Upfronts and Looking Forward to the Fall

five_networksOk guys…this week was Upfronts in New York, so it’s time to talk some TV. All the networks have decided on their new pilots, canceled shows that weren’t pulling in the viewers, and released their fall schedules. This is a summary of my thoughts, including full schedules, what I’m mad about, and what I’m excited for. I’m not getting into mid-season stuff, but I will say I’ve read the pilot for The 100 (The CW), and it’s garbage. I’ve also seen the pilot for Killer Women (ABC), and it too is garbage.

Let me begin with expressing my disappointment about two pilots in particular that weren’t picked up: BLINK and Mulaney.

saraff__130403164548-200x266I’m not-so-secretly stalking BLINK creator Vera Herbert. Her twitter is hilarious. She’s like a year or two younger than me, wrote an adorable short in college called ZomRomCom: The Musical, which is a musical about a scientist falling in love with a zombie (yes I dug through the internet and read it), and then worked as an assistant on Awkward., which is one of the best shows ever. She’s like 24 and not only was her BLINK pilot ordered by the CW, but she had a feature script put on the blacklist. It’s now being produced. BLINK is about a man who goes into a coma but can hear everything that’s going on around him, and his daughter struggling with it. It’s a darker family dramedy and seemed like it had a lot of buzz. Unfortunately, the CW passed. I’d love to see the pilot though, if anyone like has it or anything.

Mulaney was the multi-cam semi-biographical comedy from SNL writer John Mulaney. I LOVE Mulaney’s stand-up and his work on SNL, as well as The Kroll Show. This pilot also starred Nasim Pedrad, Martin Short (!!!!), Elliot Gould, and had a cameo from Jimmy Fallon. I guess we’ll never know how genius it could’ve been. I’m voting for Mulaney as the next Weekend Update Anchor!

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Here’s a great link to 10 pilots that sounded amazing and were passed over.

Many good shows were killed over the course of the year. Allow me to list the ones I’m most upset over:

  • Happy Endings
  • The Mob Doctor
  • 666 Park Avenue
  • Ben & Kate
  • Don’t Trust  the B—- in Apt. 23
  • Deception
  • Up All Night (although it became serious garbage so maybe I’m not that sad)

Also, just for good measure, I will NEVER get over The Secret Circle‘s cancellation last year. Ever. But hopefully this summer’s Under the Dome will quench my thirst for Britt Robertson (SOSOSOEXCITED!!).

Now on to what’s happening in the fall:

Below are screenshots taken from Entertainment Weekly’s schedule they put together, because let’s face it, I’m lazy. If you want to check out TV Guides Fall Schedule, you can here. It’s the same, but I won’t pretend to know your preferences in terms of layout. New shows are in yellow!

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Alright, let’s talk about Monday’s lineup. I generally only watch Castle or sometimes Hawaii Five-0 on network on Mondays, but with the new pilots who knows. Here are their descriptions, along with my personal side notes:

CBS’s We Are Men, Monday @ 8:30: (Taken from CBS’s site) Starting over has never been so funny when, left at the altar, Carter moves into a furnished short term rental complex until he can put his life back together. He soon finds camaraderie with three residents, me who, combined, are six-time losers in the marriage department. With all their accumulated wisdom, they are eager to take Carter under their wing and share their insights into the opposite sex. Starring multi-Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub, Jerry O’Connell, Kal Penn and Chris Smith.

Is it just me, or was this shot at the Oakwoods?? Despite this been ALL MEN with what seems to be the singular goal of objectifying women, this looks pretty funny. I really really hope they get some strong female characters in there somehow, or I’m going to be too pissed to enjoy the show. The cast is amazing, however I feel like if this were on the chopping block, it wouldn’t last.

Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, Monday @ 9:00: By some amount of witchery that also involves George Washington’s Bible, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) has risen from an eternal sleep looking hot as all hell and ready to battle the Headless Horsman. Of course, it’s the 21st century so there are some people asking questions. This obviously looks ridiculous, but judging by how much people jizz over Once Upon A Time I wouldn’t rule it out. I also will probably enjoy it, as I’m a fan of ridiculousness. The Headless Horseman was also one of the only stories that truly scared the shit out of me as a kid. I can’t explain why, but it really got to me.

CBS’s Mom, Monday @ 9:30: (Taken from CBS’s site) From Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory creator, Chuck Lorre, comes his next big comedy — an irreverent and outrageous take on true family love and dysfunction. A newly sober single mom struggles to raise two children in a world full of temptations and pitfalls. Testing her sobriety is her formerly estranged mother, back in her life and chock-full of passive aggressive insights into her many mistakes. Starring Anna Faris and Allison Janney.

I like the sobriety angle, and I think this role sounds like a good one for Faris, but frankly I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Anna Faris to begin with. I’m hoping this will off-set We Are Men, but I really wish this multi-cam, (brilliant) female driven comedy were a bit more gritty. It’s about three generations of fucked up women, do we really need the laugh track and blowout lighting? Not to mention the misrepresentation of how a single mother in that situation lives.

CBS’s Hostages, Monday @ 10:00:  (Taken from CBS’s site) From executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer comes a serialized drama about a family taken hostage in their own home. Toni Collete stars as a surgeon caught in the middle of a grand political conspiracy, who is ordered to assassinate the President of the United States in order to save her family. Dylan McDermott stars as the lead hostage taker compelled to do the wrong thing for the right reasons in this taut drama filled with unexpected twists and turns. Also starring Tate Donovan, Billy Brown, Sandrine Holt and Rhys Coiro.

This seems very high-concept, kind of like The Following, but it could definitely work. The cast is also really impressive, and I’m intrigued by the behind the scenes below, so I’m definitely going to jump on board with this.

NBC’s The Blacklist, Monday @ 10:00: This show looks like every other show ever mashed up into one. Right now, for me, it looks like garbage. This very well might become a Person of Interest situation, however, where I think it’s awful but the rest of the world loves it. But I mean, they took that one scene straight from Se7en. STRAIGHT FUCKING FROM IT! And how many times have we seen the dangerous/powerful/psycho convict walking into the arms of authority in order to assist them or use them for their own devices. My love for James Spader transcends all, however, so I guess I’ll check it out…ugh.

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Tuesday… So everyone is talking about how baller ABC was for loading an entire night with fresh pilots. Nothing to lead them in with. I’m positive that they think this will be a good idea because of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which presumably will draw everyone in the world. It probably will. I know I’m excited! Anyway, this will be a tough night for me come fall due to awesome-overload, but what will probably end up happening is that my ass will be Fox’s and I’ll catch everything else online later.

ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Tuesdays @ 8pm: Reprising his role as a not-quite-dead Agent Phil Coulson, Clark Gregg will lead a group of young agents into battles of epic proportions, one would assume. From what I can glean from the trailer below, Coulson and his new second are building a team of (what is probably) lesser Avengers characters. The show will be run by Joss Whedon’s brother Jed and his lovely wife and producing partner Maurissa Tancharoen.

Fox’s Dads, Tuesdays @ 8pm: I have a hard time with more recent multi-cams, and this one seems pretty standard… two young, kind of professional dudes/roomies/bffs suddenly have their dads living with them, and it’s funny. I normally wouldn’t bother, but Giovanni Ribisi and Seth Green are the leads, and, oh yeah, it was created by Alec Sulkin. I still don’t think it looks funny, but I’ll probably try to catch an ep or two.

Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Tuesdays @ 8:30: Not sure why this is listed as Brooklyn Nine-West above, but whatever. I can’t even begin to discuss how high my hopes are for this show. There’s a possibility I’ll be heartbroken, but for now I’m going to stay positive. Also, there’s a glimpse of Chelsea Peretti. I don’t know if I can fully describe to you how much I love Chelsea Peretti, but she’s a comedy goddess. Full-frontal, comedy goddess.

the-originalsThe CW’s The Originals, Tuesdays @ 8:00: The backdoor pilot for this TVD spin-off aired a few weeks ago as an episode of The Vampire Diaries. It takes Klaus, one of several original vampire siblings (and also a werewolf hybrid) back to New Orleans, a town he made great centuries ago. It has since slipped from his control and into the hands of one of his vamp offspring, Marcel. From what I can guess, The Originals will be set in NOLA and focus on the relationship between vampire, werewolves and witches…much like TVD. I’m tempted by the idea of old world vampires. That creepy Victorian gothic atmosphere gets me every time (which is why I’ll be tuning into Dracula…see way below). I’m also in love with New Orleans. The French Quarter is one of the most hauntingly beautiful places I’ve ever been. This show has a ton of potential, and as a fan of TVD I’ll be sure to put this on my regular schedule. I will say, however, that a lot of this stuff is getting old. TVD blows through story like none other, but at times it can be exhausting. Let’s see what The Originals can offer. If you want to see the pilot, just go to the TVD page on Hulu and watch the episode titled “The Originals”.

ABC’s The Goldbergs, Tuesdays @ 9:00: I’ve actually already seen The Goldbergs pilot, and I really liked it! It’s a pretty typical pilot, but I think the show has some promise. It’s heavily autobiographical about creator Adam Goldberg’s family growing up in the ’80s. It will be just another fun family oriented comedy, with a lot of foul mouths and feathered hair. Jeff Garlin and Wendi McLendon-Covey are fucking brilliant, but when are they not? I hope this show survives, but I am worried that it will be eaten by the higher concept comedies, lowest-common denominator multi-cams, and similar pilots (I’m looking at you, Surviving Jack).

ABC’s Trophy Wife, Tuesdays @ 9:30: From Sarah Haskins and Private Practice‘s Emily Halpern, this cute little comedy starring Malin Akerman is about a reformed party-girl socialite trying to fit in with her new husband’s (Bradley Whitford) family, and multiple ex-wives (played by the stunning Marcia Gay Harden and Michaela Watkins). She struggles to rapidly change her lifestyle, gain the trust of the family, and grow up herself. It’s like Stepmom on crack. I’m really looking forward to it!

ABC’s Lucky 7, Tuesdays @ 10:00: It’s a drama about people who work in a gas station and then win the lottery for an absurd amount of money. But of course, more money  = more problems. Not to mention the crazy problems it looks like they already had. I’m interested in this one, but we’ll see where it goes.

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ABC’s Back in the Game, Wednesdays @ 8:30: A young woman (Maggie Lawson) dealing with a bad divorce moves back in with her Dad (James Caan) and starts couching a rag-tag, underdog little league team full of all the kids rejected from the one already in place…including her son. In the process, she mends things with her father and finds herself. Looks cute! I’ll check it out, but it might not keep my interest.

The CW’s The Tomorrow People, Wednesdays @ 9:00: This awesome looking scifi show about secretly evolved super-humans known as homo-superiors, or Tomorrow People, has me all kinds of excited! And it’s the perfect companion for Arrow. The Tomorrow People is a reboot of the 1970s British series that has been remade two other times. I’ve never seen any of those other versions, but I think this series, headed by Phil Klemmer, will do the property justice, if not surpass it. The CW is really doing a good job at collecting a nice blend of high concept dramas and fun soapy fare. I think they’ll be broadening their viewership nicely with this one.

ABC’s Super Fun Night, Wednesdays @ 9:30: This is the much talked about Rebel Wilson comedy with the not-that-great pilot. This show is going on Wilson’s stardom alone. I’m a huge fan of Wilson’s and also the concept of socially awkward women trying to break out and have lives. The trailer for it doesn’t look too great, but if they can get their shit together this show could really take off!

NBC’s Ironside, Wednesdays @ 10:00: This remake of the 1967 series stars Blair Underwood and looks good. Really good. Like The Shield good. He’s a bad ass cop in a wheel chair, but it’s never gimmicky. And I’m sensing some anti-hero goodness to go with those inner demons.

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ABC’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Thursdays @ 8:00: This highly anticipated spin-off of the ever popular Once Upon a Time  stars Sophie Lowe as Alice. I’m not a fan of Once Upon a Time. I’ve tried MULTIPLE times to get into it. I can’t even really pin down why I don’t like it. But I really really love Alice in Wonderland, so I’m going to give this one a shot. Based on the preview, I feel like I’ll like it better than it’s predecessor.

CBS’s The Millers, Thursdays @ 8:30: With Will Arnett, Margo Martindale, J.B. Smoove, Beau Bridges, and Mary Elizabeth Ellis, this might be the only multi-cam I stick with! It’s your classic CBS fare…disfunctional broken family with childlike adults trying to get back on track, but it does look funny!

NBC’s Welcome to the Family, Thursdays @8:30: This single camera sitcom starring Mike O’Mally and Mary McCormack follows the Yoder family who is beyond happy that their helpless daughter actually graduated from highschool and will be moving on, and therefore no longer their problem. Unfortunately, her polar-opposite, valedictorian, preppy boyfriend knocks her up, and two completely different families are forced together with volatile consequences. I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but I think this looks really good. It might get lost in the shuffle, as it’s just another comedy revolving around a pregnancy, but in comedy there are really only like 3 or 4 devices that drive a show. Get over it, people.

CBS’s The Crazy Ones, Thursdays @ 9:00: Robin Williams makes his return with Sarah Michelle Gellar as the straight woman. This comedy about a father-daughter run ad agency seems a bit different for CBS…mainly because it’s a single camera with decent talent (sorry I’m so mean to CBS). I’m not sure this one will last, and I’m really on the fence about it. I’ll check it out, nonetheless.

NBC’s Sean Saves the World, Thursdays @ 9:00: Sean Hayes plays a single gay father whose daughter moves in with him at the same time a new shitty boss (my lover, Thomas Lennon) starts giving him more shit. And OF COURSE his crazy, intrusive, disapproving mother, played by the fab Linda Lavin, has to suddenly show up and get in his business. I honestly don’t know how to feel. I love the cast, and I have a feeling it will do well, but I’m not sure I’ll stick with it.

The CW’s Reign, Thursdays @ 9:00: I am very excited for this show. Why? You ask?because I’m a fucking descendant of Mary Queen of Scots, that’s why (if you want to verify, I’m a Gordon…have fun). I also very much enjoy period dramas, especially ones that take place back in the times of functioning castles. This seems really different for the CW, so I’m hoping it finds a good foothold and sticks around for a while.

NBC’s The Michael J. Fox Show, Thursdays @ 9:30: YAAAYYY HE’S BACK!! A semi-biographical comedy about a workaholic who’s overcoming Parkinson’s and driving everyone by staying home…this is a man who clearly needs to get back into the game. When he decides to go back to work, hilarity ensues! This really looks great. Definitely a must watch!

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Fox’s Junior Masterchef, Fridays @ 8:00: I don’t usually pay attention to the cooking reality shows. Every once in a while I’ll get sucked in, but I much prefer Kitchen Nightmares. This could be interesting because it’s small children doing the cooking, so I’ll probably see how it goes. Don’t expect me to get really into it though.

NBC’s Dracula, Fridays @ 10:00: I know people are already bashing this show, but I am so fricken excited for it!! Jonathan Rhys Meyers (as Dracula), period drama, paranormal twist!??!? YES PLEASE! Dracula follows the notorious vampire as he travels to London under pretenses of introducing modern science, but we all know what he’s really after. It looks like we’ll be seeing some of the original characters from the book as well, making this the closest thing to the iconic novel that’s ever been a TV series (to my knowledge). When it comes to creepy gothic shit, I’m all over it. And I’m getting a little tired of dreamy teen blood-suckers (see my comments for The Originals). So bring it on, Dracula!

Picture 14No one gives a fuck about Saturday.

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ABC’s Betrayal, Sundays @ 10:00: Revenge, Scandal, Deception, now Betrayal. What next? Obsession? Inconvenience? Constipation? Anyway, this show looks like a white people version of that Tyler Perry movie that just came out (hilariously title Temptation… sensing a theme with titles here) with Kim Kardashian in it. It looks terrible. Not watching it.

So guys, that’s it for my comments on Fall 2013 pilots. I’ll be sure to peeper in my comments about summer shows and mid-season replacements, as well as those random ones that get thrown in when no one is looking.

What are you most excited for this coming fall??

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