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

GUYS! In case you haven’t noticed yet, FALL TV IS UPON US! Most of our favourite shows are back, alongside a whole slew of newbies vying for our attention. This season, I find myself in a weird place, as I attempt to *gasp* cut back on my TV shows. I’ve said it before but I watch too much TV – I know that. For the past several months, due to work and personal family circumstances, I’ve had to make solid decisions on what I was watching and when. Making the call of what I really needed to watch day-of/live, as opposed to something I can watch later when I have time. Also, cutting shows that just weren’t doing anything for me. That last choice has been in effect for some time now, but as we begin this new TV season, I still question whether or not I still care about some shows. And even for that matter, do I even care enough about some of the new shows coming on the air to give my time to? Anyways, enough introductory babble, and onto my list of what shows I’ll be watching (and maybe watching)

MONDAYS

  • The Voice
  • Dancing With the Stars
  • Blindspot (NEW)
  • Minority Report (NEW)
  • Jane the Virgin
  • Supergirl (NEW)
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (NEW)
  • Gotham?

Honestly, The Voice and Dancing With the Stars has been relegated to commercial status, in that I’ll watch them when the other shows are on commercial break or just clips later. Why? Because one, I don’t even get to vote so why bother watching live? And two, why waste my time watching through the people I don’t like, when I’m just waiting to see my faves? Like this season of DWTS – here for my pro dancers (and their partners): Allison Holker & Andy Grammer, Derek Hough & Bindi Irwin, Sharna Burgess & Nick Carter, Witney Carson & Carlos PenaVega, and Mark Ballas & Alexa PenaVega. As much as I love The Voice and the coaches, even I have to admit that I’m getting a little burned out on too much Voice.

One of my favourite surprises from last season was Jane the Virgin and I am so looking forward to what hilarious/adorable/endearing things they’ll do this season. I mean, Britney Spears will be guest-starring as Rogelio’s nemesis! Like, this cast/crew just speak to me and I want to be friends with Gina Rodriguez because of her sheer awesomeness.

As for the new shows? I absolutely can’t wait for Supergirl to premiere. Yes, I know the pilot already leaked way back in late May, but I’m pretty proud of myself for not actually finding + watching it. Not to mention, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg has done so much good with Arrow and The Flash that I just have complete faith in them doing this show. And speaking of Berlanti, the uber-producer/writer who makes everybody else look bad, he’s also got another show on Monday with Blindspot. The premise of a Jane Doe waking up with no recollection of who she is and how she ended up with tattoos covering her body that serve as clues, is an interesting one. It makes me think of the movie Memento, but will probably veer towards a more procedural-style of storytelling. I’m definitely going to check out the pilot and see what they’re doing, but I definitely have my reservations about it.

I saw the first 15 minutes of Minority Report at SDCC and found some elements of it that were really interesting, especially the future tech. To be honest though, it kind of just made me miss Almost Human. Again, I liked what I saw, even if I wasn’t completely sold on any of the characters, but I’m hoping for the best. Another new show I’m a little iffy about is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the only new show to premiere this fall on The CW. Something about the previews just didn’t sit with me, so I’m going to wait until I watch the full pilot to see exactly what the tone of it will be and take it from there.

There’s one big question mark on my Monday schedule, and that is, do I want to give Gotham another shot? I so desperately wanted to like it last season. It had its ups and downs in the first half of the season, but when it came back from its winter hiatus, I found myself struggling to keep interest. Word is that this season will be slightly lighter in tone and function better as a collective unit. I just don’t know though. And I love Ben McKenzie and Morena Baccarin, which is why I kind of want to see what happens, but is it enough? I may wait and watch during the weekend or something, definitely not a must-see for me.

Upfronts 2015: CBS Releases Schedule for Next Fall

CBS is the opposite of ABC when it comes to announcements, as they tend to give renewals to a whole batch of their shows months before Upfronts. It makes it difficult to gauge afterwards just how many spots left on the schedule will be for the as-yet non-renewed shows and the new shows being picked up. This year however, they actually held off announcing renewals/cancellations until just a few days ago. CBS continues to be CBS in terms of shows, but at least they have one new show I’m really excited about this year, which of course is the most obviously non-CBS-like show. Below I give my thoughts on CBS’ newest offerings for next season.

SUPERGIRL [Drama – Mondays @ 8, starting in November]: Superman’s cousin Kara gets her own show! The latest DC comic to get the TV treatment follows Kara (played by Melissa Benoist) as she embraces her powers to become Supergirl. Trying to keep her identity a secret can be difficult when she’s enlisted by a super-secret agency to protect the citizens of National City. Berlanti, Kreisberg, Adler and co. have also assembled a hell of a supporting cast with: Chyler Leigh as Kara’s foster sister Alex, Calista Flockhart as Kara’s boss Cat Grant, Mehcad Brooks as James Olsen, David Harewood as Hank Henshaw, and Laura Benanti as Kara’s birth mom. PLUS, Helen Slater (aka the OG Supergirl) and Dean Cain (aka Lois and Clark Superman) are slated to guest star. Of course I’m ready for this!

LIFE IN PIECES [Comedy – Mondays @ 8:30, then Thursdays @ 8:30 in November]: CBS’ version of Modern Family or a funnier Parenthood? Here we have an ensemble show that will be told from the perspective of the Short family: matriarch Joan (Dianne West) and her kids, eldest daughter Heather (Betsy Brandt), son Matt (Thomas Sadoski), and youngest Greg (Colin Hanks). The series also stars James Brolin, Angelique Cabral, Zoe Lister Jones, and Dan Bakkedahl. It’s another family comedy, but how do you say no to at least checking out a show that features a cast like this?

LIMITLESS [Drama – Tuesdays @ 10]: It’s another movie adaptation, but like FOX’s Minority Report, you’re looking at a TV sequel to the movie, as opposed to just a TV remake. Jake McDorman plays Brian Finch, who discovers the abilities attached to taking the NZT drug and is pushed to use his new-found powers to help the FBI. So it’s another procedural. I liked the movie (except for the ending), but I’m still not sold on how they’re developing it into a TV series. I am far more intrigued by the fact that Bradley Cooper will guest star on the show from time to time, playing his character from the movie Edward Mora, who is now a senator, still uses NZT, and looks at Brian as a protege. Jennifer Carpenter, Hill Harper, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio also star; Cooper, Marc Webb, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Heather Kadin are among the executive producers.

CODE BLACK [Drama – Wednesdays @ 10]: Apparently this is based on a documentary by Ryan McGarry. Marcia Gay Harden is Dr. Leanne Rorish, the residency director of L.A.’s busiest emergency room, wherein the number of patients outweigh the resources available. Sounds like a standard medical drama to me or E.R. on drugs.

ANGEL FROM HELL [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9:30]: Maggie Lawson plays Allison, who’s organized/”perfect” life gets upended when she meets Amy (Jane Lynch), an oddball who claims that she is Allison’s guardian angel. This has the potential to be really funny I think, as long as it doesn’t go for the obvious jokes with the mismatched pairing.

CRIMINAL MINDS: BEYOND BORDERS [Drama – Midseason]: It’s Criminal Minds abroad! I don’t watch the original, so I don’t really care.

RUSH HOUR [Drama – Midseason]: Take the movie and expand to a TV series. Cultural jokes fly everywhere. I honestly have my doubts about this because as much as I enjoyed the movies, a lot of it had to do with the chemistry/camaraderie between Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. We’ll have to see how Justin Hires and Jon Foo work out as Detectives Carter and Lee.

Other Notables:

  • Long-time CBS staple, CSI will end its 15-year run with a two-hour series finale on Sept. 27th. Original castmembers William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger will return for the finale.
  • Comedies 2 Broke Girls, The Odd Couple, and Mike & Molly will return midseason.
  • Critical fave Person of Interest was renewed for a fifth season, comprising of 13 episodes, and will also return midseason. Rumours are that it will be the final season for the series, but CBS is not saying anything about it.
  • With CBS having football on Thursday nights in the fall, The Big Bang Theory and Life in Pieces will begin their seasons in September on Mondays, before moving over to Thursdays with Mom and Angel from Hell, once those Thursday night football games finish in November.
  • CSI: Cyber was also renewed for a second season and will air Sundays at 10 p.m.
  • Everything else is as it was this season.
  • Many others have already mentioned the fact that Supergirl will be going up against FOX’s Gotham in the timeslot. I’d imagine that WB isn’t particularly happy with that, but from this fan’s perspective, two different shows. And I’ve already decided I’m gonna watch Supergirl at that time anyways, because Gotham is not as exciting as I had hoped it would be.

Tomorrow we wrap things up with The CW!