The Upfronts 2016: The CW

cwPoor CW, always the runt of the network channels, and I add insult to injury by leaving a big gap between postings. The CW plays to a very specific younger demographic and their fan enthusiasm and loyalty gives a tremendously stable line-up of shows, many of which interlink and feed off each other either directly or thematically. It’s cemented itself as the home of DC superheroes to the extent that wayward child Supergirl makes the very sensible move away from CBS to join the family.

What’s cancelled or retiring
Beauty and the Beast has rather incredibly been running for three seasons, however the fourth season which will be broadcast over the summer will be its last. Containment didn’t do anything like as well and will end after a very short 7 episode first season. It always looked rather out of place on The CW, looking like a more mainstream network show, but probably not good enough to make it on CBS or Fox.

What’s back
Supernatural - Season 5Good grief, Supernatural moves into season TWELVE. It’s old enough that it used to be on The WB! I keep saying, that when and if I know it’s got a happy ending, I’ll go back and catch up on all the seasons I missed since I judged it too depressing. I’m beginning to think it’s never actually going to end. The Vampire Diaries is rather surprisingly still going too (renewed for season 8) despite losing the lead actress. The contrarily named spin-off The Originals is renewed for season four, although possibly only as a half season conclusion.

Jane_the_Virgin_logo (1)The DC universe shows trundle onwards with Arrow renewed for a fifth season, The Flash for a third and Legends of Tomorrow for a second. As mentioned above, Supergirl’s second season will also come to The CW. Period piece Reign is renewed for a fourth season, The 100 for a third and iZombie for a second.

The CW has managed to find considerable critical success with its comedies, with both Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend garnering awards attention for the first time for the channel and therefore unsurprisingly renewed for third and second seasons respectively.

What’s New
Frequency – based on the Dennis Quaid film, it’s sort of time-travelly, with a daughter in 2016 talking to her soon-to-be dead father in 1996 via a ham radio. The trailer actually looks pretty good and the fact they’re both police officers working on a case spanning the decades looks to be an interesting hook.

No Tomorrow
– a bloke with a powerpoint is convinced that the world is ending in 8 months and he’s living like there’s no tomorrow. Then he meets a “risk-averse procurement manager” and he persuades her to start living the same way. I think it was supposed to be a comedy. I didn’t laugh.

Riverdale – based on the Archie comic strip which has been running since the 40s, it’s basically a teenager goring up in a small town. Sounds utterly unremarkable.

Upfronts 2015: The CW

cwThe CW – home of young, pretty people with problems. Superheroes, monsters, vampires, survivors of the apocalypse, Mary Queen of Scots, zombies and a woman accidentally impregnated with her boss’s baby. You know, the usual day to day issues that life throws at you. The CW only has about a dozen shows on its schedules and many are very long running, so there’s only a couple of cancellations and a couple of new shows.

Cancelled of finished
Hart of Dixie ran for four seasons, The Messengers was cancelled after only three episodes with spectacularly low ratings even for The CW.

What’s returning
Supernatural - Season 5Supernatural continues into its eleventh season. I gave up on the show several years ago, not because it wasn’t good but because the relentless misery inflicted on the main characters just depressed me too much. Skimming the summary of recent episodes, that really doesn’t seem to have changed any!

Ranked up behind it are various super hero and supernatural-lower-case offerings. Arrow and The Flash share a universe and go into seasons 4 and 2. The Vampire Diaries will enter season 7 without its leading lady, which should be interesting, while its spinoff The Originals goes into season 3. The vampires are followed up with zombies with the unfortunately named, but apparently not bad iZombie getting a second season and Beauty and the Beast, a series I never hear anything at all about, getting renewed for season 4. A couple more teen focussed series, The 100 set in the future and Reign set in the past are both renewed for third seasons.

Jane_the_Virgin_logo (1)The real star of the network though would be Jane the Virgin, which is not only good, but so good that it won the CW its first ever Peabody and Golden Globe (for leading actress Gina Rodriguez) awards. Unsurprisingly it will return for season 2.

New series

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: joining the Arrow and Flash universe are a misfit bunch of superheroes who travel through time to battle a supervillain. It’s got a huge challenge ahead of it to overcome the obvious “budget Avengers” label. It’s a shame that so many of the characters seem to overlap with Marvel universe and the dialogue in the trailer didn’t quite land. Still, nice idea.

Containment: There’s a virus, it’s fatal and while the authorities try to contain it, those inside the containment are trying to survive. This looks like it’s on some kind of exchange trip with Supergirl on CBS as each show seems lost on the network that’s showing it, and I think that’s a real shame for both shows’ survival chances.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: OK. There just aren’t really words to describe this one. Just watch the trailer and marvel at the weirdness.