For those who don't know what Upfronts are... I don't really know the best way to explain them beyond that time in mid-May when all the big television networks give little previews into new shows for the next season, and announce their fall line-ups. It was a little different this year in what the town is now calling "the post strike" world (because it was all very harrowing and scary for the big conglomerates, of course) and while none of my opinions and information is from any firsthand experience at the presentations, I am going to grace you all with my selected thoughts on the newly revealed skeds.
ABC's fall line up is the most familiar. All our favorites will be there (although Lost returns midseason which is intolerable) with a scant few newbies. One of the new shows is Life on Mars, from David E. Kelley and based on the successful BBC drama of the same name. After reading a bit of the pilot and watching a short trailer for the Americanized version, I'm not sure this edition holds the same promise. I am trying to think of the last David E. Kelley show I actually watched... probably Ally McBeal or Boston Public. I never really got into the law shows, but I know they've been critically acclaimed and well loved. I am willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, especially because Life on Mars airs in the prime post-Grey's Anatomy slot on Thursday nights, but take a look for yourself.
I am also thrilled by the return of the Wednesday night trio Pushing Daisies, Private Practice and Dirty Sexy Money. It worked in the fall, and I've been missing these shows since the strike halted production.
Um I didn't pay much attention to this one. Right. The only shows on NBC that I care about are The Office and 30 Rock (watch 30 Rock, it will blow your socks off!) and of course, Friday Night Lights, a show that is so good it hurts. It hurts because I love it. I used to watch Heroes, but decided another cult-TV show was a bad idea for my personal life... and social functioning. I am trying to think what stands out on the NBC schedule... not much. Ooooh I guess there is an Office spin-off (those nets sure love the spin-offs these days, huh?) which is promising but also questionable. What else, what else... wow ER is still going. Huh, look at that.
I don't watch any shows on CBS. I can't think of a time I ever did.
Here's where things get interesting. FOX, a network I watch now only for Family Guy, is bringing back to my life two very important shows: The X-Files and Firefly. Okay not really, but the new J.J. Abrams show Fringe is practically a revisioned X-Files for 2008, full of paranormal technology, pseudoscience, and potential government conspiracies, and of course--fraught with unresolved sexual tension between the two protagonists (played by Joshua Jackson--Pacey!--and newcomer Anna Torv). I just finished reading this intense pilot yesterday and I am hooked. Also, these promotional stills have me all sorts of excited. Then there is Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind Firefly, one of the most underrated shows of late, who is bringing the show Dollhouse to FOX midseason. While I hate Eliza Dushku, who stars as the main character Echo, this show has a really interesting concept (reading the pilot now so can't explain in full). Here, watch a little trailer (and it's Helo from Battlestar Galactica!):
Hmm the trailer is temporarily unavailable... I'll put it up later.
I love the CW for bringing Gossip Girl to the airwaves. I realize that on a ratings scale this show bombs. But as far as buzz and salacious plots are concerned? Right on the money! As we all know, I am most excited for the CW's upcoming 90210 spin-off (fantastic pilot and I had a friend at Upfronts yesterday who saw some early footage, texting me afterwards to say: "90210 will make us hate our jobs, paychecks and wardrobes. It looks so good.") and I am somewhat interested in Surviving the Filthy Rich, set to air after 90210, and on par with the network's teen programming. I read this pilot as well, and it has some potential but it might not hold my interest (see clips here).
Phew. I've got a busy fall schedule to make room in my life and my DVR for all these televisions shows, but if I know anything about myself, it's that I always watch my shows. And by watch, I mean obsess over.