On Day 10 of the 16-day biannual Television Critic’s Association Summer 2014 Press Tour, CBS introduced its new programming and the following is a snapshot-look at a few of its new series debuting Fall 2014.
“Madam Secretary” is CBS’ new political drama starring Tea Leoni, as Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst who is the newly appointed Secretary of State. Co-starring is Tim Daly, as her husband, and Zeljko Ivanek, as the White House Chief of Staff, the show offers a strong portrayal of life inside and outside the White House, as well as its thorny interoffice politics. The show is a fast-paced and finely-tuned political thriller with a bit of a dark-side when another layer of the story comes to light. One of the more interesting features is that Leoni and Daly’s characters share a very supportive and loving relationship, which is rarely seen in television marriages. It is refreshing and helps the audience feel like their characters are worth rooting for in the midst of global politics, which can get very ugly and cut-throat. The multi-faceted characters and multi-layered storylines make this one of the strongest new shows debuting this Fall. Point of interest: Morgan Freeman, who co-starred with Tea Leoni in the film “Deep Impact,” is one of the show’s executive producers along with Barbara Hall (“Homeland,” “Joan Of Arcadia”). (Premieres on Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 8:00 pm.)
NCIS: NEW ORLEANS
Adding to its growing franchise, CBS debuted the back-door pilot for its new drama “NCIS: New Orleans” last Spring during its broadcast of its number one show “NCIS.” After a strong reception, they greenlit the new series which takes its place on the CBS broadcast line-up this Fall. Starring Scott Bakula and Zoe McLellan, the new series is set in New Orleans — a culturally-rich city which the show hopes to feature — especially since Louisiana is so diverse and it offers unique crimes that could only arise deep in the bayou. The series will also film on location in order to capitalize on the rich landscape and atmosphere. Also co-starring are Lucas Black (“American Gothic) and CCH Pounder (“Warehouse 13”). Point of interest: Zoe McLellan co-starred with Seth Gabel (“Fringe”/”Salem”) in the TV series “Dirty Sexy Money.” With a little luck maybe Seth will make a guest appearance on “NCIS: New Orleans” to reignite that TV flame since his current series “Salem” also films in Louisiana. (Premieres Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 9:00 pm.)
“Scorpion” is a new drama series that looks into the world of hackers and, how when they are recruited to working for the government, they can accomplish amazing feats that literally no one else could do. Introducing Elyes Gabel, as Walter O’Brien who is one of the FBI’s most-wanted hackers, the show offers a fun look into the world of super geniuses and computer hackers who when used for the force of good can accomplish extraordinary things — even saving the world. Co-starring Robert Patrick (“The X-Files”/”Last Resort”) as their government liaison, there is more comedy than expected embedded as he tries to wrangle this eclectic group of people, who do not always have the necessary social skills or requisite morals to navigate the real world outside of the cyber-sphere. Also co-starring Katharine McPhee, as Paige Dineen, she portrays a young mother whose son shares a similar aptitude that gives him a lot in common with Walter and his friends, and surprisingly, they have a lot that they teach each other. Balancing a drama with a nice dose of comedy, “Scorpion” makes for a fun new show to check out this Fall. (Premieres Monday, September 22, 2014 at 9:00 pm.)
“Battle Creek” is a new quasi-drama series with lots of comedy. It co-stars Dean Winters, as Detective Russ Agnew, and Josh Dumahel, as Detective Milton Chamberlin, who reluctantly team up from two different law enforcement agencies in order to combat any level of crime that erupts in Battle Creek, Michigan. While Winters’ character is initially dismayed to having to show a new guy the ropes in his backyard, both end up having a grudging respect for each others’ abilities. Helmed by executive producers David Shore (“House”) and Vince Gilligan (“Breaking Bad”), the show has a bit of a feeling of gritty drama with buddy-humor mixed in. (A premiere date has not yet been announced, but “Battle Creek” is expected to air sometime in 2015.)
“Stalker” is a scripted drama that offers a very realistic look at how both men and women are stalked and harassed, both in person and online through the use of modern technology and social media. Maggie Q (“Nikita”) and Dylan McDermott (“The Practice”/”Hostages”) star as investigators in a special Threat Assessment Unit of Los Angeles Police Department that specializes in investigation and preventing stalking crimes. They will investigate the crimes that literally keep you up at night. Warning: it is the stuff of your nightmares. The pilot episode is a tense and taught look at the creepy world of stalkers. It also serves to educate on what constitutes “stalking.” It should be noted that the realism of this show will make you really wonder about the people in your life and who maybe just crossing the line into cyberstalking or who may be watching you from outside your bedroom window. The show will turn a spotlight on when obsession crosses the line and becomes a crime. First point of interest: Dylan McDermott’s character has a darker-side that may or may not pose a threat to all those around him. Second point of interest: Kevin Williamson created and executive produces this series. He is famous for bringing the “Scream” series and “I Know What You Did Last Summer” film franchises to the movie screen, and he also created the Fox drama “The Following” about serial killers from all walks of life. So it is nice to see him portraying the flip-side to these types of dark worlds of the mentally disturbed. (Premieres Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 10:00 pm.)
That is a wrap on Day 10 at TCA. Look for more upcoming snapshots from TCA Summer 2014 on the new shows and TV specials coming up for Fall 2014.