Horror and fantasy thrive on TV

Camelot wallpaper
Starz's Camelot

Since horror is one of the more accessible genres, supernatural dramas are perennially popular on television. I’ve enjoyed BBC America’s Being Human, and I can appreciate why SyFy’s U.S. version, as well as Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, and HBO’s True Blood, all have strong fan bases. I don’t know if any of them will have the popularity or influence of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer, but Joss Whedon always had an eye for talent and an ear for dialogue. Greg D.C. has been running a Dresden Files game using FATE.

In fact, after the demise of superhero shows and the struggles of space opera on TV, the networks are again banking on fairy tales and police procedurals for their fall schedules, with Alcatraz, Awake, Gifted Man, Grimm, Once Upon a Time, Person of Interest, River, Secret Circle, and Touch. Never mind that shows such as Journeyman, New Amsterdam, Eli Stone, Reaper, and Eastwick all failed. Of the upcoming shows, I may check out Grimm and Awake.

For more traditional sword-and-sandals action, I wonder how Season 2.5 of Spartacus will manage with a new star. I’ve seen only the premiere of the fantasy Game of Thrones, which sports strong writing and production values, but Camelot on Starz should satisfy my sword-and-sorcery (and sex) quota and is not to be confused with the BBC/SyFy young-adult Merlin.

Camelot is based on Thomas Malory’s Le Morte de Arthur, which isn’t my favorite version of the legends, but the series has taken a new look at mythic Britain’s romantic intrigues and attempts to establish chivalrous code. I recently enjoyed Tony Hays’ The Beloved Dead, the third book in a series of Arthurian mysteries that Janice pointed me to. They’re more historical than mystical, like The Last Legion and the 2004 King Arthur.

I’ve considered including court intrigues in my current Pathfinder/Skype: “the Vanished Landstelecom fantasy campaign, but the current teleconferencing party is rather low in experience/power level. If I was to run an Arthurian scenario, I might use GURPS Camelot, D20 Legends of Excalibur or Relics & Rituals: Excalibur, or FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre.

As far as scheduling goes, it looks like Friday nights will again be crowded, with Young Justice, Star Wars: Clone Wars, Chuck, Fringe, and Grimm, among others. It’s worth remembering that for every successful genre TV show, there are many that never make it out of the pilot phase. What upcoming programs are you looking forward to? Have a good Memorial Day weekend!