There was a time when networks lorded it over the world of the TV series that September was the "back to work" season. This season now stretches all the way to November, but all major platforms, be they networks (Amazon, Netflix, Hulu) or cable (AMC, HBO, Showtime), release new series throughout the year.
We've found ten new series that we simply know you'll love and that will help take the edge off this post summer holiday season.
We’ve been talking about it for ages. Even though HBO's productions are sometimes not very good (remember Vinyl's failure two years ago? It looked like a sure-fire project, then it flopped), there is no objective reason to doubt that David Simon (The Wire) will have a hit with this new series taking place in Manhattan by night in the seventies.
With headliners like James Franco (who plays both lead roles) and Maggie Gyllenhaal, as well as its shock topic (the rise of the porn industry, which went hand in hand with shady dealings with the mafia), it’s bound to be interesting. It remains to be seen if the treatment of female characters, on a subject as controversial as this one, will live up to our expectations though.
On HBO on October 10.
Marvel’s The Punisher
There’s no stopping Netflix’ Marvel Cinematic Universe. After reuniting the four New York superheroes in Marvel's The Defenders, the US platform will dedicate a spin-off to Frank Castle, the violent and tortured crusader we discovered in Marvel's Daredevil season 2.
We still know very little about this series lead by Jon Bernthal, except that it should revisit the origins of the character while remaining within the MCU, as the presence of sidekicks such as Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) can attest.
To give you an idea of what the Punisher is like (this series promises to be intense for sure), just watch the one shot Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe, in which Frank Caste slaughters all the superheroes of the House of Ideas in revenge for the murder of his family. The comics announces a series that’ll most certainly be darker and more violent than the rest of the MCU progeny.
On Netflix at the end of the year.
Actor and musician Jamie Foxx makes his first steps on TV with the series White Famous, which he co-wrote with Tom Kapinos (creator of the excellent Californication). This comedy will follow African-American actor Floyd Mooney, who finally has a break after years of hard work. And who better than Jay Pharoah, a regular Saturday Night Live guest, to play the young man, who will use his comic talents to get out of the various misadventures that go hand in hand with his burgeoning fame?
Inspired by Jamie Foxx’ personal experience, White Famous appears to be a clever mix between Entourage and Californication, with a pinch of Atlanta thrown in. Behind the sequins and the punchlines though, the series will also address deeper topics, such as family relationships, racial problems and the setbacks of notoriety, with a humor as cynical as it is explosive.
On Showtime on October 15.
After the global success that was The Handmaid's Tale, Netflix adapting yet another novel by feminist Margaret Atwood may be seen as blatant opportunism. And perhaps it is, a bit, but that doesn’t mean we’re not intrigued.
Alias Grace looks at the true story of Grace Marks, a woman imprisoned in 1843 for murdering her boss, Thomas Kinnear. A decade later, Dr Simon Jordan will try and find out what actually happened.
We owe the script to the excellent Sarah Polley, Mary Harron is directing and Sarah Gadon, Anna Paquin and Zachary Levi are headlining. The first trailer promises a tense and very well crafted mini-series.
On Netflix by November 3.
We all hold our breath with each new project by David Fincher. After House of Cards, the filmmaker will produce and direct three episodes of the first season of Mindhunter, a journey into the mind of a serial killer at the beginning of the eighties. It's a rather promising police drama that hints at Se7en and Zodiac, and that has already been awarded a second season by Netflix.
Fincher and his team chose a young actor and veteran as main leads: Jonathan Groff (seen in Glee and Looking) and Holt McCallany (the mechanics in Fight Club). The series is supervised by screenwriters Joe Penhall (The Road) and John Douglas (Lovely Bones). A solid team in other words, for a show that should oscillate between the intense Manhunt: Unabomber and the intimate investigations of True Detective.
On Netflix on October 13.
The Good Doctor
Yes, we know, it’s another medical series, but believe it, it’s miles away from the improbable misadventures of Seattle Grace's surgeons. It focusses on the prestigious Boston Hospital’s new and unusual doctor, Shaun Murphy, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome.
If the trailer is anything to go by, the young man will quickly show his worth, despite his disability, even if his colleagues are intrigued and intimidated by his talents.
Adapted from a Korean series, The Good Doctor was put together by David Shore, creator of the cult House. If you are still not convinced, the lead character is played by Freddie Highmore, Norman Bates from Bates Motel.
On ABC, September 25.
Beautiful, dapper people, personality crisis and family feuds, these are Dynasty’s tantalising premises. Reboot of a 80s cult soap opera, the show will focus on the Carrington siblings, whose daily life is all material opulence and private jets. It all starts turning sour when Fallon, the unhinged heiress, begins suspecting her future mother-in-law, young and shrewd Cristal, of wanting to get her hands on the family’s fortune.
Granted, it’s not that superb a pitch. However, after a (maybe too) revealing trailer, we get the impression of having stumbled upon a kind of Gossip Girl 2.0 with extra melodrama. Let’s be frank: a bit of superficial entertainment doesn’t hurt from time to time.
On The CW from October 11.
OK, on paper Star Trek might not necessarily appear like the sexiest series of the year, especially for all the twenty-somethings who’ve never watched the previous versions. That being said, the SF series has been around for a long while now, taking over from the masterpiece Battlestar Galactica and, watching the first trailer, we really want to see what the new team is up to, especially since it stars Sonequa Martin-Green, aka Sasha in The Walking Dead. This new take on the franchise also seems to be promoting positive values such as diversity, openness and feminism.
Airing from September 25 on Netflix.
Noted for her role as a touching junkie in Mr Robot, actress Frankie Shaw continues to make her way in the world of TV series and is now headlining SMILF. Adapted from Sundance 2015 's eponymous short, the series is about the chaotic daily life of Bridgette, a young single mom living in Boston.
She tries to make ends meet while taking care of her child and striving to maintain a social (and especially a sexual) life. At first glance, SMILF looks like a comforting and slightly skewed drama Insecure- style and we say yes to that.
On Showtime from November 5.
Known for having given us Newport Beach and later Gossip Girl, duo Josh Schwartz-Stephanie Savage has become the undisputed masters of teen-oriented series. Both showrunners make their comeback with Marvel's Runaways, a twisted drama mixing teenage and super powers.
It’s an adaptation of a series of eponymous comics published in the early 2000s and it tells the lives of six diametrically different high school students. From the taciturn gothic girl to the great-looking athlete, all the -stereotypical- boxes are ticked.
Despite their differences, they will have to stick together though when they realise that their parents are part of a criminal group called The Pride. Superpowers and existential angst: we’d rather bet on Marvel’s Runaways than on The Gifted or Marvel's Inhumans.
On Hulu from September 21.
Article written by Marion Olité, Florian Ques, Adrien Delage and Mégane Choquet. Translated by Christophe Dillinger.