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.

ABC:

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.

CBS:

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.

FOX:

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.

NBC:

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.

powerless

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?

The 2015 Television Upfronts

Every May, the five main American broadcast television networks get together at a big party called the Upfronts to show their new fall shows to advertisers.  This is when we, the viewers, get our first taste of the new fall schedule.

Over the past several years, I’ve always talked about the Upfronts elsewhere on the Web.  In years past, I would write one post for each of the five networks.  In each post, I would list the network’s announced fall schedule and detail the new shows.  I would always come up with a big summary post at the end with a grid showing what programs I would watch in the fall.

Over the last few years, things have changed.  While I was in Germany, I couldn’t watch American television in real time.  My TiVo was back in Florida, and I had to rely on a variety of Internet technologies to keep up with my TV watching.

Another big change over the last few years is the television landscape itself-  I loved Community when it started, but now it’s not even playing on a normal network- it’s showing on Yahoo Screen.  The idea of an Internet company making television programming blows my mind entirely.

Add to that the fact that most of the new programming that shows up on television is total crap, and you wind up with a very dull screen.  Here’s a perfect example:  This fall, the networks are producing at least three shows that are either based on or continuing the story from a previous movie:  Rush Hour, Limitless, and Minority Report.  All three could be good, but I really kinda doubt it.

The days of the program grid and the scheduled television are over.  I’m not going to cover every announced new show, I’m only going to talk about the five new shows that I’m really excited about.  Only three of them are based on comic books, so that’s something.  Oh, and it worked out to one per network.

Going alphabetically, I guess I’m starting with ABC.

THE MUPPETS - "The Muppets" return to prime time with a contemporary, documentary-style show that, for the first time ever, will explore the Muppets’ personal lives and relationships, both at home and at work, as well as romances, break-ups, achievements, disappointments, wants and desires; a more adult Muppet show, for kids of all ages.  (ABC/Eric McCandless) KERMIT THE FROG, GONZO THE GREATThe Muppets – Bill Prady is one of the names behind this new television incarnation of the muppets.  It’s being set up as a “documentary-style show that, for the first time ever, will explore the Muppets’ personal lives and relationships, both at home and at work, as well as romances, break-ups, achievements, disappointments, wants and desires; a more adult Muppet show, for kids of all ages.”

I was skeptical about the format until I watched the trailer.  This looks like it will be a hoot, even though some of the new muppet voices totally take me out of the moment.

Next up is CBS.

new-tv-shows-supergirlSupergirl –  “Kara Zor-El escaped her home planet of Krypton amid its destruction years ago. Since arriving on Earth, she has concealed the powers she shares with her (ahem) “famous cousin.” But now, at age 24, she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be.”

The trailer for this appeared online a few days ago, and I think this is going to be a lot of fun.  It looks closer in tone to Lois & Clark than it does to Smallville, and that’s a very good thing.    Unfortunately, we have to wait until after football ends in November to see this one.

Next up, FOX.

Lucifer – “Bored as the Lord of Hell, Lucifer resigns his throne and abandons his kingdom for the gorgeous, shimmering insanity of Los Angeles, where he gets his kicks helping the LAPD punish criminals. Based on characters from DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint.”

Slated for midseason, this is another show that I was very skeptical about until I saw the trailer.  Lucifer is a brilliant character, but I thought at first they were going to turn this into just another police procedural.  CSI: Hell, in other words.  This has potential, but only if FOX executives can keep their mitts off the production process as they move along.

NBC’s best new show is going to be:

new-tv-shows-best-time-ever-with-neil-patrick-harrisBest Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris –  This show has a 10 pm air time, and I saw it referenced once as a variety show.  I don’t really know what that means, but I’m assuming there will be singing and dancing because it’s Neil Patrick Harris.  I keep hoping he’ll be able to get some How I Met Your Mother gags in, but we’ll see.

I love pretty much everything that NPH does, and I have very high hopes for this one.

Last but not least, The CW has decided to spin a show off of their shared Arrow/Flash world.

DC's Legends of TomorrowDC’s Legends Of Tomorrow – “When heroes alone are not enough… the world needs legends. Having seen the future, one he will desperately try to prevent from happening, time-traveling rogue Rip Hunter is tasked with assembling a disparate group of both heroes and villains to confront an unstoppable threat – one in which not only is the planet at stake, but all of time itself. Can this ragtag team defeat an immortal threat unlike anything they have ever known? The cast includes Victor Garber (The Flash); Brandon Routh (Arrow); Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who); Caity Lotz (Arrow); Dominic Purcell (The Flash) and Wentworth Miller (The Flash).”

There is so much awesome in this trailer that I’m kind of amazed that it got pushed to television so fast- it’s a Justice-League-esque show without most of the actual comics Justice League.    Add to that a live-action Hawk Girl, live-action Firestorm, an Atom who actually shrinks, and a live-action Vandal Savage… I’m damned impressed.  I kind of wonder who they’ll get to play Savage, though.

What do you think about these new shows?  Are you getting burnt out on all the comics on television?