Monday, May 25, 2015

Upfronts Round-Up 2015: Our Picks

Well folks,it’s that time of year again. The broadcast networks have announced their fall line-ups (and their mid-season replacements) in the hopes of securing the ever-crucial ad dollars from advertisers that allow TV shows to be on air. And as usual, we’ve picked six shows that we think look particularly promising.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
Midseason on the CW

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is the latest spin-off of both Arrow and The Flash. Airing at midseason, this new series gathers heroes (Sara Lance, Ray Palmer and Martin Stein) and villains (Captain Cold and Heat Wave) and tasks them with fighting off an immortal evil in the future. The team is assembled and led by time traveler Rip Hunter (played by Arthur Darvill of Doctor Who fame). Funny that our dear Rory is back as a badass! This latest iteration employs more fantastical elements than Arrow but has the opportunity to bring back beloved characters like Sara and take some of the characters that don’t fit quite as well on their parent shows (Ray, Cold and Heatwave) and give them a chance to grow. Given the popularity of its parent franchise, there is a strong possibility that the network will push the marketing on this show to ensure it succeeds wherever it appears at midseason.

Midseason on Fox

Before seeing the trailer, Lucifer didn’t sound quite as interesting as it is portrayed on screen. The premise follows the Devil (played by Tom Ellis, the original Robin Hood on Once Upon a Time) as he gets fed up with ruling Hell and defects without warning to Los Angeles where he meets Chloe Dancer, a pretty cop, (Lauren German from Chicago Fire) who seems immune to his powers. After someone close to Lucifer dies, he teams up with Detective Dancer to punish criminals. While not exactly like last season’s NBC’s Constantine, Lucifer, has a similar narrative tone and feel. Whether the premise and the characters bring viewers back week after week remains to be seen. The network also has to contend with the over-saturation of the comic-book adaptation market. Still, the trailer is enough to warrant checking out a few episodes when it finally graces our screens.

Mondays at 8 on CBS

Supergirl didn’t really interest either of us when the television blogosphere was talking about it in the abstract, but the trailer was quirky enough to capture our interest. The show follows Kara Zor-el (Melissa Benoist)l, Superman’s cousin who also has superpowers. When we first see her, though, she’s not really using her superpowers. She works as a personal assistant in a very “Devil Wears Prada”-type situation. An emergency leads her to use her superpowers, and the story takes off from there. It should be interesting to watch Kara begin to assert herself and embrace her true nature. There is definitely the potential for a satisfying character arc, which isn’t always the case with CBS fare, which tends to be more procedural.

Mondays at 10 on NBC

Set in New York City, Blindspot follows a beautiful Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander) covered in intricate tattoos as she fights to solve crimes along with FBI Agent Kurt Weller and recover her own memory. This is one of several procedural with a twist offerings for the 2015-2016 season. From what’s been shown thus far, the writers and cast deliver intriguing visuals and compelling storylines that almost evoke remnants of the character Alexander played on Kyle XY. Time will tell whether the format relies more heavily on the case-of-the-week (spurred by each of Jane’s tattoos) or if it will be a solid mix of case work and mythology. Given the other shows we find of interest here at More TV, Please, Blindspot should be a good fit.

The Muppets
Tuesdays at 8 on ABC

We’ll admit, we were initially a bit skeptical about ABC’s “Muppets” reboot. “The Muppet Show” is a classic, and rebooting it as a modern documentary-style comedy just seemed a bit wrong. Yes, The Muppets will be a documentary-style comedy like “The Office” or “Modern Family,” focusing on relationship drama between our favorite Muppets. Miss Piggy should be in her element, at least. The trailer actually looks fun and in keeping with the spirit of the Muppets. This show will be paired in ABC’s schedule with sophomore comedy “Fresh off the Boat,” which should make for a very entertaining Tuesday night overall for ABC.

Sundays at 9 on ABC

Oil, set in a remote area of North Dakota, looks like it could be a good soapy addition to ABC’s brand. What intrigued us was the casting of Scott Michael Foster, of “Greek” and “Once Upon a Time” fame, as the incompetent son of oil tycoon Hap Briggs. Besides the Briggs family, it appears that the show will also focus on Billy and Kelly LeFever, a young couple who give up everything to get to North Dakota for a chance to strike it rich. While this wasn’t exactly the most slick trailer of the bunch, it set up the location and potential major plots well. It could be good, soapy fun in the same vein as Nashville and Empire. Or at least we hope so!

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