I for one, love being able to say the words “starring Tea’ Leoni” when writing a review for a new show. It’s been far far too long since Leoni last graced our screens, especially with me having recently come off a massive ‘The Naked Truth‘ binge watch last month (Leoni starred in the sitcom The Naked Truth).
That said, Leoni’s return to prime time TV is in a very different project that what some may be used to seeing her star in with Madam Secretary (premiering Thursday Oct 2nd on Channel 10).
Here’s the basic run-down of Madam Secretary… “Madam Secretary follows Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst now working as a history professor who, after the Secretary of Defense’s plane goes down over the Atlantic Ocean, is tasked by the President of the United States to take his place. Two months later, while still trying to learn the job she’s accepted, McCord must deal with an international incident that sees two American teenagers taken into custody by the Syrian government, and are on the verge of possible execution by their captors.”
I’m just going to put it out there…..my experience with political themed shows goes as far as Veep so I entered Madam Secretary with some trepidation of being incredibly bored and unable to really follow what’s going on, but with Madam Secretary, instead of being bombarded with political jargon (it’s in there still), we’re given an insight into the rigors of Elizabeth McCord’s sudden and not-so-tender foray into the choppy waters of of the presidents cabinet.
Between being leashed by the president, dealing with an over eager stylist, remembering the names of all 7 wives of the King of Swaziland and maintaining a normal home and family life, Elizabeth has a lot on her political plate.
Having already mentioned Leoni above, what I can add is that while Madam Secretary is leaps and bounds away from the screwball comedienne we were first introduced to in the late 90’s, Leoni’s perfect comedic timing and natural energy allows her to bring some light to otherwise dull scenes. Her on-screen husband played by Tim Daly is just as good as Henry McCord. As a religion and ethics professor, Henry is sort of the show’s moral center and from what I’ve seen, there to fill the gender flip role we’re normally used to see being played by a female actress. As per the norm with Daly, his on-screen chemistry with his leading ladies is second to none. From Laura Leighton in EYES to Kate Walsh in Private Practice and now Tea’ Leoni in Madam Secretary, Daly offers a flawless love-ability and strong companionship that plays well, especially with Leoni’s Elizabeth McCord.
The rest of the cast is filled with familiar faced actors including Bebe Neuwirth (Frasier) and Zeljko Ivanek (True Blood) who all help move the story along without too much fuss.
The pilot episode of Madam Secretary sets up what looks set to be a rather intriguing season-long arc (I won’t reveal what) with the mystery playing along-side weekly crisis that pop up for McCord to deal with. If done right and Leoni’s given enough room to do what she does best, Madam Secretary could have the chops to be the next West Wing meets The Good Wife.
Madam Secretary premiere’s Thursday October 2nd, 9pm on Channel 10
The Tea’ Leoni political drama Madam Secretary has been given an October 2nd premiere date on channel 10. The drama sees Leoni as ex-CIA operative and college professor Elizabeth McCord, unexpectedly thrust into the position of Secretary of State, who must drive international diplomacy and wrangle office politics, all while balancing a complex family life.
Channel 10 are still the only FTA network offering up new programs from the up-coming US fall season premiere with Scorpion and Madam Secretary confirmed along with the new NCIS spin-off: NCIS New Orleans.
Check out the trailer below:
Scorpion premieres Sunday, Sept 28th at 6:30pm
Madam Secretary premieres Thursday, October 2nd at 9pm
This time last year, you might recall being inundated with ads for new shows like The Blacklist and Marvels Agents of Shield and previews featuring the words “Fast-Tracked from the USA” or “Airing the same day as America” but for some reason, these ads pushing for new shows are quite visibly absent from our screens especially seeing that the new batch of shows are due to start airing from Wednesday the 17th right through to mid October.
FX are fast tracking the new season of The Walking Dead on October 13th – which of course is to be expected, but to-date, with the slew of new shows due to hit US screens within the next two weeks, only Channel 10 have made any announcement as to any new US programming including drama Scorpion starring Robert Patrick and Katherine McPhee and new political drama Madam Secretary starring Tea’ Leoni and Tim Daly and is being touted as a mix between Homeland and Scandal.
Among the myriad of new shows that are making news include Debra Messing’s The Mysteries of Laura, Katherine Heigl’s State of Affairs, Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes new How to Get Away with Murder, Kate Walsh’s Bad Judge, Batman prequel series Gotham and comedy Fresh Off the Boat about an Asian families foray into American society.
So why the vacancy of fast tracked programming to our screens?
While only speculation, one could possibly put it down toe due to the high levels of reality programming currently assaulting our screens right now. Between The Block Glasshouse, Big Brother, X-Factor, The Bachelor and Amazing Race Australia, there’s not much screen time left on free to air prime time network television.
Watch this space for news on what’s coming out way!
Now that all of the main networks (CBS, NBC, FOX and ABC) and some cable networks (TBS) have given us their new pick-ups for the 2014 Fall season, I’ve trawled through all the trailers (that were available…come on CBS, pull your socks up!) and complied a list of what I think could be ratings hits (like last years The Blacklist) and what could be cult sleepers (Orphan Black anyone?)
The Mysteries of Laura (NBC)
The question begs…is this a comedy or is it a drama? I don’t think NBC really know either hence the somewhat confusing trailer offered up but that said, this Debra Messing led dramedy could have something going for it if you look at it like it could be ‘had Miss Congeniality had a husband and children’ type of way.
Secrets and Lies (ABC)
If you recently watched an Aussie show with the same title, then you’ll have an idea of what to expect. This Secrets and Lies is based right off our very own production with Ryan Phillippe stepping into Martin Henderson’s shoes playing Ben, a man who finds the body of a little boy and suddenly becomes suspect number one. Added bonus – a very toned down Juliette Lewis playing cop.
How To Get Away With Murder (ABC)
This will be the fourth major program by Shonda Rhimes to make it’s way to ABC – Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and Private Practice plus How to get Away With Murder and the trailer already looks a whole lot more interesting than the 6 seasons of Private Practice that was given to us. There’s sex, blackmail, murder and Viola Davis..it’s an easy win.
CSI: Cyber (CBS)
There’s no trailer yet but for those who caught Patricia Arquette’s recent guest gig on CSI will have already gotten a taste of what to expect. Yes, it’s another CSI spin-off but this time, it’s all about cyber crime which is very current and ‘hip’ and we all like Patricia Arquette right?
Granted, I’ve never really been exposed to much of Maggie Q’s work and the premise of her character as being a sort of freelance anti-stalker specialist who knows some hand-to-hand combat skills is a little off but the trailer offered up by CBS actually adds suspense and intrigue of what’s to come. Ignore Dylan McDermott here, he’s always annoying to begin with and usually takes some warming up to.
Madam Secretary (CBS)
Why CBS chose to give us a trailer that looks like it gives us the entire first episode in the space of five minutes I’ll never understand. I was excited by this right from Tea’ Leoni’s addition to the cast and while it’s different to see her in such a serious light, the political theme is working well for shows like Scandal and The Good Wife.
State of Affairs (NBC)
I’m wondering if we’ve had enough time to actually like Katherine Heigl again? I’m still in that mid-swing where i’m starting to come around again and if there are others like me, then hopefully this show will bring us competently back. Apparently this will have a Blacklist-cum-Homeland-cum-Zero Dark Thirty feel to it (there’s the depiction of Middle Eastern descendants as terrorists – of course) and Alfre Woodward plays the President of the USA.
American Crime (ABC)
Desperate Housewives Alum Felicity Huffman makes her return to series television along with Timothy Hutton in this dark and racially charged legal drama that follows those involved and affected by a murder and ensuing murder trial.
The last time FOX attempted a series based off a mogul and his ’empire’ they gave us SKIN (2003) which only lasted 3 episodes before being cancelled. Here, instead of porn, Empire gives us music and what i could only assume to be a nod to Lil’ Kim and starring Terrence Howard. Could Chris Lilley’s S’Mouse fit in here? Probably, but at least it looks better than Skin ever did.
Fresh off the Boat (ABC)
Yes, the title is a bit…..Cougar Town/Trophy Wife (and possibly racist though it depends who you ask) but Fresh Off the Boat looks like the funniest of the new stuff coming our way and while the show is a focus on a Taiwanese family making the adjustment to living the American Dream, clearly Constance Wu (as mum Jessica) is the one to watch for.
The Odd Couple (CBS)
It’s been a tough run for Matthew Perry the last few years. His last handful of projects (Studio 60, Mr. Sunshine and Go On) all tanked and the only thing people really watched him in recently was his guest gig on Courteney Cox’s Cougar Town but now, his fourth attempt at a show could be his lucky gig. It’s a TV remake of the classic movies (Jack Lemon and Walter Matthou or Tony Randall and Jack Klugman) and see’s Perry teaming up with Thomas Lennon who we last saw in the terribly horrible Sean Saves the World. I can only assume this will be better than Sean failing to save the world.
It’s a little bit Seinfeld, it’s a little bit Friends, it’s a little bit of a 90’s comedy throwback. Mulaney is an ensemble comedy about a stand-up comedian and the “friends and mentors who lift him up, hold him back and push him around” including Martin Short. Here’s hoping Short contains his zany like Robin Williams did in The Crazy Ones – but then again, that didn’t turn out so good for him.
The Whispers (ABC)
I was so enamored by Lily Rabe as the Stevie Nicks loving swamp witch Misty Day in AHS Coven that seeing her all professional and business suits is a little shocking but here is in this creepy new paranormal-esque show with creepy kids that clearly see something the adults can’t.
Based off the DC Comics Hellblazer series, Constantine follows a supernatural detective who finds himself defending the world from dark and eerie forces. It’s a little bit Supernatural meets True Blood meets Penny Dreadful.
The Flash (CW)
Spin-off from the cult-ish Arrow and another DC comics star, The Flash get’s his own show and judging by the trailer, die hard comic fans will be pleased with the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance of legendary bad guy ‘Reverse Flash’ plus there’s the addition of The Flash’s alter-ego Barry Allen’s love interest Iris West.
I’ve already talked about Halle’s new sci-fi drama but now Extant has officially been picked up to series by CBS, they’ve given us an extended trailer which also fills us in more on her creepy prophetic child. A woman on a 13 month solo space mission returns to earth and finds she’s pregnant – impossible right? Not in space!
So what takes your fancy? Is there something you’ve seen which I’ve not added to the list – and if you mention the new shyte by TBS…I will shoot you.
Having not been attracted to watching Two and Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Mom, How I Met Your Mother or any other filmed-in-front-of-a-live-audience comedy (nothing since Friends and Will & Grace has taken my fancy), I was somewhat cautious about checking out Friends With Better Lives (or FWBL).
Funnily enough, the show, starring James Van Der Beek (fresh of a stellar turn in Don’t Trust The Bitch in Apartment 23) was funny, entertaining and highly engaging. Sure the humor was somewhat crude – but not to the level of 2 Broke Girls, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the first three episodes I watched and naturally assumed if people are watching the horribly unfunny Mom (sadly starring the talented Anna Faris) then people were watching FWBL.
Guess I was wrong, so needless to say, when CBS threw out their list of cancellations, I was shocked to see FWBL sitting on that list.
Another notable entry on their cancelled shows list was the Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Geller comedy The Crazy Ones. Now, this show was the highest rated comedy debut of the 2012/2013 season in the US (15+ million viewers) but upon airing it’s season finale, only 5 million viewers were tuning in.
Also cancelled: Toni Collette drama Hostages, Kristin Davis comedy Bad Teacher (only after 4 episodes!) and the awful Intelligence starring LOST expat Josh Holloway and CSI Maven Marg Helgenberger.
The much hyped How I Met Your Mother spin-off How I Met Your Dad was also a no show on the list of pick-ups.
So what did CBS pick-up to series order? Battle Creek by Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) and starring Josh Duhamel, The Tea’ Leoni led drama Madam Secretary plus another new CSI spin-off, CSI: New Orleans starring Scott Bakula.
In the way of comedy, Matthew Perry will be given another shot at a new series with The Odd Couple with Lindsay Sloane while New Kids on the Block singer Joe McIntyre plus ex Roseanne star Laurie Metcalf are headlining The McCarthys.
And finally, The Mentalist fans will be happy to hear the drama was given a last minute series renewal, though i’d expect this one to be it’s last.
What are your thoughts on the axings, cancellations and pick-ups?
Tea’ Leoni is getting political for a new drama which will see the actress play the Secretary of State (a position held by Hilary Clinton between 2009 and 2013) in a new series by Homeland producer Barbara Hall.
Madam Secretary centres on the personal and professional life of a maverick female secretary of state (Leoni) as she drives international diplomacy, wrangles office politics and balances a complex family life. Private Practice star Tim Daly has been cast to play Leoni’s on-screen husband.
Leoni plays Elizabeth Faulkner McGill, a teacher turned secretary of state who is described as striking in every way and full of passion for everything she does.
Along with co-producing (with Morgan Freeman), Barbara Hall will pen the pilot script.
Madam Secretary marks Leoni’s return to scripted television since 1998 when her comedy series The Naked Truth ended it’s 3 year run.