Anticipating: 2012 TV Upfronts

Posted on May 23, 2012

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For a week in May, TV networks trot out their new shows for advertisers and the news media. There are big parties. The stars glad-hand and give interviews. There’s free food, music, drinks, and probably a lot of desperation and tone-deaf hot air from executives.

I wouldn’t know. I’m not invited, but I can read coverage of the “up-fronts” and form my own opinions.

Here are some shows that caught my attention, for good or ill.

NBC

Revolution: JJ Abrams (Alias, Cloverfield, Lost, Star Trek, Super 8, etc.) brings us a show about life after a global EMP knocks out all known power sources. The cast, the creator, and the trailer, all suggest that my wife and I will enjoy this.

Community: Well, we’re getting part of a season, without Dan Harmon. We’ll see how that works out.

The Munsters: We won’t see this re-boot until mid-season. There’s no information on IMDB yet, so I can’t comment on creators or stars. I’ll check out the marketing, and hope for the best.

Silence of the Lambs: Another re-boot. I don’t see how they could bring Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling to the small screen, but I might give it a shot.

Fox

The Following: A serial killer uses technology to create a cult of serial killers. This show stars Kevin Bacon, Maggie Grace, James Purefoy, and Shawn Ashmore. The cast alone makes me willing to see if they can wring anything new out of the serial killer genre.

ABC

Zero Hour: I’ve been a fan of Anthony Edwards at least since Revenge of the Nerds. This show also stars Michael Nyqvist, and is about an editor of a skeptics magazine who gets pulled into a big, post-DaVinci Code, conspiracy with demonic infants and paranormal Nazis. Sounds like my last modern RPG game…

666 Park Avenue: I don’t care if Terry O’Quinn is in it, I won’t watch this show when it releases. Instead, I’ll hold out hope that it turns out gloriously trashy, like the original Dark Shadows. Then I’ll catch up with it through the various on-demand services.

CBS

Elementary:  I am a big, silly, Sherlock Holmes fan. I can enjoy the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce adaptations, revel in the wonderful Jeremy Brett versions, go along for the ride courtesy of Guy Ritchie, Robert Downey Jr., and Jude Law; and devour every episode of Steven Moffat’s modernization with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. So a version with a recovering addict (Johnny Lee Miller) and his sober partner (Lucy Liu) solving mysteries in New York City is a must-watch – even though I realize it may well suck.

Vegas: Dennis Quaid has been a favorite of mine since Breaking Away. In this show, he plays a sheriff in 1960s Nevada butting heads with a casino owner played by Michael Chiklis – another actor whose work I like. This one is kind of a mystery to me. I feel like it might be worth checking out, but somehow I doubt it will be popular enough to last.

The CW

Arrow: Okay, look, Troy Patterson is right when describing this network as “a network which exists to sell young women lip gloss and offer bloggers things to obsess over.” I get it. But the teaser video looks pretty good.

Now, that said, they are really, really, missing out on a marketing opportunity. If your star can really do that kind of work-out, why isn’t he competing on American Ninja Warrior?

Thoughts?

What did I miss? What are you looking forward to?

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Posted in: television