Upfronts 2013: The CW Reveals Its Plans for the 2013-14 TV Season

Last but certainly not least, The CW rounds out the broadcast network Upfronts by unveiling its schedule for the new season. The CW is an interesting network; if you’ve read my blog before, you might have seen an extensive posting I wrote in regards to how I feel about the network, its shows, and its brand. With Gossip Girl and 90210 having ended their runs, it would certainly seem as though we are heading towards a new era for The CW. So how will the five new shows fare for the network? Let’s take a look at these new dramas.

THE 100 [Midseason] : 100 juvenile delinquents are among the lone survivors following a nuclear war that destroyed civilization. 97 years later, they are sent back to Earth to see if there is possibility of re-colonization. Going futuristic is a big risk in itself and you have to wonder where exactly they are planning to take this. What’s probably the most interesting is that the show is based on a series of books that haven’t been released yet.

THE ORIGINALS [Tuesdays @ 8]: An episode of The CW’s biggest hit, The Vampire Diaries, served as a backdoor pilot for this spinoff, which centers around Klaus (Joseph Morgan) returning to the New Orleans, a city he helped build centuries ago. Upon his return, he finds the city under the rule of his former protege, Marcel, a diabolical vampire whose ideals have become far removed from that of Klaus. Claire Holt (Rebekah) and Daniel Gillies (Elijah) will join Morgan in the series. To be honest, I didn’t really care much for the pilot, and I’m not sure if that’s because of the story or if it’s due to my declining interest in The Vampire Diaries, so I’m transferring those feelings onto this show. When the show actually premieres I might give it another try, but at this very moment, I can’t say that I’m all that excited about it. On a scheduling note, I guess The CW learned their lesson after pairing TVD with The Secret Circle two years ago: on paper, it made sense to pair them, but when you actually watch them back to back, it was all a little too much. So in a sense I suppose I’m happy that they didn’t go for the obvious scheduling here.

STAR-CROSSED [Midseason]: When an alien race land on Earth, they are immediately imprisoned in an internment camp. Ten years later, the Orion 9 are integrated into a high school, where one of their kind falls in love with a human girl. Their romance threatens the political peace of society. It’s easy to write this off as a futuristic take on the past, but until I see some footage, I’ll reserve my judgments.

THE TOMORROW PEOPLE [Wednesdays @ 9]: Keeping with the evident futuristic theme comes this show from Greg Berlanti and Julie Plec. Based on a UK series, the show focuses on the a group of young people (of course, it is The CW after all) who possess special powers and represent the next generation of human evolution. And if pop culture has taught us anything, it’s that if you have special powers (whether it be telekinesis, teleportation, telepathy) there will be evil forces out there either wanting your power or trying to destroy you “for the sake of mankind.” In all seriousness though, we have seen other shows and movies that are similar (X-Men and Heroes anyone?), but no matter how many times we see the “regular humans with super powers” get played out, it’s always fascinating. Count me in on this one.

REIGN [Thursdays @ 9]: Given the prime post-TVD timeslot and being the most different of the other newbies, is this show focused around the untold story of Mary Queen of Scots’ rise to power as she arrives in France at the age of 15. How’s THAT for different? We’ve seen shows focused on the past royals, historical intrigue, and the like, but those were/are on cable networks and MUCH more adult (see: The Tudors, The Borgias, and for good measure, Game of Thrones). So the fact that The CW is coming in with this is a huge leap of faith. Obviously, Mary Queen of Scots and her ladies-in-waiting represent the teenage demographic the network has always been going for, but everything else just seems so off-brand. So while I say kudos to the network for trying something very different, I’m not sure this is going to work. We’ll have to wait and see!

Scheduling notes:

  • The only 2 shows staying put in their timeslot are The Vampire Diaries (obviously) and Arrow.
  • With Arrow staying put on Wednesdays at 8, followed by The Tomorrow People, the Amells (Robbie, cousin to Stephen, is one of the leads on TTP) and Greg Berlanti (who executive produces both shows) rule The CW on Wednesdays!
  • Hart of Dixie moves back to Mondays, and is then followed by Beauty and the Beast.
  • Supernatural moves once again, this time to Tuesdays at 9, following The Originals.
  • The Carrie Diaries will now be paired up with America’s Next Top Model on Fridays. This pairing makes SO much more sense than ANTM and Nikita ever did (no, I’m still not over that).
  • Speaking of Nikita, it is with a great deal of sadness that I have to write that next season will be its last, with only 6 episodes. And it’s being held off until midseason, which pretty much just means delaying the inevitable end. Anyone who knows me (or have read the blog) knows that I LOVE Nikita and I’m not ready to process the thought of not having the show anymore. 6 episode final season is better than straight cancellation. But the funny thing is when the final seasons of Chuck and Fringe were announced, I was okay with it and yet with this, I just can’t…

Anyways, that is it for the broadcast network Upfronts! For full descriptions of the new shows, check out Deadline.com.

Upfronts 2013: CBS Unveils Schedule for 2013-14 TV Season

Upfronts Week continues with CBS, the latest network to reveal its schedule for the new season. I’ve mentioned before how CBS isn’t really my network, with the only shows I watch on the network being How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Survivor, and The Amazing Race – 2 comedies, 2 reality shows, 0 dramas. I mean CBS is known for its procedural-type crime shows and I tend to veer away from that. Granted, I did use to watch Hawaii Five-0, but again, given it’s case-of-the-week storytelling, it became less of a priority for me to watch, and I only watch it once in a while. Question is: will that change with the new shows CBS ordered to series? We will have to wait and see.

All in all, the network ordered 5 comedies and 3 dramas.

CRAZY ONES [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9]: Robin Williams heads up this comedy about an ad exec, who works with his daughter, played by none other than Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar. It’s a family comedy, but it’s also a workplace comedy. Robin Williams returns to TV and SMG is doing comedy! (And it’s actually a comedy, not the unintentional comedy that was Ringer.) I hope the writing is smart and doesn’t overindulge Williams’ brand of comedy (if you’ve seen some of his movies as of late, you’ll know what I mean when I say he’s been kind of one-note), because this has such great potential to be a hit for CBS.

FRIENDS WITH BETTER LIVES [Comedy – Midseason]: You get to a certain age where you start comparing your life to that of your friends, and this comedy follows a group of thirtysomething friends who all think the others have it better. James Van Der Beek, Brooklyn Decker, Majandra Delfino, and Kevin Connolly are among the cast.

MOM [Comedy – Mondays @ 9:30]: If FOX is the Seth MacFarlene network, CBS is the Chuck Lorre network, as Lorre continues his dominance at the network with his 4th show, this one starring Anna Faris. The show centers around Christy, a single mother waitress, who is four months sober and what happens when her estranged, recovering alcoholic of a mother (played by Allison Janney) reappears in her life. The combination of Anna Faris and Allison Janney have got to be hilarious right? Let’s hope so.

THE MILLERS [Comedy – Thursdays @ 8:30]: Will Arnett stars as Nathan, a recently divorced news reporter, looking forward to his new single life. Things don’t go as planned when his parents, played by Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges, suddenly decide to get divorced and thus impose on the lives of Nathan and his sister, Debbie. I feel like the cast alone is reason enough to tune in, and Will Arnett definitely deserves another show (besides Arrested Development) worthy of his hilarious comedic acting chops.

WE ARE MEN [Comedy – Mondays @ 8:30]: Four single guys (Chris Smith, Tony Shaloub, Kal Penn, Jerry O’Connell) living in a short-term apartment complex bond over their failed attempts at love. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this show just yet, based purely on the description. I think I’ll have to hold off until I see previews before making any decisions on it.

HOSTAGES [Drama – Mondays @ 10]: Continuing CBS’ casting jackpot this season is this show starring Toni Collette as a surgeon who finds herself caught in the middle of a political conspiracy when her family is taken hostage by a rogue FBI agent, played by Dylan McDermott. The show is set for a 15-episode run, which means this could be one of those limited series events the networks are touting, unless they find a way to keep the show going, while keeping it interesting. I’m certainly looking forward to this; I mean what’s not to love about a show that involves conspiracy theories?

INTELLIGENCE [Drama – Midseason, Mondays @ 10]: After Hostages finishes its run, this show will takes its place on the schedule with its own 13-episode run. Intelligence stars Josh Holloway as an operative who has a microchip implanted in his brain, which allows him to connect to the electromagnetic spectrum and access to the worldwide information grid. Not going to lie, but the first thing that came to mind when I heard about this show is Chuck, except more focus on the spy stuff and less on the nerdy comedy. I’m still going to watch it because it sounds cool, but I won’t be surprised if I start making references to Chuck and Sarah, when I see Holloway and Meghan Ory (as a Secret Service agent assigned to protect Holloway’s Gabriel – re: handler) together.

RECKLESS [Drama – Midseason]: Anna Wood and Cam Gigandet star as a city litigator and a Southern attorney, who have to hide their mutual attraction while working on opposite ends of a case involving a police sex scandal in Charleston, SC. On one side, it’s a legal show. On the other, CBS has another show in its lineup that manages to balance the legal aspects with a sexy sheen to it (The Good Wife), so there’s hope for this if the writing is there.

Notes about the schedule:

  • I think CBS is the one network that tends to keep their shows in one slot from season to season. They’ll only make changes to better integrate their new shows, and if it makes sense. With that being said, there were only a few big changes.
  • To further compete with NBC, CBS has now created a full Thursday night lineup of comedies (in addition to its Monday night comedies). The Big Bang Theory will continue to anchor the night, leading into new shows The Millers and The Crazy Ones, which will then be bookended by Two and a Half Men.
  • Making way for CBS’ new Thursday night of comedies, Person of Interest moves to Tuesdays at 10.
  • Hawaii Five-0 moves from its current Monday slot to Fridays @ 9.
  • Mike & Molly is being held off until midseason.
  • After it was teased on the finale that next fall’s edition of Survivor would be subtitled “Blood vs. Water,” the network confirmed that former players would be returning and playing against…their families! I am being completely honest when I say that I had a sense family was involved. I mean, “blood vs. water” for some reason made me think of the saying “blood is thicker than water.”
  • Next season, in case you haven’t heard, will be the final season of How I Met Your Mother. The executive producers have gone on record as saying the entirety of season 9 will take place at Robin & Barney’s wedding, with the gang meeting and getting to know “the mother” (revealed as being played by Broadway star Cristin Milioti in the season finale) before Ted meets her. Interesting…

Upfronts wraps up tomorrow with The CW revealing its schedule (hoping for more than 6-episodes of the presumably last season of Nikita!). Until then, head on over to Deadline.com for complete descriptions of all of CBS’ new shows and a full look at next season’s schedule.

Upfronts 2013: ABC Reveals Schedule for 2013-14 TV Season

We continue Upfronts with ABC. I’ve talked about how both NBC and FOX had some rough times this past season, but if we look simply at the pilots picked-up this time last year and which ones have survived to see another season, I think we can all agree that ABC had it the worst. None of their comedies did well, yet somehow critically-panned The Neighbors survived. Of all the dramas, only Nashville made it past its first season. This year, the network continues to try and find some future hits by adding 5 comedies and 7 dramas.

THE GOLDBERGS [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 9]: The series is inspired by executive producer Adam Goldberg’s experiences growing up in his lovingly screwed up family in the 80s. Family comedy set in the 80s, hilarity ensues? We’ll have to see.

MIXOLOGY [Comedy – Midseason]: This show follows a group of singles in a Manhattan bar, as they attempt to find love over the course of a night. Vanessa Lengies, Sarah Bolger, and Adan Canto are among the young stars of this show. We’ve seen ABC try to bring in a younger audience with some of their previous comedies – Happy Endings, Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23 – which struggled on the network. I’m hoping the network does a better job in promoting and getting the viewers they need for this show (working under the assumption that the show is good and funny).

VANESSA LENGIES, ADAN CANTO, CRAIG FRANK, ANDREW SANTINO, BLAKE LEE, GINGER GONZAGA, KATE SIMSES, ALEXIS CARRA, ADAM CAMPBELL, SARAH BOLGER

BACK IN THE GAME [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 8:30]: Maggie Lawson stars as a recently divorced single mother, who moves in with her estranged, former baseball player of a father played by James Caan. She reluctantly gets pulled back in to the world of sports when she agrees to coach her son’s Little League team. The hook obviously involves sports, but if they can make it so that it’s not all sports metaphors/jokes all the time, this could do really well for ABC.

SUPER FUN NIGHT  [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 9:30]: This show about a group of three friends who vow to have a fantastically fun night, every Friday was originally developed for CBS last pilot season. After it was retooled, the show landed at ABC, with the network hoping to cash in on Rebel Wilson’s growing popularity following the success of the movie Pitch Perfect. Clearly, they are banking on this show being a hit by giving it the post-Modern Family timeslot.

TROPHY WIFE [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 9:30]: Malin Akerman is a reformed party girl when she settles down with a man (played by Bradley Whitford) with three kids and two ex-wives. The whole dysfunctional family thing isn’t anything new, so it’s mostly dependent on the writing. I’ll check it out to see how it is before committing to it.

ALBERT TSAI, NATALIE MORALES, GIANNA LEPERA, RYAN SCOTT LEE, MALIN AKERMAN, BRADLEY WHITFORD, MARCIA GAY HARDEN, MICHAELA WATKINS

BETRAYAL [Drama – Sundays @ 10]: A married female photographer gets caught up in an affair with a lawyer, who happens to be defending the murder suspect her husband is prosecuting. Above all else, this show will come down to execution of plot. The logline mentions a series of betrayals for everyone involved that will have catastrophic results. I feel like this is a show that will probably be better off as sort of a one-season/limited series event than a full-fledged series because I fear that at some point the story might get so convoluted and dragged out. Also, I’m really hoping for a title change; I mean, ABC already has Revenge and now they have a show called Betrayal? Let’s work on that please? Definitely doesn’t help matters that they are paired up on Sundays, back to back.

JAMES CROMWELL, HENRY THOMAS, WENDY MONIZ, ELIZABETH MCLAUGHLIN, BRAEDEN LEMASTERS, STUART TOWNSEND, HANNAH WARE, CHRIS JOHNSON

MIND GAMES [Drama – Midseason]: Christian Slater and Steve Zahn star in this series by executive producer Kyle Killen about two brothers – one an ex-con, the other a bipolar genius – who use the science of human motivation and manipulation to help their clients. Never one to give up, Slater is once again back with another new show, hoping this will be the one that will make it. The show will most likely follow a case-of-the-week style format, but with Killen (who was responsible for NBC’s Awake) at the helm, I sense that there’s going to be much more to it than that and I’m quite looking forward to how this plays out.

GREGORY MARCEL, MEGALYN ECHIKUNWOKE, CHRISTIAN SLATER, STEVE ZAHN, WYNN EVERETT, CEDRIC SANDERS

KILLER WOMEN [Drama – Midseason]: Tricia Helfer plays Molly Parker, the only female in the usually all male Texas Rangers. There really isn’t much else to say about it beyond that. I love my shows with strong kick-ass females in the lead, but the whole lone female in a male dominated world aspect of it just seems a little old school? It’s an idea that is very much present in today’s society, but as a TV show, it’s not much of a hook.

LUCKY 7 [Drama – Tuesdays @ 10]: It’s the TV dramatization of what happens when a group of seven people win the lottery and how their lives change. The key point being made about the show is that each episode will focus on a different character, and if the show lives on for multiple seasons, each season will look at a different group with similar circumstances. I understand that they have an idea of how to sustain the series for multiple seasons, but I feel like it’s one those ideas where it’s better off just being a one-season show or, as networks want to call it these days, limited series events. I mean you get to a certain point and it’ll feel like you’ve seen it before. I will check it out just to see how they write it, but I don’t feel good about this show lasting.

RESURRECTION [Drama – Midseason]: The lives of the people in a town called Aurora are changed when the loved ones they once buried and mourned, return to the land of the living. You have to admit that sounds really interesting and I can’t wait to see it.

SAMAIRE ARMSTRONG, MARK HILDRETH, DEVIN KELLEY, KURTWOOD SMITH, OMAR EPPS, LANDON GIMENEZ, FRANCES FISHER, NICHOLAS GONZALEZ, MATT CRAVEN

ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND [Drama – Thursdays @ 8]: As the title suggests, this is a spin-off of Once Upon A Time, set in the world of Wonderland. There’s no doubt that I’ll be tuning in, given that I am a fan of OUAT. But it gives me a little pause to see that they put this in its own timeslot, instead of airing it during OUAT’s winter break, as was previously proposed/reported. Either they feel REALLY good about this show or they don’t have much faith in some of their other new dramas, particularly in this timeslot, which has been notoriously bad for the network.

SOPHIE LOWE

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. [Drama – Tuesdays @ 8]: The most highly anticipated show hands down of all the networks. From the moment they announced that a pilot was being made, every geek in the world knew and was anxiously awaiting official word that the show was getting picked-up. For the uninformed, this show follows the peacekeeping group known as SHIELD, found in the world of the Marvel comic books and films. And because it’s fiction, Agent Coulson (played by Clark Gregg), who was previously seen as very much dead in The Avengers film, is alive for the show! Let’s be honest though, unless the producers really screw it up, this show’s going to be a hit. Geeks FTW!

CHLOE BENNET, ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE, IAIN DE CAESTECKER, CLARK GREGG, MING-NA WEN, BRETT DALTON

Note about the schedule:

  • In order to make room for all their new shows, ABC has cut back the slightest bit on Dancing With The Stars. I was kind of hoping that it meant they would only do the show once a year, but turns out they’re just cutting the results show. I know I bag on all the reality shows for dragging out their results shows, when you really only need to watch the last 5 minutes, but even I have to admit (after last season’s results show-less SYTYCD) that the whole process runs more smoothly when there is that separate show. I’d rather have seen it reduce to 30 minutes, as opposed to the full hour, that way we can still see the pros dance on their own (which is honestly the only thing I’ve been watching this year of DWTS).
  • Critically-panned The Neighbors, which found itself getting a second season, has been moved to Fridays @ 8:30, following Last Man Standing.
  • The heartwarming and utterly charming (and hilarious!) Suburgatory is being held off until midseason, presumably to take the place of any of the network’s other comedies that might fail (too harsh?)
  • ABC’s plan in regards to Once Upon A Time, Revenge, and Scandal, is to separate their seasons into two batches of 12 episodes, giving the shows one long winter break instead multiple little annoying breaks all season.

For more on next season’s lineup at ABC, head on over to Deadline. Tomorrow, it’s CBS’ turn to take the stage.

Upfronts 2013: FOX Schedules the 2013-14 TV Season

After NBC’s announcement, we now see how FOX is scheduling its lineup for next season. Everyone has been bagging on NBC’s rough year, but having almost just a bad a season was FOX. Despite adding 2 big name stars in Britney Spears and the younger Demi Lovato to The X-Factor, that show saw its already modest ratings dwindle. Add to that the former juggernaut that is American Idol becoming mortal and seeing other shows (from The Voice to The Big Bang Theory and even Scandal) beating it in the ratings and sometimes in the demo, FOX was showing signs of weakness. Hopeful for better luck with next season’s batch of new shows, FOX picked up 5 comedies and 4 dramas.

DADS [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 8]: Seth MacFarlene continues his FOX dominance with this non-animated comedy starring Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi as two successful guys in their 30s, whose lives are turned upside down when their dads move in with them. MacFarlene has kind of proven himself as a funny guy, so I wouldn’t count him out on this show.

dads1

ENLISTED [Comedy – Fridays @ 9:30]: Executive producer Kevin Biegel brings us this comedy, loosely based on his relationship with his own siblings, about three different brothers who work together in the Army. The show stars Geoff Stults (another actor who is need of a show to become a hit), Chris Lowell, and Parker Young.

enlisted

US AND THEM [Comedy – Midseason]: Based on the UK series, Gavin and Stacey, the show follows a couple trying to make it work in a long distance relationship, along with dealing with their eccentric families. Before we’ve even seen a minute of this show, one of the funniest qualities of it is the casting of Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel as the couple in question. For the unfamiliar, they have a common thread in Lauren Graham, who played Bledel’s mom in Gilmore Girls and love interest to Ritter in Parenthood, and the connections you can make are pretty funny. Can’t wait to see this one, though I’m hoping FOX doesn’t screw this one like The Goodwin Games (oh yeah, I went there).

us-and-them

SURVIVING JACK [Comedy – Midseason]: Bill Lawrence earns another comedy in next season’s lineup, this time with an adaptation of Justin Halpern’s book “I Suck At Girls”, the follow-up to “S*** My Dad Says”, which tells the coming-of-age story of a boy and his father. One of the biggest aspects of this show was that they managed to get Chris Meloni (best known for his long-running role on Law & Order SVU, and his short run on True Blood last summer). As I said with NBC’s Undateable, also from Bill Lawrence, I’m hopeful just because he’s involved.

BROOKLYN NINE-NINE [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 8:30]: It’s a comedy based within a New York City cop precinct, which already makes it far more interesting than any other cop show. Most notable is that Andy Samberg lands his first TV gig after leaving SNL this season and Andre Braugher bounces back from last season’s short-lived Last Resort. Add to the fact that among the executive producers on the show is Mike Schur (Parks and Recreation), its safe to say I’ll be tuning in.

brooklyn-nine-nine

GANG RELATED [Drama – Midseason]: A gang member infiltrates the San Francisco Police Department and moves through its ranks, but then finds himself struggling to balance his loyalties to his crime family and to the SF Task Force, his “other” family. The show stars Ramon Rodriguez, Terry O’Quinn (also bouncing back from last season’s short-lived 666 Park Avenue), RZA, Jay Hernandez, and Shantel VanSanten. This reminds me a little of the movie The Departed (which of course was based on the Chinese films Infernal Affairs) and I’m quite interested in seeing how this show plays out.

gang-related

RAKE [Drama – Midseason Thursdays @ 9]: One of the biggest gets of the pilot season was the casting of Greg Kinnear in this series, based on an Australian series of the same name, about a brilliant criminal defense attorney, who has the inability to self-censor and be self-destructive. The way I see it, it’s a lawyer-version of House.

SLEEPY HOLLOW [Drama – Mondays @ 9]: Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci brings this modern-day supernatural thriller based on the stories of Sleepy Hollow. With such a known entity (similar to last season’s Elementary, telling a modern-day Sherlock Holmes) and with Kurtzman + Orci at the helm, I totally think that this could do really well.

sleepy-hollow

ALMOST HUMAN [Drama – Mondays @ 8]: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk & Joel Wyman team up again (Abrams & Burk executive produced Fringe, where Wyman was showrunner for most of its run) for this futuristic take on the buddy cop drama. In this show, all LAPD officers are paired with human-like androids. Karl Urban and Michael Ealy are paired up in this drama, and co-stars Minka Kelly, Lili Taylor, Mackenzie Crook, and Mekia Cox.

almost-human

Notes about the schedule:

  • In case you haven’t noticed, FOX does some very odd scheduling, part of which is due to them airing baseball and World Series, right around the start of the TV season.
  • Bones, which currently occupies the Mondays at 8 slot, will start off next season in that timeslot, but after baseball, they will move to Fridays at 8. It will be joined by Raising Hope at 9 and new comedy Enlisted at 9:30.
  • Almost Human and Sleepy Hollow will premiere on Mondays after baseball is over (a whole two hours of shows by the same people who brought me Fringe?! SOLD!), with The Following coming back sometime midseason, similar to this year.
  • Glee starts off next season in its regular timeslot before taking an extended break, allowing new drama Rake to take over its timeslot. Glee will then return sometime in the spring, with its remaining episodes running into summer.
  • FOX also announced that it will be bringing back 24 as a limited series event titled 24: Live Another Day.
  • Also, FOX has the pleasure of airing the Super Bowl next year, so they also announced that New Girl will be getting the coveted post-Super Bowl episode.
  • On the American Idol front, news broke out last week that after 12 seasons, Randy Jackson would be leaving the show. Though execs have said that they will be returning to a three-judge format once again, no word on whether current judges Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, and Nicki Minaj will be returning (my guess is no).

That’s it from FOX! Tomorrow, ABC is up with their pilot pick-ups and schedule for next season. If you’re looking for a more detailed description of your potential new favourites for next season, head on over to Deadline.

Upfronts 2013: NBC Releases Schedule for the 2013-2014 TV Season

I want to start off by saying that I have nothing but the deepest respect for TV reporters/journalists who actually have to follow all the renewals/cancellations/pilot pick-up shenanigans that come with broadcast network Upfronts. As a TV fan following all this news and writing about here, my head is spinning trying to keep track of all the new shows the networks have ordered. But of course, I don’t have to do this, I just choose to. So to all those who make a living out of doing this, I feel you.

With that being said, Upfronts are here again and NBC is up first, releasing their schedule today, ahead of its presentation to advertisers tomorrow. It’s been a rough year for the network, starting off the season as the #1 network with the aid of the fall cycle of The Voice, to going down to 4th after February sweeps. After a nearly clean sweep of its comedies and its new dramas (save for Revolution) not delivering as they had hope, NBC is hoping its pilot pick-ups for the new season will bring them back to #1. All in all, NBC has picked up 6 comedies and 5 dramas. Below, a look at the new shows, where they land on the schedule, and my initial thoughts.

ABOUT A BOY [Comedy – Midseason]: Based on the novel and movie of the same name, this new comedy brought to us by executive producer Jason Katims and Jon Favreau follows the bond formed between a bachelor man-child and the young boy and his mother who move in next door to him. The show stars David Walton, looking to finally score a TV hit, and Minnie Driver. Katims has proven himself on dramas Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, and though this is being dubbed as a comedy, I have the sense that this will veer towards dramedy. With Katims involved, there definitely isn’t anything wrong with that.

about-a-boy1

THE FAMILY GUIDE [Comedy – Midseason]: A son (whose future self is voiced by Jason Bateman, also an executive producer on the show) recounts how his family grew closer after his parents divorce. It would certainly seem as though NBC is getting back with a more family-oriented comedy line-up. J.K. Simmons is the father whom the son idolizes for not letting his blindness hinder his ability to anything. The role of the mother who post-divorce, suddenly finds her chance at a second adolescence, was originally played by Parker Posey in the pilot, but soon after news of the show getting picked-up, Posey left the show. So now the show is looking to recast the role. For me, I think I’ll have to wait and see how it looks and feel before committing to it.

UNDATEABLE [Comedy – Midseason]: Bill Lawrence brings a new show to NBC about a guy who thinks he’s a professional when picking up girls and finds himself teaching his roommate and his friends (the “undateables”) the way to the dating world. Though I appreciate some of the other shows Bill Lawrence has done (Cougar Town, Scrubs), I’m not entirely sold on this show. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched 8 seasons of How I Met Your Mother and this just reminds me of Barney teaching Ted the ways of picking up girls.

THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9:30]: Michael J. Fox’s return as lead on this show based loosely on his life (he previously appeared as a guest star on The Good Wife). Of note, this show has already been given a full 22-episode order, so obviously there is a lot of faith in it. I mean it’s Michael J. Fox’s big return! This is a big deal and is a sign of NBC trying to revive their “Must See TV.”

SEAN SAVES THE WORLD [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9]: Another big return is that of Sean Hayes, best known as Jack from Will & Grace. His new show centers around Sean, a divorced gay dad, who suddenly finds himself trying to parent his 14-year old daughter, who has moved in full-time with him. Sean Hayes was always one of the funniest parts of Will & Grace, so I’m quite excited to see how he does as lead of his own show. Over the years, he’s been doing shows on Broadway, as well as serving as an executive producer on Grimm, so it’s nice to see him back on TV.

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WELCOME TO THE FAMILY [Comedy – Thursdays @ 8:30]: Mike O’Malley (here to forth known as Burt Hummel, the best TV dad ever) stars in this show about two families, one Caucasian + one Latino, who bond over their children falling in love and expecting a child. I feel like it’ll be easy for them to make jokes about culture clashes, but if they can somehow move beyond the stereotypes, there might be hope for them yet.

NIGHT SHIFT [Drama – Midseason]: A medical show that follows the doctors and nurses who work the graveyard shift at a San Antonio hospital. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know how I tend to feel about medical/law/cop shows – meaning I’m not particularly fond of them – unless you give me something else to hook me in because this is nowhere near enough to get me to watch.

THE BLACKLIST [Drama – Mondays @ 10]: James Spader stars as one of the most wanted criminals in the world, who suspiciously turns himself in and is willing to give up the names of all the people he’s ever worked with – but he’s only willing to work with a new FBI agent, who has no connection to him whatsoever. I’ve never been a fan of Spader, and while I know plot should trump cast, I think both play a part in hooking in viewers for the first time. Honestly, my first reaction to this is that it reminds me a little bit of White Collar, without the lightness of that show, mixed in with a little bit of The Following.

CRISIS [Drama – Midseason]: A conspiracy action thriller set in the world of Washington, D.C., follows a Secret Service agent who finds himself in the middle of an international crisis situation. The show’s cast includes Gillian Anderson, Dermot Mulroney, Rachael Taylor, and James Lafferty among others. Conspiracy theories AND Scully? Count me in!

IRONSIDE [Drama – Wednesdays @ 10]: Based on the 60s cop drama of the same name, Blair Underwood is the lead of this show about an acerbic police detective, who after a shooting, is now relegated to a wheelchair. He has assembled a strong team of other detectives to help him solve the most difficult of cases. On first glance, it’s almost like the cop-version of House. The strength of the storytelling, the writing, and character development will really make all the difference because the show has assembled a really good cast.

Ironside - Season Pilot

BELIEVE [Drama – Midseason]: The team at Bad Robot are back with this show that pairs up a young girl with a recently released man from prison, who is tasked with protecting her from evil forces hunting her powers. I know, I know, another season, another J.J. Abrams produced show. As with all shows, the writing is what will make or break it and I am very hopeful.

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CHICAGO P.D. [Drama – Midseason]: The spin-off that one year ago, no one expected to happen. Dick Wolf successfully turned Chicago Fire into a franchise with this spin-off, focusing on the cops of Chicago. And just like that, I don’t care.

DRACULA [Drama – Fridays @ 10]: This series was actually ordered some time ago, with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers starring as the titular vampire. Dracula is prepared to destroy the Victorian society that ruined his life, until he falls for a woman who looks exactly like his long-deceased wife. It should be noted that the series is set for 10-episodes, meaning this is NBC’s attempt at cable-style/limited series events. Sure, Fridays aren’t exactly the best day to premiere a show, but with a solid lead-in in Grimm (which does go back to its Fridays @ 9 timeslot next season), we can at least look forward to a solid 2 hour Friday night.

Dracula - Season 1

Notable changes to the schedule for next season (seeing as there is a lot of movement over at NBC):

  • Parks and Recreation now anchors the Thursday night comedy block at 8 p.m.
  • Following the Thursday night comedies at 10 p.m., will be ratings underdog and critical favourite Parenthood. It certainly makes more sense to put an established show in the timeslot, as opposed to testing out a new series, where it will most likely to compete against ABC’s red-hot Scandal.
  • The Biggest Loser returns to its Tuesday at 8 slot, acting as lead-in to the second night of The Voice, with Chicago Fire following at 10.
  • Revolution shifts to Wednesdays at 8. It’ll be interesting to see how the show does in its second season without the cushion of The Voice lead-in, that it enjoyed its entire run this season.
  • Community, which surprisingly earned a 5th season, is being held off to midseason.

That is all from NBC. For complete description of all the new pilots, head on over to Deadline.com.