5 shows | made in NY
Hollywood sound stages just won’t do for these series filmed in the Big Apple.
New York City has always been an exciting city to set a television series. But for many years, the shows that have actually been shot on location were few and far between. Take for example ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Friends’, both very NYC-centric and both taped in a studio 2,500 miles away. There are exceptions, of course, the most obvious being ‘Sex & the City’ and the twelve dozen iterations of ‘Law and Order’. But for the most part, shows about Big Apple living were shot in Hollywood.
However, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get that authentic NYC look on a studio backlot (admit it — Central Perk never looked real). Which is why it’s exciting to see the recent influx of new series being filmed right on the streets of New York. According to Variety, film production in the city has increased $1.5 billion through the last four years. In the past 12 months alone, they’re has been a wild pack of fresh New York shows that have captured our attention and become never-miss programming. Besides have great casts and fantastic writing, what’s compelling is how, through art direction and cinematography, each title puts its own unique visual stamp on the city that never sleeps.
‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’— Netflix
After being rescued from a religious cult leader’s bunker where she was imprisoned for 15 years, Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) decides to start a new life in New York. The premise may sound dark, but ‘Unbreakable’ is one of the funniest, most quotable shows in years. This is Tina Fey’s first TV endeavor since ’30 Rock’, originally set to air on NBC. But when NBC backed out mid-filming, Netflix came in and picked it up. Wonder if the Peacock is kicking themselves now.
Denis Leary plays Johnny Rock, a washed up, alcoholic rock star who finds out he has a 21-year-old daughter named Gigi (Elizabeth Gillies) after trying to pick her up in a bar. Gigi has come to New York to fulfill her own rock ‘n’ roll dreams and thinks Johnny (and his former band the Heathens) can help her make it happen. This comedy is a bit more under-the-radar than ‘Kimmy Schmidt’ but is just as hilarious, which should go without saying –it’s Denis Leary in a Ziggy Stardust mullet. Watch the dirty, cussing, unedited versions On-Demand.
Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) is a sensitive, anti-social computer programmer with a gift for hacking and a problem with drugs. When he gets recruited by an Anonymous-like hacking group called fsociety, he struggles to decipher reality from fiction, good and evil. Watch not only for the fantastic (and future Emmy winner) Malek and Mr. Robot himself, Christian Slater, but for the beautifully framed shots and sepia-toned cinematography. ‘Mr. Robot’ quietly debuted on USA in June and through word-of-mouth, snowballed into the most-talked series of the summer.
Younger— TV Land
Based on the Pamela Redmond Satran novel of the same name, ‘Younger’ is the story of Liza Miller (Sutton Foster), a just-divorced 40-year-old woman who is trying to break back into publishing after 18 years as a stay-at-home mom. Turned down for several entry-level jobs due to her age, she pretends to be 26 after being mistaken as a millenial in a Brooklyn bar. Unsurprisingly, she immediately scores a job. ‘Younger’ has spawned a few quibbles amongst critics and watchers (Can Foster really pass for 26? Are 40-year old women really so clueless about social media?), but those issues can be overlooked due witty dialogue and likable cast (Debi Mazar and her acerbic delivery is unmatched).
‘Vinyl’ isn’t set to start airing until February 2016, but judging by the trailer and premise, it’s one-to-watch. A 70s-era drama about the music industry, set in NYC and produced by Martin Scorcese and Mick Jagger? Get your HBOGo, now! Apparently, ‘Vinyl’ (a mysterious, untitled ‘rock n roll series’ until this past spring) had been in the works for years, but was only confirmed by HBO in 2014. With Scorcese and Jagger at the helm (along with a stellar cast and costumes by John Dunn), we expect nothing less than a dirty, high style, polyester-draped ride through the excesses of 70s rock, glam, funk, and punk.