With the New Year comes new opportunities to wow and amaze on the boom tube. But after a year of zombies, apocalypses and zombie apocalypses, what will 2011 bring to the table? Here's the up-and-coming TV I'm most looking forward to.
5. Being Human
When: January 17th
Stop me if you've heard this one before. A ghost, a vampire and a werewolf rent out an apartment. Well, if you have heard this one before, it was probably the BBC hit horror comedy this SyFy show is remaking. The series follows three supernaturals trying to live among humans while dealing with less friendly monsters as well as their own unique roommate situation.
The British version - currently on its third season - is actually quite good, but the six episode format of the British seasons made for an almost bipolar split between comedy and tragedy. I'm hoping the SyFy version will be slightly more even over the course of its run.
The show has assembled a killer cast. Sam Witwer - who Force Unleashed fans will recognize as Starkiller - plays the vampire, while Sam Huntington (Jimmy Olsen in Superman Returns) plays the werewolf. Meaghan Rath plays the ghost, while "Supernatural" and "Lost" baddie Mark Pellegrino will be power-hungry vampire Bishop.
Despite all this, SyFy shows are hit-and-miss, and the same can be said for remakes of BBC shows. For every "Office", there's usually a "Coupling" or "Top Gear" remake people are anxious to forget. Time will tell which side of the fence this one falls on.
4. The Cape
When: January 9th
I say it once, I'll say it again: cut out the outlandish plots, and the "Batman" books are ripe for an NBC adaptation. Gotham City is like the West Wing in tights, and I've long waited to see a serious adaptation on these lines.
While it might not be "Batman", "The Cape" looks pretty close. A police officer is framed as a supervillain and presumed dead after a harrowing gunfight, only to re-emerge as a superhero known as the Cape. What appeals to me in particular is the ripe amount of human drama. My favorite scene in the trailer is that of the wife throwing her disgraced husband's funeral wreath off a cliff. We know the Cape can make a difference on the streets, but will that make a difference to his now-humiliated family?
Like "Being Human", "The Cape" has assembled quite a cast, including Keith David, Summer Glau and James Frain. There is a slight excess of CGI in the trailer, but it's entirely forgivable since the show looks great. The only problem is just how great is "The Cape"? Despite no shortage of fans, "Heroes" tanked and even "No Ordinary Family" is facing similar straights.
Can "The Cape" reverse the odds at a time when its very network is in need of a hero?
3. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Where: Cartoon Network
When: January 7th
I'll be the first to admit I'm actually not George Lucas' biggest fan. After watching my enthusiasm for the prequels dwindle faster than Jar Jar Binks' midiclorian count, watching George nuke the fridge in "Indiana Jones" only added to my anger. But for all the street cred GL has lost, well, practically everywhere, he's made quite a bit back in the animated "Star Wars: The Clone Wars".
Set between "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith", the Clone Wars is like "Band of Brothers" with lightsabers. Much of the emphasis is on the camaraderie between Jedi and Clones as they contend with the literal war machines of Count Dooku and the Separatist armies. No longer Gloomy McWinyPants, Anakin finally appears as the hero Obi-Wan told Luke about, especially as Anakin finds himself training a spunky apprentice named Ahsoka Tano.
The later half of this season promises to up the ante as the Sith acquire Ospress Savage, the brother of Darth Maul himself, to do some damage. But all is not as it seems, as Sith apprentice Asajj Venturess plans to use Savage against his master Dooku in a Dark Side power-play. And if that weren't enough, the Dark Side may beckon for Anakin's own protege Ahsoka.
The last two seasons have proved the Clone Wars can match the intensity of the conflict with the humor and adventure of the original trilogy. The only problem is we haven't seen hardly any of that in the first half of the season. In fact, it's been pretty boring. How boring, you ask? Galactic Senate boring.
Hopefully these new episodes can turn the tide on the Star Wars universe.
2. Young Justice
Where: Cartoon Network
When: January 7th
I've talked about this show before, in my rundown of new comic book shows. The series starts up again this January, and focuses of the adventures of Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis as they step out from their mentor's shadows and take on bad guys on their own.
It's a very, very promising shows, backed by the full power of DC Animated's lush style and swift renderings as well as a voice cast features the likes of Bruce Greenwood, Alan Tudyk, Rob Lowe and Mariana Sirtis. The show features a varied line-up ranging from the early days of the Teen Titans to the eponymous Young Justice. And to top it all off, it just looks fun.
I don't have very many doubts. While the first episode was a little too mired in Superboy's origin of telepathic clones for my taste, it was still a pretty sweet ride. My only real complaint is that we have to wait two weeks after the show premieres to get any new episodes - since Cartoon Network is airing the already-aired debut as a two-part episode. But I think this one will be worth the wait.
1. The End of Smallville
When: January 28th
The end of Smallville comes mixed with epic anticipation and more than a little disbelief this show has lasted ten years. Admittedly, not all of those nine seasons were good, but the show seems to be preparing a powerful send-off for the soon-to-be-Superman.
The series go its sea legs a couple years ago, and kicked into high gear this last season with the introduction of my favorite team, the Justice Society of America. Now Clark is facing all the evil of Darkseid, one of the biggest baddies of the DCU, who is influencing the world for the worst. And to make matters worst, his fledgling Justice League has become prime targets for a government which doesn't trust vigilantes.
Through it all, Clark Kent has to put aside the individualistic (and more than a little Matrix-y) Blur identity to become the hero Smallville has been all about. Along the way, his relationship with Lois Lane manifests in surprising ways - including an engagement last episode - while faces from his past resurface in surprising ways.
There's plenty of speculation of what the end of "Smallville" will be, but I'm not comforted by what it is not. In my opinion, "Smallville" really didn't work until it stopped trying to be a prequel for Superman and instead focused on who Clark is as Superman, and where the two begin and end.
Without a byzantine Superman film franchise standing in the way, the path is finally clear for "Smallvile" to soar to the skies. Let's hope the result is worth ten years in the making.
(That's it for this week's blog. Be sure to check back next Wednesday for another page in Blue Yonder! And be sure to vote for us on Top Webcomics!)