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Boon Chan
Saturday, Oct 4, 2014

Showbiz

10 hot shows on the telly

The Straits Times | Boon Chan | Saturday, Oct 4, 2014

Unintended pregnancies are at the core of two television shows coming this way.

And they could not be more different.

Extant, starring Oscar-winner Halle Berry, is a sci-fi mystery about an astronaut returning from a solo space mission with a bun in the oven.

Jane The Virgin is a comedy-drama about an avowed virgin who gets accidentally knocked up via artificial insemination. Even when a premise is familiar, you can always put a different spin on it: Gotham (right) is a prequel to the Batman story, Wayward Pines is a take on Twin Peaks with a top-notch cast and Madam Secretary is a political drama with a gender twist.

While some titles sound lacklustre on paper, there is always the hope that a Game Of Thrones or Breaking Bad could emerge from this slate of fresh offerings for the next few months.

Telecast details are subject to change.

1) GOTHAM

Where: Warner TV (StarHub TV Channel 515)
When: Thursdays, 9pm
Who: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith
What: This is the latest addition to DC Comics' Batman franchise. Gotham is home to the caped crusader and the series explores Detective Gordon's (McKenzie from Southland and The O.C.) early days on the force as well as the origin stories of the superhero and villains such as Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman and Joker.

Buzz-o-meter: ****½

Anything Dark Knight-related is hot property after the success of the epic Christopher Nolan trilogy. On metacritic.com, it gets a good score of 72, indicating generally favourable reviews.

2) JANE THE VIRGIN

Where: Sony Channel (SingTel mio TV Channel 320)
When: From Oct 19, 8.50pm
Who: Gina Rodriguez (above left, with Andrea Navedo), Justin Baldoni
What: Jane (Rodriguez), a religious young Latina woman, is artificially inseminated by mistake and the biological father (Baldoni) is her former teenage crush. A loose adaptation of the Venezuelan telenovella Juana La Virgen (2002).

Buzz-o-meter: ****

The premise sounds like a hoot and the show made it to No. 2 on TV.com's 10 Most Anticipated New Shows For Fall 2014.

3) MADAM SECRETARY

Where: Sony Channel (SingTel mio TV Channel 320)
When: From Oct 16, 8.50pm
Who: Tea Leoni, Tim Daly, Bebe Neuwirth
What: Leoni (The Naked Truth) is Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord. Daly plays her husband and Neuwirth is her chief of staff.
The title seems like a deliberate nod to Madam Secretary: A Memoir by Madeleine Albright, the first woman to become the United States Secretary of State, although the producers say the show was inspired by Mrs Hillary Clinton, who held the position between 2009 and last year.

Buzz-o-meter: ***½

Sigourney Weaver also played the role of Secretary of State, in the 2012 miniseries Political Animals, while Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a Vice- President in Veep, proving that women are coming into their own in politics - at least on TV.

4) HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

Where: Sony Channel (SingTel mio TV Channel 320)
When: From Oct 15, 8.50pm
Who: Viola Davis
What: Oscar-nominee Davis is a law professor who is embroiled in a murder plot along with her students.

Buzz-o-meter: ***½

Executive producer Shonda Rhimes is a powerful player in the industry with credits such as Grey's Anatomy and Scandal to her name. TV Guide said: "The heightened tone, pungent dialogue, extreme characters, twisty plotting and dizzying pace reflect the Shonda philosophy of entertain-at-all-costs, providing a sizzling showcase for Viola Davis."

5) FROM DUSK TILL DAWN

Where: FX (StarHub TV Channel 507, SingTel mio TV Channel 310)
When: From Oct 9, 10pm
Who: Zane Holtz (above left), D.J. Cotrona (right), Robert Patrick
What: Set in a strip club full of vampires, From Dusk Till Dawn is a 1996 cult horror thriller flick directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino.
The TV series further expands its universe. Cotrona and Holtz play a pair of bank-robber brothers on the run who end up in a strip club near the Mexican border.

Buzz-o-meter: ***

From Dusk Till Dawn lives on to see another day as it has been renewed for a 13-episode second season.

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