Summer has come to an end and the darkened evenings are on the horizon, but it’s good to know that television can make the upcoming onslaught of colder and darker nights that little bit more enjoyable. As 2017 enters its last quarter, the end of the year is promising a plethora of potential new greats as well as returning favourites, all competing for our attention, looking to hook us in every week, or to ensnare us into a massive bingeing session.
One of the potential big hitters coming this October is courtesy of Netflix, as David Fincher launches his latest television project onto the world, Mindhunters. With the modern auteur directing three episodes of the show, and a trailer promising a similarly stylised and gritty look that characterised House of Cards, Gone Girl and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the series promises a dark experience the likes of which Fincher is a master of delivering. Given his past explorations of dark crime in Se7en and Gone Girl, a drama on the history of the FBI’s criminal profiling unit is prime material for the acclaimed filmmaker.
Also from Netflix, we’ll be getting a third season of acclaimed crime drama Narcos, whilst their blossoming dark universe from the Marvel stable will see the inevitable debut of The Punisher in his own show. Jon Bernthal’s portrayal of Frank Castle was a major highlight in the somewhat mixed second season of Daredevil, and with several failed film versions of the character in the past (Dolph Lungdren, anyone?), it will be interesting to see a take on the brutal vigilante character that is finally promising to match the comic book source.
Netflix will also be finishing the year off strong with the debut of season two of their acclaimed drama on the Royal Family, The Crown. Claire Foy and Matt Smith will reprise their roles as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in Peter Morgan’s superbly constructed history on the family, with Michael C. Hall joining the cast this season as none other than President John F. Kennedy.
Meanwhile, Netflix in the UK and Europe will also be bringing the latest instalment from the Star Trek franchise to their streaming services. Star Trek: Discovery is coming from CBS All Access in the US and will see Sonequa Martin-Green and Jason Isaacs take to the bridge on the latest small screen incarnation of Gene Roddenberry’s iconic sci-fi series. With a production somewhat plagued by delays and behind the scenes issues that saw original showrunner Bryan Fuller depart the project, it will be interesting to see how the latest incarnation of the famed franchise will be received as it makes a return to the small screen twelve years after the cancellation of Enterprise.
Other heavy hitters will also return to the air and streaming services in October, which seems to be the biggest month of the year for returning shows as the year winds down. The Walking Dead, Outlander, Mr Robot and Stranger Things will all be back for new seasons, while Lucifer returns for its third season and Dynasty gets a revival/reboot/remake/whatever.
On the American networks, the Greg Berlanti-produced DC Comics shows will all be back this autumn as always, with Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl all returning for their latest seasons, as well as a two night, four-part crossover in the works. There was some disappointment last year that the heavily hyped “four-show” crossover ‘Invasion’ didn’t really incorporate Supergirl until that week’s final moments of her show, but we’re being promised a proper inclusion for the Melissa Benoist-starring series this year and it could prove to be one of November’s biggest television events.
Speaking of Greg Berlanti, his attempts at basically taking over all of American network television continues even outside of the confines of DC superheroes. The Jamie Alexander starring thriller Blindspot will return, most likely on Sky Living in the UK, whilst he will also be premiering another series, this time in the shape of Deception, a crime procedural about an illusionist who helps the FBI solve crimes. Although sounding like a traditional procedural but with quirky elements (think Bones, or Castle, both shows that managed to work well and secure long runs), the involvement of Chuck co-creator Chris Fedak and director David Nutter of The X-Files, Millennium and Game of Thrones fame (amongst a myriad of others) ensures this might have a certain curiosity to it that might make it worth watching, and besides, quirky crime procedurals are hard to resist sometimes, no matter how hard you try.
October will also see the return of Berlanti’s wonderful take on Archie Comics, Riverdale. The mixture of Dawson’s Creek and Twin Peaks will make debut its second season on The CW, and Netflix in the UK the day after its American airing, in October, and it will be interesting to see where the series will go in its second year given that it resolved its central mystery storyline in its penultimate first season episode no less, but also threw in a massive life-or-death cliffhanger in its finale while the show was at it.
Finally, the end of the year will prove bittersweet as audiences say goodbye to both Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat from the world of Doctor Who. Their final episode will be titled ‘Twice Upon a Time’, and will no doubt prove to be every bit as emotional a regeneration as Tennant’s and Smith’s, with an appearance from the first Doctor courtesy of David Bradley, reprising the role, in a manner of speaking, from the 50th anniversary movie An Adventure in Space and Time. Whilst the Moffat-era has been somewhat controversial with critics and fans, Capaldi has made for a wonderful Doctor and a regeneration on the show can be both wonderful and poignant. With the episode also giving us our first glimpse of Jodie Whittaker in the role as she takes over, it will no doubt be the biggest highlight on television this Christmas.
So keep your eye on the TV over the next few months as there’s a real cornucopia of entertainment to come – what will you be watching?
A fan of any of these returning shows? What are you most looking forward to? Let us know!