It’s that time of year again – the ‘upfronts’. It’s when all the US networks reveal to advertisers the new shows that are going to be hitting the TV screens sometime from September 2016 through to nowish 2017. However, this isn’t the same as the international screenings, where buyers from TV networks around the world turn up to see what they’d like to acquire, so we won’t know what will be heading our way for quite some time.
First up, because it only has two shows and I’m lazy, is the USA Network. That’s no different from last year, where USA only gave us Mr Robot and Complications; what is different is that we’ll actually have to wait a few months to watch the new shows this year, rather than one month, since these will be airing at some mysterious undisclosed point in the 2016-2017 cycle. Or even later than that, since Complications was actually first shown in the 2014 Upfronts – it took a whole year to emerge.
This year, in keeping with USA’s return to dark and moody in the past couple of years, we’ve got Shooter and Falling Water. Shooter is an adaptation of the Mark Wahlberg movie that stars the slightly more implausible Ryan Phillippe (Secrets and Lies) as an an expert marksman living in exile who is coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the president. I quite liked the movie, although it didn’t exactly push the IQometer, and it doesn’t look like they’ve changed the plot much, beyond adding Omar Epps (House, Resurrection) to the mix as the Fugitive-esque FBI agent who’s chasing after Phillippe, but presumably begins to believe he’s innocent.
Falling Water, meanwhile, looks a bit more interesting, with three unrelated people (David Ajala, Will Yun Lee and Lizzie Brocheré) slowly realising that they are dreaming separate parts of a single common dream. Each of them is on a personal quest – one is searching for his missing girlfriend, one is searching for a lost child, one is looking to cure his catatonic mother – and the clues in their collective dream come to guide them. However, the visions found in their dream might also hold the key to the fate of the world. Hmm.
Visually, while there’s a hint of Inception in there, as well as (oddly enough) Jacob’s Ladder, the most obvious similarities are with Dreamscape. Either way, hopefully it’ll be more like those than like Sense8.