn off, the drama turns up as Ana battles pesky network execs, script writers, narcissistic co-stars, and a familiar new onscreen love interest.

23
Lucifer

Starts: Early 2016

Network: Fox

With the constant hellfire, brimstone and torture, hell probably gets boring. So it should come as no surprise that Lucifer, the big kahuna of the underworld, needs breaks too.

In Lucifer, Satan decides to up sticks and move. Where to? Los Angeles. Probably because the show creators - including Neil Gaiman - couldn't resist the irony. Now that he's in LA he's going to live the high life right? Wrong. Old habits die hard so Lucifer becomes an LAPD consultant and tries to punish the guilty. He also gets some help from his telepathic ability to bring out people's hidden desires and their darker side.

24
Legends of Tomorrow

Starts: Early 2016

Network: The CW

2016 will see a proper Marvel superhero-team TV series when The Defenders finally hits our screens. Agents of SHIELD doesn't count unless cliches now count as superpowers. But even as Marvel gears up, DC is set to beat them to it with Legends of Tomorrow.

While common sense and fandom wish they'd just gone and done a Justice League, LoT looks like it could be a lot of fun. For starters, it brings together the two most successful TV show superheroes Arrow and Flash. Add in some favourites from Flash like Firestorm, some DC staples like Hawkgirl and White Canary and things get interesting. Throw in some serious star power in the form of Captain Cold and Heat Wave (Wentworth Miller and his stodgy bald brother from Prison Break) as well as Brandon Routh playing The Atom, and things go up a notch. Throw in time travel and fight scenes and we're practically handing over our money. Let's go!

25
Rush Hour

Starts: Early 2016

Network: CBS

We're one step closer to having a hit 1990s action comedy turned into a CBS series, which is either a cause for celebration or outrage. It's been put together by Bill Lawrence - the creator of Scrubs and Cougar Town. The pilot will basically follow the same premise of the first film, which sees a Hong Kong cop making his way to Los Angeles for a big case, and has him paired up with a black LAPD officer who is in no way, shape or form ready to work with a partner. Jackie and Chan and Chris Rock may also drop in for a couple of guest appearances. The cast includes Justin Hires, John Foo and Aimee Garcia.

First published: 25 August 2015, 9:56 IST
 
Aleesha Matharu @almatharu

Born in Bihar, raised in Delhi and schooled in Dehradun, Aleesha writes on a range of subjects and worked at The Indian Express before joining Catch as a sub-editor. When not at work you can find her glued to the TV, trying to clear a backlog of shows, or reading her Kindle. Raised on a diet of rock 'n' roll, she's hit occasionally by wanderlust. After an eight-year stint at Welham Girls' School, Delhi University turned out to be an exercise in youthful rebellion before she finally trudged her way to J-school and got the best all-round student award. Now she takes each day as it comes, but isn't an eternal optimist.

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