For viewers who love Marvel superheroes, fairy tales and artificial intelligence, the upcoming television season has something just for you. This year’s Comic-Con, held last week at the San Diego Convention Center, introduced a host of premiering shows whose creators couldn’t be more excited about their creations. Whether that will translate into ratings come September is always the question. But each panel went all out to bring actors and producers to a packed audience of enthusiastic fans.
First up was the new CBS show “Intelligence,” an updated spin on “The Six Million Dollar Man,” starring Josh Holloway and Meghan Ory. Holloway plays Gabriel Black, a brilliant undercover asset with abs of steel, spiky hair and a Bourne-like personality. Gabriel has been surgically implanted with a device that allows him to access all the electronic feeds in the world. He can recreate a crime scene in 3D and walk through the virtual rendering. According to executive producer Tripp Vinson, “Information is the bionic strength of today.” Tasked with keeping Gabriel in line is Agent Riley O’Neil, played by Meghan Ory, formerly Little Red Riding Hood in “Once Upon a Time.” From the pilot episode, the show looks exciting. Holloway and Ory have a nice chemistry and the action moves the story forward without sacrificing the relationships. “Intelligence” has a mid-season premier date next February.
The CW’s offering was less promising. “Star-Crossed” is a Romeo and Juliet retelling where Romeo is an Atrian extraterrestrial played by Matt Lanter and Juliet is a human teenager played by Aimee Teegarden. Think of it as “District 9” meets “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Lanter in particular is appealing as Roman, the outsider from the alien internment camp trying to survive at a human high school. Ten years earlier, an Atrian spacecraft crash-landed on Earth. Now the powers that be have decided to force an introduction of nine young Atrians into a high school population. The first episode tries to recreate the integration of the Little Rock Nine at Little Rock High School in 1957, but the storyline is overly predictable and the emphasis on bullying and violence directed at the Atrian students is heavy-handed. The love story gets lost in the mano-y-alien confrontations.
ABC, on the other hand, has two hotly anticipated shows whose first episodes look great. Comic-Conner’s stood in line for hours to get into the Joss Whedon-led panel for “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” For those who don’t know, Whedon is a god at Comic-Con and his work is always greeted with screams of enthusiasm.
Basically an “Avengers” for television, “S.H.I.E.LD” resurrects the once dead Agent Coulson, played by Clark Gregg, and puts him at the head of a team of crime fighters that includes Ming-Na Wen as Agent Melinda May. The crime-fighting crew is headquartered on a giant jet with all sorts of James Bond-like toys that help save the world on a weekly basis. The first episode features the recruitment of bionically-enhanced Mike Peterson, played by J. August Richards, a confused potential superhero whose enhancements are about to blow up the city. For superhero super-fans and Marvel comic lovers, this is a must see.
ABC’s second potential hit is “Once Upon A Time in Wonderland,” starring Sophie Lowe (Alice) and Michael Socha (Knave of Hearts). Executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis plan something different for this show. The first block of episodes will be a self-contained mini-series telling a complete story. Paralleling its parent show, “Once Upon A Time,” the core of the plot revolves around separated storybook lovers, Alice and the magic bottle’s Genie (Peter Gadiot). Like OUAT, “Wonderland” jumps back and forth between the real world and the enchanted one. There’s an evil queen, a white rabbit and a lot of rabbitty doctors at a London hospital who think Alice is insane. As Kitsis promises, “All killer, no filler.”
It seems that viewers have a number of very important dates come September.