The Upfronts are coming, the Upfronts are coming!

Next week, the television networks have their Upfront presentations where they detail their new fall line-ups.  NBC and FOX will present on Monday, ABC on Tuesday, CBS on Wednesday, and the CW will close it out on Thursday. For many years, going all the way back to my time on LiveJournal, I did a series of posts during the week of the television network Upfronts to talk about all the new shows.

As the landscape of television and the shape of the Internet have changed, those posts have become entirely redundant.  Most of the show renewal and cancellation announcements are out weeks or months before the Upfronts, and the new show announcements hit earlier and earlier as each network releases their loglines.  The various entertainment blogs pick up the details from there, and then Facebook makes sure that everyone hears about everything. Last year, I gave up the idea of talking about each network in separate posts, and I did one combined post that talked mostly about the new shows that interested me.

This year is no different than last year-  the announcements have been coming for several months already,  and although we won’t know the new fall schedule until the announcements next week, we do know what shows have been kept, canceled, or ordered as new.  The shows that interest me are few and far between, because it’s more of the same-  more procedurals, more Shondaland, more fish-out-of-water family dramas.  Several of the new show loglines sound like they’re copy-pasted off each other.

Moving on, then. Let’s start with ABC.  Remember, I’m not listing every show, just the stuff I watch and some of the more popular ones. If your favorite show isn’t listed here, you’ll need to check elsewhere to find out if it’s coming back.


Renewed: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Fresh Off The Boat, Dr. Ken, Once Upon A Time, Black-Ish, the Middle, How I Met Your Murderer, The Goldbergs, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Modern Family.

Canceled: Galavant, Agent Carter, The Muppets, The Family, Nashville, and Castle.

I’m kind of glad to see Nashville and Castle getting cut, because I feel like they’ve both lost a lot of steam.  I’m sad to see Galavant, Agent Carter, and The Muppets go.

Of the new shows the network has ordered, these three caught my attention.  I will probably only watch the first one, and only until it gets canceled:

Time After Time – Based loosely on the novel and 1979 movie (which I loved,) this story starts when science-fiction writer H.G. Wells is transported to modern day Manhattan in pursuit of Jack the Ripper.

Imaginary Mary – Jenna Elfman plays opposite her childhood imaginary friend (CGI’d, and voiced by SNL vet Rachel Dratch)

IMAGINARY MARY - ABC's “Imaginary Mary" stars Jenna Elfman as Alice. (ABC/Ed Herrera)

Designated Survivor – Kiefer Sutherland is the President of the US! He’s like seventh in line for the Presidency and a big attack knocks off everyone above him.

Still Star-Crossed – The newest Shonda Rhimes show is a sequel to Romeo & Juliet that picks up after the double suicide.  This looks like it could be fantastic and horrible and ridiculous.  Plus it’s got Anthony Head as a Capulet!  I always like seeing Giles in a doublet.


Renewed:  Elementary, Hawaii 5.0, a bunch of NCISes, Blue Bloods, Survivor, The Amazing Race, Madam Secretary, 2 Broke Girls, Mom, Scorpion, and The Big Bang Theory.

Canceled: CBS hasn’t announced many cancellations, but they did announce that Supergirl is moving to the CW, so I’m pretty happy about that.

Of the new shows that CBS has ordered, these two have my attention:

Macgyver – An entirely unnecessary reboot of the original show, this version follows a 20-something MacGyver (Lucas Till) as he “creates a clandestine organization where he uses his knack for solving problems in unconventional ways to help prevent disasters from happening.”  In other words, it’s “Macgyver Begins.”  I bet Liam Neeson trains him and everything.

The Great Indoors – Joel McHale plays an adventure reporter who has to take over the digital department of a magazine, where he’s the boss to a bunch of entitled millennials.  I love Joel McHale, so this could be hilarious.


Renewed: Lucifer, Scream Queens, Bob’s Burgers, Bones, The Last Man On Earth, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Gotham, The Simpsons, Empire, Sleepy Hollow

Cancelled: The Grinder, Grandfathered, Cooper Barrett, Bordertown

I’m astonished that Lucifer was renewed.  It’s a great show, and it’s very funny, but I didn’t think for a second that this one would make it through season one.    I’m sad to see Cooper Barrett and Bordertown go, but I’m not surprised at either one.  Cooper Barrett was light goofy fun, and Bordertown has gotten progressively weirder and more hilarious with every episode.

Fox is doing a show based on the Exorcist.  For real.  Other things they’ve ordered include a Lethal Weapon show and a reboot of 24.  So far, I’m not really interested in any of their newly announced programs.


Renewed:  The Blacklist, Superstore, all the Chicago emergency services, Blindspot, Law & Order: SVU

Canceled:  Heroes Reborn, Undateable

NBC has the highest count of interesting new shows ordered this year, even if they did jump on the time-travel bandwagon that this season seems to be all about.  There are four that have my interest this year:

Powerless – The first comedy series set in the universe of DC Comics, Powerless is about an insurance agency specializing in regular-people coverage against damage caused by the crime-fighting superheroes.  The ensemble cast also includes Alan Tudyk and Danny Pudi.  I think this is going to be hilarious.


The Good Place – “When Eleanor (Kristen Bell) has a brush with the afterlife, she realizes she hasn’t been a very good person. So she works to fix that, aided by an “afterlife mentor” played by Ted Danson.  I’ll give this one episode to hook me-  the tone of the show could be very light or it could be very “Highway to Heaven.”

Midnight, Texas – From the books by True Blood author Charlaine Harris, this show is about a town in Texas with vampires and witches to psychics and hit men.  I want to see at least a commercial before I decide whether to watch or pass on this one.

Timeless – From Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan, Timeless is described as an action-adventure series in which a mysterious criminal  steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past. The team that tries to stop him includes a scientist (Better Off Ted‘s Malcolm Barrett!!!), a soldier, and a history professor who use the machine’s prototype to travel back in time to critical events.  Honestly, I wouldn’t even bother giving this a shot, except that Kripke does interesting television and Malcolm Barrett is fun to watch.

The CW:

Renewed: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Reign ,  Jane the Virgin, The Vampire Diaries, iZombie, The 100, Legends of Tomorrow,The Originals, Supernatural,Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl (coming over from CBS.)

Canceled: Almost nothing.  They only cancel shows that nobody watches.

Five of the shows on the CW this fall will be comic book shows.  I hereby dub them the DC Comics Network.   (And incidentally, I wish that DC comics would stick to television where they get it right, instead of making terrible movies.  Let Marvel rule the box office; DC is much better at episodic television.)

The CW has so many renewals that they didn’t order many new shows.  They announced three pickup orders, and I’m not really interested in any of them.  These two are the more interestong ones:

Frequency – “In this reimagining of the New Line Cinema film, a female police detective in 2016 discovers she is able to speak via a ham radio with her estranged father (also a detective) who died in 1996. They forge a new relationship while working together on an unresolved murder case, but unintended consequences of the ‘butterfly effect’ wreak havoc in the present day.”

Riverdale – Archie Comics characters are set in the present day.  The network says it’s “a surprising and subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica, and their friends, exploring the surrealism of small town life — the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade.”

What do you think about all the new shows, reboots, and time-travel adventures?


7 thoughts on “The Upfronts are coming, the Upfronts are coming!

  1. Bunny

    I’m glad you did this. I always enjoy your take on TV. I’m kinda sorry to see Castle go, but only because I’m such a rabid Nathan Fillion freak. I agree with you that the show had pretty much jumped the proverbial shark. Other than that, I have little to offer. I don’t watch much network TV, except some of the procedurals and, of course, Big Bang Theory.


  2. ABC

    As much as I like Nathan Fillion, there was no way the series was going to work with Beckett. Maybe earlier on, they could’ve pulled it off, but at this point, the show was so much about them and their dynamic that it simply didn’t have a chance without them… which is also why I’m surprised that Sleepy Hollow is coming back (but more about that when I get to Fox). And the Muppets? I really wanted to like it a lot more than I actually did. It had some amusing elements, but it just couldn’t seem to decide exactly what kind of show it wanted to be.

    I really will miss Agent Carter and Galavant though. As much as I enjoy Agents of SHIELD, I really liked Agent Carter much better… and Galavant, well, what’s not to love, eh? It was funny and silly and musical… and I was really hoping they’d be able to sneak in at least one more season.

    Time After Time’s got some big shoes to fill, but I’m certainly willing to give it a shot. None of their other new shows look interesting enough for me to be willing to add them to my already-overextended viewing schedule.


    I think the Supergirl move could potentially be a great thing, for it and the other DC shows. Time will tell though.

    A young Macgyver reboot seems an odd choice, since one of the reasons they moved Supergirl to the CW was because its viewer base didn’t match the target demographic of the network. While Macgyver might appeal to the CSI/NCIS viewership, making him younger seems to run somewhat counter to that.

    The Great Indoors will probably be funny… until they cancel it.


    I’m both shocked and pleased that they renewed Lucifer. I liked it a lot, but I really didn’t think it had a snowball’s chance. I’m glad I was wrong. I’m also a little surprised that they renewed Sleepy Hollow. The only thing it really still had going for it was the chemistry between Crane and Mills, and I really don’t think the whole reincarnated-Witness and super-secret-society (that somehow never showed up for any of the previous apocalypses) is going to be enough to save it.


    I’m really wondering how the Blacklist is planning to proceed without Agent Keene. After watching the penultimate episode, there are some hints that they’re going to bring in Tom (and his ‘mysterious past’) in her place, but unless they also pay off a little bit more of Liz’s backstory first, I’m not sure how well it will work. Ultimately though, the only irreplaceable character is James Spader’s Reddington. The writers and showrunners have shown themselves capable of pulling off a lot of different kinds of episodes, so as long as they still have him, they can probably find a way to keep the show fresh and interesting.

    I won’t miss Heroes Reborn, since it’s still sitting on my DVR, unwatched. Every time I go to watch it, I end up deciding to catch up on something else in my queue instead. The ‘live’ aspect of Undateable was kind of fun, but other than that, it was a pretty standard sitcom, so it’s not a huge loss.

    Powerless looks potentially funny, and I really like both Tudyk and Pudi, so this will definitely be on my initial watch list.

    I like Kristen Bell, but I don’t know if that’s enough to get me to watch a show that seem semi-interesting at best. I will watch Timeless, because I pretty much always give time travel shows (good or bad) at least a shot, because I just really like time travel.

    The CW

    I don’t know how The CW went from only having one show that I was even remotely interested in to having most of the shows that I watch on a regular basis. Seriously, counting Supergirl, they will have 7 shows that record and watch every week. None of the other broadcast networks are even close to that.

    Really excited about their massive DC line-up and I definitely think DC does TV better than they do movies (live action anyway).

    I’m not really interesting in either of The CW’s new shows. I may give Frequency an episode or two, just because it’s sort of time-travelish, but the description just doesn’t really grab me.

    That said, there’s really a lot of great TV out there now (almost too much — I wasn’t kidding about my overstuffed schedule), especially for comic book fans.


    1. Undateable was much funnier when it wasn’t done live each week. The live version was an impressive achievement, but doing it live killed it, in my opinion.

      Heroes Reborn was a wash- I only watched about the first third of the episodes before I gave up. It fell into all the same traps the original series did- too many characters, so few of them interesting. A lot of my schedule cleared up with all the cancellations this time around. It’s refreshing.


  3. I’ve bookmarked this as I never know what to watch. I’m very behind on TV as I watch probably 2 hours tops a week. I am currently getting through Jane the Virgin, and finishing off the latest season of Girls.

    I’m surprised they renewed Once Upon a Time. I didn’t make it all the way through as I felt the story was being stretched too thin and the episodes were just dragging stuff out.


    1. I didn’t make it all the way through as I felt the story was being stretched too thin and the episodes were just dragging stuff out.

      That’s exactly how I feel about season eleventy-boo of Supernatural. That show was brilliant for five years and on-and-off-just-ok for the following six.


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  5. We barely watch any TV at all and other than GoT, we’ve got nothing exciting to watch at the moment at all. Still Star-Crossed sounds cool though, so will give that a try. Am hoping for more Modern Family at the moment…


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