The people who make huge television hits like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and House of Cards must be relaxed people.They can lure the stars, the writers and big budget sets which help make their shows a success. They have enough hype and a big enough fan base to fall back on even in their slightly cringeworthy moments.
Shows in the same vein as Channel 7’s breakout hit Revenge, however, have more to lose. Without a bizarre, unique premise and the weight of critical acclaim behind them, their mainstream success, especially in Australia, is definitely not assured. But there are some seriously good shows waiting for you to watch them.
We predict the leaders of the pack…
Resurrection, Channel 7
When: Coming soon.
What: In the small town of Arcadia, Missouri, families are shocked when their loved ones, long dead, mysteriously return unchanged since their disappearance. The series opens with the case of an eight-year-old boy, discovered in rural China, who returns to his ageing parents after drowning over 30 years earlier. Spooky.
The show stars House’s Omar Epps, who plays the immigration agent assigned to the boy’s bewildering case, and is co-produced by Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B.
Similar to: Lost, the six-season epic full of strange phenomena and (sometimes frustrating) unexplained mysteries.
Secrets and Lies, Channel Ten
When: Monday, March 3, 8.30pm. (You catch up online if you missed the first episode)
What: An Australian six-part drama series telling the story of Ben Gundelach (Martin Henderson), a family man who discovers the dead body of a four-year-old boy on his morning run. Gundelach quickly becomes the prime suspect in the boy’s murder and desperately tries to clear his name in the small surburban bubble where he lives.
True to the show’s title, Gundelach’s race to find the truth returns more secrets and lies than answers. The show also has a notable online presence, providing viewers with access to exclusive lie detector videos and character profiles so they too can play detective. America’s ABC network has already started filming their own version of the series, starring Ryan Phillippe and Juliette Lewis.
Similar to: Broadchurch – the British eight-part crime drama which unravelled from the episode-one murder of an 11-year-old boy in a small seaside town – which had avid global audiences desperately trying to pick the killer.
When Love Comes to Town, Channel Nine
What: Natalie Gruzlewski hosts this series where 12 unlucky-in-love city girls hit the country in hopes of finding a charming farmer to sweep them off their feet. The women stop off at several towns and get to know the local talent, before deciding whether they want to stick around or move on to the next destination.
Similar to: Like a rural version of The Bachelor except, this time, the women are calling the shots. It’s also strongly reminiscent of Nine’s past series Farmer Wants a Wife, just with a role reversal.
The Millers, Channel 10
What: Arrested Development star Will Arnett returns to television as Nathan Miller, a recently divorced news reporter whose hopes for a fun single life are ruined by his parents’ own marriage breakdown. Nathan’s father is inspired by his son’s divorce and decides to spontaneously leave Nathan’s mother (his wife of 43 years). Mr Miller takes up residence at Nathan’s sister’s house, while Nathan is forced to open his doors to his newly single mother.
The Miller siblings must then navigate their own lives while dealing with their brand new parental housemates. Family sit-com dysfunction at its most aggravating.
Similar to: Two and a Half Men, Modern Family and Hope & Faith.
Crisis, Channel 10
When: After Easter.
What: Ballard High School is a school for the wealthy and elite and the school run includes parents who are CEOs, international diplomats, politicians and, most notably, the US President. Their children are valuable property and it doesn’t take long for an anonymous criminal mastermind to take note. A run-of-the-mill field trip goes horribly awry when the school bus is hijacked and the children and their chaperones (Dermot Mulroney among them) are taken by masked bandits.
The big question is then posed; how far will these powerful parents (including The X-Files Gillian Anderson) go to get their kids back? As the situation quickly becomes a national crisis, Australian actress Rachael Taylor plays the focused FBI agent trying to balance compassion and tactics with hysterical mums and dads.
Similar to: Homeland meets House of Cards meets the movie White House Down.