Two new supernatural dramas lined up for next season make it clear that mainstream genre television isn’t going anywhere, and it isn’t getting any better.
Kiefer Sutherland is confirmed for Heroes’ creator Tim Kring’s Fox drama pilot about a father who learns that his autistic son has the power of precognition. Oh yeah, the kid’s also mute. This premise combines a whole mess of unappealing stuff. It’s not that I despise Kiefer, necessarily, I just haven’t enjoyed him in a role since Dark City, and arguably not even in that. (I simply refuse to say anything against that movie whatsoever.) Tim Kring, however, I openly disdain. Heroes started out as a mediocre show that hauled ass straight into abysmal territory. Plot lines grew increasingly tedious and nonsensical; the few talented performers in the bloated cast started phoning it in, buckling under the incoherent writing. Add to Kring’s influence a surely patronizing, innaccurate and saccharine representation of a child who suffers from both autism and mutism, and I already want to punch this show in the face.
Grimm has a premise that I found immediately intriguing until I realized that I was only attracted to the blatant similarities between it and Vertigo’s Fables series. The NBC drama pilot will star David Giuntoli as a detective working in a world peopled by fairy tale creatures. Silas Weir Mitchell joins him as
Bigby Wolf a big, bad wolf looking to reform himself by solving crimes and doing Pilates. Or something. This one’s got David Greenwalt of Buffy/Angel fame writing and executive producing along with Jim Kouf, so there’s a chance it could be awesome, but I’d frankly rather watch the long-teased and never-realized Fables adaptation.
In addition to these two shows, fall pilots about zombies, vampires, monsters, more magical cops, superheroes, angels, more fairy tales, ghosts and time-travelers are all in the works for the big four studios next year. Paranormal television has always been popular, but it’s becoming the new norm, particularly when the supernatural can somehow be combined with the already-fashionable procedural drama format. I love fiction that deals with the bizarre and unearthly, but I generally don’t dig the way the big four networks handle these shows. Fox does a decent job of greenlighting genre TV, but not so much with sustaining it (X-Files aside, obviously) or giving the showrunners enough latitude to steer the show in the most creatively rewarding direction. A show about magical cops or fairy tales could be terrific, but it has a much better chance of being terrific if it aired on AMC rather than Fox. But not a show about a precog kid with autism. That show would suck on any network.
You can read more from Meredith at www.dannyisnthere.com.