Archive for the ‘ TV 17-18 Season ’ Category

The Upfronts 2017 – The CW

Sorry these have been so slow!

What’s done
The Vampire Diaries was retired after 8 seasons, but is survived by its spinoff The Originals. Reign lasted 4 rather improbable seasons. Frequency and No Tomorrow didn’t survive their first seasons.

What’s coming back
A while ago, Supernatural had a five year arc, now it’s back for season thirteen. Mind you I gave up a few years ago because I got a bit depressed at how things just kept getting worse and worse for the characters, so who knows how miserable it is by now. Nearly half the schedule is occupied with the DC universe: Arrow (season 6), The Flash (season 4), Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl (both season 3). The Originals and The 100 both return for season 5; iZombie and Jane the Virgin both for season 4, and Crazy Ex Girlfriend for season 3. Riverdale was the only new series to survive to a second season.

What’s new

Black Lightning – another super hero. This looks like the CW version of Luke Cage, with a reluctant superhero becoming a vigilante against a neighbourhood gang; it’s just there’s some teenagers thrown in to make it CW. It looks ok, and apparently isn’t part of the Flash/Arrow/etc family so at least there’s no need to catch up on all gazillion episodes of those to watch this.

Dynasty – Was anyone out there really saying “what we need is to remake Dynasty, because everyone wants to watch rich white people’s dramas”? I mean, they really go for it, fully embracing the melodrama and shamelessness, but it just feels incredibly wrong.

Life Sentence – She thought she was going to die, now she’s not and she has to work out what to do with her life. I liked the trailer a lot, yeah it’s schmaltzy and obvious, but the cast pulls it off and watching it immediately after the Dynasty one buys it a lot of positivity. I worry though that the central idea will run out of gas quickly, I just hope they can manage to ground everything else before it grinds to a halt.

Valor – a military/conspiracy theory drama that feels completely out of place in the rest of the CW lineup and I suspect it will lack the conviction to really follow through on the subjects.


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.

The Upfronts 2017 – ABC

ABC – held together by Shondaland productions and a cheesy, but heartfelt catalog of shows to be watched with a healthy distancing from reality. It’s been a pretty brutal year for them, with very few new series getting picked up and a whole host of second years being canned as well.

What’s done
One of the few new shows I sought out and stuck with was Conviction because the cast was so good, but the writing let them down very badly. Half a season of Notorious was enough for anyone, Imaginary Mary struggled to make it to air before it was cancelled, but Time After Time (HG Wells chasing Jack the Ripper through time – obviously) gets the booby prize, airing just 5 episodes.

American Crime’s critical acclaim didn’t help it much and after three seasons it was cancelled. The Catch and Secrets & Lies were both cancelled after their second season, and I have utterly no memory of them existing, let alone getting renewed the first time. Dr Ken I do remember from a horrific trailer, but I’d forgotten that it managed two seasons before being put out of all of our miseries. The Real O’Neills was also cancelled after two seasons. And Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing apparently made it through 6 seasons before anyone realised it was the 21st century.

What’s returning
Shonda Rhimes’ stable continues, with Grey’s Anatomy returning for a fourteenth series and How to Get Away with Murder for a fourth, but Scandal is set to bow out after the coming seventh season, and no one seems overly disappointed by that. Once Upon a Time has been renewed for a seventh season but it’s set for a big reinvention with a time shift and multiple main characters not returning. I am glad that Marvel’s Agents of Shield was renewed for a fifth season, even though it’s always slightly disappointing compared to what it could be. Quantico will have a reduced season (it’s third) and also gets a new showrunner which doesn’t bode well. The only freshman drama to survive was Designated Survivor which I’ve tried to get into multiple times and never quite clicked.

New comedies were a little more successful – Speechless and American Housewife were both renewed. At the opposite end of the age spectrum The Middle and Modern Family were both renewed for a ninth season, and Modern Family got an extra year too taking it through the following year too. Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat were both renewed for fourth seasons and The Goldbergs got a double pick up for five and six.

What’s new
Roseanne – do you know what series everyone really misses? Well, ABC thinks it’s Roseanne, presumably they’ll back out of the terrible final season.

The Crossing – a bunch of people show up in a small fishing village, claiming to be fleeing a war a couple of hundred years in the future. And some of them seem to have super powers. The trailer lays it on a bit thick, but I am intrigued.

Deception – A superstar magician is ruined by a scandal and the only place he can sell his skills is the FBI. Obviously. The trailer isn’t too bad. The lead seems charismatic enough, and yes, that is Vinnie Jones loitering in the background. As a character apparently named Gunter Gustafsen. Yup, seriously.

For the People – Shonda Rhimes does lawyers. Just the usual, young and ambitious blah blah blah. Whatever.

The Good Doctor – from the maker of House, a medical drama (duh) centred on an autistic, savant doctor who moves to a big hospital. Nothing particularly remarkable in the description and the trailer is pretty much by the numbers, but the cast has three big names that make me pay attention: Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel) stars, Hill Harper (CSI:NY) and Richard Schiff (West Wing)

The Gospel of Kevin – a “light drama” about a “cluelessly self-serving person on a dangerous path to despair” who lives with his widowed twin sister and is visited by a “celestial being” who gives him a mission to save the world. The trailer is as bad as the description.

Inhumans – sitting in the Marvel Universe, the Inhuman royal family flee their world in civil war and land in Hawaii. It’s just a teaser at the moment, so who knows. The trailer really is a bit much.

Ten Days in the Valley – a TV producer’s life turns into a version of her own show when her daughter disappears. Kyra Sedgwick vehicle. Doesn’t look like anything earth shattering, but it looks well done.

The Mayor – young rapper sort of accidentally becomes mayor and then gets all inspirational. Ugh.

Splitting Up Together – a couple splits up, sort of. It’s a plot that wouldn’t keep a 90 minute rom-com going, it barely made it through the trailer, so I don’t know how they think it’s gonna drag out to a whole series.

Alex, Inc.– I can’t even be bothered to explain it. Let’s just describe it as “Zach Braff deserves better”.

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.

The Upfronts 2017: NBC

There is simply no way it can be time for the upfronts yet again! I’ll stick with tradition and run a commentary, but I’m so far behind with my watching that I’ve barely seen any of this years shows before they’ve all been cancelled. First up, NBC a channel where I watch absolutely zero of the shows they air.

What’s cancelled or not returning
It looks like a pretty good year for NBC, only three shows are cancelled, three of them one-and-dones. Grimm managed a very respectable 6 season. I did watch the pilot way back in 2011 and found the whole thing utterly unremarkable, maybe it went somewhere more interesting. Powerless looked like it could have been a fun superhero/office based comedy and had some good names attached, but clearly didn’t grab the ratings. The spin-off of The Blacklist: Redemption only lasted a handful of episodes. I only watched a couple of seasons of The Blacklist, but it didn’t take a genius to see that the only thing that made the show even vaguely watchable was James Spader and the annoying husband wasn’t going to cut it. Emerald City was another attempt at a Wizard of Oz related series and I know nothing about it except it lasted just 10 episodes.

What’s coming back
NBC’s bank of Chicago based dramas continue in all their ridiculous glory – fireman for a sixth, police for a fifth, and doctors for a third; but it doesn’t seem to have been announced if the lawyers will return for a second. James Spader carries the otherwise unremarkable Blacklist into its 5th season, while Blindspot gets a third. Law & Order Special Victims Unit gets a 19th season making it “the current longest running scripted non-animated U.S. primetime TV series… and is the fourth-longest running scripted U.S. primetime TV series on a major broadcast network.” according to wikipedia. I don’t think I’ve seen a single episode. Neither have I felt any desire to watch an episode of Jennifer Lopez’s Shades of Blue, but it’s gonna be back for a third season, as is comedy Superstore.
On the freshman front, the big success has been This Is Us, which was rewarded with a second AND a third season. I haven’t seen because if I want to watch somethign to make me cry this year I’ll just watch the news. Given that the rubbish film managed so many follow ups, I guess it’s not surprising that Taken the TV series somehow found an audience and comes back for a second season. And freshman series Timeless managed the unusual trick of getting cancelled and then renewed 3 days later. Prompting numerous naff time travel jokes. Comedies Great News and The Good Place were both renewed.

What’s new
Will & Grace returns after 10 years. I thought I was kind of looking forward to this, and then the laughter track on the trailer kicked in and I hated myself.

The Brave: fairly generic looking military action drama, with a hefty dose of patriotism. Meh.

Law & Order True Crime: The Mernendez Murders. The clumsy title is a bad start, why bodge the true crime story into the Law & Order brand? Particularly when it looks like it’s only an 8 episode mini-series. The sanctimonious, overly dramatic voiceover killed this one for me.

Rise – about a school theatre department. The blurb isn’t encouraging but… it’s by Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights!) and stars Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) and I’m a sucker for this kind of thing, so I’m bordering on excited!

Good Girls: struggling suburban mums rob a super market. For laughs I guess. Oh, no wait it’s a drama. Um, ok.

Reverie: a hostage negotiator is brought in to help bring people out of a virtual reality they’ve got trapped in. It could be a little Quantum Leap-ey, I was not enthused by a hook that the negotiator has suffered “an unimaginable personal tragedy” which is hopefully not an indication of the quality of the writing on the show.

Champions: “Vince, a charismatic gym owner with no ambition, lives with his younger brother Michael, a gorgeous idiot.” That’s genuinely how the press release sells this pair of morons. Then there’s something about unexpectedly having to look after a teenage son. Hilarious parenting will ensue no doubt.

A.P. Bio: A smug sounding academic finds himself teaching biology to high school kids. It’s a comedy so I’m guessing it’ll mostly be about screwing things up rather than heartwarming growth.