Sunday, 20 May 2012

Upfronts 2012: Picked Up & Passed On

So it's been a busy week of Upfronts over in the States with the five Network channels assembling their 2012/3 TV slate. I've been following closely, hoping some of the promising shows I highlighted in the Pilots season would also attract the big bosses who would duly order them up for a whole series. The shows I picked out haven't done terribly well - ABC the worst case where it only took notice of one of the six shows I wrote about! But there's more than enough to chew over during the Summer months even if sadly nothing looks "amazing". Here's what went down (and of course there's no CBS as it's shit):

Picked Up

The Following (will premiere Mondays, mid-season)

The Kevin Williamson/Kevin Bacon serial killer drama was the one shining light in an otherwise bland offering from Fox, and thank goodness they sensibly picked it up. Now under its new, and worse, title The Following (previously Mastermind), the drama will likely premiere in January, though luckily for us a full length trailer was released at the Upfront presentation last week. It's quite possibly my favourite of all the new shows - it looks like it has some real class to it, and as long as it's well written and oozing suspense, it could become very addictive indeed. One to look forward to!

Other News
  • Alcatraz officially cancelled after just one season (well, they did kill off their main character...)
  • Britney Spears has joined as new host on the revamped The X Factor
  • Fringe gets a last half season send-off
  • Touch moves to Fridays (cough) as a lead in to Fringe
  • New Girl stays put on Tuesdays
  • See all the new shows and jostlings here.

Picked Up

Next Caller (will premiere mid-season)

NBC have picked up the only interesting sounding comedy from their pilots, and whilst that's a good thing, the clips that were released for Next Caller - about an obnoxious alpha male who gets a new female co-host - both made me squee and yelp. Jeffrey Tambor will not be a cameo but a fixed star - he's playing the station manager - but it didn't make me laugh, either. Only six episodes have been ordered and it will premiere mid season, after the hierarchy of comedies 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation and (my new favourite) Community have all been packed away.

Revolution (Mondays)

Another highlight for me for the new season - the JJ Abrams/Eric Kripke drama about a world surviving without electricity was ordered to series at the Upfronts. The trailer looks eerily reminiscent of Heroes with a little bit of Flashforward thrown in, though neither of those shows come from the Revolution creators, so that gives us some hope. The central plot is a little yawnsome and it all goes full blown Lost in the end - I see more of Abrams than Kripke so far - but I am intrigued by the inspired set-pieces, and use of bow and arrows and knives rather than the slick, modern gun power we're used to seeing on other shows. And Gus is a war lord! On horseback! Could be epic, but could also be cancelled just as easy.

Hannibal and Crossbones (mid-season)
These two dramas have snuck in off my radar, primarily because they were ordered straight to series from the original pitch and no pilot was needed (though Crossbones took everybody by surprise by being a last minute addition on the actual Upfronts day). Both will premiere mid-season with 13 and 10 episodes respectively, though there are plans for more if they go down well. Hannibal comes from Pushing Daisies/Dead Like Me creator Bryan Fuller, and centres on the early life of notorious killer and literary heavyweight Hannibal Lecter, back when he was a psychiatrist and just "interested" in death. The titular character has yet to be cast, but Hugh Dancy (Martha Marcy May Marlene et al) is attached as the FBI agent working with Hannibal, but yet to realise what danger he poses. Crossbones meanwhile is something I've been longing for for a while - a pirate drama! Set in the 1700s it will follow Blackbeard a plunderin' and a scavengin'. No cast details as yet. It is based on the book The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodward, so should have some direction.

Passed On

Beautiful People - boo, this one looked great!

Friday Night Dinner - oh well, the superior UK version's Series 2 starts very soon on C4

Midnight Sun - this one had great potential too! Damn you, NBC

The Frontier - I suppose I'll take pirates over cowboys...

Other News
  • The network has picked up seven new comedies, including Ryan Murphy's The New Normal (which I'm eh about) and Go On, starring Matthew Perry.
  • This is probably because - as previously mentioned - 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation and Community will all be finishing this year with mini seasons.
  • The snoozefests Grimm and Smash were both renewed, and the latter will have a new showrunner - but unlikely to make it any more watchable, as it's Gossip Girl's Josh Safran.
  • Awake has been officially cancelled (good job I didn't get into it, then. Sorry Sky Atlantic peeps!)
  • See all the other bits and bobs here.

Picked Up

Beauty and the Beast (Thursdays)

Mi God this looks awful - I wasn't too enthusiastic writing up the pilot to begin with, but now seeing it in front of me I just want all the electricity in the world to just disappear so I don't have to watch it... (ahem). So the set up looks like Beauty (Kristen Kreuk, who annoys me already) is saved by the Beast (Jay Ryan, pretty and hairy it seems) after gun men kill off her mother but are seemingly too incompetent to knock her off also (THEY HAVE A CLEAR SHOT, DAMMIT). So who is after her, and why did he save her, and will they finally meet one another and form a connec- oh zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

The Carrie Diaries (will premiere Mondays mid-season)
Now, there was a trailer released for this yesterday, despite it not premiering until Gossip Girl finishes mid season, but Warner Bros have already removed it for copyright seasons. Not entirely sure why (unless it was rubbish, ha!) and unfortunately I didn't get to see it either before it was taken down, so can't give you any indication as to what it's like - but then again I guess we already know, don't we? This was a shoo-in to get picked up, and is perfectly placed to step into the Jimmy Choos of Gossip Girl, only it'll be set in the 1980s so hopefully it shouldn't all be same old-same old - a different style and soundtrack for a start!

Cult (will premiere mid-season)
I'm still not 100% sold on this show, and it seems like the CW aren't either, as it will premiere mid-season, either with a later time slot or on the basis something else will have been cancelled by then (Dear CW, just cancel Beauty and the Beast quickly and pair Cult with The Vampire Diaries on Thursdays). And because of this, no trailer either, but the first promo pic has emerged, and by "cult" they actually do mean a cult - a Martha Marcy May Marlene style cult complete with guitar:

she... she's just a picture (oh hai Jo!)
Hopefully this will be clever and not too "complex", falling into the death spiral ala Ringer (because apparently CW viewers just can't cope with too many twists and turns).

Passed On

The Selection* - not officially picked up, but not dead in the water either. Apparently the pilot didn't go down too well with execs, but they saw enough promise to put in some time to "re-work" it, so this could still appear mid-season, though again, I suppose it will depend on cancellations and whether the Network are satisfied with it.

Shelter - this has definitely been passed up and won't be appearing at all.

Other News
  • Ringer finally officially cancelled after months of speculation along with The Secret Circle, but Hart of Dixie and Nikita survive!
  • Gossip Girl gets a finale season, but will only run September to December 
  • Supernatural bizarrely moves to Wednesdays to partner Revenge-meets crossbow drama Arrow - that's moving from Fridays people, to a normal not flogging a dead horse timeslot. Are they trying to turn me insane?
  • America's Next Top Model takes Supernatural's place on a Friday, and after sacking the J's and Nigel Barker (but keeping the South Park caricature Kelly Cutrone) have announced two new judges: stylist Johnny Wujek and model Rob Evans. The next Cycle - the 19th - will also include new audience online voting on the CW website - unconfirmed yet whether this will be open outside the US (probs not, hu).
  • Full line up here.

Picked Up

666 Park Ave (Sundays)

I'm really happy this has been picked up - ABC seems to have ignored all my other picks! - but the trailer is very cheesy. I think that's the real trouble I'm having with this Network at the moment - even though it's home to some of my favourite shows, they're so skewed towards the family/mums demographic that they don't go dark enough with some enticing premises (Once Upon A Time could be so much better than it is). 666 Park Avenue is going to be horror lite, and worryingly looks like it may cross into the OTT silly subgenre of that. I hope this is just a case of early exposition, and is able to turn on the creepy.

Passed On

Americana - no room for the fashion designer soap

Beauty and the Beast - the more interesting of the two B&Bs got no interest, sadly

Gilded Lilys - probably because of John Barrowman

Gotham - probably because it's Grimm and its lead was unknown

Scruples - no Natalie on TV just yet :(

Other News
  • What we all knew already - Pan Am was shelved, along with The ghastly River.
  • Revenge moves from Wednesdays to Sundays, meaning a 3 hour block of potentially awesome television with Once Upon A Time and 666 Park Ave.
  • The hilarious Don't Trust The B--- In Apartment 23 has been given a full series order, and Season 2 will debut in September on Tuesdays
  • Suburgatory stays on Wednesdays
  • Mistresses - which I'm only mentioning here because it features the lovely Alyssa Milano RITE - will most likely run over the 2013 Summer months
  • And the rest of the goss here.

With the majority of shows not turning up until the Winter, I'll be tuning into 666 Park Avenue and Revolution come September, and possibly giving Beauty and The Beast a go if I'm feeling generous. Let me know what you guys are most looking forward to!

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