The Upfronts 2017 – CBS

Oops. I completely failed to post the last couple of Upfront summaries! Here you go.

What’s cancelled
The only big casualty at CBS it feels is 2 Broke Girls, cancelled after 6 seasons. The Odd Couple was cancelled after 3 seasons, probably a record run for a post-Friends Matthew Perry. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders was cancelled after its second season, which I hadn’t even noticed had happened.

Four new series didn’t survive their first year. Only 2 episodes of Doubt aired, Katherine Heigl seems to be the kiss of death for television, slightly unfairly. Training Day was unsurprisingly cancelled following the death of its star Bill Paxton, although ratings and critical response was also underwhelming. Pure Genius (tech billionaire runs a hospital) was cancelled, just like the “tech billionaire runs a police dept” on Fox. Oh, and The Great Indoors died too, which was fairly predictable from the awful trailer.

What’s returning
Despite the increasing repetitiveness, the aging collection of action/procedurals are all renewed. All three flavours of NCIS will be back for evermore tenuous naval connections, original flavour for season 14 (second longest running show on air), LA (9) and New Orleans (4). Criminal Minds is renewed for season 13 even though season 12 was so rubbish even I gave up on it. Blue Bloods and Hawaii Five-0 will both be back for eighth seasons (although the latter seems to have lost half its cast), Elementary is renewed for a sixth and Scorpion (which I have no memory of) for a fourth. Code Black reached the limit of even my tolerance for over-blown medical drama a while back, but is renewed for a third season, as is Zoo, which I’ve never managed to catch but is apparently ridiculous. Madame Secretary is a slightly more intelligent offering and returns for a fourth season.

Only two new dramas got picked up; I’ve been watching Bull for the cast, but don’t think I’ll make it much further because the ideas and writing are painfully contrived. I keep meaning to catch up on MacGyver and may make more of an effort now it’s been renewed.

Not much in the way of comedy at CBS. Big Bang Theory was renewed for both 11 and 12. Mom for fifth, Life in Pieces for a third. New series Kevin Can Wait, Man with a Plan and Superior Donuts were all picked up.

What’s New
CBS don’t seem to want to share their trailers and I got fed up hunting for them.

9JKL – terrible name, bog standard sounding ‘comedy’ about a guy getting divorced and moving to New York.

By the Book – “a comedy about a modern day man at a crossroads in his life who decides to live strictly in accordance with the Bible.” Yeah. Really. That’s genuinely what someone pitched, someone bought, someone made, and someone is putting on the air.

Instinct – a former CIA operative (Alan Cumming) is lured out of retirement to help the NYPD catch a serial killer. Apparently this is based on a James Patterson novel that hasn’t even been published yet. It’s about time Alan Cumming got a lead, but sounds pretty unremarkable.

Me, Myself and I – this actually is a fun idea. A sitcom centred on three periods in the same characters life, a 14 year old in 1991, a 40 year old today, and a 65 year old in 2042.

Seal Team – The work and lives of an elite Navy Seal team. (See The Unit). Solid cast led by David Boreanaz (Angel, Bones), but I sort of wish he’d done something different from his character on Bones.

S.W.A.T. – Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds) leads a specialised tactical unit. Sounds the same as Seal Team expect it’s LA Police not international military. Both are good fits for the network, strong leads and high potential, but maybe both at the same time is too much? But I think this one actually has the edge for me, it’s dealing with very real, very current issues and feels less “hoorah for America”.

Wisdom of the Crowd – Jeremy Piven (Entourage) is a tech genius who invents an app to allow people to share information and help solve crimes. Isn’t this very close to the “tech billionaire solves problems” series that just got cancelled? Dunno whether this is going to take a “woohoo ain’t technology amazing!” direction or a “bloody hell, vigilantes are scary” drift.

Young Sheldon – a spin off from Big Bang Theory looking at Sheldon’s life as a 9 year old genius in Texas. I thought this would be unremarkable but ok, but the trailer is a total mess with way too much sentiment and criminal bad writing resulting in zero laughs. The kid is cute and Jim Parson’s narrating it should be good news, but if that’s the best script they could come up with this is going to be a turkey.


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