We are rapidly approaching the network upfronts, where we will find out the TV schedules for next year!
Deadline has released their first buzz on the pilots likely to be picked up, as well as a look at shows on the bubble of renewal and cancellation. The reports here do need to be taken with a grain of salt. As the comments in the spoiler TV links to these articles note, it is too early to draw any conclusions about the pilots, and eve the later buzz reports have historically predicted pick-ups for show that got passed over, and failed to mention pilots that would end up making the cut. The accuracy of the bubble show reports is also not exactly pristine.
Throwing out some of my own predictions, I expect ABC to go big on procedurals this year, picking up magician crime show Deception, medical show The Good Doctor, and Unit Zero, a show about unlikely spies. This won’t generate much excitement, but procedurals are still shows that can be consistent performers if they find an audience, and cruise to triple-digit episode counts. And Season Zero has written up very positive reviews for all three of these potential shows.
I also expect ABC to give the green light to at least one of a few shows with family soap elements. Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry has a show about a small-town in America which becomes the sight of an apparent terrorist attack, while there is also a show called The Crossing about refugees arriving in America from a dystopian future, and a show about a man who comes into contact with a messenger from God. The Marc Cherry pilot probably has the edge, though the review from a Marc Cherry fan at Season Zero notes that the investigation elements, never a strong point of Desperate Housewives, remain a weak point in the new show. This is a pretty big red flag for me, given that investigations seem set to be at the forefront of the show. Personally I’m most interested in The Crossing out of these three, though Season Zero wasn’t particularly impressed.
CBS may only pickup a few new shows this year, with the most ambitious option being Mission Control from The Martian author Andy Weir. Other options that could catch my attention is The Get, a show about journalists that received a positive review from Season Zero, and Instinct a show headlined by Alan Cumming which seems to follow the basic formula of a man and a woman solving crimes together, except for the fact that the man is actually gay in this case. I expect the Cumming vehicle to go to series, as well as the law show starring former ER actor Noah Wyle.
The last three years has seen the CW follow three rules. First they pickup a superhero show, then they give the green light to a dramady, and third they pass on a show that could have served as a companion to The Never Ending Story… I mean, Supernatural. The Supernatural spinoff was dead on arrival, anthology-esque Tales from the Darkside never saw the light, and last year Transylvania was passed over in spite of getting some solid buzz. This year seems like it might follow the same patters, with Black Lightning and Life Sentence seeming set to get the green light, while The Searchers may miss the cut in spite of getting some good feedback.
One other thing to watch from The CW this year is that many seem to prefer their three WB pilots, Black Lightning, Life Sentence, and The Searchers, with the CBS options Dynasty, Valor and Insatiable getting less positive buzz. Could the network pick up all three WB options and completely pass over the CBS slate? Probably not, since reports suggest the network is actually pretty high on Dynasty, though many others aren’t sure what it is that makes the net think the soap reboot while hit with their audience. I’m pulling for the WB sweep, but sadly I’m predicting that the Supernatural companion show will once again get squeezed out, with Dynasty getting the nod instead.
Fox has only four drama pilots to choose from, with The Beast and Passage both being delayed until next year. Their m/marvel comics show seems all but a sure thing, while medical show The Resident, move reboot Behind Enemy Lines and a show about a rape accusation at a University have been getting less positive feedback. As I noted in an earlier post, Fox passed on some intriguing options when choosing what pilots to make, something which could become a bigger problem with such a limited group of options to choose from. I expect the Marvel show and The Resident to go to series.
Finally, we come to NBC, which has a military show in For God and Country, as well as a hospital in crisis option with Shelter. Other options include the Glee-esque Rise and the Charlene Harris adaptation Redliners, as well as Good girls, about ordinary women who turn to crime and Reverie, a crime show in a world where virtual reality has become part of daily life. Deadline notes that Rise is getting some strong early buzz, and Season Zero gave it a very good review. Season Zero gave a mixed review to Good Girls, as well as Reverie. For God and Country got a more positive report, While Redliners earned one of the more negative reviews so far this year. I expect Rise, Reverie and For God and Country to hit the airwaves next season, which is pretty much what I’m hoping for, though I’d put Good Girls in place of For God and Country.