A love story tops EatPlayLive’s list of the 10 new television series to check out this fall.
When the crew of CBS’ “NCIS” shot a two-episode arc in New Orleans last season, they immediately became infatuated with the incomparable city. Audiences agreed and “NCIS: New Orleans” was born.
“When they did screenings, the first reaction was, ‘We love that it’s in this city, literally,” executive producer Jeffrey Lieber said from New Orleans last week.
“In order to do a spinoff you have to have two things that are going to work. One is a set of characters that people care about and are willing to invest in, and the casting went really well; and the other, you have to have some angle on the world that is interesting and changes the latitude and, literally, the city was that,” Lieber said.
Set in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service field office in the Crescent City, the military drama/police procedural show stars Scott Bakula as native New Orleanian Special Agent Dwayne Pride, assisted by fellow Southerner and Special Agent Christopher LaSalle (Lucas Black) and Special Agent Meredith “Merri” Brody (Zoe McLellan). She’s a transfer from the Great Lakes office who wants a fresh start. Also figuring greatly in the equation is coroner Dr. Loretta Wad (CCH Pounder) and, of course, the personality of the Big Easy itself.
“The last show I shot (USA Network’s ‘Necessary Roughness’) was in Atlanta, and that was one world, and it was lovely, but there are few cities in America that have the kind of cultural depth and history as this one,” Lieber said of New Orleans. “So it was amazing to just put a camera down and start to shoot in a direction and there the city was. It’s really been wonderful.”
The new “NCIS” was shooting its sixth episode last week, is committed to 16 episodes, and is hoping that turns into 22 or 24 episodes if a full season is ordered. The 16 episodes would run the series at least through mid-December, and a full season would mean the crew stays in New Orleans shooting until March.
“You’re stuck with us,” Lieber said. “ We’re here.”
As the real NCIS office in New Orleans covers the entire Gulf Coast, shooting has and will continue to branch out throughout the area.
“We went to Baton Rouge (in late August) to shoot part of a prison breakout sequence which will be in the third episode that we air. We have pieces of the city (Baton Rouge) that will air in the second and third episodes,” he said.
Viewers can expect to see “ticking clock” kinds of cases, a prison break and a plague among the plots.
“We’re trying to run the gauntlet between sort of personal things (like Brody figuring out where in the city she’ll live) and big event cases (like the plague),” Lieber said.
All this while stirring in New Orleans’ music, food and personality. These ingredients were lathered on thick in the pilot episodes, but are being scaled back a bit as the series progresses.
“I think the spinoff episodes are one set of things. It all comes together very quickly. I think you’ll find as you watch the first episode, and the episodes going forward that it becomes much more subtler (the accents and such) because it becomes much more part of what we’re doing,” Lieber explained.
“NCIS: New Orleans” debuts at 8 p.m. Tuesday, following the original “NCIS.”
The rest of our fall viewing recommendations include:
2. “How to Get Away with Murder” (ABC)
THE PLOT: Annalise Keating is a fearless criminal law professor and defense attorney who’ll do almost anything to win her clients’ freedom. She has a successful career and loving husband, but her relationship with local Philadelphia detective Nate will drive her to confront secrets about her life. Each year, Annalise picks a few of her smartest, most promising students to work at her law firm, a job which can change some students’ lives forever.
THE STARS: Academy Award nominee Viola Davis, Billy Brown, Alfred Enoch, Jack Falahee, Katie Findlay, Aja Naomi King, Matt McGorry, Karla Souza, Charlie Weber and Liza Weil.
THE TIME: 9 p.m. Thursdays
3. “Forever” (ABC)
THE PLOT: If you could live forever, would it be a blessing or a curse? That’s the question facing Dr. Henry Morgan, New York City’s star medical examiner. He studies the dead to solve criminal cases, but also to try to figure out his own inexplicable immortality. Henry and his new partner, Detective Jo Martinez, tackle a new case each week, as Jo begins to learn about Henry’s extraordinary past.
THE STARS: Ioan Gruffudd, Judd Hirsch, Alana De La Garza, Lorraine Toussaint, Donnie Keshawarz and Joel David Moore.
THE TIME: 9 p.m. Tuesdays (sneak preview 9 p.m. Monday)
4. “Stalker” (CBS)
THE PLOT: A pair of detectives leads the investigation of stalking cases, including voyeurism, cyber harassment and romantic fixation, for the Threat Assessment Unit of the LAPD. The boss, Lt. Beth Davis, is an expert in the field, and a victim, Det. Jack Larsen, a recent transfer from New York City’s homicide division, has gotten in trouble with his questionable behavior before, but that past behavior may be helpful in his new job.
THE STARS: Maggie Q, Dylan McDermott, Victor Rasuk and Mariana Klaveno.
THE TIME: 9 p.m. Wednesdays (premiering Oct. 1)
5. “A-to-Z” (NBC)
THE PLOT: Meet Andrew and Zelda and find out all that happened from the day they met each other. Andrew Lofland works at Wallflower Online Dating. Zelda Vasco is a disgruntled customer. When they see each other for the first time at the agency, she thinks it’s chance. He thinks it’s fate.
The scenario also includes Lydia, Andrew’s boss and general manager at Wallflower; Stu, Andrew’s loyal friend, colleague and roommate, and Stephie, Zelda’s best friend, roommate and colleague at the law firm where Zelda works. Katey Sagal (“Sons of Anarchy”) narrates their story. The pair will date for eight months, three weeks, five days and one hour, and the show follows along, from “A to Z.”
THE STARS: Ben Feldman, Cristin Milioti, Christina Kirk, Henry Zebrowski, Lenora Crichlow
THE TIME: 8:30 p.m. Thursdays (Premiering Oct. 2)
6. “State of Affairs” (NBC)
THE PLOT: Top CIA analyst Charleston Tucker is charged with prioritizing the biggest international crises facing the country for the President’s Daily Briefing (PDB). There are moral and political judgment calls for Charleston, political minefields to be certain. Charlie has a close personal relationship with President Constance Payton, as she was once engaged to her son before a terrorist attack took his life. Charlie’s mission is now to bring the perpetrators to justice.
THE STARS: Katherine Heigl, Alfre Woodard, Cliff Chamberlain, Adam Kaufman, Tommy Savas, Sheila Vand, David Harbour, Joe Carnahan
THE TIME: 9 p.m. Mondays (Premiering Nov. 17)
7. “Red Band Society” (Fox)
THE PLOT: The coming-of-age dramedy focuses on a cluster of rule-bending friends and the adults who mentor them through the ups and downs of adolescence in Los Angeles’ Ocean Park Hospital. From strong friendships and first loves, to humorous mishaps and heartbreaks, the series is about life, with an edgy comedic tone thrown in.
THE STARS: Octavia Spencer, Dave Annable, Griffin Gluck, Nolan Sotillo, Charlie Rowe, Astro
THE TIME: 8 p.m. Wednesdays
8. “Gracepoint” (Fox)
THE PLOT: The 10-episode mystery event series is based on “Broadchurch,” a hit crime drama in the U.K. The case of a young boy found dead on the beach becomes a major police investigation for the small northern California seaside town where the tragedy happened. Termed a homicide, the case turns neighbor against neighbor and sparks a media frenzy. The boy’s family turmoil escalates and upends the lives of the town’s residents. The new version expands on the original series, with new characters, new suspects and new storylines.
THE STARS: David Tennant, Anna Gunn, Josh Hamilton, Michael Peña, Virginia Kull, Nick Nolte
THE TIME: 8 p.m. Thursdays (Premiering Oct. 2)
9. “Gotham” (Fox)
THE PLOT: Where did it all start for Commissioner Gordon? That’s the premise behind this new “Batman” prequel. Gordon’s rise from rookie detective to Police Commissioner of Gotham City, which spawned some of the world’s most iconic villains, is explored. Just where did Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face and The Joker come from? It’s a new chapter for these DC Comics Super-Villains and vigilantes.
THE STARS: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Erin Richards, David Mazouz, Camren Bicondova, Zabryna Guevara, Cory Michael Smith
THE TIME: 7 p.m. Mondays (Premiering Sept. 22)
10. “The Flash” (the CW)
THE PLOT: Barry is a brilliant, nerdy CSI investigator who’s determined to find out the truth about his mother’s strange death when he was a child. Barry’s obsessed with a cutting edge particle accelerator, but during the device’s public unveiling, there’s an explosion and freak storm in which Barry is struck by lightning. After nine months in a coma, Barry awakens to learn the accident has given him the power of super speed, and he can move through Central City like an unseen guardian angel. He quickly learns that being superhero The Flash is not as easy as it looks.
THE STARS: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Rick Cosnett, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin
THE TIME: 7 p.m. Tuesdays (Premiering Oct. 7)