Preview of Upcoming Free TV Dramas

Good year ahead for TV drama series

I know I know, I harp on about Sci-Fi a lot (too much probably) but that’s not all I watch on TV. I stay away from “reality” TV and talk shows etc but I like a good drama series too and, thankfully, decent, articulate shows are on the increase.

Thank you thank you thank you HBO. If it wasn’t for your groundbreaking shows like The Sopranos, The Wire and Deadwood with grown up storylines, great writing and excellent acting we wouldn’t have Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Without True Blood we wouldn’t have The Walking Dead.

Mad Men, set in an advertising agency in the 1960′s has, justifiably won numerous awards for it’s cast and writing/directing crew. It’s dark, funny and full of the most unpolitically-correct characters you’re ever going to come across on TV. It has made stars of its actors Christina Hendricks, January Jones and, especially, Jon Hamm. Sometimes it’s a difficult watch and sometimes it’s just painfully funny…. Sometimes it’s both at the same time.

Ah, Breaking Bad. My favourite. Take the idiot, but well meaning dad from Malcolm In The Middle, give him terminal cancer and turn him into a meth manufacturer and you have one of the darkest and funniest shows on Free TV. Bryan Cranston was always a fearless actor. There was pretty much nothing he wouldn’t do on Malcom In The Middle. From making a shake with mince, eggs, pepper etc in a blender and drinking it in one go all on screen (So there was no sneaky substitution for something more appetizing for the actor) to being covered in thousands of non-CGI bees. You name it, he has done it on TV. But on Breaking Bad he just out does himself. Shaving his head for the part of Walter he gives a performance that is unremittingly bleak and, at the same time filled with the blackest of black humour. He has gone on to win a best actor Emmy and is one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood at the moment with seven films either about to come out or in the process of being filmed.

And there’s more coming. Everyone is jumping on the grown-up TV show bandwagon (Thank God). First up is Pan-Am. Set in the 1960′s it’s aiming to be a Mad Men in the air concentrating on the lives of the barbie-like stewardesses and the mad men like pilots. Hopefully it is more mad men than sex in the city. Also coming is The Playboy Club. Set in, well, The Playboy Club, it follows a group of Playboy bunnies and their high-powered political and/or mobster clients.

Next up is Boss about a hard-as-nails mayor of Chicago who is diagnosed with a motor neuron disorder and the lengths he goes to keep it under wraps and his career on track. Shades of The West Wing (albeit with a less cuddly politician :) and The Good Wife.

Then there is Hell On Wheels. A post-civil war America set during the building of the Transcontinental Railroad it concentrates on a Confederate soldier on a mission to hunt down and kill a group of Union soldiers who killed his wife. The show’s name comes from the traveling slum that followed the line during construction.

So it could be a good year for grown up TV dramas. It seems studios have heard that people actually want grown up shows….. Who would have thought!

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