Broadcast Networks Fall Sked: New and Old Genre Offerings
While the global conspiracy themed series have fared poorly over the last few years, it’s not stopped the networks from trying them again and again. The problem for most of them is the ability to maintain the quality of the pilot. Expensive series like this sometimes suffer when the week-to-week production kicks in as well as the cost cutting. Still, NBC will give it try again, and hope everyone does not remember THE EVENT from 2010.
From the fertile imaginations of J.J. Abrams comes REVOLUTION. Our entire way of life depends on electricity. So what would happen if it just stopped working? Well, one day, like a switch turned off, the world is suddenly thrust back into the dark ages. Planes fall from the sky, hospitals shut down, and communication is impossible. And without any modern technology, who can tell us why? Now, 15 years later, life is back to what it once was long before the industrial revolution: families living in quiet cul-de-sacs, and when the sun goes down lanterns and candles are lit. Life is slower and sweeter. Or is it? On the fringes of small farming communities, danger lurks. And a young woman’s life is dramatically changed when a local militia arrives and kills her father, who mysteriously – and unbeknownst to her – had something to do with the blackout. This brutal encounter sets her and two unlikely companions off on a daring coming-of-age journey to find answers about the past in the hopes of reclaiming the future. The pilot was helmed by Iron Man director Jon Favreau and stars Billy Burke (“The Twilight Saga”), Tracy Spiridakos (“Being Human”), Anna Lise Phillips (“Terra Nova”), Zak Orth (“Romeo + Juliet“), Graham Rogers (“Memphis Beat”), J.D. Pardo (“A Cinderella Story”), Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad”), David Lyons (“The Cape”), Maria Howell (“The Blind Side”), Tim Guinee (“Iron Man”) and Andrea Roth (“Rescue Me”). It gets the coveted Monday 10pm slot, but as a serialized show, it will need to retain its pilot audience if NBC hopes of making a dent in CBS’ HAWAII FIVE-O ratings.
DO NO HARM is NBC’s next attempt at creating a DR JEKYLL & MR HYDE like series, coming on the heels of Christian Slater’s failed 2008 attempt, MY OWN WORST ENEMY. Dr. Jason Cole (Steven Pasquale, “Rescue Me”) is a highly respected neurosurgeon who has it all – a lucrative career, confident charm, the gift of compassion. But he also has a deep, dark secret. One morning when he wakes up disoriented in a wrecked hotel room amidst several near-naked women he’s never seen before, he knows one thing: it’s happening again. Every night at the same hour, something inside Jason changes, leaving him almost unrecognizable – seductive, devious, borderline sociopathic. This new man is his dangerous alternate personality who goes by the name of ‘Ian Price.’ For years he’s battled Ian, keeping him in check with a powerful experimental sedative. But now his – their – body has developed a resistance to the serum, setting Ian free once again. And to make matters worse, after being suppressed for so long, Ian’s hell-bent on taking revenge on his oppressor. The series is given the 10pm Sunday slot, but it have to deal with ABC, which will be offering some genre shows of its own.
Waiting in the wings are two shows from Bryan Fuller (WONDERFALLS, DEAD LIKE ME, PUSHING DAISIES). HANNIBAL is a 13 episode series is based on the multi-volume novels by Thomas Harris and will focus on the budding relationship between FBI criminal profiler Will Graham and his mentor Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a forensic psychiatrist destined to become Graham’s most cunning enemy. Also from Fuller and director Bryan Singer is MOCKINGBIRD LANE, a reboot of THE MUNSTERS, which is designed to explore the origins of the Munster family. Stylishly, the series will be darker and edgier, while still retaining plenty of humor, much like Fuller’s PUSHING DAISIES. This series, however, may be held until summer 2013.
GRIMM returns for season two, and will retain its Friday slot where it did fairly well.
In an attempt, maybe, to emulate ABC’s successful MODERN FAMILY, The Peacock Network will also air THE NEW NORMAL, a single-camera sitcom from AMERICAN HORROR STORY creator Ryan Murphy. The series stars Andrew Rannells, (“Girls,” “The Book of Mormon”) and Justin Bartha,(“The Hangover”) as a Beverly Hills gay “power couple” who have it all, except a child. Then they encounter Midwestern waitress and single mother (Georgia King, “One Day”), who was looking to escape her dead-end life and small-minded grandmother, so she decides to change everything and move to L.A. with her precocious 8-year-old daughter. Desperate and broke, she agrees to become the guys’ surrogate and quite possibly the girl of their dreams. Ellen Barkin plays her grandmother.
For the first time in my memory, FOX will offer up no new genre series. FRINGE will return to Friday for its 13-episode 5th and final season, followed by the second season of TOUCH. After being burned on two expensive, high-profile science fiction themed series, ALCATRAZ and TERRA NOVA, that went nowhere –both creatively and ratings wise- they’re being cautious now. GLEE, the networks only show with gay, main characters, returns for a fourth season, but will be moved to the very competitive Thursday 9pm slot. It’s a bold move that will either work, or finally kill the series, which has never been able to achieve the popularity (or creativity) it did in season one. But considering its lead-in the fall will be the X FACTOR results show, it could see resurgence in ratings that they lost this past season.