The Upfronts 2017 – Fox

Fox’s niche is kind of the low level action-drama often erring on the side of comedy, it makes for solid entertainment, but there’s rarely much there to get passionate about. The pilots are a little bit more varied, but good grief there are some real turnips in there.

What’s cancelled
Fox has retired a couple of big hitters this year. Bones bowed out after 12 seasons and nearly 250 episodes, about half of which were pretty good and then the series just sort of degenerated into a repetitive loop of character regressions. Sleepy Hollow started out big, but puttered out with four seasons. Scream Queens could have been fun, but was instead pretty rubbish and the biggest surprise was last year’s renewal for a second season, not this year’s cancellation. Rosewood was also cancelled after its second season

New series didn’t do too well. APB looked rubbish from the outset (rich tech guy takes over police department), but Pitch (woman major league baseball player) looked like it could have potential. Comedies Making History and Son of Zorn both looked insane and not in a good way.

What’s back
A lot of pickups for Fox. The X-Files will have another short season, its eleventh overall and second of this re-start, which I frankly found mediocre. Other than that, the longest running series, which will both be returning for fourth seasons, are the unremarkable Gotham, and Empire which doesn’t seem to generate quite as much buzz and praise as it used to. I’m a lot more engaged about the renewal of the extremely entertaining Lucifer for a third season. The animations are all back: the longest running scripted primetime show ever, The Simpsons was already renewed through season 30; Family Guy for a sixteenth, Bob’s Burgers had already been renewed for next year’s eighth season. The New Girl was renewed for a seventh season, but that will be its last, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Last Man on Earth return for fifth and fourth respectively.

Three of the freshman shows got pick ups. I’m really enjoying Lethal Weapon which is doing a really solid job with very traditional ideas thanks to the charismatic lead pairing and able supporting cast. I was so surprised that I liked The Exorcist pilot that I wanted to watch it a second time before reviewing and then failed to do so, but with a second season, maybe I’ll try to get back to it. Star looked like it could be painfully cheesy or possibly interesting, but I don’t think it’s made it to the UK yet for me to find out. Comedy The Mick was also picked up.

What’s New
Gifted – based in the X-Men universe, a family goes on the run when their two teenagers are revealed to be mutants. The X-Men universe has a huge depth of untapped characters and stories, and with X-Men movie supremo Bryan Fuller is on board as Exec Producer and director of the pilot it’s certainly got potential, but the trailer did not excite me.

The Orville – A spoof of Star Trek, created by and starring Seth MacFarlane. I think it’s supposed to be funny but the trailer contains a joke about men and women arguing over the toilet seat being up.

Ghosted – an “action comedy” with a group of underdogs investigating unusual occurrences in LA with the aim of proving or disproving alien involvement. It’s awful. Stunningly so.

The Resident – absolutely bog standard medical drama. The blurb is a collection of tropes – unconventional approaches, charming but arrogant, innocent idealist and the final tedious nail in the coffin the “on-again-off-again” romance. I almost strained a muscle rolling my eyes so much during the trailer. Still, it does have Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife) in it and he is so very pretty.

LA to Vegas – A budget airline runs weekend flights back and forth, LA to Vegas, filled with a rotating group of gamblers, hen/stag dos and a handful of regular commuters, all held roughly in check by the cabin crew. I really loved the concept of this one, it’s possibly one of the best, tidiest ideas of the year with a great structure for new characters, but ongoing stories. And then I watched the trailer.

9-1-1 – Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck (Amerian Horror Story, Glee etc) take on emergency responders. Angela Basset stars, which is a good start, but other than the names this sounds pretty generic procedural, but it’s a pretty reliable format.


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