Genre TV Dramas 2007-8

I posted this article on Popsyndicate!

Midst a week of season and series finales, the broadcast networks announced their fall schedules for the 2007-8 season.  The popularity of HEROES, the break-out hit of the year, figured strongly in development.  Come fall, immortal detectives, gifted romantics, geek heroes, and bionic women will battle for your eyeballs in what may be the strongest season for genre shows yet.

Both CBS’s MOONLIGHT and FOX’s NEW AMSTERDAM follow an immortal who investigates crimes while looking for love.  In MOONLIGHT, Mick St. John is a vampire private investigator who falls in love with a mortal.  In NEW AMSTERDAM, homicide detective John Amsterdam was gifted with immortality for saving the life of a Native American girl in 1642.  Once he finds his one true love, however, he will become mortal again.  NEW AMSTERDAM boasts Lasse Hallstrom (“Cider House Rules,” “Chocolat”) as director, giving it a compelling visual style.  Airing Tuesdays at 8pm in the fall, it may lose viewers when it makes way for AMERICAN IDOL and moves to Fridays at 9pm against MOONLIGHT.  For its part, MOONLIGHT will benefit from a stable time period throughout the year and a strong lead-in from returning favorite GHOST WHISPERER.  If both series survive the fall, the Friday audience may well decide which of these shows has a chance for immortality.

Aside from men with the ability to survive the ages, we’ll see two men with special abilities all their own.  NBC’s JOURNEYMAN can travel back in time and change the past.  He is attracted by the lure of seeing his deceased wife, which strains his current marriage.  A romantic note also plays prominently in ABC’s PUSHING DAISIES.  The hand of Bryan Fuller (“Dead Like Me,” “Wonderfalls”) is evident in this series following Ned, a man who can bring others to life with a touch.  Unfortunately, a second touch kills them, which complicates his relationship with his newly resurrected childhood sweetheart.  With colorful art direction, PUSHING DAISIES will air 8pm on Wednesdays facing no competition from another scripted drama.  Although up against CBS’s ratings winner CSI: MIAMI, JOURNEYMAN on Mondays at 10pm can expect a boost from HEROES, which returns at 9pm.

Geeks made a name for themselves on the fall schedule, from sitcoms to drama.  The sitcom THE BIG BANG THEORY, airing Mondays at 8:30pm on CBS, features two nerds who have a beautiful woman (Kaley Cuoco, “Charmed”) move in across the hall.  Geek comedy isn’t limited to sitcoms this season, however.  NBC’s hour-long CHUCK features a young man working tech support for the Nerd Herd.  He unwittingly gains knowledge of value to the CIA and other nefarious groups, earning the interest of a woman sent to find out what he knows.  The CW will also offer THE REAPER, a cross between feature film IDLE HANDS and SUPERNATURAL.  While working a dead-end job, Sam learns his parents sold his soul to the devil, and now he must track down renegade souls from hell using what looks like a super-powered dust buster.  With humor and nods to geek culture, CHUCK and THE REAPER both air Tuesdays at 9pm.  Although the CW has already found success with the monster-of-the-week formula on Thursdays, clearly the hour is up for grabs. 

Finally, two highly anticipated series based on popular properties will grace the airwaves next season.  NBC’s BIONIC WOMAN heralds the return of Jaime Sommers, retelling her origin as a state-of-the-art fighting machine with a job as a bartender and a hearing impaired sister.  Courtesy of Executive Producer David Eick of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA fame, Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck, BSG) will recur as an enemy bionic woman.  FOX also boasts strong women with a technological boost in the SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES.  Set between the second and third TERMINATOR films, Sarah and John Connor team with a female terminator sent from the future to protect them against the one sent to kill them.  BIONIC WOMAN airs Wednesdays at 9pm against the new Grey’s Anatomy spinoff and FOX’s BONES.  SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES will take the stage in early 2008 on Sundays at 9pm opposite NBC’s MEDIUM. 

Lovers of genre will feast on a smorgasbord of shows this coming season and may suffer from an embarrassment of riches when similar shows go head to head on Tuesdays and Fridays at 9.  Regardless, viewers will be sure to find a genre show every major night of the week. 

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