Normally it’s during Upfronts that the broadcast television networks reveal the shows they’ve picked up and cancelled and the placement of those shows in the much stressed over primetime schedule.
But times have changed and networks no longer wait to give out pink slips or pick ups while in NYC; they’ve now gotten used to jumping the gun and dropping cancellation bombs the week prior to Upfronts so as to leave a bloody carnage of comedies and dramas and broken hearts of many tv fanatics.
So far this week we’ve seen FOX, CW, NBC, and ABC take the stage (CBS being too cool for school, apparently), with FOX firing off the opening salvo by cancelling the scifi futuristic cop show, Almost Human, and inciting the ire of its small but loyal fanbase.
I watched the show. Liked it, but didn’t love it; thought they had some great fodder for some deep exploration of class issues (Dorian looked down on his fellow brethren the MX’s to the point of turning a blind eye to their systematic abuse and destruction by fellow cops. Perhaps someone’s got some self-loathing issues going on?); but never fully clicked for me as a whole. As much as I adore Karl Urban, I’d rather see him in a Dredd sequel.
Next FOX became a benevolent TV god and gave the green light to Gotham, Empire, and The Red Band Society which yay to Batman getting the Smallville treatment and being back on the tv screen, yay to diversity with Empire who its creator Lee Daniels referred to as the ‘Black Dynasty’ and The Red Band Society for, uh, being whatever it’ll be.
But then FOX went back to being a vengeful TV god and cancelled Enlisted, Dads, and Surviving Jack, and Rake of which for me Enlisted hurts the most. While set in the military, Enlisted was a gem of a show that mixed good humor, good brotherly feels, with knowing exactly what it was from the start. Geoff Stults used his leading man looks to great comic effect and Chris Lowell and Parker Young as his younger brothers were nice sardonic and adorkable complements to their hero big brother. It’s a shame they didn’t get a shot on Tuesday nights with Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
The CW next snuck in with quick announcements that were good (The Flash (yes, yes, a thousand times yes!) and The 100 being picked up) the sad (The Tomorrow People and Star Crossed being cancelled) and the inexplicable (Beauty and the Beast gets the pick-up). Hart of Dixie got a renewal as well new shows iZombie, Jane the Virgin and The Messengers got pick-ups while the book closed on The Carrie Diaries with no cookie for the planned Supernatural spin-off either.
Not wanting to be left out NBC renewed Law and Order: SVU and picked up new shows State of Affairs (Katherine Heigl’s return to TV!), The Mysteries of Laura (Debra Messing’s return to TV!), the comedy A to Z, most important to me DC’s Constantine because anti-hero supernatural British bad boys are always fun to watch.
Lastly, ABC made my week on Thursday night by renewing The Goldbergs and then thunked me on the back of the head by cancelling Trophy Wife, then surprised me by picking up a nice mix of new shows: Black-ish (Black parents trying to raise their kids with a sense of cultural identity in today’s society). Galavant (a medieval times romantic musical?!), How to Get Away with Murder (Viola Davis + Shonda Rhimes = Good times), Marvel’s Agent Carter (Agent Carter playing Spy Games with Iron Man’s dad), Selfie (Amelia Pond and Harold Lee meet cute), and The Whispers (Children possessed by aliens trying to take over Earth. Let me repeat: children possessed by aliens trying to take over Earth! )
There’s still a lot more executions, reprieves, and chosen ones to tap before the weekend is over.
And then the game of primetime scheduling chicken will begin as each network tries to decide what to place where for maximum eyeballs and I try to figure out if I need to add a third DVR to my cable bill.
Ah, Upfronts. The most wonderful time of the year- next to March Madness Basketball.