5 New TV Shows That Are Twists on Old Ideas

As with every fall, new series shows are dropping like leaves from network trees, and some are that bright yellow and orange color — while others are brown and crumbly. Either way though, the colors are familiar, and the shows are very much in line with what’s been popular on TV and in theaters — from vampires, to superheroes, to chefs.

It’s an undeniable truth that ideas and storylines are going to be recycled over time. Some good ideas never go bad, and some can be revamped — but others are better left untouched. Here’s a quick glance at some of what we’re seeing this season, and how shows looks compared to their instigating predecessors.

1. Dracula

From Buffy the Vampire Slayer — started back in 1997 — to Brad Pitt’s Interview with a Vampire years before that — to more recent creations like The Vampire Diaries and the dreaded Twilight, it’s pretty clear that the entertainment industry has been making bank on vampires. With Comcast-owned (NASDAQ:CMCSA) NBC’s newest show, Dracula, the trend continues. Set in the Victorian era, it may seem like the new show is testing viewer interest in a version of vampires sans the skinny jeans — but don’t worry, they still manage to make Jonathan Rhys Meyer look snazzy, despite it being the mid-1800s.

Historical styles don’t matter if you’re not wearing a shirt, apparently. The vampire theme is working yet again — not really shocking — with 5.3 million tuning in for the premiere, beating out Grimm, and ratings averaging 1.8 for those between the ages of 18-49, according to Entertainment Weekly.

2. Ironside

NBC’s Ironside is a remake of the 1960′s show with Raymond Burr, and joins a laundry list of cop dramas that center on disabled officers, including Blind Justice and Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye  — which follow a blind detective and deaf agent, respectively. Ironside’s detective, Robert T. Ironside — played by Blair Underwood — is confined to a wheelchair after a shooting from which he continues to solve crimes and take down bad guys.

Unfortunately, while the previous version was well-liked, the newer Ironside is getting a controversial response — with many reviews pointing out that the network could have hired an actor that was actually disabled, rather than having Blair Underwood fake it. Yeah, we know he’s a hunk, but there’s plenty of attractive actors who are by definition type-cast for the role, and hey, even method actors to boot.

According to TheWrap, this choice was defended by the executive producer as necessity. “It was always meant to [show] Ironside both in present day and go back into his life prior to the shooting. So in this particular situation we needed an actor who was able to take on both of those roles. It was really about the best actor for the role, but it was one that required an actor to be on their feet in their previous life,” said Teri Weinberg, EP for the show. Either way, many reviews are coming in negative, with the New York Times going so far as to say that the show is undeserving of the same name as the previous series.

3. Marvel’s Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Anyone who has been to a theater in the last ten yeas knows that super-heroes are big — we’ve gone through how many Spidermans? Marvel’s The Avengers grossed how much? The answer to that last, according to Box Office Mojo, is over $623 million in theaters. No small sum. So it’s not surprising that ABC (NYSE:ABC) would want to take a bite out of the superhero universe — it’s a juicy apple, after all. Unfortunately for the network though, according to Hit Fix, the show only debuted with around 12 million views — not terrible, but not fantastic either, and numbers have continued to drop.

Why isn’t the show doing well, though? The superhero genre has certainly not run dry — so perhaps it’s something to do with the tag line. “Not all heroes are super.” Maybe the audience sort of wants that super in front, and more than one review of the show has made use of the word “bland.”

4. MasterChef Junior

Iron Chef America, Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen – the list goes on, and the point is obvious. Whether you’re a flour-powdered chef yourself, or you like to simply imagine what something other than instant noodles tastes like — as I do — cooking shows do well with audiences of all sorts. Fox’s (NASDAQ:FOX) newest cooking show, MasterChef Junior, centers on cooks between the ages of eight and thirteen. Twenty-four contestants compete against each other in front of a panel of judges, and according to Entertainment Weekly, the show isn’t as harsh to its chefs as other cooking competitions can be — probably a plus, considering the young ages.

5. Sleepy Hollow

Washington Irving may still be in his grave, but his character, Ichabod Crane, was recently brought back to life in Fox’s new show, Sleepy Hollow. The television series based on his book is getting renewed for a second season, and according to Entertainment Weekly, has been doing very well with ratings and viewship.

The second episode of the series shot up 71 percent in ratings. Johnny Depp’s film version of the book — also well received — was set back in the book’s time period. The television series, however, brings Ichabod Crane to present day — though it does take advantage of flashbacks in much the same vein as other horror dramas.

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