Summer shows borrow from foreign TV

'24' returns; Sean Bean has new TNT show



America has exported Jack Bauer to London for “24: Live Another Day,” but we’re importing, too. A lot of the new offerings on TV this summer have already found success outside the U.S.

So the Swedes have already seen “Welcome to Sweden,” “Taxi Brooklyn” hails from France, and British audiences loved Ian McKellen in “Vicious” months before PBS bought it from ITV. NBC and the CW will air Canadian sitcoms “Working the Engels” and “Seed” on a delayed schedule.

So after being softened up with “Downton Abbey,” we’re now regularly forced to wait on other countries to relinquish their shows. This is a big improvement over U.S.-based networks remaking, say, “Coupling” or “Broadchurch” when the original would have sufficed.

It’s an old problem: Betty White was once cast in an ill-fated U.S. adaptation of “Fawlty Towers.”

But we’ll see the new season of “24” right away, even if the real-time format has been relaxed a bit to let Kiefer Sutherland take a breather. He’ll be competing against more new programming than summer usually offers while he does the CIA’s dirty work overseas.

Viewers can check out more than 30 new scripted shows this spring and summer.


• UNDATEABLE: NBC, MAY 29 AT 9 P.M. An experiment in letting stand-up comics with real-life friendships ad-lib their way through dating struggles, this buddy comedy comes from Adam Sztykiel, writer of “Due Date,” and Bill Lawrence, creator of “Scrubs.” With Brent Morin, Chris D’Elia, Ron Funches, Rick Glassman and Bianca Kajlich.

• PLAYING HOUSE: USA, APRIL 29 AT 10 P.M. Comedians Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham are single gals raising a baby in this tale of parenting high jinks, which is based on their real-life friendship. With Keegan-Michael Key, Zach Woods and Jane Kaczmarek.

• JENNIFER FALLS: TV LAND, JUNE 4 AT 10:30 P.M. When a career-focused single mom (Jaime Pressly) loses her job, she and her teenage daughter have to move back in with her mom. With Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor and Ethan Suplee.

• ALMOST ROYAL: BBC AMERICA, JUNE 21 AT 10 P.M. The network’s first shot at scripted comedy follows deluded, stuffy young Brits on their first trip to America.

• YOUNG AND HUNGRY: ABC FAMILY, JUNE 25 AT 8 P.M. Emily Osment is a personal chef for a techie millionaire in this series based on the experiences of a San Francisco food blogger. With Jonathan Sadowski and Rex Lee.

• MYSTERY GIRLS: ABC FAMILY, JUNE 25 AT 8:30 P.M. Former “Beverly Hills, 90210” stars Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling reunite for a show about former TV stars forced into reuniting. Ahem.

• TAXI BROOKLYN: NBC, JUNE 25 AT 10 P.M. The French made an English-dialogue, cop-with-sidekick sitcom based on a French movie franchise, filmed it in New York City, and NBC bought it. The original “Taxi” is the story of a Marseilles cabbie who keeps getting drawn into crime-fighting, and the same is true for “Taxi Brooklyn” — even the Marseilles part.

Acclaimed director Luc Besson, the French guy behind “The Fifth Element,” “The Professional” and “Taken,” also wrote 1998’s action comedy “Taxi,” not to mention its three popular sequels — but not the 2004 Queen Latifah remake.

Chyler Leigh (“Grey’s Anatomy”) stars as Detective Cat Sullivan, who believes, like all good TV cops, in a little procedural flexibility. When the NYPD takes her keys away, she hires recent immigrant Leo (Jacky Ido of “Inglourious Basterds”) as her personal driver and consultant. Car chases ensue.

• VICIOUS: PBS, JULY 6 AT 10:30 P.M. PBS is recycling this ratings-busting, six-part Britcom with Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as a bickering Covent Garden couple.

• WELCOME TO SWEDEN: NBC, JULY 10 AT 9 P.M. This fish-out-of-water story was originally made for Swedish TV, but don’t worry: It’s (mostly) in English. Greg Poehler (yes, Amy’s brother) stars as a guy named Bruce (based on Greg himself) who quits his suit-and-tie job to move to Sweden to be with his girlfriend (Josephine Bornebusch).

Both sets of the happy couple’s parents have opinions about this — wouldn’t yours? — but adjusting to the Scandinavian lifestyle is Bruce’s biggest hurdle. The Swedes have liked the show enough to order a second season, which is either a good sign or a reason to run far away.

With Patrick Duffy, Lena Olin, Illeana Douglas and Amy Poehler as herself, not to mention lots of guest-starring turns from names such as Aubrey Plaza and Will Ferrell.

• WORKING THE ENGELS: NBC, JULY 10 AT 9:30 P.M. Already airing in Canada, this sitcom follows the antics of a family forced to run their dead father’s storefront law firm or drown in debt. With Andrea Martin and Kacey Rohl.

• BACKPACKERS: THE CW, JULY 14 AT 8:30 P.M. Twentysomething best buds bounce around Europe frantically searching for a missing fiancee. With Noah Reid and Dillon Casey.

• SEED: THE CW, JULY 14 AT 9:30 P.M. This Canadian import follows Harry, a single bartender whose ambition seems limited to sperm donation. With Adam Korson and Carrie-Lynn Neales.


• 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY: FOX, MAY 5 AT 8 P.M. (MOVES TO 9 P.M. ON MAY 12) Jack Bauer took out 270 people over eight seasons and one movie. Firearms, knives and neck-snapping were reliable classics, but fire axes, scissors, scalpels, fireplace pokers and Kiefer Sutherland’s incisors occasionally chipped in. Surely “Live Another Day” will push Jack’s onscreen kills to more than 300.

This time around, four years after we last saw him, Jack is dodging CIA assassins (ruh-roh!) while trying to stop a game-changing terrorist attack in London (zoinks!). He will no doubt dispatch dozens of very bad people, perhaps with a packet of fish and chips. He’ll still be darting about in real time, but the show will now skip ahead in time between some episodes, probably so Jack can sleep.

With William Devane as the president, Stephen Fry as the U.K’s prime minister, and Benjamin Bratt chasing him around Whitechapel, this new political climate is a scary one indeed. Also starring Tate Donovan, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Yvonne Strahovski and Michelle Fairley.

• GANG RELATED: FOX, MAY 22 AT 9 P.M. Terry O’Quinn (“Lost”) is running an anti-gang task force, not realizing his unit has been infiltrated by an undercover gang member (Ramon Rodriguez of “The Wire”). With rapper RZA and Emilio Rivera, whose Wikipedia page leads off with the statement, “He usually plays Mexican criminals.”

• THE NIGHT SHIFT: NBC, MAY 27 AT 10 P.M. San Antonio Memorial’s overnight crew of doctors are a bunch of irreverent, defiant, possibly stoned and improbably good-looking Army burnouts. With Freddy Rodriguez, Eoin Macken, Daniella Alonso and Jill Flint.

• HALT AND CATCH FIRE: JUNE 1, AMC AT 10 P.M. This 10-episode period drama, which shares its name with a legendary, CPU-killing piece of code, takes place in the early-’80s heyday of the IBM PC. A trio of fictional, volatile rogue techies risk it all to join the marketplace. With Lee Pace and Scoot McNairy.

• POWER: STARZ, JUNE 7 AT 9 P.M. You probably know Curtis Jackson as rapper 50 Cent, whose shrewd business moves have made him almost as rich as Jay-Z. He produced this crime series, which follows a conflicted nightclub owner (Omari Hardwick) through the drug underworld.

• MURDER IN THE FIRST: TNT, JUNE 9 AT 10 P.M. This one-case-per-season courtroom thriller is the latest project from Steven Bochco, who brought us “L.A. Law,” “NYPD Blue” and “Murder One,” a similar concept. If “Murder in the First” doesn’t deliver a first season filled with bite and character, we’d be surprised. With Taye Diggs, Kathleen Robertson and Steven Weber.

• CHASING LIFE: ABC FAMILY, JUNE 10 AT 9 P.M. Boston journalist April (Italia Ricci) has a grumpy editor, needy family and confusing love life, and that’s before she gets the news that she has terminal cancer. Based on a Mexican telenovela.

• CROSSBONES: NBC, MAY 30 AT 10 P.M. NBC might be operating under the premise that most rational people would hear “John Malkovich is starring as Blackbeard” and reach for the big, confusing remote to record whatever appeared on the screen. But “Crossbones” is based on a journalist’s account of what went down in 1715 in the Bahamas. The show is from the creator of “Luther,” Idris Elba’s excellent psychological cop thriller, so there’s reason to be optimistic. With Julian Sands, Richard Coyle and Nick Blaemire, who also wrote the pop musical “A Little More Alive,” now playing through May 11 at the KC Rep’s Copaken Stage.

• THE LAST SHIP: TNT, JUNE 22 AT 9 P.M. Michael Bay’s post-apocalyptic drama begins with a killer virus wiping out most of Earth, then focuses on the isolated comrades aboard an unaffected naval destroyer, kind of like “The Stand Joins the Navy.” With Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra and Adam Baldwin.

• THE MUSKETEERS: BBC AMERICA, JUNE 22 AT 9 P.M. This lavishly produced revenge drama is set in a version of 17th-century Paris that feels like the Old West. With Peter Capaldi and Luke Pasqualino.

• RECKLESS: CBS, JUNE 29 AT 9 P.M. If you like some steamy sex and Southern accents with your courtroom drama, CBS’ “Reckless” looks like a sultry candidate. Based in Charleston, S.C., it follows a young lawyer’s descent into a black hole of police corruption. Jamie Sawyer (Anna Wood) flirts with danger, then flirts with the city attorney. With Georgina Haig and Adam Rodriguez.

• RUSH: USA, JULY 17 AT 9 P.M. A disgraced, pill-popping ER doctor (Tom Ellis) makes his money by patching up L.A.’s rich and famous on the sly. With Sarah Habel and Odette Annable.

• SATISFACTION: USA, JULY 17 AT 10 P.M. An investment banker (Matt Passmore of “The Glades”) thinks his marriage is just a little stale, until he finds his wife (Stephanie Szostak of “The Devil Wears Prada”) is involved with an escort.


• PENNY DREADFUL: SHOWTIME, MAY 11 AT 10 P.M. Someone said, “Let’s get Dorian Gray, Dr. Frankenstein, some characters from ‘Dracula,’ smash together their origin stories, and put them all together in Victorian London so they can fight evil with an explorer, a psychic and a mysterious American.” Sounds good. It has to be better than “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” especially with Timothy Dalton, Eva Green and Josh Hartnett.

• THE LEFTOVERS: HBO, JUNE 15 AT 10 P.M. Tom Perrotta, writer of “Election” and “Little Children,” teamed up with controversial sci-fi producer Damon Lindelof for this character-focused adaptation of his book about the people who didn’t make the cut when the Rapture came. Now they’re hanging out in a suburb, clinging to normalcy after 100 people vanish toward heaven. With Justin Theroux, Liv Tyler and Christopher Eccleston.

• DOMINION: SYFY, JUNE 19 AT 9 P.M. This supernatural drama, based on the 2010 fallen angel film “Legion,” imagines a future after the archangel Gabriel’s nearly successful attempt to wipe out humanity. The survivors build an empire on the ruins of Las Vegas (of course) and prove, once again, that wiping the slate clean doesn’t make people any nicer. With Anthony Stewart Head and Christopher Egan.

• EXTANT: CBS, JULY 9 AT 9 P.M. In this futuristic thriller, Halle Berry is an astronaut who returns to Earth after a year in space with an unwelcome space parasite. With Camryn Manheim and Grace Gummer.

• THE STRAIN: FX, JULY PREMIERE TBA. Guillermo del Toro’s horror series, based on the three books he wrote with Chuck Hogan, follows a heroic CDC scientist (Corey Stoll of “House of Cards”) as he leads the fight against a bad outbreak of extra-nasty mutant vampires who look like they were conceived by Guillermo del Toro. With Sean Astin, Regina King and Mia Maestro.

• LEGENDS: TNT, AUG. 20 AT 9 P.M. After lasting only one season on “Game of Thrones,” Sean Bean places himself in peril once more, this time in a tense spy thriller from Howard Gordon, co-creator of “Homeland.” The premise — that Bean’s deep-undercover FBI agent can physically transform himself into different people with distinct personas — sounds a lot like “Quantum Leap” minus the drag. With Tina Majorino, Ali Larter and Morris Chestnut.