There’s lots – LOTS – of new programs landing on our Aussie screens over the next couple of weeks so here’s your cheat notes on what’s coming up so you can stay ahead of the game (and work out what you wanna watch)…
Sun 28/09, 6:30pm.
Precis: Based on true events, Scorpion is a high-octane drama about eccentric genius Walter O’Brien (Elyes Gabel) and his team of brilliant misfits who comprise the last line of defence against high-tech threats of the modern age.
US response: The first ep of this new series watched by 14 million viewers on CBS, outrating the return of The Blacklist on the same night.
AU chances: If the tech aberrations make your skin crawl, this is not the series for you. It’s light, fun and easy enough to watch though the characters are fairly atypical “special” (all nerds are aspergery, apparently)… but those characters offer the writers a lot of depth. Given it’s up against The X Factor Australia and The Block it’ll most likely get lost in the noise (sadly).
Modern Family S06 (Ten)
Sun 28/09, 7:30pm.
Precis: The summer has been exceptionally blissful in the Dunphy house: Alex is away on a humanitarian trip and the rest of the family are getting along swimmingly. But when Alex comes home, there is an immediate shift in the mood. Mitch and Cam have returned from their honeymoon and are floating on cloud nine. After Mitch begins acclimating to real life much quicker than the loved up Cameron, the love bubble bursts and events take a turn for the emotional. Gloria is unimpressed with the little effort Jay puts into his appearance and decides to give him a taste of his own medicine.
US Response: Launched a little softer at 10.9m viewers on ABC, though it and the other new series it supported (Blackish) were solid across their hour. It doesn’t keep winning Emmys for no reason.
AU Chances:>/i> Have Ten cooked this golden goose with endless re-runs? Is having it come off the back of Scorpion and up against the big reality shows on Seven & Nine going to help it at all? Yep and nup (a shame really, as this season continues the excellent work of the latter half of S05).
Gold Coast Cops (Ten)
Mon 29/09, 7:30pm.
Precis: Follow the efforts of the elite, hand-picked, police officers who form the Rapid Action and Patrols Group taskforce (RAP). Established after the infamous Broadbeach bikie brawl in September 2013, the taskforce strives to combat organised crime and keep Australia’s number one holiday destination safe from harm.
AU chances: ObDocs focusing on positions of authority traditionally do well (Border Security, The Force). It’s paired with Territory Cops, a series already aired on Foxtel and made by the same company, so it has potential. A good point of difference for Ten in the timeslot.
The Blacklist S02 (Seven)
Mon 29/09, 8:40pm.
Precis: Last season, Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) mysteriously surrendered to the FBI… but now the FBI works for him as he identifies a “blacklist” of politicians, mobsters, spies and international terrorists. He will help catch them all – with the caveat that Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone) continues to work as his partner. Red will teach Liz to think like a criminal and see the bigger picture… whether she wants to or not.
US response: Launches on NBC with a reasonable audience of 12.4m viewers, though has a history of being the show with the largest catch-up audience (adding on average 6m viewers). NBC promoting this hard all over LA with billboards, bus shelter posters, etc.
AU chances: Seven are touting it saying they’ll fast-track it, though with the first episode nearly a week old when they premiere it unless they’re moving it from Monday night that seems unlikely. Fans are champing at the bit for new episodes (and this will smash Big Brother, surprise eviction or no).
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S02 (Seven)
Mon 29/09, 9:40pm.
Precis: Agent Coulson and his team are now wanted fugitives with limited resources but that’s not stopping them from keeping the world safe from powerful and unseen threats everywhere. However, with new members they hardly know, will S.H.I.E.L.D. ever be trusted again?
US response: ABC saw it return with a mediocre 5.5m viewers, about a third that saw the series premiere a year ago. It’s sticking in with the Comic/Nerd crowd and the tie-in with the movies, particularly through the backhalf of last season gave it new life. Joined this season by Lucy Lawless.
AU chances: Seven burned their bridges with this early by shunting it around the schedule while the first half struggled and then buried it later at night once it picked up. Off the back of The Blacklist it has hope – though unlikely to stay as early as 9:40pm.
NCIS S12 (Ten)
Tue 30/09, 8:30pm.
Precis: In the season 12 premiere of NCIS, Gibbs and McGee travel to Russia to safely escort home an NCIS computer engineer connected to classified intel. However, their mission is compromised and they are forced into hiding with a Russian mercenary group hunting them down. The team back in Washington D.C. frantically use every asset and inter-agency contact they have in an attempt to locate their missing team members.
US response: It remains massive for CBS – 18m tune in to see the series 12 premiere (even though that’s down 2m on last season’s premiere).
AU chances: NCIS fans are rusted on to Ten and it coming sorta fast from the US will help the network on Tuesday nights as it has to deal with another season of Dancing With The Stars attempting to steal its thunder. Consequently this always does well on catch-up/consolidated figures.
Madam Secretary (Ten)
Thu 2/10, 8:30pm.
Precis: College professor and former CIA analyst, Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) returns to public life at the request of the US President Conrad Dalton (Keith Carradine) following the suspicious death of the Secretary of State. As the newly-appointed Secretary of State, Elizabeth is faced with a number of complex political challenges. She finds herself in the middle of an international hostage situation in Syria, where two US citizens are facing execution. Internal
politics are tested as she strives to find a resolution. At home, Elizabeth questions whether she did the right thing by taking on the job with her children finding it difficult to adjust to their new schools.
US response: Off the back of an overtime NFL SuperBowl rematch, and sandwiched between the 60 Minutes return and the season premiere of The Good Wife this drew a reasonable 14.1m viewers for CBS.
AU chances: If you can get past the fact that Tea Leoni only has one face/voice combo it’s a reasonable series. Nowhere near the depth of The West Wing but engaging enough – the “lite” version?
Party Tricks (Ten)
Mon 6/10, 8:30pm.
Precis: Victorian State Premier Kate Ballard (Asher Keddie) is shocked when the Opposition reveals its new election candidate: the popular and charismatic media star, David McLeod (Rodger Corser). Unbeknown to the public, Kate and David are already acquainted with one another and share a secret past.
AU chances: A reasonable drama with Offspring-esque comedic elements, though the first ep struggles to find the middle ground between the two. The weight of expectation from Nina Proudman fans may lead to some harsh & unfair judgements of the show when it’s a reasonable watch.
Homeland S04 (Ten)
Mon 6/10, 9:30pm.
Precis: CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) has been promoted to overseas station chief and is forced to make dramatic choices about the direction of her life following the birth of her child to accused terrorist Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis). With her long-time mentor Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) forced into retirement, Carrie is navigating the murky, moral waters of intelligence gathering on her own with few allies and many enemies.
US response: Premieres 5/10 with a double epside/two-hour screening on Showtime.
AU chances: The first half of S03 did a lot of damage, though a solid finale and the removal of the Brody family means S04 comes reasonably anticipated. Congratulations to ten for legitimately fast-tracking it same day.
NCIS New Orleans (Ten)
Tue 7/10, 9:30pm.
Precis: NCIS: New Orleans follows Special Agent Pride (Scott Bakula) and his team as they investigate criminal cases affecting military personnel in the Big Easy, a city famous for its music, entertainment and debauchery. Working with Pride is Special Agent Christopher LaSalle (Lucas Black), who plays hard but works harder, and Special Agent Meredith “Merri” Brody (Zoe McLellan), a charismatic and tough interrogator who transferred from the Great Lakes office in search of a fresh start. Supporting the team is coroner Dr. Loretta Wade (CCH Pounder), who is as eccentric as she is smart.
US response: Launched off the back of the original series it drew 17.1m viewers (and dubbed “NCIS: Quantum Leap” by Joe Adalian). Launched better than NCIS: Los Angeles.
AU chances: Are you kidding? ANOTHER NCIS program for fans to salivate over? The hooks are simple and plentiful: Scott Bakula, CCH Pounder, along with the NCIS brand and the Big Easy herslf.
The Good Wife S06 (Ten)
Wed 8/10, 9:30pm.
Precis: In the final episode of season five, viewers were left in suspense when Eli (Alan Cumming), in a last minute decision, proposed that Alicia run for State’s Attorney. In the season return, Alicia is adamant in her refusal to pursue a career in politics, despite Eli’s protests. After a heated battle for power at Lockhart/Gardner, Diane (Christine Baranski) is still conflicted over her decision to join Florrick/Agos as a partner and leave the firm she built with Will (Josh Charles).
US response: 11.1m viewers tuned (late!) into CBS returning a series that gets stronger as the series progresses.
AU chances: TGW fans are also rusted on, despite some of the shoddy scheduling treatment received last season. Having it follow nightmarish Wonderland will cost it direct viewers, as well as airing the season opener a couple of weeks late will also affect numbers. Will do reasonable numbers via catch-up.
Wed 8/10, 10:30pm.
Precis: Set in Charleston, South Carolina, Reckless is a sultry legal drama involving a gorgeous Yankee litigator and a charming southern attorney. The pair hide their intense mutual attraction as a police sex scandal threatens to tear the city apart. Jamie Sawyer (Anna Wood) is cool, confident and armed with Chicago street smarts. Her handsome courtroom rival Roy Rayder (Cam Gigandet) embodies the Old South and is the newly minted City Attorney.
US response: Lukewarm, at best. A US summer series waiting to hear if it gets picked up again.
AU chances: It finished in the US three weeks ago, and as “sultry” and “sexy” as you wanna pitch it the audience isn’t gonna buy it.
Upper Middle Bogan S02 (ABC)
Thu 16/10, 8:30pm.
Precis: Bess Denyar (Annie Maynard), an upper middle class doctor, having discovered she is adopted and comes from a family of drag racers in the outer suburbs, continues to deal with the adoption bombshell and its consequences. Caught in the middle of two tribes, it’s Bess who must keep juggling the fallout – of her adoptive and overbearing mother Margaret (Robyn Nevin), her loving but slightly spoiled husband Danny (Patrick Brammall), her twins Oscar (Harrison Feldman) and Edwina (Lara Robinson), not to mention the Wheelers – her newly found and delightfully bogan family – Wayne (Glenn Robbins), Julie (Robyn Malcolm), Amber (Michala Banas), Brianna (Madeleine Jevic), Kayne (Rhys Mitchell) and Shawn (Dougie Baldwin).
AU chances: Building on the excellent first series UMB S02 is brilliant. Completely under-appreciated in S01 it sadly may go down the same path but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the most enjoyable programs on Australian TV.
It’s A Date S02 (ABC)
Thu 16/10, 8:30pm.
Precis: Across eight new episodes, join Rove McManus, Rhys Darby, Deborah Mailman, Kat Stewart, Bridie Carter, Shaun Micallef, Lachy Hulme, Susie Porter, Jimeoin, Magda Szubanski, Tom Ballard, Joel Creasey, Tasma Walton, Sam Simmons, Eddie Perfect, Justine Clarke, Roy Billing, Vince Colosimo and returning cast Dan Wyllie, Ronny Chieng, Peter Helliar, Lisa McCune, Celia Pacquola, Jess Harris and Emily Taheny – as they explore the complications of making a connection in the modern world. Featuring two thematically linked dates, each episode poses a question that explores a timeless dilemma, in- cluding: What’s the worst thing that could happen on a date? Is it OK to date a friend’s ex? Should you date on impulse? Do set-up dates ever work? From a conjugal visit with a surprising revelation, to a swingers’ party showdown, Series 2 of It’s A Date will comically reveal the awkward, sad, confused and joyous moments that dating can bring.
AU chances: There’s so much heart and humour in this series you’ll be laughing aloud one minute and reaching for the tissues the next. A perfect build on S01 IAD will capture you again and remind you how lucky we are to have so many great comics and actors at our disposal. The perfect accompaniment to Upper Middle Bogan.
Precis: Gotham is the origin story of the great DC Comics Super-Villains and vigilantes, revealing an entirely new chapter that has never been told. From executive producer/writer Bruno Heller (The Mentalist, Rome), this one-hour drama also stars Donal Logue as the brash but shrewd police legend Harvey Bullock, David Mazouz as a young Bruce Wayne and Jada Pickett Smith as imposing gang boss Fish Mooney. Throughout the series, Gordon will encounter many of the characters who will become some of DC Comics’ most renowned, enduring villains, including a teenaged Selina Kyle/the future Catwoman (Camren Bicondova) and Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor).
US response: 8m viewers on Fox (which they were mightily pleased with).
AU chances: First episode has aired and we still – STILL – don’t have it in Nine’s Bond/Block/Big Brother-filled schedule. The first episode is good and the series looks to only get better. HURRY UP!