The TCAs are underway, technically beginning Monday night with a reception hosted by National Geographic. Panels began this morning, and will continue for the next two weeks. The cable networks — including HBO, Starz, Showtime, WGN America, and the BBC, among others — go first, scheduling their presentations this week from July 8-12. Broadcast networks then start with FOX on Sunday, NBC Monday, ABC Tuesday, and CBS on Thursday, along with a scattering of screenings and other outlets taking up any spare time.
Below, Indiewire’s TV team picks their favorite story lines going in, why we should expect the unexpected and what shows should dominate their news cycles. Liz Shannon Miller and Ben Travers break it down below to get you prepped and ready for the two thrilling weeks to come:
Ben: So I know the TCA panels technically began today with the fine folks from National Geographic and TV Guide Network, but for me, it’s all about Thursday’s HBO presentation. I can’t wait to hear more about "The Knick" after watching the first episode to prepare, and I’m still holding out hope they’ll shock the world by announcing the new leads for "True Detective."
Liz: It’d definitely be the platform for HBO to do so, as everyone seems fascinated by the promise of — gasp — an actual lady detective in the mix.
Ben: If they screen footage for "Better Call Saul" — which they almost have to — that will make it an exciting Friday at the TCAs, and as close as anyone could come in Week One to rivaling "True Detective" news. Otherwise, it’s hard for me to imagine what surprises could come out of the presentations this week.
Liz: No LeBron? Well, there goes my reason for showering that day.
Ben: It will be interesting to see what shows break through the pack, especially with networks pushing some of their first original series. For instance, WGN America better have something big planned for "Manhattan" or it’s going to get lost in the flood.
Liz: NBC definitely enters in an interesting position — lots of momentum, but lots to prove. And if the sales pitches at TCA are better than the trailers, then that could work in its favor. But I’m actually weirdly intrigued by CBS this year. For one thing, last year it showed an inclination towards breaking out of its old models and trying new things that didn’t end up working out; I’m curious as to how hard they’ll course-correct in reaction to that. Also, there’s a part of the schedule devoted to the launch of Thursday Night Football — I’m curious about how they’re going to sell cutting back on original programming for yet another night of sports to this specific crowd.
Ben: Sportsing! Bring it on! NFL will soon stand for the Non-Stop Football League, and that’s fine by me. I hope CBS finds some better, more original programming, but I’d much rather watch the Raiders play the Bucs (two very boring pro teams) than just about any show they had to offer last season.
Liz: I’ve come to accept the fact that no one on the planet will ever come to match my affection for "Matador," which is a bit heartbreaking. How can people be immune to the charms of a show that combines the sexy action of "Alias" with the sexy action of professional soccer? I fully expect to be the only one on board when El Rey presents the show to critics on Thursday.