Upfronts 2016: Looking Ahead to the 2016-17 TV Season

Every year in the middle of May, the TV networks do their big presentations and announcements, handing out renewals and pilot pick-ups, while cancelling other shows. For the past 5 years, I’ve been doing posts with my thoughts and reactions to their proposed new season schedule, every day to correspond with each network’s presentation. This year, with so much going on in my personal life, in lieu of my usual day-by-day posts, I’m going to streamline it and pack it all into one big post, after the fact. Snap judgments on the new shows and quick thoughts on the fall schedule.

ABC

RENEWED: American Crime, Black-ish, The Catch, Dr. Ken, Fresh Off the Boat, The Goldbergs, Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, Last Man Standing, Agents of SHIELD, The Middle, Modern Family, Once Upon a Time, Quantico, The Real O’Neals, Scandal; The Bachelor, DWTS, Shark Tank

CANCELLED: Agent Carter, Castle, The Family, Galavant, The Muppets, Nashville

NEW SHOWS:

  • Conviction [Drama – Mondays @ 10] – Hayley Atwell will still be on ABC, despite Agent Carter being cancelled. With her as lead of this legal drama, and with a cast the includes Merrin Dungey (Francie from Alias!), Daniel DiTomasso (Killian from Witches of East End!), Shawn Ashmore (Iceman!), Eddie Cahill (Tag from Friends!), Emily Kinney, Manny Montana (Johnny from Graceland!), I need nothing else to tune in. It is going to take some getting used to, not hearing Hayley talk in her regular British accent.
  • American Housewife [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 8:30] – This used to be called The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport, so you can take a gander at what this show is about. I just don’t know what other comedy can be mined from housewives and suburbia that hasn’t been done before. And I didn’t really laugh at any of the jokes in the trailer, so I think I’m gonna pass.
  • Speechless [Comedy – Wednesdays @8:30] – A comedy that revolves around a family with a special-needs child. Not gonna lie, I’m worried about the quality of the jokes. However, Minnie Driver in a comedy got me thinking about her last show, About A Boy, which I loved, and the trailer kinda gives off those same kinda vibes, so I’m not gonna dismiss it entirely.
  • Designated Survivor [Drama – Wednesdays @ 10] – Washington politics? Whatever. But this cast (Kiefer Sutherland, Maggie Q, Italia Ricci, Kal Penn, Natascha McElhone, Adan Canto)? A++
  • Notorious [Drama – Thursdays @ 9] – Criminal law and the media intersect with Daniel Sunjata and Piper Perabo (two more of my favs from the USA network!) starring. Count me in.
  • Downward Dog [Midseason] – The dog talks, confessional-style. Suurrreee…..And the trailer does nothing for me.
  • Imaginary Mary [Midseason] – A CGI creature in a regular comedy. Suurrreee…..The trailer also does nothing for me, except for “WHHHHYYYY?”
  • Still Star-Crossed [Midseason] – What happens to the Montagues and Capulets after the death of Romeo and Juliet? This series aims to show just that. I think younger me might’ve been interested in this, now not so much.
  • Time After Time [Midseason – Sundays @ 9] – Something about H.G. Wells and Jack the Ripper, travelling to the present? Meh.

Quick Thoughts on the Schedule:

  • I still can’t believe they cancelled Agent Carter! I don’t care that Hayley has another show regardless, I wanted her to have both because I don’t like a world in which we don’t get to see more of Peggy, Jarvis, and Sousa. Not to mention, we’ll never get to see how SHIELD came to be.
  • Speaking of SHIELD, the show moving to Tuesdays @ 10 might seem weird at first, but considering ABC’s horrible luck at putting a new show in the timeslot for the past few years, the move was inevitable.
  • Shondaland TGIT is put on hold for the fall, as Scandal moves to midseason due to “scheduling” as they officially put it, but as we all know it’s really to accomodate Kerry Washington’s pregnancy.

CBS

RENEWED: 2 Broke Girls, The Big Bang Theory, Blue Bloods, Code Black, Criminal Minds, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Elementary, Hawaii Five-0, Life in Pieces, Madam Secretary, Mom, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, The Odd Couple, Scorpion; Survivor, The Amazing Race

CANCELLED: CSI Cyber, The Good Wife, Mike & Molly, Person of Interest, Rush Hour

FATE UNKNOWN:  Limitless

NEW SHOWS:

  • Kevin Can Wait [Comedy – Mondays @ 8:30; 8 after football]  – Never been a Kevin James fan, so this is of no interest to me.
  • Man With a Plan [Comedy – Mondays @ 8:30] – Joey Tribbiani as a dad? Time fly by or what?! Obviously checking it out.
  • Bull [Drama – Tuesdays @ 9] – Michael Weatherly plays a fictionalized version of Dr. Phil. Pass.
  • The Great Indoors [Comedy – Thursdays @ 8:30] – Joel McHale plays a boss to millenials. So Jeff Winger 2.0? I worry a little about the tone, being that it’s on CBS, but I’ll check it out.
  • Pure Genius [Drama – Thursdays @ 10] – A tech titan and a veteran surgeon open up a hospital with a newer approach to medicine. Doesn’t really appeal to me, I’m afraid. But how do I say no to a show that has Odette Annable and Brenda Song within its cast, and is executive produced by Jason Katims? I can’t, so I’m gonna have to give it a shot.
  • MacGyver [Drama – Fridays @ 8] – Has the name going for it, but with massive retooling being done, the pickup seems odd.
  • Doubt [Drama – Midseason] – Not a fan of Katherine Heigl. Pass.
  • Training Day [Drama – Midseason] – Takes the name and conceit of the movie for brand recognition, otherwise has nothing to do with the movie or the characters. Sure you’ve got Bill Paxton in the Denzel-like role, but why bother?

Quick Thoughts on the Schedule:

  • CBS has never really been my network of choice, what with all the procedurals and kinda lame comedies. There are exceptions to those of course, but majority of the shows are just not my cup of tea and they all just meld together in my mind.
  • The Amazing Race is being pushed until midseason? Say what now?! For the past three years, I’ve gotten TAR pretty much year-round (U.S. fall and winter, Canada summer). I don’t accept this at all.
  • The network is looking for a new home for freshman series, Limitless. Why they didn’t renew it is mind-bloggling. But not even admitting that they are canceling it? Infuriating.

FOX

RENEWED: Bob’s Burgers, Bones, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Empire, Family Guy, Gotham, The Last Man on Earth, Lucifer, New Girl, Rosewood, Scream Queens, The Simpsons, Sleepy Hollow; Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, MasterChef Junior

CANCELLED: Bordertown, The Cleveland Show, Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life, Grandfathered, The Grinder, Second Chance

NEW SHOWS:

  • Lethal Weapon [Drama – Wednesdays @ 8] – Fits right in with the buddy cop dynamic of most TV cop shows lately, with added brand name quality. Will watch the pilot (even though the trailer was probably enough) but it’s gotta have something extra to make me want to tune in regularly. Otherwise, it’s just another dude cop show to me, and I don’t need that.
  • Pitch [Drama – Thursdays @ 9] – Baseball may not be exactly my thing, but a show about a woman making the Major Leagues? Sign me up! The preview looks absolutely great for it!
  • The Exorcist [Drama – Fridays @ 9] – Not my type of show.
  • Son of Zorn [Comedy – Sundays @ 8:30] – Animated Barbarian father comes home to live-action ex-wife and son. Man, are they pulling out the weird, or what? I honestly have no idea what to make of it. From the trailer, I already get the sense that it’s not for me.
  • 24: Legacy [Drama – Midseason, Mondays @ 8] – I was never really interested in the original 24, I don’t know why, but maybe I’ll get into this spinoff. I mean, the cast (Corey Hawkins, Miranda Otto, Jimmy Smits) is a pretty solid one, so we’ll see.
  • APB [Drama – Midseason, Mondays @ 9] – A tech billionaire buys a police precinct, in hopes to get justice for the death of his friend. Off of the previews, with some of the tech being used, reminds me of Almost Human but obviously not so futuristic sci-fi. I’ll give it a shot, but I don’t expect much.
  • The Mick [Comedy – Midseason, Tuesdays @ 8:30] – A woman is tasked with taking care of her imprisoned sister’s spoiled kids. Comedy ensues? Hope so. Sustainable? Well, the preview looks like the show would be a better movie than a series, but what do I know?
  • Shots Fired [Drama – Spring, Wednesdays @ 8] – The whole investigating shootings in a small-town and dealing with the media, seems both timely and played out somehow. It looks like it could be a really good show, just maybe not for me.
  • Star [Drama – Midseason, Wednesdays @ 9] – A music-based drama, which centers on three girls who hope to rise to fame. Put more focus on the music and the industry, and character development, less on the crazy drama, and I’m in.
  • Prison Break [Midseason, Thursdays @ 9] – Like the X-Files series event, this is another limited event continuation of the old show, set years later. Didn’t care for it then, don’t really care now.
  • Making History [Comedy – Midseason, Sundays @ 8:30] – They had me with Adam Pally time-traveling comedy.

Quick Thoughts on the Schedule

  • I don’t think I have ever been so conflicted about a show’s renewal than I have with Sleepy Hollow. On the one hand, I still love the people working on the show. On the other hand, season 3 was on/off, and letting go of Nikki Beharie (a critical, if not the most important aspect of the show) was kind of the final straw. The show won’t come back until midseason, so we’ll see how I feel then.
  • It’s a bummer that the network canceled Grandfathered and The Grinder. Grandfathered was a really sweet comedy, while The Grinder kind of redefined the meaning of meta.

NBC

RENEWED: The Blacklist, Blindspot, The Carmichael Show, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago P.D., Grimm, Law & Order: SVU, Shades of Blue, Superstore; The Voice, Hollywood Game Night, Little Big Shots

CANCELLED: Crowded, Game of Silence, Heartbeat, The Mysteries of Laura, Telenovela, Undateable

NEW SHOWS:

  • Timeless [Drama – Mondays @ 10] – Lots of time travel happening this season. This one seems the strongest of the bunch, giving me 12 Monkeys-vibes (without the virus stuff). I already have a favourite time-travel show so it will have to do a lot to overcome the comparisons, for me anyways, and make me see it as a separate thing. But, Abigail Spencer!
  • This Is Us [Drama – Tuesdays @ 9] – Follows a group of people who cross paths and have their lives intertwine in different ways. I like Mandy Moore, Milo Ventigmilia, and Justin Hartley, so I’ll give it a shot. Some people have said that the trailer reminds them of Parenthood; I personally don’t see it. I do need to see more of the overall product to really judge it.
  • The Good Place [Comedy – Thursdays @ 8:30] – Kristen Bell and Ted Danson in a comedy about the afterlife, from Michael Schur (Parks and Rec!) SOLD
  • Taken [Drama – Midseason, Mondays @ 10] – We’re looking at the life of younger Bryan Mills, 30 years before he became that guy in the movie series. Do we really need this show? My gut says not really.
  • The Blacklist: Redemption [Drama – Midseason] – Don’t watch The Blacklist to begin with, so no interest.
  • Chicago Justice [Drama – Midseason] – Hard pass.
  • Emerald City [Drama – Midseason] – The Oz “event series” was picked-up, cancelled, and then picked-up again. We’ll see, I guess? Not a lot of faith here.
  • Great News [Comedy – Midseason] – Briga Heelan and Andrea Martin, in a mother-daughter workplace comedy from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. I’m in.
  • Marlon [Comedy – Midseason] – Loosely based on Marlon Wayans’ real life. Willing to give it a shot.
  • Midnight, Texas [Drama – Midseason] – Based on Charlaine Harris’ series (the one that isn’t True Blood), focuses on a town full of vampires, witches, psychics, and such. Checking it out purely for Arielle Kebbel, Sarah Ramos, and Dylan Bruce.
  • Powerless [Comedy – Midseason] – Office comedy set around the regular people who have to deal with the aftermath of DC superhero fights. That is so ripe with jokes, I have to check it out.
  • Trial & Error [Comedy – Midseason] – Big city lawyer working on a murder trial in a small town. Classic fish-out-of-water stuff. If it doesn’t do the obvious jokes, then it stands a chance.

Quick Thoughts on the Schedule:

  • It’s nice to see that NBC is trying to get back into Thursday night comedies, with Superstore and The Good Place.
  • Can’t believe it took them so long to renew The Carmichael Show, a comedy that is so current and topical, even when it looks like an old-school sitcom. To think that it is now NBC’s longest running comedy (with its 3rd season renewal) certainly says a lot of the network’s current state.
  • I still need them to scale back on The Voice. There’s been so much TV that I’ve pretty much stopped watching it simply because I don’t have time for it. Not to mention, I am definitely feeling the burnout from it.

THE CW

RENEWED: The 100, Arrow, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, iZombie, Jane the Virgin, The Originals, Reign, Supergirl (!), Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries

CANCELLED: Containment

NEW SHOWS

  • No Tomorrow [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 9]Opposites attract: risk-aversed girl meets carefree guy who thinks the apocalypse is coming. Watching for Joshua Sasse, since Galavant got cancelled.
  • Frequency [Drama – Wednesdays @ 9] – Don’t remember watching the original movie that the show is based on, but the preview seems interesting enough.
  • Riverdale [Drama – Midseason] – A modern take on the Archie gang that has the small-town be more than its wholesome appeal? Oh, and it’s yet ANOTHER show from Greg Berlanti? Yeah, okay, I’m in.

Quick Thoughts on the Schedule

  • Supergirl is where it finally belongs – on the CW! The audience that CBS wanted for the show wasn’t quite there, but it fits so much better here with its DC superhero cohorts. Epic crossover between Supergirl/The Flash/Arrow/Legends of Tomorrow to be expected, though let’s be real, all we really want is a big musical episode. How much the show itself will change with the network move is certainly the biggest question. Moving the filming to Vancouver, lesser budget, and possibly less Calista Flockhart/Cat Grant (who reportedly took the show because it filmed in LA)? We’ll have to wait and see
  • Schedule-wise: I love the CW pairing Supergirl and Jane the Virgin. I mean, I was watching it that way anyways, so thanks to them for letting me keep my schedule as is there.
  • iZombie being held off until midseason? I don’t like it.

And that’s the rundown of what next season will look like!

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