2016 is already off to a busy start with tons of great new shows premiering this week and next, and while I’m out in Pasadena for the winter Television Critics Association press tour, networks are rolling out the red carpet for dozens of new and returning programs slated to air over the next few months. Each day I’ll recap a handful (or so) of shows that are worth taking out on a first date.
THE ARTFUL DETECTIVE (Season 9 premiers Saturday, January 23rd)
Previously known to British and AcornTV viewers as MURDOCH MYSTERIES, Ovation’s stateside airing of the 1900s murder-mystery show has a lot to offer lovers of smart cozy mysteries. I was surprised to hear the show had done eight seasons already, but turns out it is a hugely addictive drama revolving around William Murdoch’s (Yannick Bisson) use of newfound crime techniques – like fingerprinting – to close crime cases and bring justice to the streets of Toronto. Fans of the show are not just you and me, but also celebrities like William Shatner, who appears in season nine as Mark Twain. Catch up on AcornTV leading up to the Ovation debut.
ROUGH DRAFT WITH REZA ASLAN (Premieres Thursday, February 28th)
Popular spiritual pundit Reza Aslan is splitting his time this year between a bible drama on ABC and a talk show about writing for Ovation. A writer himself, Aslan will drill his favorite writers from TV, movies, and music during the first season of ROUGH DRAFT WITH REZA ASLAN as he tries to uncover the secrets to our favorite creative minds. What started as a small literary event in West Hollywood has turned into a talk show for anyone who loves the writing process. His first guests include the iconic Norman Lear (ALL IN THE FAMILY) and Jill Soloway (TRANSPARENT).
LOVE FINDS YOU IN VALENTINE (Premieres Sunday, February 14th)
UP’s latest entry into the “Love Finds” movie series arrives just in time for the season of love. This time the story centers on a woman who inherits a ranch and finds love in the most unexpected of places – her new backyard. It is a sweet film, one that is largely aimed at a faith and family audience, but secular viewers with a romantic heart won’t be left cold.
FANTASTIC LIES (Premieres Sunday, March 13th)
Premiering nearly ten years after the accusations of rape thrown at a handful of Duke Lacrosse players, ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary FANTASTIC LIES reopens the case against the young men and the woman who falsely accused them of sexual assault. The story is a hot-button issue to this day, often cited as an example of how women are always out to ruin a man’s reputation, but the filmmakers break down what happened and how everyone from prosecutors to accuser to players contributed to one of the most memorable college assault cases.
O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA (Premieres June 2016)
O.J. Simpson is all the rage this winter, with two series about his life set to debut. One, a saucy drama on FX starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson, and the other a multi-part docuseries about the fallen football player. The documentary looks fantastic and even though it is a story so well known, the 30 for 30 series provides new insight into one of the world’s most famous exonerated criminal. The murder of his wife and her friend is only the tip of the iceberg of what is in store for viewers.