At the upfronts yesterday, Fox announced the renewals and cancellations of current shows — Dollhouse, Fringe and Bones are getting another season, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is not (damnit!) — and presented their new ones.
You’ll be shocked — shocked! — to learn that, except for the black family comedy Brothers, there’s not much racial diversity among the leading roles on Fox’s new series. Or many prominent roles for women: the only new Fox show with a female lead is the midseason drama Past Life. I miss Sarah Connor already.
Fox will be bringing us the new Saturday-night talk show from Wanda Sykes in November, though, which features "Sykes’s outspoken comedic perspective on current events along with topical, high-energy roundtable discussions."
Here’s a preview of the new Fox shows, with summaries and trailers provided by Fox (courtesy of the excellent TV news site TheFutonCritic.com). I’ve also added my take on each series, based on the trailer — give me your’s in the comments!
Note: Glee debuts tonight after American Idol, then resumes airing weekly in the fall.
The distinctive new comedy from Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck) starring Jane Lynch (The 40 Year Old Virgin) and newcomers Matthew Morrison (Broadway’s Hairspray), Lea Michele (Spring Awakening) and Cory Monteith (Kyle XY), will enter its freshman year this fall. Combining biting humor with a soundtrack of hit music from past to present, the inventive series follows an optimistic high school teacher who against all odds attempts to restore McKinley High’s fading Glee Club to its former glory, while helping a group of underdogs realize their true star potential.
First impression: Jane Lynch is funny as always (although her character is not as prominent as this trailer would lead you to believe), and Ryan Murphy proved he could do campy teen shows with Popular, so this could take off, especially if the High School Musical fans embrace it. But it’s going to be tricky to find the right balance of campiness and sincerity, and still make us care about the characters. Looks promising, though!
The Cleveland Show
The new Sunday night animated comedy follows everyone’s favorite soft-spoken Family Guy neighbor, Cleveland Brown (Mike Henry), who moves with his son back to his hometown in Virginia and settles down with his high school sweetheart and her unruly kids.
First impression: I’m not a fan of adult animation, so I don’t really have an opinion on this one. I know we have a lot of fans of Family Guy here, though, so let me know if you think it looks good!
A new half-hour comedy, starring Michael Strahan (Fox NFL Sunday) and Daryl “Chill” Mitchell (Ed, Veronica’s Closet), about a former big-city NFL hot shot who returns home to his family and his mother’s house to get his life back on track.
First impression: Primetime network TV is sorely lacking in black ensemble comedies and dramas right now, but Brothers doesn’t seem particularly funny or well-written, and the tone seems slightly uneven. Maybe it just needs a few episodes to find its stride, but this trailer doesn’t make me want to tune in to find out. Plus, there’s the whole lacking-in-female-roles problem; CCH Pounder is excellent in just about everything she does, but this looks like a waste of her talents.
MIDSEASON (EARLY 2010)
Sons of Tucson
A non-traditional family comedy starring Tyler Labine (Reaper) as a charming but wayward schemer hired by three young brothers whose father is in prison.
First impression: Labine was hilarious in Reaper, and at least this is a different take on the family comedy. But Sons of Tucson basically looks like one long Jack Black movie, and while I like that kind of humor occasionally, I’m not sure I’m in for 13 episodes of wisecracking-kids/slacker-with-a-heart-of-gold humor. But I’m probably not the target audience for this show.
A full-throttle, action-packed thrill ride from executive producers McG (Terminator Salvation) and Simon West (Con Air, Tomb Raider). Based on the popular DC Comics graphic novel and starring Mark Valley (Fringe), Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies) and Academy Award nominee Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), the series follows Christopher Chance (Valley), a unique private contractor who will stop at nothing even if it means becoming a human target to keep his clients alive. Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) also guest-stars as a client and potential love interest.
First impression: Although it’s not exactly a new premise (McGyver + James Bond), the special effects look cool. But they need to make Tricia Helfer a permanent cast member, and give her more to do than flirt and get rescued.
A fast-paced emotional thriller inspired by the book The Reincarnationist. The series stars Kelli Giddish (All My Children) as a gifted psychologist and Nicholas Bishop (Home and Away) as a former NYPD detective who work together to explore and unravel mysteries that must be solved in both the past and the present.
First impression: The premise (solving past-life mysteries) sounds hokey, but actually seems to play out pretty well (at least, from the trailer). Not sure if this will be enough to differentiate Past Life from all the other crime shows out there, but I’m willing to watch the first episode to find out.
Based on what you see here, which shows would you try?