Last year, my first official Comic-Con experience was the Preview Night screening of the series premiere of The CW’s Nikita. This year, SDCC topped itself by offering not one, but three series pilots, along with a look at a Japanese animated take on a popular U.S. TV series. While Alcatraz, The Secret Circle, and Supernatural: The Anime Series were all entertaining, CBS’ upcoming procedural Person of Interest won the night.
Person of Interest
Premieres Fall 2011 on CBS
On paper, Person of Interest sounds like another cut and dry procedural. A wealthy man with access to vague predictions of future crimes recruits a former special forces soldier to help him solve and prevent the crimes-to-be. The pilot episode takes us through the first case, while also giving us some background information on the two lead characters and a fair introduction to their developing relationship.
There are two things that set Person of Interest above other shows like these: Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson. Both actors have proven to be top notch in their field, but together, there’s a strangely appealing dynamic. Emerson’s character has some of the smarts of Ben Linus, without the creepy. Meanwhile, Caviezel manages to work the low-talking, confident badass thing without coming off as wooden or cheesy. I don’t typically go for procedurals, but I want to see more of these two on screen, so I’ll definitely be looking out for this one when it begins airing on CBS this fall.
Premieres Midseason 2012 on Fox
I suspect Alcatraz is going to appeal to Fringe fans as it appears to be part crime-procedural, and part science fiction. I’m going to be vague with the premise here because one of the biggest strengths of the pilot is the way the story’s layers are pealed back a little bit at a time as the episode moves forward. What I can say is that in this series, the past may not be entirely in the past which could mean dangerous things, given the Alcatraz' history for playing host to some of the most dangerous criminals in its day.
Sarah Jones (Sons of Anarchy) plays the female lead, opposite Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Happy Town) and Jorge Garcia (Lost). All three deliver solid performances and it’s great to see Jorge Garcia in a new role. While its evident from the start that we’re meant to take his character seriously, there are some mild shades of Hurley thrown in there for some light comic relief. As this is exec-produced by J.J. Abrams, with Lost’s Elizabeth Sarnoff as showrunner, I’m expecting the plot to get more complex as time goes on and conspiracies begin to unfold. A lot of questions are raised in the pilot, but the introduction offers enough intriguing clues to have me wanting more.
The Secret Circle
Premieres Fall 2011 on The CW
Based on L. J. Smith’s novels, this new CW drama follows a teen girl named Cassie (Britt Robertson) who goes to live with her grandmother after her mother dies in a mysterious fire. She’s quickly drawn in by a group of witches who believe she’s meant to be a part of their circle. And so begins your typical teen drama with a magical twist. Dangers lurk not far in the distance as these kids begin to dabble in powers that might have them in over their heads very soon.
My guess is that The Vampire Diaries fans are going to be on board with this one. The pilot was a little campy at parts, but it does offer a similar kind of glamorous danger to some of the other supernatural-themed TV dramas out there. Fans of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles may recognize Thomas Dekker, playing one of the teens that befriends Cassie.
Supernatural: The Anime Series
Released on DVD/Blu-Ray on July 26th
I should preface this by saying that I haven’t seen more than a handful of episodes of The CW’s Supernatural, so in terms of how this animated series fits into the story told within the live-action show, I couldn’t say for sure. It has been said that Madhouse (the animated studio behind this series) created it with Supernatural series creator Eric Kripke’s full approval, and that the story mirrors the story arc in Supernatural’s first two seasons. Some big things happen to both Sam and Dean within the two episodes we were shown from this 22-episode animated series. The two are separated in the first episode and their lives are thrust into danger, involving the Yellow-eyed Demon. I’ll say no more on the plot, so as not to spoil you, however, expect blood, some amusing moments and Kansas.
The animation is done well and I found the sound effects to be especially good. The tone of the series is, for the most part, pretty intense, but there’s a light layer of humor offered to cut the tension every once in a while. If you’re a fan of Sam and Dean Winchester’s supernatural adventures, this series is worth checking out.