The new year brings new TV shows, some of them imminent. Having viewed a few of them, seen bits and pieces of others, and banking on the track record of the producers, stars, and networks of others, I’ve put together a little video review of three of them I’m particularly looking forward to.
Cinemax is getting semi-serious about doing interesting original programming, by which I mean the channel is staying within its comfort zone (action, sex, sexy action) while venturing into pacts with some producers with intriguing concepts. (This resulted in one of my favorite bits of low-down fun this past year, Frank Spotnitz’s Hunted. ) Thus, Banshee — about a convict who passes himself off as the sheriff of a small town in Pennsylvania Amish country — looks as though it could be a hoot. “From the creator of True Blood,” say the ads, but, really, Alan Ball is acting more as a patron shepherding the vision of Banshee creators Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler.
Banshee begins on Jan. 11. Over on Showtime, Masters of Sex could either prove a stuffy stiff or, I’m hoping, a provocative dramatization of the lives and work of the pioneering sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson. Starring Michael Sheen (The Queen) and Lizzy Caplan (Party Down) in the title roles, Masters of Sex will be interesting to the extent that it explores female sexual desires as much as it does men’s urges. And, of course, always crucial with subject matter like this, the degree to which the sex in the show is dealt with as clinical and turn-on. Leave out either aspect, and the result will be disappointing; play up either too much, and dullness could rule. One of the trickier balancing acts on upcoming TV.
Finally, there’s Broad City, upcoming from Comedy Central. You may know the minds and corporeal images of the inventive Broad City founders Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer from YouTube. Their fans included Amy Poehler, who in turn serves as an exec producer on the new show. This could be your next favorite half-hour humor show.
Check out my video above for further opinions.