Saturday, July 9, 2011

Most promising new shows for fall 2011 season: 'Awake' and 'Smash'

The fall TV season doesn’t start for a couple of months, but some networks are advertising their new shows anyway. I’m already sick of seeing NBC’s “Whitney.”
I’ve checked out the synopses and preview videos for a bunch of new shows and have already picked my tentative watch list.
My main concern with some of these shows is that they sound like they’d make better movies than episodic television series.
Too many interesting dramas start out assuming that they’re going to have a long time to tell their stories, so they stretch out their revelations and plot points. Viewers soon get frustrated and quit before the shows can get anywhere.
NBC’s “The Event” and ABC’s “FlashForward” both suffered from slow plotting. Each sci-fi drama lasted just a single season. Even AMC’s murder mystery “The Killing,” which was renewed for a second season, was bogged down by plodding storytelling and lack of resolution.
What series like this need to do is show more urgency and keep the story moving.
The two shows I’m most looking forward to are midseason replacements on NBC: “Awake” and “Smash.”

“Awake” stars Jason Isaacs as a police detective living in two different realities following a car accident. In one reality his wife died in the accident and in the other his teenage son died. The drama deals with how the detective tries to live two separate lives to keep his family with him and the toll it takes on him. “Awake” was created by writer Kyle Killen (“Lone Star”).

“Smash” is about the making of a Broadway musical and stars singer Katharine McPhee. The executive producers are Steven Spielberg and Craig Zadan & Neil Meron (producers of “Chicago” and “Hairspray”). Songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“Hairspray”) also are on board. Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston co-star.

I’m going to take a wait-and-see approach to several other intriguing shows. They are Fox’s “Terra Nova,” CBS’s “Person of Interest,” NBC’s “Grimm,” ABC’s “Revenge,” and the CW’s “Ringer.”

Photos: Artwork from NBC's "Awake" (top) and "Smash" (bottom).

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