TV and Radio

Published on January 7th, 2017 | by Lauren Bycroft

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Our 2017 Television Preview

The Mick – FOX – January 1

Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Kaitlin Olsen stars as Mackenzie Murphy, an irresponsible screw-up who suddenly finds herself the guardian of her estranged sister’s three children.  The sitcom obviously isn’t going to be Always Sunny 2 without Olsen’s hilarious co-stars, but the premise is a promising one that provides a lot of open space for a plethora of inappropriate, adult hijinks.  The show, which premiered on January 1, has already sparked outraged with conservative groups for some Planned Parenthood jokes.  If irreverent, at times offensive humor is your cup of tea definitely give The Mick a view. It airs Tuesdays at 8:30.

Emerald City – NBC – January 6

NBC is swinging for the fences with fantasy series Emerald City, based on L. Frank Baum’s Land of Oz book series.  Directed by film director Tarsem Singh, known for his stunning, bold visuals in films like The Cell and Mirror Mirror, the series aims to create a unique and lasting new look at Dorothy’s adventures in Oz.  The show is billed as “dark and edgy” which isn’t always a good thing.  Shows and films can often become humorless and dull if there’s not a strong vision behind the dark and edgy concept.  Still, it’s definitely worth taking a chance on Emerald City to see what Singh and showrunner David Schulner have cooked up.  Plus, with Vincent D’Onofrio as The Wizard, it’s worth checking out. Dorothy’s new, darker adventures in Oz premieres Friday, January 6 at 9PM on NBC.

Taboo – FX – January 10

An 8-part miniseries created by Tom Hardy, his father “Chips”, and British filmmaker Steven Knight, Taboo is a period revenge story.  Tom Hardy stars as James Keziah Delaney, a man who is presumed dead and returns to London to reclaim his father’s shipping empire and avenge his death.  The show is also executive produced by Ridley Scott giving it further cinematic pedigree.  FX , as a cable channel, is able to give its shows more free reign to go darker and more adult so it’s a promising home for series billed for its mystery, betrayal, and murder.  Taboo premieres January 10 at 10PM on FX.

A Series of Unfortunate Events – Netflix – January 13

Most people, except perhaps diehard fans of the Lemony Snicket book series, have long forgotten about the film adaptation starring Jim Carrey over ten years ago.  Netflix now aims to obliterate any lasting memories of the film with its series starting Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld of Men in Black fame. Sneak peak stills and trailers have definitely confirmed that the show and its star nail the look and feel of the book series and the supporting cast is strong, including names like Joan Cusack and Patrick Warburton.  It’s Sonnenfeld’s name, however, that gives me pause.  Though he’s been at the helm of classics like The Addams Family films, Men In Black, and Get Shorty, his more recent resume entries are slightly more troubling – RV, Men in Black 3, and Nine Lives.  I remain hopeful, however, and we’ll find out how Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events fairs when all 8 episodes drop on Netflix on January 13.

Riverdale – CW – January 26

Did you love the Archie comics growing up? Did you ever wish they were more dramatic, sexy, and mysterious? Well the CW is here to answer your prayers at long last! Riverdale takes the characters from the long running Archie comics – Archie, Jughead, Veronica, the whole gang – and brings them in to the modern world, with murder, sex, and teen angst.  On paper it sounds a bit like a messy WTF concept.  The trailer however, is intriguing.  It seems like the series may be a little campy and over the top, not playing things Dark Knight serious.  And if you’re going to go for this concept, that’s definitely the way to go.  If you’re a fan of CW teen dramas you can catch Riverdale when it premieres January 26th at 9PM.

Z: The Beginning of Everything – Amazon – January 27

You may have caught the pilot for Z: The Beginning of Everything previously on Amazon which is famous for letting its members watch and review pilots before decisions are made to go forward to series.  Z is one of the success stories of this process, telling the story of Zelda Fitzgerald before she met author F. Scott Fitzgerald, continuing through their passionate relationship and eventual marriage.  The series stars Christina Ricci as Zelda.  Z is intriguing because it promises to be told from the female perspective and I expect Zelda to be a master of her own destiny and choices, not a passive character at the mercy of the men around her.  Z: The Beginning of Everything’s first full season is set to debut on Amazon Prime on January 27.

Powerless – NBC – February 2

When I came across the description for Powerless my jaw nearly dropped with interest.  An action-comedy set in the DC Universe – a universe previously fairly humorless in the film world – Powerless deals with non-superheroes trying to protect innocent bystanders through research and development at Wayne Enterprises. The series stars Vanessa Hudgens, Danny Pudi, Alan Tudyk, and Ron Funches.  The cast is promising enough.  The fact that the series will likely have no direct link or impact on the DC expanded universe is also a plus, as it gives the show room to do its own thing and be a true comedy.  I cannot wait to see how this series pans out when it premieres February 2 on NBC.   

Big Little Lies – HBO – February 19

Another miniseries, this time for HBO, Big Little Lies is a David E. Kelley show adapted from the popular book by Liane Moriarty.  The show’s short run is likely how it was able to get big name film actresses like Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, who also serve as executive producers, on board.  The series also stars Shailene Woodley and Laura Dern, all as Monterey, CA moms trying to keep up appearances while also being deeply competitive with one another.  The show promises comedy, sex, murder, all the good stuff that makes for excellent Sunday night intrigue.  The limited series premieres on HBO Sunday, February 19th at 9:00PM.

Marvel’s Iron Fist – Netflix – March 17

Marvel continues its Defenders lineup on Netflix with March’s Iron Fist starring Finn Jones of Game of Thrones as the titular lead.  Iron Fist is the last piece of the puzzle that leads to Marvel’s TV avengers, their new version of the crime fighting team known as the Defenders.  Previous Marvel Netflix shows have done well and been met with a fair amount of critical praise, Jessica Jones, probably being the most highly regarded.  Interest in and excitement for Iron Fist, however, seems to have dwindled in comparison to previous releases.  There are a lot of threads coming together in the series – Buddhism, family drama, mysticism, billionaire machinations – so it makes sense that people may not know what to expect from this Marvel installment.  However, while each of the previous Marvel Netflix shows has had its weak points, overall they’ve been well made, interesting television.  Expect Iron Fist to fit right in with his fellow Defenders in that way.  The series drops in full on Netflix March 17.

Great News – NBC-April 25

Tina Fey is returning to NBC, though sadly not on camera, with her new series Great News created with her 30 Rock and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt partner, Robert Carlock.  The great Andrew Martin stars as mother Carol to daughter Katie played by Briga Heelan of Cougar Town and Undateable.  While the premise sounds a little gimmicky, a daughter finding herself working as a news intern for her up and coming producer daughter no less, I’m not going to bet against Fey and Carlock. They’ve made a career out of turning simple or out there premises into comedy classics.  It’s also interesting to note that NBC previously passed on Kimmy Schmidt and clearly lived to regret that decision.  Here’s hoping Fey and Carlock continue their streak of hilarity when Great News debuts on April 25 at 9PM.

Twin Peaks – Showtime – Spring

What can I say about Twin Peaks? If you’re a fan of the original series from 1990, you’re already waiting with baited breath for David Lynch to bring us back to the Pacific Northwest.  To put it simply, the original series followed FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) as he investigated the murder of Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks, WA.  Things were hardly that straight forward and the series ended rather abruptly on a cliffhanger in 1991.  Here we are over 20 years later and much of the original cast is returning to continue the original story.   That’s about all we know, and there’s not even an official premiere date, but after a few delays we can expect Twin Peaks sometime this spring.  That gives you plenty of time to watch or rewatch the original series in preparation.

Duck Tales: The Series – Disney XD – Summer

If you’re of a certain generation, the Disney Afternoon cartoon block was heaven on earth.  Tail Spin, Darkwing Duck, Rescue Rangers, and Duck Tales ruled the day.  Duck Tales seems to have remained the nearest and dearest to now adult fans’ hearts.  The voice cast for the reboot was revealed just a few weeks ago and it is stellar to say the least: David Tennant as Scrooge McDuck, Danny Pudi, Ben Schwartz, and Bobby Moynihan as Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and Beck Bennett as Launchpad McQuack with Kate Micucci at Webby.  Enough said. Look for Duck Tales on Disney XD sometime this summer.


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