Drama covers a vast territory on TV. The term can mean anything from science fiction to cop procedurals to period pieces to horror. Here's some of the new stuff cascading out of that big tap this fall:
Sept. 23 on NBC and Global
I initially thought this would be a copy of The Following, the dark Kevin Bacon drama that was a hit earlier this year. But James Spader, playing a criminal who's helping the FBI for his own purposes, was so good in this pilot that it allayed my fears.
Sept. 16 on Fox and Global
Usually when I hear the term “modern-day re-telling,” I'm out. This is set in the present, with a puzzled Ichabod Crane, played by Tom Mison, and the headless horseman making the leap in time. Does this sound more like a movie than a series to you?
Sept. 23 on CBS and CTV
Great cast, with Toni Collette, Dylan McDermott and Tate Donovan. Some people loved this pilot, but I couldn't get past the goofy premise. In real life, when presidents get operated upon, no one knows who the doctors are, at least until the surgery is over.
MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
Sept. 24 on ABC and CTV
Comic books and movies and TV shows now are colliding in ways that muddle the mind. The makers of this series insist it must succeed as a stand-alone project, rather than a promotional tool for other platforms. The pilot didn't grab me. Seemed like an average episode of Heroes.
THE TOMORROW PEOPLE
Oct. 9 on CW and CTV
Based on a British series of the same name. Robbie Amell – cousin of Arrow's Stephen Amell – stars as Stephen Jameson, who is part of a group of attractive young people with special powers. Again, kind of Heroes-esque.
Oct. 2 on NBC and Global
This basically is borrowing the name of the 1967-1975 series starring Raymond Burr, but other than that it has little to do with the original. Stars Blair Underwood as an intense wheelchair-bound police detective who is more action hero than anything else.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND
Oct. 10 on ABC and City
A spinoff of Once Upon a Time, although that doesn't play a big part in the setup, future crossover episodes notwithstanding. Sophie Lowe plays Alice, who is trying to convince doctors in Victorian England that Wonderland exists and she isn't crazy. Uh, good luck with that.
Oct. 16 on MuchMore; Oct. 17 on CW and CTV A younger-skewing take on the tale of Mary Queen of Scots, which has been positioned here primarily as a love story. Even if that isn't for you, check out 23-year-old Australian actress Adelaide Kane in the lead role. Big-time breakout-star potential.
MASTERS OF SEX
Sept. 29 on The Movie Network and Movie Central I had no idea who sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson were before this series. They're played here by Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, and apparently every single thing we know about sex, we owe it to them. Masters and Johnson, not Sheen and Caplan.
Oct. 3 on CW and CHCH
A spinoff from The Vampire Diaries, with original vamp siblings Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Rebekah (Claire Holt) moving to New Orleans. I'd be more intrigued if this depicted the past eras when they developed as blood-suckers.
Oct. 25 on NBC and Global
I was keen when I first heard that Jonathan Rhys Meyers, best known for his role as Henry VIII in The Tudors, was playing Dracula. But this seems a little lighter than I would have hoped, more Grimm than American Horror Story, you know?
AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN
Oct. 9 on FX Canada
This technically is a returning show, but each season is a complete reset. This year the story focuses on witches and takes place both in the 1800s and in present-day New Orleans. Cast features Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates, and the first episode is titled Bitchcraft. Honestly, can't wait.