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This article was published 21/9/2014 (2392 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Monday welcomes four new shows to the TV schedule, including twists on the superhero and Old West genres.
Starring: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, David Mazouz, Jada Pinkett Smith, Robin Lord Taylor and Camren Bicondova
Premise: Before Batman, and before the Riddler, the Joker, Catwoman and the Penguin, there was a Gotham City. This prequel to the familiar DC Comics saga proposes Gotham as a crime-infested metropolis in which the line between crime and the cops has become very blurred -- until a young detective named Jim Gordon (who will one day become the GCPD's commissioner) sets his sights on cleaning up the mess.
Lowdown: Dark, stylish and action-packed, the pilot of this series is the consensus pick among TV critics as the best of the fall-launch bunch. It's a densely packed hour in which viewers are introduced to many of the Batman mythology's major players -- Penguin, Catwoman, Riddler and Poison Ivy -- in the formative moments of their criminal lives. It sets a solid foundation for what should be one of 2014-15's sure-fire hits.
Quotable: "The situation the show is all about is, how do you deal with crime of this level when there are no superheroes, when there's just ordinary, mortal men and women trying to solve these issues? It's as much about the hope and the struggle that they're engaged in as (it is about) waiting for a saviour. It's about men and women, not about superheroes, and to me, that's the more interesting story." -- executive producer Bruno Heller, on dealing with a Gotham without masked crusaders or arch-villains.
Bottom line: No need to fire up the Batmobile just yet -- there's enough here to keep the non-caped cops busy for several seasons.
(premières Sept. 23 on ABC)
Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Judd Hirsch, Alana De La Garza and Barbara Eve Harris
Premise: A New York City medical examiner with an unusual secret -- he can't die -- uses his position to try to unlock the secret of his immortality. And along the way, he uses his hard-earned insights to help the NYPD solve cases.
Lowdown: A fairly entertaining crime-caper drama that's hamstrung by its deeply preposterous central premise. Forever places an appealing cast in the unfortunate position of playing out a storyline in which many elements are either unexplained or simply don't make sense. Gruffudd and De La Garza have nice chemistry, and the Welsh actor's onscreen relationship with Hirsch is intriguing, but the logic problems are too much to overcome.
Quotable: "Cancellation." -- series creator/executive producer Matt Miller, after being asked if there's anything that can actually kill this show's central character.
Bottom line: Dr. Henry Morgan can't die; this series can, and will.
Starring: Elyes Gabel, Katharine McPhee, Robert Patrick, Jadyn Wong, Ari Stidham and Eddie Kaye Thomas
Premise: Inspired by the story of a real-life genius, this action drama follows a quartet of highly intelligent outsiders who are recruited by the U.S. government to help Homeland Security deal with the complex, high-tech threats it faces in the 21st century.
Lowdown: This is what it might look like if The Big Bang Theory and 24 had a love child -- the pilot, filled with high-stakes action and low-level social dysfunction, is both crazy-fun and just plain crazy. Brit import Gabel plays the fifth smartest person in the world, whom Homeland Security guy Patrick arm-twists into helping solve a huge crisis (along with his friends). Along the way, they encounter a diner waitress (McPhee) whose lack of super-brain abilities might be just what the team needs.
Quotable: "This show has an amazing amount of fun, kick-ass action, but also has a huge amount of heart, a huge amount of the emotion that comes from a misfit family coming together, this group of geniuses that they better learn how to get along because they only have each other. And then, on top of that, a lot of humour -- the show is funny. It has a procedural engine, but we don't call it a procedural. This show is a 'fun-cedural.'" -- executive producer Nick Santora, promising that this genius-filled series won't take itself too seriously.
Bottom line: If viewers buy into the high-concept, highly tongue-in-cheek attitude, this series could gain a following. If not, Scorpion could get stung quickly.
Starring: Cara Gee, Melissa Farman, Tattiawana Jones and Aaron Poole
Premise: Set in 1869 on the Alberta/Montana border, this unusual western focuses on a community whose men are mostly gone, leaving women behind to fill the roles of heroes and villains fighting for control of a very wild frontier.
Lowdown: No preview available at press time.
Quotable: "(The women) end up in a place that's lawless, and their men are taken from them. The story becomes what it is for these women to survive and to make a community. It's about the necessity for murder in the middle of nowhere when someone's got a gun to your head." -- series creator Laurie Finstad, setting the stage for a female-fuelled Old West feud.
Bottom line: Regardless of its ability to attract an audience, there will be no lynch-mob justice awaiting Strange Empire. CBC will let its entire season play out.
RETURNING SHOWS: Dancing With the Stars (premiered Sept. 15) The Big Bang Theory (Sept. 22, CBS) The Voice (Sept. 22, NBC) Sleepy Hollow (Sept. 22, Fox/Global) The Blacklist (Sept. 22, NBC/Global)Mom (Sept. 29, CBS/Citytv)
Castle (Sept. 29, ABC/CTV)
NCIS: Los Angeles (Sept. 29, CBS/Global)
Murdoch Mysteries (Oct. 6, CBC)
2 Broke Girls (Oct. 27, CBS/Citytv)
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @BradOswald
After three decades spent writing stories, columns and opinion pieces about television, comedy and other pop-culture topics in the paper’s entertainment section, Brad Oswald shifted his focus to the deep-thoughts portion of the Free Press’s daily operation.