TCA 2014: Quick Takes From Turner Networks, El Rey, HBO TCA Presentations


Day 3 of the 16-day biannual Television Critic’s Association Summer 2014 Press Tour started off with introductions of new programming from Turner Networks, El Rey and HBO. The following is a snapshot look at their new series, as well as what was noteworthy from the featured presentations.


“Legends” is a multi-layered government spy tale. Sean Bean plays a character who believes he is just a deep-cover government agent who finds out that his entire life, his “true identity” may be fabricated as well. It is one thing to be thinking you are pretending to be someone else; it is entirely different to find out that the government may have brain-washed you into thinking you have are someone and you do not know who you actually are. So the show is about: “Who am I really?” It is something that Bean’s character will have to explore and investigate very carefully as the government seems to kill anyone who questions what is really going on. Rounding out the stellar ensemble cast are co-stars Steve Harris, Tina Majorino, Morris Chestnut, Ali Larter, and Amber Valletta. Point of interest: If this kind of storyline interests you, definitely check-out the prematurely cancelled television series “My Own Worst Enemy” starring Christian Slater and the Joss Whedon series “Dollhouse” which ran for two seasons on Fox. (Premieres August 13, 2014 on TNT.)

“Fake Off” is perhaps the best showcase of “performance art” available today on television. It invites teams to come an perform and reinterpret classic film and television moments. Some call it “visual storytelling” and others call it “performance art.” On the show, as many as 30 competing teams are asked to reinterpret a scene from the films “Matrix” or “Titanic” and they bring it to life in a dance/action way that dazzles everyone. Just imagine the performers from Cirque de Soleil doing their interpretation of a movie scene and that is what “Fake Off” shall feature. The preview clips looked pretty amazing. There are some truly remarkable and talented visual performers and this show is a fantastic way to see the full range of their incredible work. Point of interest: This show will redefine how “faking” is perceived in our colloquial lingo. Also to be noted is that TruTV’s show “Fake Off” should not be confused with Syfy Channel’s “Face Off” (a prosethetics/makeup competition show) or MTV’s “Faking It” (a teen comedy). (Premieres October 27, 2014 on TruTV.)


“Matador” features the story of a DEA agent recruited by the CIA to be undercover operative who infiltrates a professional soccer league to stop a terrorist attack on U.S. soil before it happens. Very tongue-in-cheek and playing fast and loose with the sexy, high-octane situations that arise, the show embodies the true Roberto Orci action-spirit and makes it for a great match with El Rey, founded by Robert Rodriguez. The show also wanted to have some fun with the “bad boys” of soccer and it showcases those fun antics in fine form. Altogether it makes for a highly entertaining new series. Point of interest: “Matador” has already been renewed for a second season. Great to see that El Rey feels that confident about this new series. (Premieres July 15, 2014.)

Additionally, El Rey’s series “From Dusk Till Dawn” was picked up for Season 2 already after a strong debut in Spring 2014. It begins production in October and will return in 2015.


Cinemax’s new series “The Knick” is a historical medical drama set at the Knickerbocker Hospital in New York. It stars Clive Owen and directed by Steven Soderbergh. With a richly drawn canvas of a prestigious hospital at the turn of the 1900 century, the show explores the cutting edge of medicine offered at time when doctors were starting to discovery modern methods of surgery and medicines. As routine as that may sound, the show is infinitely more interesting to watch than you would expect. For one, Clive Owen’s character is a medical renegade who is determined to provide a better quality of medical care, no matter what the cost. He is determined to drag the entire hospital into the new century, even if it means crossing a few rigid boundaries and finding new ways to save lives. Cowboy surgeons is not new, but watching Clive Owen portray one is riveting. Point of interest: For those familiar with BBC America’s drama “Copper,” Cinemax’s “The Knick” has echoes of that show, although “Copper” was set a few decades earlier in New York City in the 1860s. (Premieres August 8, 2014 on Cinemax. “The Knick” has also been picked up for a second season in advance of its debut.)

That is a wrap on Day 3 at TCA. Look for more upcoming snapshots from TCA Summer 2014 on the new shows and TV specials coming up for Fall 2014.

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