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.
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.