TV series strive to maintain dedicated viewership

via fox.com

With pirates, aliens and assassins prepared to make their debut on the small screen, the list of TV series premiering in 2014 reflects an attempt to attract dedicated viewership. Despite a willingness to invest in higher production costs, producers and network executives seem reluctant to break away from old standards. Many of this spring’s new series are reboots, remakes or projects aimed at following popular trends that have emerged in the past few years.

Fox fall premieres have been met with critical and commercial success, and the network shows no signs of slowing down. Appearing in Fox’s Golden Globe-winning comedy block are new shows “Enlisted” and “Rake.” Created by Kevin Biegel, “Enlisted” brings the workplace comedy format to the U.S. Army. “Rake” is a remake of an Australian series with Greg Kinnear set to play a self-destructive criminal defense lawyer. With M. Night Shyamalan producing, “Twin Peaks”-style series “Wayward Pines” has also generated buzz.

NBC’s spring lineup reveals a continued interest in developing dramas. Turning his attention to television, Alfonso Cuaron has collaborated with J.J. Abrams to make “Believe,” a series centered on a young girl with telekinetic abilities.

NBC will also try its hand at the pirate game with “Crossbones.” Created by Neil Cross, the series will star John Malkovich as Blackbeard. Starz provides some competition on the high seas with its pirate show “Black Sails,” which began airing Jan. 25.

With hotly anticipated shows such as “Game of Thrones” returning, HBO continues to hold strong this season. Looking to build on the success of “Girls,” the network premiered “Looking,” a series about a group of gay friends living in San Francisco, on Jan. 19.

Drawing inspiration from “American Horror Story,” “True Detective” is an anthology crime drama that follows different characters and plot lines each season. Season one features Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as detectives tracking a serial killer.

The CW is returning to its established niche of science fiction and fantasy romance dramas with the premiere of “Star-Crossed.” The new show tracks the romance between a human high school girl and an alien boy.

Following the success of NBC’s “Dracula,” Showtime travels back to Victorian London with “Penny Dreadful.” Starring Josh Hartnett and Eva Green, the series will explore the origins of classic horror characters, such as Dorian Gray, Frankenstein’s monster and, of course, Count Dracula.

With many exciting titles set to premiere in the 2014 season, there certainly is a lot to look forward to. Most of the shows, however, seem to be a rehash of concepts that have worked in the past, so don’t expect anything revolutionary behind the thrills.

Bob Teoh is entertainment editor. Email him at bteoh@nyunews.com. 

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