This past week, the television network upfronts have been taking place. It’s kind of a big week, TV-wise: networks announce which shows won’t be returning and which will as well as unveiling the new shows that will debut in the fall. Each network carves out some time and unveils their new schedule, offering clips of new shows and talking them up to advertisers and journalists. If you aren’t a total pop culture geek like I am, it’s probably not that big a deal to you. If you are like me, though, upfronts week is kind of exciting.
There’s been a lot of great coverage on the Internet over the past week. Pajiba’s done a great analysis of each network’s new shows. NY Mag’s Vulture has been providing some insightful coverage as well. If you want quick coverage or just a peek at what’s been announced, zap2it.com is probably your best bet.
Instead of rehashing every new show that has been announced, I thought I’d talk about the ones that I’m most looking forward to. How’s that sound, readers? Good? Good.
Fair warning: While I appreciate programming that could be considered “really great,” I also like a fair bit of camp. I tend to shy away from procedurals (except for when I binge on L&O:SVU marathons when I’m hung over) and I give animated series a wide berth (except for Daria. I still miss you!).
NBC (12 new scripted shows: 6 fall: 6 mid-season):
First of all, big ups to NBC for renewing Parenthood for a third season. EVERYONE WATCH THIS SHOW.
That being said, there’s not a lot of new programming that I’m looking forward to. The only show I intend to watch is the mid-season drama Smash, and that has more to do with a morbid curiosity than anything else. The basic premise is this: it’s a musical drama that chronicles the ups and downs of life on Broadway as a group of people try to get a musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe made. It sounds like a total disasterpiece, which means that I’m totally there. The cast includes Debra Messing, Anjelica Huston and Katharine McPhee (let’s try not to focus on that last part so much, mmkay?), and the production team behind the show is pretty impressive as well: Stephen Spielberg’s on board, as are some heavy-weights in the playwright/musical composer worlds.
The only other show worth mentioning is NBC’s blatant rip-off of Mad Men: The Playboy Club, a drama that takes place in the early 60′s inside the Playboy Club (duh) in Chicago. It’s supposed to be full of drama and intrigue as the bunnies rub shoulders (or boobs) with mobsters, politicos, and celebrities. The show stars Eddie Cibrian (ahaha I know), Amber Heard (she was the zombie neighbor in Zombieland), and David Krumholtz. It looks pretty terrible, but Brian Grazer is listed as a producer, and the director of the pilot has done work for Mad Men (see what I mean?). It looks pretty awful, and I’m already offended by the outfits, but I’ll probably watch the pilot.
CBS (6 new shows: 5 fall; 1 mid-season):
I don’t watch CBS. Like, ever. Most of their programming is aimed at a slightly older audience (I hope), and as previously mentioned, procedurals and I don’t get along very well. But there is one show premiering this fall that I have a mild interest in: 2 Broke Girls. The half-hour comedy (with a laugh track…ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww) is about two girls who work at a greasy diner. They form a friendship in hopes of leaving the diner and starting their own business venture. On its own, this wouldn’t be enough for me to watch it. But. But! It stars Kat Dennings, one of my very biggest girl crushes. It also stars Beth Behrs (Castle, NCIS: Los Angeles). After watching the recently-released clip for it, I can’t say I have much hope for the series. But I owe it to my secret girlfriend (just kidding I’m not a stalker I swear) to at least watch the pilot.
ABC (13 new shows: 7 fall; 6 mid-season):
First of all, props to ABC for renewing Happy Endings. So exciting!
That being said, ABC beats out all the other networks in terms of sheer number of shows I’m interested in. First up is the much-hyped jigglefest Charlie’s Angels reboot, which looks pretty terrible. I have a love/hate relationship with Minka Kelly, and while I haven’t really heard of Rachael Taylor or Annie Ilonzeh, there’s certainly enough pretty to go around. The show takes place in Miami and features the three beauties (their looks are mentioned in every press release and article I’ve read about the show) who are described as “fearless detectives and close friends.” Um, okay. Not going to lie, you guys: I’m watching this one for the unintentional laughs.
Once Upon a Time is the network’s fairy-tale drama from some of LOST’s executive producers. It stars Ginnifer Goodwin, who I really like, and Jennifer Morrison, who I want to force-feed a sandwich (does anyone else remember that throwaway line on House several years ago where he says something like: “There’s no way you’re menstruating. You’re way too thin.”? Anyone?) It doesn’t look great by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m willing to give it a try.
Revenge is one that I haven’t heard much about, which isn’t a great sign. It stars Emily Van Camp (Everwood, Brothers & Sisters) and Madeleine Stowe. It’s about a woman who returns to the Hamptons to exact revenge for something terrible that happened to her years ago. It’s…probably not going to be around for very long, but I do love Van Camp, so I’ll probably turn in.
Okay. I don’t want to want to watch this one…but I kind of do. It’s a mid-season replacement, and it stars Krysten Ritter (Veronica Mars, Breaking Bad) as a midwestern girl who moves to NYC only to find herself unemployed and in dire need of a new roommate situation. What’s notable about the show is that it also stars James van der Beek as HIMSELF.
Watch the clip and tell me what you think?
FOX (9 new shows: 5 fall; 4 mid-season):
Just two shows caught my attention. The first is the Zoe Deschanel comedy New Girl (which is a working title). In it, Deschanel stars as a nerdy hipster girl (who is totally a manic pixie dream girl come to life) breaks up with her boyfriend and ends up moving in with three bros. It looks…problematic, but I like Deschanel, and there’s always the possibility that the comedy could find its legs. It also stars Max Greenfield, Jake Johnson, and Damon Wayans, Jr. (who will likely have to be recast, since he’s also on Happy Endings? I’m not sure how this will work).]
Terra Nova is probably the network’s most-hyped new show, simply because it looks pretty expensive. The premise is this: a family goes back in time to prehistoric Earth in order to try to save the human race. Pssh. It stars virtually no names I recognize (and I am the authority on this, obviously), but it’s backed by Steven Spielberg and Rene Echevarria, so it’s bound to be…flashy.
The CW (6 new shows: 4 fall; 2 mid-season):
Hart of Dixie (seriously terrible title) stars Rachel Bilson as a doctor, so we already know that this is hardcore fiction. It also has the adorable (and resilient) Jaime King in it. Basically, a young doctor winds up in a small Southern town to work as a doctor after her mentor dies and leaves her half of his practice. It’s kind of like Everwood, only younger and prettier (if that’s even possible).
Ringer was originally optioned for CBS, but they passed it off to their sister network. It stars Sarah Michelle Gellar (in her first TV role since Buffy) as a woman on the run from her past or something. To be honest, I don’t really care what it’s about. It’s got Gellar, which is good enough for me.
The Secret Circle has been lauded as the perfect companion piece to The Vampire Diaries. It’s about a teenage girl who moves in with her grandmother after the death of her mother. The town is actually full of witches, and they’ve been waiting for her to arrive to complete their circle. It’s going to be really bad, you guys, and it’s likely to be the perfect companion to The Vampire Diaries. The only name I recognized in the cast was Natasha Henstridge. It’s produced by Kevin Williamson and a bunch of other people from TVD, so I think we’re in for more of the same, only with 95% more witchiness.
That’s about it, folks. What do you think? What shows are you looking forward to?