This week, TVMaze writers Cadence and Tim get to take a bit of a break from trailer reviews – we only have four shows for you, and we won’t be back again until Oct 14th. We will bring you some initial reactions to some new shows next week! Basically, the glut of (not super impressive) mainstream network shows has almost petered out as we move toward the official launches of several massive new streaming platforms (like Disney+ and Apple TV+) and the likely end of Netflix’s dominance.
Tim: Almost Family is based on an Australian show called Sisters, which starred Marie Angelico, Lucy Durack and Antonia Prebble as the titular sisters. So, as an avid Australian TV watcher, I’ve already got some idea of what this show will be like. From the trailer, it looks really similar, with a fertility doctor played by Timothy Hutton (American Crime, How To Get Away With Murder, Leverage) using unsavoury means to get women pregnant. His daughter, Julia (Brittany Snow), discovers that she has siblings she never knew about because of what her father did. The main sisters are played by Emily Osment (Young & Hungry, Hannah Montana) and Megalyn Echikunwoke (Vixen, The 4400).
This version of the show looks more dramatic than the Australian version (the use of Pink’s Walk Me Home in the background of the trailer really emphasizes the point). I’m looking forward to seeing Julia discovering new family members and seeing how they can fit in with her life. I’m happy to see two stars of Pitch Perfect getting their pilots aired in the new Fall Pilot season (the other being Anna Camp on Perfect Harmony). I’ll definitely be tuning in to see how Julia discovers her new siblings and if Hutton’s character will take responsibility for his actions!
Cadence: I… honestly don’t think I can get past the deeply unpleasant premise of this show. The trailer had some moments that made me chuckle, but then I would remember that this show is based on a fertility doctor impregnating a bunch of women with his own sperm (not something they asked for) – a crime now referred to as fertility-fraud and which some have compared to sexual assault. I don’t think I would be able to find the drama compelling, the newfound family heartwarming, or any attempts at levity remotely distracting. At the core of this show lies something profoundly rotten, and it is not at all clear to me (from the trailer) that the showrunners understand that. In an age where trust in writers is paramount (see: Riverdale writers not understanding child predation in S1, or Game of Thrones writers not understanding anything about storytelling in S7/8), I don’t need this show. I will not be watching.
Cadence: In contrast, this genuinely magical and moving trailer might be one of one of the best we’ve reviewed all season. Raising Dion seems like a very welcome twist on the (increasingly tired and still multiplying) superhero origin story – one focused primarily on the mother (Alisha Wainwright) of a burgeoning infant hero, a young child named Dion who begins to manifest powers in the wake of his father’s super-heroic death. The music, the special effects, the mother-son bond really resonate here. Also, I’ll watch pretty much anything with Michael B. Jordan (Friday Night Lights). I’m in, no question.
Tim: Michael B. Jordan is one of my favourite all-time Marvel villains as Warmonger in Black Panther, so I’m excited to see him in a television series. Jordan also executive produces; for me, when an actor gets involved in the overall creative process, it makes for a better show. Also, the trailer looks epic! It seems to be taking recent superpower shows (The Boys, The Umbrella Academy) in a different direction. I like the storyline, and an unknown actor playing Dion (Ja’Siah Young) could just be what the genre needs. With Jason Ritter (Another Period, Parenthood) and Jazmyn Simon (Ballers) on board as well, I’m looking forward to seeing how this show can keep me watching – Raising Dion (as a title) doesn’t really tell us what the show will be about. I’m a huge fan of shows about people with superpowers and with Michael B. Jordan on board, how could I say no!?
Tim: Another show I have a bit of knowledge about because I follow all of the other DC CW shows, including Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, and Black Lightning (this last one is not part of the Arrowverse). Played by Australia’s own Ruby Rose (OITNB), Batwoman (Kate Kane) was originally introduced in the annual Arrowverse crossover event, Elseworlds. In that crossover, we don’t really get the origin story of Batwoman, which is what I think the show will address.
In the trailer, we are introduced to Batman’s cousin, Kate Kane, and we follow her in her journey to become Batwoman. In a world where Batman has left Gotham, a new villain arrives named Alice played by Rachel Skarstan (Reign, Lost Girl). I think Alice will be sprinkled throughout the season and will be Batwoman’s main nemesis. Supporting cast include Dougray Scott as Kate’s father and Camrus Johnson as Luke Fox. From the trailer, the action looks very good and I’m excited to see how well Batwoman fits into the Arrowverse. I will be tuning in not only because I’m a huge fan of DC TV shows, but because I want to know how Batwoman will fill the shoes left by Batman’s absence.
Cadence: Batwoman has been one of my absolute favourite comics since DC’s ‘New 52’ reboot in 2011 – especially the initial 24-issue run by J.H. Williams III. The art style was some of the most inventive I’d ever seen in comics, which is why I am somewhat apprehensive about a Batwoman TV show. How do you translate that kind of artistic vision to the screen without the budget or animation of a movie like Into the Spiderverse? The trailer suggests they won’t even try – that this will be a more typical Bat-family narrative, darkness-filled and grittily-shot. I should add that I have not watched much of the Arrowverse, despite my love of comics (I think I watched Arrow, Supergirl, and Black Lightening S1), so my reaction does not include specific excitement about DC shows on the CW. Still, Ruby Rose has such charisma, queer representation matters, and I *want* to be excited about this show. The trailer did not exactly shout ‘WATCH ME’ (some of those line deliveries near the start of the trailer, oof), but I plan to check out at least the first three episodes. I just hope this show will try something new.
Cadence: Nancy Drew looks like standard CW fare: A bunch of attractive 20-somethings have feelings, and also there is a mystery and also oh no muuurder – and maybe one of them did it, WHO CAN SAY!? I’ve seen enough of these kinds of shows to know that, unless it does something particularly special or new or unique, it won’t really speak to me. And besides, it reminds me too much of Riverdale, which I mostly hatewatch at this point. So, watch it if this is your kind of thing, it isn’t really mine.
Tim: In my opinion this show isn’t like Riverdale, it’s just on the same network. I think you might have got it mixed up with Katy Keene which is a spin-off of Riverdale and airs next year. It might have a drama mystery feel, but from the trailer, it looks like it will have a supernatural element as well. However, the cast is filled with unknown actors (including Kennedy McMann as Nancy Drew), and I find it hard to get into a show if I don’t know at least one of them. The trailer still looks interesting and it has worked out well for me in the past (Suits, Vikings, The Magicians). I’ll be checking out the pilot at least for this show, but if the mystery doesn’t pull me in, it will be a one and done.
Cadence: Okay, we had thoughts, you have thoughts, share those thoughts in the comments KTHXBAIIIII
Written by Cadence on Oct 1, 2019