Fox Searchlight; ABC

After A Midsummer's Nightmare And Still Star-Crossed, Which Amped-Up Shakespeare Shows Will Be Next?

A passel of plausible predictions for the totally fresh Bard adventures coming your way!

You know whose plays have always felt unfinished? Shakespeare's. He gets most of the way there, but his scripts all tend to need one more pass in a writers' room before they're perfect. 

Thankfully, TV is here to help! This season, we're getting Still Star-Crossed, ABC's new Shondaland drama about the Montagues and Capulets after Romeo and Juliet die. (Not to be confused with Star-Crossed, The CW's 2014 take, in which Romeo was an alien.) The trailer says that "where this tragedy ends, an ever greater story begins." It's about time Shonda Rhimes and company gave us all their hot take on the story.

Meanwhile, Lifetime has confirmed the pilot for A Midsummer's Nightmare, which reimagines A Midsummer Night's Dream as a psychological thriller about four young lovers trying to survive "terrifying forces in the deep woods." Sweet! That magical and comic romance was always meant to be a scary genre story. If you're imagining a roomful of writers high-fiving over a storyline about the pagan sacrifice of Bottom the Donkey-Man, then you're imagining the road to 2018's Emmy Awards.

These shows will no doubt launch a fleet of series that improve on Shakespeare's plays. While I'm no Weird Sister, I predict we'll see the following very soon.

Ham 'n Eggs

Prithee? Something's rotten in the state of Georgia...and it's the cooking at the Denmark Diner! In this heartwarming family dramedy, John Hamlet, a philosophy grad student at Swarthmore, gets called back home to Denmark, Georgia, where his Uncle Claude is trying to keep the family restaurant afloat. Try as he might, Claude just can't nail his late brother Doug's secret recipes for turkey meatloaf, double-sweet cornbread, and sun tea. Everybody knows that John's got the magic touch in the kitchen, but will he really leave behind his academic life for aprons and grease stains? 

Who Struts Upon This Stage? Malcolm-Jamal Warner plays Uncle Claude, and Jay Pharaoh plays Ham. Sasheer Zamata co-stars as Ophelia, John's quirky childhood friend, who's juggling her waitressing job at the restaurant with her secret passion for arranging flowers. And look out for special guest star Chris Tucker as a traveling stand-up comedian who performs an act about the diner's terrible food...right outside the diner! 

Hast Thou A Tagline? Methinks The Comedy Doth Slay Too Much!

Twelve Nights

Prithee? Last year, undercover detective Cal Volio was the victim of a vicious crime. What he thought was a the perfect online relationship was actually a scam, and when he arrived at a Pittsburgh warehouse to meet his mystery woman in person, he got jumped by a gang of thugs who stole his money, beat him senseless, and left him for dead. After twelve nights in the hospital, he vowed he'd catch the crooks and make them pay. Little did he know those goons were low-level members of a vast crime syndicate led by the notorious Toby "Belch" Belcher. Is Cal ready to infiltrate Belch's gang and bring them down from the inside?

Who Struts Upon This Stage? Jon Hamm stars as Cal, with Brendan Gleeson as Belch. Maggie Q throws sparks as Viola, a morally flexible P.I. with a hidden double life that may (or may not) be good for Cal's plan.

Hast Thou A Tagline? If Revenge Be The Food Of Life, Scheme On.

Errors

Prithee?

In every episode of this sober docuseries, we meet criminals who are wrongly behind bars because they've been mistaken for someone else. Lawyers from the Innocence Project fight for their release, while host Lisa Ling explores how this "cruel comedy" befell them in the first place.

[insect]Who Struts Upon This Stage? Along with Ling's investigative work, each episode also features a segment called "You Could Be Me," where identical twins swap lives for a day and ponder how much can change when nobody knows who you are

Hast Thou A Tagline? Two Identities, One Destiny.

Little Mac And The Playground Sisters

Prithee?In this charming new animated series for children aged 5-8, Little Mac is a Scottish Sheepdog whose family just moved to Cawdor Woods. On his first day of second grade, he's nervous about making new friends, until he meets three playful frog sisters from a nearby pond. Every week, their "imagination games" send them on another educational adventure that will teach children important lessons. In the pilot, the sisters help Mac imagine he's the king of Cawdor, and he discovers how hard it can be to keep all his friends happy!

Who Struts Upon This Stage? Alan Cumming provides the voice of Little Mac and all three sisters. In a very special episode, Emma Thompson guest stars as Mac's sister Lily, whose late-night sleepwalking makes Mac think he sees a ghost.

Hast Thou a Tagline? By The Pricking Of My Thumbs, A Fun Adventure This Way Comes!

For Booze Week, we ask:

When John Goodman plays Falstaff -- notorious drunk and Shakespeare's only fictional character to appear in multiple plays -- how should he cross over to the shows above?

  • In Still Star-Crossed, he gets wasted outside Juliet's tomb
  • In Ham 'n Eggs, he takes unfair advantage of dollar beer night
  • In Twelve Nights, he offers a meaningful ear when Cal works through problems at his local pub
  • In A Midsummer's Nightmare, he goes on a bender in the woods, with terrifying results