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New to view! It’s streamers all the way down to start 2022 Featured

January 10, 2022
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As we make out way 2022, one thing is clear – there has never been more TV.

Now, is it all good? No. Is it all worthwhile? Also no. But there’s no disputing the fact that we are awash in more options than we have ever had before when it comes to the small screen.

The lion’s share of that massive growth comes, of course, from the expansive array of streaming services that are available to us. So many outlets, competing for our eyeballs.

There are so many new shows coming to streamers, in fact, that for the first time in the ongoing history of The Maine Edge’s New to View TV preview series, we will not be looking at any shows from the traditional broadcast networks. That isn’t to say that there will be none – all of the networks have new material arriving in the coming weeks – but considering the sheer mass of offerings from other outlets, I thought I’d try something different.

The vast majority of shows we’re looking at this time around come from streamers, with a smattering of offerings from cable outlets like HBO, Starz and the like. And as usual, these are all new shows making their premieres – obviously, there are some eagerly anticipated returning shows, but we’re all about what’s new here.

As to whether any of these debuts have staying power? Well, that remains to be seen. Regardless, here are 22 new shows taking their initial bows over the course of the next couple of months.

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Peacemaker (HBO Max; Jan. 13)

We kick things off with this one, a show that may well have made its debut by the time you read this. It’s a spinoff show featuring John Cena’s titular Peacemaker from last year’s “The Suicide Squad;” he’s a jingoistic costumed vigilante whose willingness to commit all manner of violence in the name of peace. The character was a highlight of a surprisingly enjoyable movie, with plans for this prequel in place even before the film came out. Putting Cena at the center of the frame is a smart play; his amiable charm combined with the dangerous witlessness and arrogance of the character will likely prove an entertaining formula.

Wolf Like Me (Peacock; Jan. 13)

I have some questions. Look, if you want to give me a six-episode romantic comedy starring Isla Fisher and Josh Gad, I’m not going to complain – I like seeing actors whose work I enjoy getting opportunities. They seem like an interesting duo. But this show hints at being something far more than a simple rom-com. Between the title of the show and the trailer, “Wolf Like Me” seems to be alluding that there’s something far more horrifying afoot. Specifically, that Isla Fisher is a werewolf. Now, do I know this to be true? I do not. But there’s something weird going on here, and I have to say that I really do want to find out.

Archive 81 (Netflix; Jan. 14)

Look, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every narrative podcast needs to be turned into a television show. Sometimes things can just be what they are. That said, this Netflix offering seems quite promising. Based on the podcast of the same name, this one is the story of a video archivist tasked with restoring a mysterious collection of creepy videotapes. It promises to be a blend of found footage and supernatural suspense – two very cool horror subgenres that should make an odd and intriguing pairing. Again, most podcasts don’t need to be TV shows, but “Archive 81” looks like it might be a compelling exception.

Somebody Somewhere (HBO; Jan. 16)

I’m for sure curious about this one. The show stars comedian/singer Bridgett Everett in what is essentially a personal “what if?” story. Specifically, what if she had never made her way out of her Kansas hometown and on to larger stages? It’s a story of what happens when one is never able to find a way to maximize and utilize one’s talents and what it means to feel trapped in a place that has never quite felt like home, despite the fact that you’ve lived there your entire life. Sure, this one could threaten to be a little maudlin, but considering that the Duplass Brothers – who rarely miss – are producing, I like its chances to be successful.

How I Met Your Father (Hulu; Jan. 18)

It’s interesting to consider how thoroughly the show “How I Met Your Mother” has vanished from the discourse – it ran nine seasons and was quite popular, and yet the only reason anyone is talking about it now is this gender-swapped reboot. The format appears to be the same, only this time, it’s Hilary Duff’s Sophie that is trying to navigate the minefield of dating and relationships here in the 2020s. Oh, and Kim Cattrall is here as older Sophie, in case you were wondering what she’s been up to. It will be interesting to see if this new version can hold onto the positives of the original while finding ways to eschew the negatives. I’m … not optimistic.

As We See It (Amazon Prime Video; Jan. 21)

We’ve seen some problematic representations of people on the autism spectrum in popular culture over the years. Even with recent increases in awareness, there have been significant misfires. “As We See It” looks to change all that. It’s the story of three young people in their 20s – friends and roommates, all on the spectrum – striving to find their way toward happiness. They search for those signifiers that mark a life as “normal” – friendships and jobs and romance and general independence. Now, it sure seems as though autism is being treated both respectfully and realistically here, but we’ve been burned before. Here’s hoping it works out.

Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock (Apple TV+; Jan. 21)

Following the success of a series of Fraggle-related shorts produced for the service, Apple TV+ went ahead and greenlit a full-on reboot of the beloved Jim Henson series “Fraggle Rock.” This reboot – titled “Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock” – will feature familiar Fraggles, yes, but also a number of new characters with VERY familiar voices (Patti LaBelle, Daveed Diggs, Ed Helms … the list goes on and on). This certainly looks like it will be loyal to the mid-80s original, in terms of both aesthetic and tone. It’s an opportunity for a whole new generation to spend some time down at Fraggle Rock. All 13 episodes of the first season will drop together.

The Gilded Age (HBO; Jan. 24)

Maybe you’re not a big fan of “Downton Abbey,” but I guarantee that there’s at least one superfan in your life. So it makes sense that show creator Julian Fellowes would return to the historical drama well, but this time, rather than an English manor, we’re in 19th century New York. It’s a clash between the spheres of old money and new, with an absolutely dynamite cast led by Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon and Carrie Coon. It’s a different flavor of cultural clashes/uneasy détentes, but the fundamental conflicts are similar enough that one expects Fellowes and his team to absolutely crush this. It’s not the same, but you can probably get your “Downton” fix here.

Astrid & Lily Save the World (SyFy; Jan. 26)

So this is the sole basic cable entry on this entire list. Honestly, I wasn’t intending to include any, focusing only on premium and streaming outlets. However, the concept – two teenage girls accidentally open a portal to another dimension and are tasked with hunting down the monsters that emerge – caught my attention. The comparisons to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” are clear, but bear in mind – the titular Astrid and Lily are just ordinary, unpopular teenagers. No powers, no magic – just an obligation to figure out how to clean up their mess (and save our reality in the process), even as they navigate the trials and tribulations of just being in high school.

The Afterparty (Apple TV+; Jan. 28)

This is easily one of my most anticipated new shows of early 2022. This murder mystery revolves around the death of a famous singer, who is killed while hosting a 15th high school reunion party at his home. The cast alone is reason to turn up, with a who’s who of young comedic actors gracing the screen: Sam Richardson, Ben Schwartz, Illana Glazer, Zoe Chao, Dave Franco … the list goes on and on. Oh, and Tiffany Haddish as the detective tasked with determining whodunit. Sounds to me like a more overtly comedic version of “Knives Out,” which I am very much here for. All the pieces are here for an outstanding time – let’s see how they’re put together.

The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window (Netflix; Jan. 28)

If nothing else, this show is the most delightfully titled of 2022’s early offerings. As you might have gleaned, this is intended as a satiric sendup of the airport fiction-inspired “Rear Window” riffs that have become nigh-ubiquitous, both in print and onscreen. Embracing the silliness, this show stars Kristen Bell as a woman who is afraid of rain (I think?) and drinks wine in an effort to forget a ludicrous past trauma. One expects that she’s going to wind up embroiled in a convoluted mystery that ultimately proves both utterly nonsensical and entirely predictable. It’ll be interesting to see if the show can expand upon its one-joke premise.

In From the Cold (Netflix; Jan. 28)

Anyone reasonably aware of the broader world of spy fiction likely catches the titular reference, but there’s a whole lot more than just espionage at work here. We’re talking about an American single mom who turns out to be a Russian sleeper agent with special bio-engineered abilities. That’s right! Basically, the CIA catches her and her daughter and vacation and forces her to come out of hiding to track down someone else who may have similar abilities, but is still doing bad-guy stuff. Sure, there’s a real chance that “In From the Cold” proves to be a bit of a misfire, but this kind of high-concept weirdness can be fun even if it doesn’t fully work.

The Legend of Vox Machina (Amazon Prime Video; Jan. 28)

I’ll confess that I have almost zero connection to Critical Role, the ongoing livestream featuring a group of talented voice actors playing Dungeons & Dragons – my own RPG experiences are pretty far in the past at this point. However, there are people whose tastes I trust that are absolutely stoked for this show, so I will concede to those who know better than I. This animated series will feature those same actors voicing versions of their characters as a D&D campaign plays out for us. As I said, I’m largely unfamiliar with the Critical Role crew except tangentially, but it’s tough to look at this show and think it’ll be anything other than a hoot.

Pam & Tommy (Hulu; Feb. 2)

When it comes to “Pam & Tommy,” it’s really quite easy to determine whether or not you’re in. Just check out the images of Lily James and Sebastian Stan and their eerie recreations of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee – your feelings will become clear. This series – revolving around the 1995 leak of the couple’s infamous sex tape – promises to be rife with mid-90s weirdness. Throw in Seth Rogen as the guy who set all of this in motion by stealing the tape in the first place and you’ve got something. What that something is, exactly, remains unclear. My guess is that there’s just too much talent involved for this thing not to work.

Reacher (Amazon Prime Video; Feb. 4)

As someone who never read the Lee Child books featuring the character, I had no problem with the Tom Cruise-starring vehicles (well, except that they weren’t very good), but a lot of fans of the novels were upset at the diminutive actor playing such a canonically huge badass. No such worry here – Alan Ritchson very much looks the part of the enormous ex-military wanderer – so that issue is checked off the list. However, it’s unclear how much of the story beyond the size of the protagonist is being carried forward. Amazon has shown a knack for dad-fiction action in the past, so expect a baseline competence to be executed here.

Inventing Anna (Netflix; Feb. 11)

This one is based on the true story of a woman named Anna Delvey … or Anna Sorokin. Depends on who you ask. This woman spent years pretending to be a German socialite in New York City, rubbing elbows with the cream of the crop of NYC society. She got caught and was arrested, ultimately going to jail on various theft charges – she just got out last year. The show – coming to us courtesy television powerhouse Shonda Rhimes – stars Julia Garner as the titular Anna, with Anna Chlumsky as the reporter trying to crack the story. This kind of ripped-from-the-headlines project doesn’t always work, but you bet against Shondaland at your peril.

Bel-Air (Peacock; Feb. 13)

Peacock has become quite fond of rebooting classic sitcoms and turning them into new shows – they’ve done a bunch over the past couple of years – but this might be the culmination of that trend. “Bel-Air” is ostensibly a reboot of the Will Smith-led sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” but by all accounts, this new show offers a much darker perspective on its central theme of a troubled Philadelphia teenager going to live with relatives in California. Look, I didn’t ask for a gritty reboot of NBC’s candy-colored comedy, but it’s here, and if I’m honest with myself, I’m intrigued – at least enough to check it out and see where it goes.

Severance (Apple TV+; Feb. 18)

If I were to say to you, “Hey, Ben Stiller is directing a new show starring Adam Scott,” you’d probably think it was a comedy, right? Not so with “Severance,” which is apparently a sci-fi drama of sorts. Scott stars as a man working for a mysterious corporation that, in order to maintain proper productivity, makes employees undergo a surgical procedure that eliminates memories of their personal lives while at work, and vice versa. This sort of corporate dystopia offers a nice stretch for Stiller and Scott alike, both of whom are more than talented enough to pivot smoothly into this much darker fare. This could be a good one.

From (Epix; Feb. 20)

This one comes courtesy of the Russo Brothers, who executive produced the John Griffin-created show. It seems to be a sci-fi/horror hybrid; details are relatively scarce thus far, but the gist is that we’re in a town somewhere in middle America that essentially traps everyone who enters, leaving them to struggle to find a way out past the various and sundry threats located in the surrounding forest. Sounds a little bit too much like the ill-fated series “Wayward Pines” from a few years back, but maybe they got the formula right this time? The cast – led by Harold Perrineau – looks pretty good and the Russos are legit. This feels like a wait-and-see.

The Dropout (Hulu; March 3)

This Hulu show is a dramatization of the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, whose company Theranos turned out to be one of the larger corporate scams of recent years. Amanda Seyfried stars as Holmes, but she’s far from the only big name attached – William H. Macy, Laurie Metcalf, Naveen Andrews and more come together to help tell this story. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out, if only because the trial of the real-life Holmes only recently came to its conclusion. There’s a possibility that this show is somehow arriving both too soon and too late, but with a story this compelling, one has to imagine that the audience will be there.

Shining Vale (Starz; March 6)

I’ll be real – I hadn’t heard a single word about this show before I started researching for this story. Not one word. I’d simply never heard of it. And yet … there might be something here. Courtney Cox stars as a writer who, in an effort to salvage an unhappy marriage, moves to seemingly innocuous small town that may or may not conceal horrifying secrets. It’s being billed as a horror comedy, so it will be interesting to see what kind of tone the show ultimately strikes. This feels like a binary-type show – it will either be very good or very bad. When you subscribe to Starz to watch the new season of “Outlander,” maybe you can see for yourself.

Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty (HBO; March)

This is the only show on this list that I have included despite a lack of a specific start date as of press time. Why? Well, let’s start with the source material – an excellent book by Jeff Pearlman about the early days of the Los Angeles Lakers 1980s dynasty. And the team bringing it to life? We’ll start with Adam McKay, who’s helming the project. John C. Reilly is team owner Jerry Buss and a lot of people are already predicting a star-making turn from Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson. The supporting cast is stacked as well. And as an added bonus: don’t you want to see the show that wound up being the cause of the breakup of McKay and Will Ferrell?

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 January 2022 13:54

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