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Twenty of network TV's most intriguing new shows of the 2014 season

Hayley Atwell - AKA Peggy Carter - ,s

(Credit: Sundance Channel)

The fall network upfronts arrive next week and with them, plenty of new shows. But what looks interesting? In the interest of time — yours —  I've put together a list of the 20 most intriguing new series. Each one of these has been ordered, and will arrive on a network near you sometime next year or early 2015. And in no particular order, let's take it away!

"Tooken," NBC

Think: Ellie Kemper, escapes doomsday cult...starts life over in NYC

Reason to get excited:  Ellie, plus Robert Carlock and Tina Fey produce..

Reason not to: No reason except NBC has been all-thumbs when it comes to comedies. Could it actually thumb up this one too?

 "The Slap," NBC

Think: Family drama based on Aussie drama./..about a man who slaps some other family's kid and...from there it starts...

Reason to get excited: Jon Robin Baitz is writing, producing.

Reason not to: Nothing comes to mind except maybe the fact that the cast still seems undetermined.

"Aquarius," NBC

Think: LA cop on the trail of the Manson murders...

Reason to get excited: Two, great title and...David Duchovny stars.

Reason not to: Period drama overkill, and the demise of "Mob City" still fresh...

"Emerald City," NBC

Think: "Land of Oz. Really. The whole thing. With Dorothy too.

Reason to get excited: Oz.

Reason not to: It's a modern-day "reimagining," whatever that could possibly be, and believed to be for 10 episodes only — part of the new trend in TV not to over-commit when you are not over-certain. Plus, sounds violent.

"Mr. Robinson," NBC

Think: Craig Robinson, single-camera, as musician turned music teacher

. Reason to get excited: Robinson, and Greg Daniels, re-teaming...

Reason not to: Pilot has apparently had a muddied, confused past — Daniels is reportedly no longer even attached. So who knows.

"State of Affairs," NBC

Think: Kat Heigl, CIA attache, counsels prez.

Reason to get excited: The return of Kat.

Reason not to: The return of Kat. Plus that cliched title which indicates cliched dialogue, and cliched situations. But let's not judge a book by a tiny corner of its cover, OK people?

"Backstrom," Fox

Think: Rainn Wilson as cranky detective in Portland...

Reason to get excited: Wilson. Plus Hart Hanson of "Bones," who produces.

Reason not to: Nothing immediately obvious — unless Fox has a hard time adapting the Leif G.W. Persson books (though Hanson has experience in this realm...) But Wilson in crime drama? Could take some getting used to.

"Empire," Fox

Think: Hip-hop family empire...

Reason to get excited: Well, Terence Howard stars, Lee Daniels exec produces and so does Danny Strong (who does not star.) Pedigree!

Reason not to: It almost sounds more like a movie than a series. But a lot of networks apparently wanted this, so...

"Gracepoint," Fox

Think: Remake of "Broadchurch."

Reason to get excited: Good cast, headed by David Tennant and Anna Gunn

. Reason not to: Fraught tradition of American remakes of famous British series.

"Gotham," Fox

Think: "Origin" story of "Batman"

Reason to get excited: Anything "Batman" related has to be good, right?

Reason not to: This really is more the origin story of James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) which is interesting and important certainly, but...

"Hieroglyph," Fox

Think: Ancient scroll stolen; master thief sprung from prison to find.

Reason to get excited: Don't think we've had an Egyptian — as in ancient — TV series in recent decades.

Reason not to: Fairly high concept. Will it be serious or ...camp...or just plain silly?

"Last Man on Earth," Fox

Think: Will Forte, must save human race. A comedy...

Reason to get excited: Forte, who was awfully good in "Nebraska," wasn't he?

Reason not to: It's midseason which means a bit of a wait.

"Mulaney," Fox

Think: John Mulaney gets his own sitcom.

Reason to get excited: Martin Short also stars, as does another (like Mulaney) "SNL'er:" Nasim Pedrad.

Reason not to: Do comedies based on the single name of star ever work? (Oh, right, "Seinfeld." Never mind...)

"iZombie," CW

Think: Zombie. Based on Chris Roberson/ Michael Allred comic book series, about med-student-turned zombie who eats brains,and then gains memories of brains, and then solves crimes....

Reason to get excited: I (heart) zombies. Plus Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero of "Veronica Mars" are writing.

Reason not to: Nothing comes immediately to my brain...Except of course possibly this: Eeeewwwwww

"The Whispers," ABC

Think: Alien force intent on destroying human race. Do NOT think classic '60s group of the same name...or recently canceled "The Neighbors."

Reason to get excited: Alien forces are always exciting,no? And Lily Rabe stars...

Reason not to: The aliens are (apparently) unseen — where's the fun in that?

"How to get Away with Murder," ABC

Think: Law prof and students, get entangled in a murder...

Reason to get excited: From Shondaland, who knows how to put the bubbles in soap; but biggest reason is star Viola Davis. And pretty good title too, no?

Reason not to: How many tricks does Shonda Rhymes have up her sleeve, anyway?

"Black-ish," ABC

Think: Black family sitcom

Reason to get excited: Good cast (Anthony Anderson is headliner) and the concept seems to have promise (maybe because it's been done before), about cultural identity and assimilation.

Reason not to: Nothing comes to mind — ABC has done a good job of building new comedies (unlike NBC).

"Agent Carter," ABC

Think: Marvel, and "Captain America." This is about Peggy Carter — Hayley Atwell — set in '46.

Reason to get excited: Marvel has certainly kept things interesting at ABC, but Atwell makes this a probable keeper. She knows Peggy Carter better than anybody, after all.

Reason not to: "Agents of "SHEILD" also got a new season pickup this morning, but doesn't ABC — and Marvel — already have their hands full with this? After all, the first season was not the gang-buster they promised.

"American Crime," ABC

Think: Racially charged crime In California's Central Valley, with Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton

Reason to get excited: Sounds compelling, and not cheap crime procedural knock-off.

Reason not to: Also sounds like a monumental downer.

"Battle Creek," CBS

Think: Josh Duhamel, Dean Winters as cops in Battle Creek, Mi.

Reason to get excited: Vince Gilligan AND David Shore ("House") are producing this. Oh, and Mark Johnson.

Reason not to: Battle Creek? Wonderful city, of course. But a cop series? Set here? (Hey, why not.) Another question that occurred to me: The three showrunners are guys with their own visions and talents - Gilligan and Johnson have worked together (famously on a famous series) but Shore is pretty much been his own solo muse. How will they work together...and on what appears to be (superficial impression - we've seen nothing yet) on another procedural? At the very least, these questions will have interesting answers.  

Duchovny gets Manson-related NBC series

David Duchovny (born Aug. 7, 1960): The actor

(Credit: Getty Images)

David Duchovny, Charles Manson...unrelated names until this point in time: NBC has given a straight-to-series order for his '60s era period drama entitled "Aquarius" about Charles Manson, and the cop - played by DD - who chases him. Word of this show has been "out there," so to speak, but a 13-episode order? That's unusual and indicates a.) This might actually be a good series; and b.) Duchovny,...

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