Well, well, well, look who's come out to play.
Shaw Media is not only welcoming some legendary characters (Dracula, Ichabod Crane, Blackbeard, Bonnie and Clyde) to its slate, but there are also some old favourites who we can't wait to see back on the small screen.
While ten of the shows you loved most are returning (you know the ones), Global is bringing in some fresh meat, adding 11 new dramas, seven comedies and an awesome new daytime series -- "The Queen Latifah Show," baby! -- to the mix. It sounds like a lot but, really, it's not too earth-shattering.
The network's Sunday night lineup remains the same, with the exception of "We Are Men," which will air on Mondays on CBS but Global has thrown it in at 7:30 before its animated lineup starts. (If anything deserves a "Why bother?" ... but I digress.) As for Tuesdays, "NCIS" and "NCIS: LA" maintain their stranglehold on the night but "Parenthood" is out and "Chicago Fire" is in to finish the night strong.
Speaking of "Parenthood," my favourite family drama moves to Fridays, as does former Monday-night hit "Hawaii Five-0," a move which series star Daniel Dae Kim is of two minds about. "I'd love the show to be seen by as many eyes as possible and traditionally Friday night is not a high-viewership night. On the other hand, I'm trusting our core audience to follow us and I think it might help with the longevity of the show." "Dracula," starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, caps off the night, making Global's Friday a mixed bag, but it could work.
In its 79th timeslot change, Fox's perennial punching bag "Bones" kicks off Mondays (but then moves -- again -- to Thursdays when "Glee" goes on hiatus until its spring return), followed by creepy "Sleepy Hollow" (I wasn't joking, Ichabod Crane is heading to TV). And James Spader is also back and freaky as ever on "The Blacklist" -- trust me, Raymond Reddington is a lot scarier than Alan Shore ever was. In fact, Red might even be more frightening than the headless horseman (think Hannibal Lecter, shudder).
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This event series will restart the clock on the groundbreaking and Emmy Award-winning drama franchise starring Kiefer Sutherland ("24"). The high-octane saga reunites "Homeland" producer Howard Gordon with Sutherland and retains the real-time, fast-paced format with split screens and complex interweaving storylines, with 12 episodes representing 24 hours.
"The Queen Latifah Show" is a daytime talk-variety series that showcases Queen Latifah’s extraordinary range of talents as a global entertainment icon. The multi-topic, daily syndicated show features a mix of A-list celebrities, real people with inspiring stories, buzz-worthy musical acts, and Queen Latifah’s unique -- often comedic -- take on pop culture. "The Queen Latifah Show" is the perfect platform for this multi-talented host to entertain, inspire and create television that matters.
From the producers of "Downton Abbey" comes a twisted, sophisticated and sexy take on Bram Stoker's classic novel, Dracula, proving that some stories never die. It's the late 19th century, and the mysterious Dracula (Jonathan Rhys Meyers, "The Tudors") has arrived in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. He's especially interested in the new technology of electricity, which promises to brighten the night -- useful for someone who avoids the sun. But he has another reason for his travels: he hopes to get revenge on those who cursed him with immortality centuries earlier. Everything seems to be going according to plan, until he becomes infatuated with a woman who appears to be a reincarnation of his dead wife.
In this action-adventure series from executive producers J.J. Abrams ("Lost") and J.H. Wyman ("Fringe") set in 2048, a cop teams up with a second-hand synthetic android to fight a strain of urban crime that has evolved in even more frightening ways. Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban, "The Bourne Supremacy") survived a catastrophic attack on the city's police department that cost him his friends, one of his limbs and his reputation. When he returns a year later, he finds the transition difficult. Not only does one of the surviving detectives, Richard Paul (Michael Irby, "Flight Plan") blame him for the lethal ambush, but department policy now requires that every cop be paired with a highly-evolved human-like android partner. Instead, Kennex works with lab technician Rudy Lom (MacKenzie Crook, Game of Thrones) to reinstate an outdated Dorian android (Michael Ealy, The Good Wife) whose somewhat dysfunctional platform is based on a "Synthetic Soul" program, allowing it to have emotional responses. Together, the two set out to keep the city safe and uncover the criminal conspiracy that threatens to destroy their world.
This thrilling new action-adventure drama is a modern-day retelling of Washington Irving’s classic tale. Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison, "Parade's End") is resurrected and pulled two-and-a-half centuries through time to find that the world is on the brink of destruction, and that he is humanity’s last hope, forcing him to team up with a contemporary police officer (Nicole Beharie, "42") to unravel a mystery which dates all the way back to the founding fathers.
For decades, ex-government agent Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader, "Boston Legal") has been one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives. He has mysteriously surrendered to the FBI with an offer: he will help catch a long thought to be dead terrorist, Ranko Zamani, under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth "Liz" Keen (Megan Boone, "Law & Order: Los Angeles"), a new FBI proﬁler. Zamani is the ﬁrst of many on a list that Red has compiled over the years: a "blacklist" of politicians, mobsters, spies and international terrorists. He will help catch them all, with the stipulation that Liz continues to work with him as his partner. Red will teach Liz to think like a criminal and "see the bigger picture"... whether she wants to or not.
Nathan Miller (Will Arnett, "Arrested Development"), a recently divorced local roving news reporter, is looking forward to single life until his parents’ marital problems unexpectedly derail his plans. When Nathan finally breaks the news of his divorce to his parents, Carol and Tom (Margo Martindale, "The Americans" and Beau Bridges, "White Collar"), his father is inspired to follow suit and stuns the family when he leaves his wife of 43 years. Already in shock, Nathan is even more aghast when his meddlesome mother decides to move in with him. Meanwhile, his absent-minded dad imposes upon Nathan’s sister and her husband Adam. As Nathan and his sister settle in with their truly impossible parents, they both wonder just how long the aggravating adjustment period is going to last.
From creator Michael Caleo ("The Sopranos") comes the gritty one-hour drama "Ironside." Detective Robert Ironside (Blair Underwood, "Sex and the City") is a tough and fearless NYPD cop who is out for justice. He and his trusted team of specialists will do whatever it takes to solve some of the city’s most notorious crimes – even if it means breaking the rules. And despite having shattered his spine by a bullet two years ago, nothing stops Ironside from taking the bad guys down.
Written and produced by Jason Katims ("Parenthood") and directed by Jon Favreau ("Iron Man") comes a light-hearted comedy ‘about a young boy.’ Will Freeman (David Walton, "Bent") lives a charmed existence as the ultimate man-child. After writing a hit song, he was granted a life of free time, free love and freedom from financial woes. Soon, needy, single mom (Minnie Driver, "Good Will Hunting") and her oddly charming 11-year-old son Marcus (Benjamin Stockham, "1600 Penn") move in next door and disrupt Will’s perfect world. Over time, Will develops a newfound friendship that teaches him something he never thought possible to care less about himself and more about others.
One of New York's most beloved news anchors, Mike Henry (Michael J. Fox, "The Good Wife"), put his career on hold to spend more time with his family and focus on his health after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Five years later, with the kids growing up and Mike growing restless, he decides it’s time to go back to work. Mike is determined to succeed in juggling home, family and career, just like the old days -- only better.
Sean (Sean P. Hayes, "Will & Grace") is a divorced dad who's trying to juggle it all. From his overbearing boss and offbeat employees at work to his pushy mom Lorna (Linda Lavin, "Alice") and teenage daughter Ellie (Sami Isler, "Homerun"), Sean is finding out that balancing life is no easy task.
This half-hour comedy is about four single guys who unexpectedly find camaraderie through their many missteps in love. Carter, (Christopher Nicholas Smith, "Fake It Till You Make It") who recently moved into the building complex after being ditched at the altar, is eager to re-enter the dating scene. Along the way he gets advice from his “band of brothers”: Frank Russo (Tony Shalhoub, "Monk"), a successful middle-aged clothing manufacturer and four-time divorcée who still fancies himself a ladies’ man; Gil Bartis (Kal Penn, "House"), a small business owner who was caught having the world’s worst affair; and Stuart Strickland (Jerry O’Connell, "The Defenders"), a Speedo-wearing OB/GYN who is hiding his assets until his divorce is settled. Armed with a hot tub, a pool-side barbeque and plenty of questionable advice, these six-time losers in the marriage department take Carter under their wing to impart their own brand of wisdom about the opposite sex.
Forget President Elias Martinez. Blair Underwood returns to the small screen on "Ironside," a reimagining of the 1967 show of the same name. "It was such a popular series, it ran for eight years, but really the only elements we've taken are his name, the fact that he's a detective, and, of course, that he's in a wheelchair." Aside from new characters and the relative newness of the chair, viewers will be seeing a lot of flashbacks of Ironside pre-accident. Spencer Grammer seems a bit off as far as casting goes, but Underwood's charisma more than makes up for it.
Another TV favourite, Canada's own Michael J. Fox is back -- and not just on "The Good Wife" (though hopefully we haven't seen the last of Louis Canning). "Michael J. Fox Show" is inspired by the actor himself, and centres on a beloved news anchor who returns to work after being diagnosed wth Parkinson's disease. OK, it doesn't sound funny, but, boy, is it ever.
But the show I think might be the funniest of all the sitcoms is "The Millers," which stars Will Arnett, Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges. I've been wrong before (I didn't think "Chicago Fire" had a chance, cough, cough), but this one was easily one of the best of the bunch. "The Millers" also co-stars Michael Rappaport (one of my all-time favourites) and Mary Elizabeth Ellis, who I loved on "Perfect Couples." She played Amy on the defunct show, and her partner on the sitcom was Vance, played by another of my favourites, David Walton, which leads me to...
... "About a Boy." Hands down, my favourite pilot of the season, though we'll have to wait for its midseason debut. Maybe I'm biased because I love the movie, but it totally lives up to it. This is yet another opportunity for Walton to shine. The difference here is that people will actually get a chance to see it happen. Creator Jason Katims ("Parenthood," "Friday Night Lights") is officially my hero.
As for what else premieres midseason, "Almost Human" debuts in November in "Bones'" timeslot, while John Malkovich fills the boots of another legendary character, Blackbeard, on "Crossbones." And last, but certainly not least, he's baaaaaaaaaaaa-ack. Jack Bauer -- and Kiefer Sutherland, of course -- returns in Spring 2014 on "24: Live Another Day." This time, however, the 24 hours will be told in 12 episodes). Whatever. I can't wait. (See Global TV's full schedule below.)
But that's not all Shaw has to offer. Hellllllooooo -- Showcase, Lifetime, Food, Slice and History (just to name a handful) also have some wonderful shows. For Showcase, look for the returns of "Lost Girl," "Continuum," "Defiance," "Copper" and "Beauty and the Beast." New fall series "King & Maxwell" stars Rebecca Romijn and Jon Tenney as two private investigators based on bestselling author David Baldacci's popular characters. And look for the 2014 premiere of "Helix," a thriller which sounds like "Outbreak" and "Contagion" rolled into one.
It was a year ago that Lifetime debuted in Canada and while Lindsay Lohan didn't make the impact she wanted to in "Liz & Dick," Jennifer Love Hewitt and her boobs did, and she, the girls and "The Client List" will be back as well as more "Drop Dead Diva," "Double Divas" and that awful woman in "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition." New this fall is "Witches of East End" (based on Melissa de la Cruz's bestseller), which sounds like a guilty pleasure following in the footsteps of this summer's expected hit, "Devious Maids." By this time, next year, Lifetime will be considered a serious contender, thanks to the Marc Cherry series. Mark my words.
Over at Food Network Canada, Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray are back, but this time, they've got a team of kids to pit against one another on "Guy & Rachael's Kids Cook-Off." It looks like competition is the name of the game with "Cutthroat Kitchen" (which tests how fars chefs will go to win), "Food Court Wars" (two teams of food entrepreneurs battle to win a food court restaurant), and "Restaurant Express" (eight aspiring restaurateurs see if they have what it takes to run their own eatery). But it's "Chopped Canada" that has me licking my chops. Hosted by Mr. Tori Spelling himself, Dean McDermott (winner of Season 2's "Rachael vs. Guy's Celebrity Cook-Off"), it's just like the U.S. version but with some Canadian ingredients (bacon!) -- and talent -- to make it that much greater. According to McDermott, we can look forward to the judging styles of Chefs Chuck Hughes, Michael Smith, Lynn Crawford, Roger Mooking and Susur Lee, just to name a few. Like McDermott, "Chopped" is one of my favourite shows, so I'm salivating for it.
While many of you are looking forward to the much-anticipated returns of favourites "Vikings" and "Hatfields & McCoys," for me, I believe it's "Bonnie and Clyde" and its crazy-talented cast (Emile Hirsch, Holliday Grainger, William Hurt and Holly Hunter) that will give History (and Lifetime, which will also air it) record numbers.
Slice has confirmed that "The Real Housewives of Vancouver" is on hiatus for a season, but if it's reality drama you want, then reality drama you will get with a second instalment of "Big Brother Canada." My favourite upcoming show on Slice, however, is "In the Thicke of It," which centres on Alan Thicke, his younger, fiery wife, Tanya, and their kids, teenager Carter, singer Robin and Brennan, who runs a marijuana dispensary. Because, of course. Thicke is calling the show a reality comedy, aiming for it to be "a real-life 'Modern Family,'" and "somewhere between Larry David and the Kardashians. That's our goal, is to have some fun with real life and to embellish it a little bit with plot." I cannot wait until this premieres this winter.
Global TV's Fall 2013 Schedule
8:00 p.m. "Bones"
9:00 p.m. "Sleepy Hollow"
10:00 p.m. "The Blacklist"
8:00 p.m. "NCIS"
9:00 p.m. "NCIS: LA"
10:00 p.m. "Chicago Fire"
8:00 p.m. "Survivor"
9:00 p.m. "Sean Saves the World"
9:30 p.m. "Michael J. Fox Show"
10:00 p.m. "Ironside"
8:00 p.m. "Welcome to The Family"
8:30 p.m. "The Millers"
9:00 p.m. "Glee"
10:00 p.m. "Elementary"
8:00 p.m. "Parenthood"
9:00 p.m. "Hawaii Five-0"
10:00 p.m. "Dracula"
8:00 p.m. "Obsessions"
9:00 p.m. "Crime Time"
10:00 p.m. "Walk the Walk"
7:30 p.m. "We Are Men"
8:00 p.m. "The Simpsons"
8:30 p.m. "Bob's Burgers"
9:00 p.m. "Family Guy"
9:30 p.m. "American Dad"
10:00 p.m. "The Good Wife"