Reel TV is a new column at Movies.com that takes an ongoing look at the growing intersection of movies and television. If there’s a big screen talent making the move to small screen, even temporarily, we want to tell you about it.
Earlier this month the broadcast networks announced their new crops of shows for the Fall season and it turns out quite a few of them have some serious feature filmmakers involved. In fact, by our tracking there are fourteen new shows this Fall featuring a significant big-screen influence. Of course, that doesn’t mean that any of the below shows are guaranteed to be any better than the new shows without cinematic ties, but it certainly makes them more interesting. At the very least, it should satisfy those who are curious to see what directors like Jon Favreau, Martin Campbell, Pierre Morel, David Slade, James Mangold and more have been up to.
But before we get to the Fall, let’s take a quick look at HBO’s next big hour-long drama, which begins airing June 24th.
The Newsroom – HBO, Sundays at 10:00pm
Created by: Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, The American President, A Few Good Men)
Pilot Directed by: Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland)
What Else: As if a new show from one of the best screenwriters in the industry (and on HBO, no less) wasn’t motive enough, The Newsroom stars Jeff Daniels in a Network-esque story about a news anchor who tells a little too much truth in a moment of candor and who changes the shape of news in the process. The series also stars Alison Pill (Scott Pilgrim), Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), and Emily Mortimer (Shutter Island, Transsiberian).
Hannibal – NBC, Midseason
Created by: Bryan Fuller (2002’s Carrie)
Pilot Directed by: David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night)
What Else: A series that takes place years before the events of Manhunter/Red Dragon that finds Agent Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter as a crime fighting team. Hugh Dancy (Martha Marcy May Marlene, Hysteria) has been cast as Graham, though the series’ producers have yet to announce who will be playing the iconic cannibal. David Slade will direct the pilot, and while he’s made most of his bones on the big screen (most recently with The Twilight Saga: Eclipse), he’s also no stranger to TV, having directed an episode of Breaking Bad, as well as the pilot for the recently canceled NBC series Awake.
Last Resort – ABC, Thursdays at 8:00pm
Created by: Shawn Ryan and Karl Gajdusek
Pilot Directed by: Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Edge of Darkness)
What Else: Last Resort, one of the higher concept shows of this Fall season, is about a nuclear submarine that goes rogue from the US Navy after refusing orders to fire a nuke at Pakistan. Under the leadership of Andre Braugher (The Mist) and Scott Speedman (Underworld), the crew of the sub take over an island in the hopes of starting new lives. The show’s creators are primarily TV regulars (Shawn Ryan created The Shield), but Martin Campbell directed the pilot. Hopefully that means it will be more Casino Royale than Green Lantern.
Nashville – ABC, Wednesdays at 10:00pm
Created by: Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise)
Pilot Directed by: R.J. Cutler (The September Issue)
What Else: It’s been over twenty years since Thelma & Louise writer Callie Khouri has had a major project of her own, but she’s back with this series about a once-popular country singer, Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights), who has to compete with an upcoming star played by Hayden Panettiere (I Love You, Beth Cooper).
The Neighbors – ABC, Wednesdays at 9:30pm
Created by: Dan Fogelman (Cars, Tangled, Crazy Stupid Love)
Pilot Directed by: Chris Koch (Snow Day)
What Else: The Neighbors looks like a quirky series about a family that happens to move into a neighborhood filled with aliens. Creator Dan Fogelman has a pretty decent track record on the big screen, it’s got a cast of TV regulars, the biggest names being Jami Gertz and Doug Jones, and a funny enough premise. Plus it’s noteworthy as being one of the only sitcoms this season with big screen talent backing it.
Revolution – NBC, Mondays at 10:00pm
Created by: JJ Abrams (Star Trek, Super 8), Erik Kripke (Boogeyman)
Pilot Directed by: Jon Favreau (Iron Man 1 & 2)
What Else: JJ Abrams doesn’t have a great track record for TV shows in recent years, but series co-creator Erik Kripke has plenty of recent success thanks to Supernatural, so hopefully the two balance each other out. Fan favorite director Jon Favreau took on the pilot, which is about a future in which all electrical energy ceases to exist. It’s a promising premise (though one we imagine will raise even more questions than Lost did), but perhaps more curious is our desire to see what Billy Burke (Drive Angry, Twilight) and Giancarlo Esposito do with the material.
Vegas – CBS, Tuesdays at 10:00pm
Created by: Nicholas Pileggi (Goodfellas, Casino)
Pilot Directed by: James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma)
What Else: Probably one of the most promising new series of the fall is Vegas, a series created by the man who wrote Goodfellas and Casino. Dennis Quaid (Innerspace, The Day After Tomorrow) stars as a Sheriff in the ’60s trying to keep the mob, led by Michael Chiklis (Fantastic Four), out of the formative years of Las Vegas. Period pieces on network television tend to have a pretty short life span lately, but the heavy talent behind the show might just be able to beat the trend. At the very least, the James Mangold-directed pilot should make for an interesting watch.
Arrow – Wednesday, 8:00pm
Created by: Greg Berlanti (Green Lantern), Andrew Kreisberg, Marc Guggenheim
Pilot Directed by: David Nutter (Disturbing Behavior)
What Else: The CW is always on the lookout for their next Smallville, and this Green Arrow-based series is their latest attempt (personally, I was kind of hoping their Aquaman show would have moved past the pilot stage a few years ago). Stephen Amell, who has been in quite his share of made-for-TV movies, stars as the vigilante Oliver Queen with a gift for marksmanship. There’s not a ton of big screen talent behind the series, which may or may not help the show. Either way, we’re curious to see if it has a significantly longer life than Aquaman or Wonder Woman.
The Carrie Diaries – CW, Monday at 9:00pm
Created by: Josh Schwartz (Fun Size)
Pilot Directed by: Miguel Arteta (Cedar Rapids)
What Else: AnnaSophia Robb (Race to Witch Mountain, Bridge to Terabithia) headlines this youth-oriented prequel to Sex and the City, which is all about Carrie Bradshaw’s senior year of high school in the ’80s. It’ll probably be just another CW drama about pretty teenagers and their unreal lives, only in the ’80s, but Youth in Revolt and Cedar Rapids director Miguel Arteta may be able to ground the series in a way that’ll set it apart from most of the other shows on the often dismissed network.
Elementary – CBS, Thursday at 10:00pm
Created by: Rob Doherty
Pilot Directed by: Michael Cuesta (Tell Tale, L.I.E.)
What Else: Jonny Lee Miller (Hackers) and Lucy Liu (Charlie’s Angels) as a modern-day Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. That’s probably about all you need to know to know whether or not this series sounds up your alley, but if it seems like it’s not (or you only have room for the BBC version of a modern Sherlock in your heart), don’t write it off just yet. Michael Cuesta recently made a surprisingly cool modernization of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart, so he’s a fine fit to help shape a similar tone here. (Seriously, if you haven’t seen Tell Tale, check it out; it’s a very clever twist on a very familiar story.)
Red Widow – ABC, Midseason
Created by: Melissa Rosenberg (the Twilight Saga),
Pilot Directed by: Directed by Mark Pellington (The Mothman Prophecies, Arlington Road)
What Else: Red Widow creator Melissa Rosenberg’s biggest contribution to the big screen is having written all of the Twilight films. But if you hate those, do keep in mind that she’s also a writer and producer on Showtime’s Dexter. Plus, she’ll have Mothman Prophecies director Mark Pellington to help establish this series about a recent widow, Radha Mitchell (The Crazies), who goes against the criminal underworld and the FBI to get to the bottom of her husband’s untimely death.
Zero Hour – ABC, Midseason
Created by: Paul T. Scheuring (The Experiment)
Pilot Directed by: Pierre Morel (Taken)
What Else: A lot of the networks’ new dramas revolve around procedural investigations, so it’s nice to see one that’s not afraid to adventure around in the world of the paranormal. Anthony Edwards (Top Gun) stars as a well known skeptic who discovers a treasure map in a clock owned by his wife, who was recently kidnapped by Michael Nyqvist (the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) playing a bad man also interested in the map. Action director Pierre Morel pops his TV cherry on the pilot, which you can get a glimpse of if you click on the picture above.
Ben and Kate – Fox, Tuesdays at 8:30pm
Created by: Dana Fox (Couples Retreat)
Pilot Directed by: Jake Kasda (Orange County, Bad Teacher)
What Else: Between What Happens in Vegas and Couples Retreat, Dana Fox doesn’t exactly have an inspiring feature film track record, so maybe the world of TV is more her beat. Nat Faxon (who just won an Oscar for his part in writing The Descendants) and Dakota Johnson (21 Jump Street) star as a brother and sister who team together to raise a child. Bad Teacher director Jake Kasda is on board to executive produce and direct the sitcom’s pilot.
The Following – Fox, Midseason
Created by: Kevin Williamson (the Scream franchise)
Pilot Directed by: Marcos Siega (Chaos Theory)
What Else: Kevin Williamson found huge success after writing Scream back in ’96, and while he’s been involved with a number of genre features since then, he spends most of his time working in the world of TV. The Following is his latest, and it features none other than Kevin Bacon as a former FBI agent brought back into the agency to help rookies Jennifer Mason (The Vow) and Shawn Ashmore (The Ruins, X-Men) track down a serial killer (Solomon Kane’s James Purefoy) who is orchestrating a grand master plan to unite the country’s most dangerous psychos.