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!

Fall TV 2015: What I’m Watching (Weekend Edition)

I finish off my Fall TV list with what I’m watching on Fridays and Sundays.

FRIDAYS

  • The Amazing Race
  • Grimm
  • Dr. Ken (NEW)

Friday nights are easy. I have my two staples in The Amazing Race and Grimm, and I’m good with that. ABC’s got another new comedy, Dr. Ken, with Ken Jeong and Albert Tsai that I’m looking forward to checking out.

SUNDAYS

  • Quantico (NEW)
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Last Man on Earth
  • The Affair
  • Once Upon a Time?
  • Blood and Oil (NEW)??

I can’t wait for the return of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Last Man on Earth, two of my sure things for Sunday night. And really, what better way to cap off your weekend than with some really funny shows? Well there’s also the flipside of that. I’m really eager to see what unfolds next on The Affair, a show that was really interesting to me in the way it told the story, with two viewpoints sometimes of the same events. They’re going to build upon that method of storytelling for season two, and like I said, it’ll be really interesting to see where and how things are developed.

Of the new shows, I’m definitely checking out Quantico; it does remind me of How to Get Away with Murder in its intent to show a big event (in this case, a terrorist attack) and going back in time to see how it led to the attack and who did it. Will it be as twisty as HTGAWM? Don’t know, but I hope it turns out well.

There are a couple shows airing Sundays that I’m not sure about. First is Once Upon A Time, back for its fifth season. Last season was such a drag for me. I mean, it had its moments but overall, I was so bored and tired of hearing the same things over and over again (I would love for them to kill the “Magic comes with a price” line. I feel like I’ve heard it a million times in four seasons). But then, the finale twist of Emma becoming “The Dark One” and I find myself wanting to know what happens next, so we’ll see. The second question mark (and this one actually comes with HUGE question marks) is the new show Blood & Oil. Frankly, I don’t even really care much for the premise of the show, because it sounds dated and done before. The only reason I want to watch this show is for the people involved: Chace Crawford (finally getting something to do because he was practically a secondary character on Gossip Girl by the end of it), Rebecca Rittenhouse (RIP last season’s Red Band Society), Scott Michael Foster (Cappie/Leo!), India de Beaufort (OTH), Wilson Bethel (Wade! I miss Hart of Dixie), and Barry Corbin (OTH! Whitey!), among others. I’ll stick it out for as long as I can, but it does not look promising at all.

Fall TV 2015: What I’m Watching (Thursday Edition)

It’s Fall TV time! As premiere week continues rolling along, I am sharing my list of shows that I’ll be watching and maybe watching each day of the week.

THURSDAYS

  • Sleepy Hollow
  • How to Get Away with Murder
  • Scandal
  • Heroes Reborn (NEW)
  • The Big Bang Theory

On Tuesday, I mentioned that at some point, it became the day full of really good TV. On the flip side, I have no idea when Thursdays became so boring. I still have just enough to fill my night, but at the same time you have to wonder: what happened to Must See TV Thursday (I know that was an NBC thing, but I’m applying it to all the networks)?

Now granted, ABC has been doing really well with its TGIT line-up of Shondaland shows, and I plan to still watch Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder (I gave up on Grey’s Anatomy a long time ago). But what else is on Thursday for me? Sleepy Hollow, moved from its former Monday slot; and The Big Bang Theory, which is technically on Mondays right now, until CBS is done airing Thursday Night Football around November, and then it’ll move back to Thursday.

The only kind-of new show is Heroes Reborn, the follow-up limited event series (?) taking place five years after the events of the original series (also, how long it has actually been since the show went off the air). I’m on the fence about the show mainly because of how badly I got burned watching the original series. Like season one was great, then the S1 finale happened, and it was all downhill from there. I didn’t even stick with it to the very end. I went to the SDCC panel for this, and despite how excited they were in trying to convince us that it’s not the same Heroes, I still have my doubts. The big sell for me to watch this follow-up is, without a doubt, Zachary Levi (and then Dylan Bruce). If this turns out to be like S1 Heroes then I am in, but if I see anything that gives me S2-4 vibes, I’m out.

Fall TV 2015: What I’m Watching (Wednesday Edition)

My list of what I’m watching (and maybe watching) this Fall continues with my Wednesday schedule.

WEDNESDAYS

  • Arrow
  • Survivor
  • Empire
  • Modern Family
  • Black-ish
  • Nashville
  • You’re the Worst
  • Kingdom

So apparently a new TV season meant absolutely nothing to my Wednesdays, as I’m not adding a single new show. My Wednesday staples of Arrow and Survivor continue to mess with my 8 PM, as I decide from week to week which I want to watch first and the other later. Last winter’s incredibly addictive Empire is also back at it for a second season, of which I am so happy about it because it means new music every week for a little while! We’ll also see the return of MMA series Kingdom, a show I didn’t think I’d like when I first heard of it, but turned out to really enjoy.

On the comedy side, I still watch Modern Family, albeit later on in the week; it’s not as good as it used to be, but still fun to watch. Black-ish is another funny show on ABC I’m happy to see back for season two. A show you should definitely be watching though is You’re the Worst over on FXX; it’s sort of an anti-rom-com and just so HILARIOUS in how terrible (in the good way) these characters are.

And then there’s Nashville. There’s a lot of it that’s ridiculous. However, for some reason or another (mostly Connie Britton), I keep coming back year after year. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure. It’s not high on my must see list, meaning I’ll end up watching it during the weekend when I’ve got time.

Fall TV 2015: What I’m Watching (Tuesday Edition)

Fall TV is upon us! You know what that means? I officially don’t have a life anymore (LOL kidding…sorta). Continuing on from my list yesterday, I give you the Tuesday shows I’ll be watching this season.

TUESDAYS

  • Fresh Off the Boat
  • The Flash
  • Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD
  • iZombie
  • Limitless (NEW)
  • The Mindy Project
  • The Muppets (NEW)
  • Grandfathered (NEW)
  • The Grinder (NEW)
  • Scream Queens (NEW)
  • Wicked City (NEW)

I don’t know when it happened, but all of a sudden, Tuesday became the place to be for awesome TV. First, I’ve got my returning favourites. Agents of SHIELD is coming into season three with more Inhumans and Secret Warriors. Also, how is everybody faring after the events of last season’s finale? Like, what happened to Simmons?! The Flash will further explore the alternate universes/timelines, which I seem to love in my sci-fi stuff even though it sometimes confuses me. After being cancelled on FOX, The Mindy Project got picked up by Hulu, but still releasing the episodes week to week. The somewhat procedural (in that there’s a different case every week) but very humourous iZombie is also back. And then of course, there’s Fresh Off the Boat, a show SO funny and which I love so dearly.

Those shows alone fill my night. But then there are new shows I want to check out too! At the top of that list are the two new FOX comedies: Grandfathered and The Grinder. Silly as they may sound, they also look hilarious! I’m rooting for Uncle Jesse…ehrm I mean, John Stamos, and the combo of Rob Lowe and Fred Savage. I obviously want to see The Muppets, but I’m not nearly as excited for it as everybody else seems to be; I feel like I was never that into the Muppets growing up for some reason.

On the drama side, there’s Limitless, another movie-to-TV adaptation/sequel/whatever. In terms of the movie, I liked the first 2/3 of it and then found the last bit kind of ridiculous. However, in bringing the movie to TV, they opted to use the idea of taking the NZT drug to unlock a guy’s capabilities and put it into a procedural. Bradley Cooper’s character from the movie is still sort of here, but the focus is on a new character played by Jake McDorman. As someone who doesn’t particularly like cop procedurals, this provides enough of a twist to make me interested in it, and I do feel like it’s going to work for CBS.

There’s also two shows that I’m on the fence about, but will obviously watch because there’s some interest. My reservations with Scream Queens lie with the fact that it comes from Ryan Murphy. I don’t watch American Horror Story because it’s not for me, and we all know how I feel about the later seasons of Glee, so having this fall somewhere inbetween those two shows, makes it a huge question mark for me. I’ll make a better decision about it once I see it. The other show I’m not sure about is Wicked City. I like some of the cast lined up for it (Erika Christensen, Ed Westwick, Jeremy Sisto) and the premise (finding a pair of serial killers in early 80s L.A., based on true crime that happened) is intriguing, but not knowing how the show is being handled makes me not want to commit to it just yet.