One of the many highlights of the onset of autumn is the chance to see what new shows have been launched. Choosing what to watch can be a difficult choice, especially as there have been so many strong contenders in 2014, so we’ve picked out four of the best new shows that you should be watching out for.
This season’s shiny new crime drama uncovers the formative years of the orphaned Bruce Wayne and the early story of James Gordon, who eventually became Batman’s inside man as he rose to prominence. It also details the back stories of Batman villains such as Poison Ivy, The Joker and Catwoman, showing them develop into the iconic characters that viewers recognise.
The show is beautifully shot and has a distinctive feel, giving it a filmic quality. It also has a gritty edge that offsets the fantastical feel of the programme. Ben McKenzie is charismatic and believable as James Gordon and the cast also features Jada Pinkett Smith as the villainess (of sorts).
The show teeters on the line between being a comic book adaptation and straight drama, however it wins out by looking and feeling stylish. The pilot may not be the best but keep with it, as the action really picks up later in the season and looks to reward the faithful viewer. Catch it on Channel 5 on Monday nights (9PM).
2) How To Get Away With Murder
A badass attorney also teaches at a local college as well as taking on cases. Along with her students, she ends up getting embroiled in a murder mystery of her own, as the students are forced to put what they learnt in class into practice. Viola Davis puts in a dazzling performance as the charismatic professor Annalise Keating, who is fascinating, mean and in no way clean cut.
If you’re a fan of Shonda Rimes’ previous offerings, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, then you’ll love this. The show has a soap opera feel to it and doesn’t pretend to be high art. However, it still flaunts intricate storytelling in that the more facts that are revealed about the crime, the more the mystery deepens.
The calibre of talent involved in the project makes it a must-see. As well as the eponymous leading lady, the show has a strong supporting cast, with Dean Thomas from Harry Potter (Alfred Enoch) featuring amongst the students. You’ll be addicted within a few episodes.
3) The Affair
As of yet, there is no UK airdate for The Affair, however there are plans to bring it across the pond and it really is worth checking out when that happens. The show pushes the extra marital affair to the forefront and explores the aftermath of the relationship between Dominic West’s happily married writer and Ruth Wilson’s bereaved waitress. What’s seemingly a simple idea is made more complex by the intricacy of the narrative. Every episode is told from the points of view of both central characters, offering them the opportunity to explain their reasons behind the affair.
This approach to the storytelling allows us to see the subtle differences in both parties’ retelling. Things that are important on one side don’t even figure on the other. It also becomes clear at some point that they’re telling their tale to law enforcement officers, meaning that something, somewhere, has gone horribly wrong.
Joshua Jackson and Maura Tierney put in excellent performances as the spouses, with Tierney, especially, putting in a likeable performance.
4) Jane the Virgin
Loosely based on the Venezualan telenovela Juana la Virgen, Jane the Virgin chronicles the unexpected events that take place in the life of hard-working Latina woman Jane Villaneuva. Despite retaining her virginity until the age of 23, she finds out that she has become pregnant when a doctor accidentally artificially inseminates her with the sperm of a rich hotelier during a checkup, leaving her with a lot of explaining to do. It’s a hard one to sell but stay with it.
Admittedly that’s pretty much the point where you need to give up on realism. Surprise, surprise, the father of the baby, of course, is wealthy and good looking and he and Jane shared a first kiss in their younger years. Cue the soapy plot twist and dramatic music.
The show will appeal to fans of the similarly camp Ugly Betty and has a touchingly whimsical feel. It’s populated by genuinely endearing characters and Jane herself is likeable and grounded. Jane the Virgin’s tone is pitched just right and manages to win the audience over enough to buy the premise. Make watching this programme your resolution for 2015.