Apart from the grand-scale, big-budget adaptation you’re probably already well aware of, September sees television bringing us, among others a fictionalisation of a real person’s life and the story of a reboot of a fictional TV show. If it feels like it’s been a long time since it was just a matter of ‘here’s a story, you don’t need to already know anything’, don’t worry! There’s some of those in there too.
Here are the biggest new TV shows of September 2022.
What’s New On TV In September 2022
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power| September 1st, 2022
Certainly Amazon taking a crack at doing Lord of the Rings fits the bill for ‘biggest shows’, in terms of budget (approximately the GDP of Moldova) and cast (approximately the population of Moldova) and God help us probably the scripts as well (amazingly, not written by one lucky Moldovan).
But given how remarkably unremarkable their Wheel Of Time adaptation turned out, I have my doubts. Even at the time CNN called that a ‘poor-man’s version of The Lord of the Rings’ – and that was them simply trying their hands at ‘90s swords-and-sorcery pulp, rather than the genre-defining cornerstone of every work that’s involved elves since. And fundamentally, TV’s lust for anything dung-age with lots of battles is all still a matter of the industry chasing the success of Game Of Thrones, which itself ended with something of a whimper.
If there was ever an adaptation to take cues from, it would be Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of Lord of the Rings – but The Rings of Power isn’t an adaptation, it’s a wholly new story within a setting which thanks to Tolkein’s pathological need to create fictional history doesn’t have a lot of uncharted spaces. So this is still up in the air, really, an unknown quantity. Sure there’ll be dwarves and castles and that, but will they hold our interest past the pilot?
2. Pantheon | September 1st, 2022
Remember how Black Mirror became a bit too enamoured with the device of creating exact digital replicas of people’s personalities? Pantheon is finally giving a similar idea its moment in the sun – people’s consciousness being uploaded to the cloud after their death.
This may be a bit of a spoiler, since our plucky teen lead (Katie Chang) is initially under the impression that the requisite massive, evil tech company has merely kidnapped her dad (Daniel Dae Kim), rather than uploading him to the mainframe. As such there’s probably going to be a few nasty shocks and learning experiences, especially since the process of cloudifying people appears to involve invasive surgery.
Pantheon gets a plus point straight off the bat for being an animated show that doesn’t default to the hideously bland Calarts style. Admittedly it’s more anime-inspired, and bears all the scars of that (people flying, monsters, close-ups on the process of hacking, etc) – but how strange that that now seems a breath of fresh air.
3. Wedding Season | September 8th, 2022
This setup lingers only briefly on the rom-com before taking a hard left turn into whodunit. Rosa Salazar’s Katie has her wedding disrupted by the bloody murder of her new husband, and also his whole family. The police, not unreasonably, suspect her secret boyfriend, Stefan (Gavin Drea) – who himself, again not unreasonably, thinks it was Katie who dunit.
The key is, though, this is being treated as farce rather than some desperately, po-facedly serious thriller, although there’s less of a line between the two than you might think. In works of real, disbelief-suspended suspense, when the other shoe finally drops it’s as likely to trigger a laugh as a gasp.
4. The Serpent Queen | September 11th, 2022
Gosh, it feels odd writing that date in any other context. You’d have thought there’d be a moratorium on associating anything with it if you can possibly help it, like how a lot of tall buildings don’t have a thirteenth floor. Of course, we all know the conspiracy theories surrounding that day, and if there was ever a political dynasty you wouldn’t put them past it’d be the Medicis.
The Serpent Queen of the title is Samantha Morton’s Catherine de Medici, who goes, in one of those journeys that seems too much for the one life, from teenage orphan to literal queen of actual France. You might think a lot of people would have to die before that could happen, and knowing the Medicis, yes, that’s probably the case.
Although this is a televisual age ripe with antiheroes, women are yet to really break that particular glass ceiling. There is no lady version of Tony Soprano, and the Cersei Lannisters of the world have a nasty habit of being too hated to be someone you love to hate. So Morton, presumably, will be crossing her fingers that she’s the one to square this particular circle.
5. Reboot | September 20th, 2022
TV shows about fictional TV shows will by definition carry a certain timbre with them, but it’s exactly this kind of self-indulgence Stephen King has turned to time and time again with his horror novels about horror writers. It is, at the very least, an example of the authors writing what they know.
So, after a many-year hiatus, the cast of family sitcom ‘Step Right Up’ are back together again, to rip open the scars of the past. Strictly this description is far closer to a reunion than a reboot, but it also sounds remarkably like one of the more memorable arcs of the incredibly good BoJack Horseman, so I’m inclined to give it some leeway.
Among the returning stars of Reboot are Keegan-Michael Key, Johnny Knoxville, and Judy Greer – which, to be honest, does sound like a strong combo. I’m not sure I’d have turned them loose on an Everyone Loves Raymond-type of fluff, though.
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