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Dracula – This could have been something had it aired on cable. There, the penchant for using as much sex and violence as that medium allows would have created a show at least half decent, but here the signs are that Jonathan Rhys Meyers would have been better not accepting the titular role. Awkward American accent aside, the 19th century setting attempts to explore global warming, the problems of the 99 percent, and of course old Drac’s love for blood and sex, without much of either. NBC can’t really afford to make a show of this scope, so expect cancellation. (NBC, 10/25)
Enlisted – The product of a former Scrubs writer, Enlisted aims to bring comedy and pathos in similar amounts. Set in a Florida military base, it follows three brothers as they take care of the base, strengthen childhood bonds and otherwise get involved in zany antics. It’ll appeal to Scrubs fans, and looks to be a pretty decent romp. Whether it can sustain itself remains to be seen. (Fox, 11/8)
Hello Ladies — The less-famous half of the Ricky Gervais-Stephen Merchant comedy partnership tries his hand at starring in his own series. Pass. (HBO, 9/29)
Hostages – Yes. Fifteen episodes, tense drama, excellent cast. Toni Colette ensures this political thriller with a twist will become required viewing and Dylan McDermott will hopefully take his shirt off to assist her. (CBS, 9/23)
Ironside – A remake of Ironside. Why? (NBC, 10/2)
Lucky 7 — Ah, the classic American-remake-of-a-British-series-that-didn’t-need-a-remake. A time-tested tradition, the bigger budget and attractive cast will help cover any blatant plot-borrowing on offer. Seven minimum-wage employees win the lottery, transforming their lives. Drama ensues. If you’ve seen it all before, you’ve watched The Syndicate on the BBC. (ABC, 9/24)
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — This is the big one, the show most people are moist with anticipation for this fall. Joss Whedon’s adaptation of the Marvel Comics organization follows the timeline established in The Avengers and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Thor, Iron Man, Captain America — will all have an impact on what’s explored here. With a big budget from ABC, a pilot co-written and directed by Whedon, who is also an executive producer, and a cast that seems up to the challenge of the series’ broad aims, we could be looking at the next big thing in television. Or it’ll all come crumbling down after one expensive season. (ABC, 9/24)
Masters of Sex – A big-budget period drama, Masters of Sex takes the ”only on cable” badge of honor for the fall schedule. Airing on Showtime, it follows doctors William Masters and Virginia Johnson, two pioneers in researching human sexuality in the 1950s. Expect drama, humor, beautifully designed period sets and costumes, and sex. Lots of it. This is cable, after all. Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan star, and if Showtime can get it right, it could be the next Mad Men. (Showtime, 9/29)
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