Just Bananas About: Week of 5/16/14

It’s Upfront season in the US. Upfront is a term used in the media industry so that all the television networks can showcase their fall lineup so that advertisers can start buying their media space “up front”. For the rest of us, we usually find out what shows have been canceled (there were many), what shows we’re expecting back next season and what new shows have been picked up for the fall.

There are a lot of new shows and it’s a safe bet to make that not nearly half of them will make it. Upon reading the synopsis and watching the trailers, there were a number of shows that might interest me enough to put on my Tivo Season Pass. I’ve provided videos for my picks but click on each network to look at all the trailers for the new shows and provide comments below on shows that you might be interested in tuning in for.

NBC

Let’s start with the Peacock, aka NBC, as they had their upfronts first.

It’s not that I hate Katherine Heigl but nothing about the trailer for State of Affairs intrigued me. I see a lot of action and perhaps a good female friendship between her character and Alfre Woodard’s character but it’s not a standout plot.

Marry Me looks like a single cam sitcom with Casey Wilson and Ken Marino. Cute but the trailer didn’t make me laugh out loud. Think I’ll pass.

A to Z – A very romcom plot and I really like Ben Feldman but I’m a bit worried as this genre does not seem to fare well as an episodic. I’m also not loving the Katay Sagal narration throughout as it feels like a lazy way for the writer to get the point across.

Bad Judge stars Kate Walsh and basically, it’s the same neurotic character, different occupation.

I was initially intrigued by Constantine because I like Keanu Reeves movie but I wasn’t swayed by the trailer. Yes, it’s a big, blockbuster drama and I like Lucy Griffiths. Perhaps this is NBC’s answer to FOX’s Sleepy Hollow but unless the plot themselves are elaborate and deep, I don’t see myself coming back week after week for this one. The world of Constantine is a very bleak look at the world and who wants to be depressed weekly? Not completely ruling out this one yet but not convinced that this show will be the one for me.

The Mysteries of Laura is about a detective who also juggles being a mom at the same time starring Debra Messing. Similar with Bad Judge, same character, different occupation.

Hmm, looks like NBC isn’t faring too well with me in regards to their new fall shows but at least Hannibal is returning. Yay!


FOX

Next up is FOX. I’m looking forward to Gotham, obviously.   Batman, hellooo.  I always loved that Gotham, in the DC Comics context, is a metaphor for these big, gothic cities like New York and Chicago. Anything associated with Batman seems to have this noir look to it (yes, even the cartoony Tim Burton movies) and this one is no different. Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is an interesting character and if Marvel is going to have their origin series, then it seems right that DC does the same.

I was so worried that David Tennant’s American accent would bug me a lot. The Doctor’s accent only bugs me a little bit but I like the look and the feel of this American remake of Broadchurch.  The thing that worries me the most about Gracepoint, which is the title for the American series and also the town where everything takes place, is that I fear the ending will be the same as its predecessor. Which basically means I know who did it. Let’s hope FOX isn’t stupid enough to do that.

Mulaney – This sitcom is about a stand-up comic, John Mulaney, and his day to day life. The show feels very much like Seinfeld. Meh.

Utopia – Pass, I don’t watch American reality shows.

Backstrom is based on the Swedish book and series and I heard excellent things about the original series. Not knowing anything about that series though, this drama (or dramedy?) feels like House, except he’s a detective named Backstrom (Rainn Wilson). Which is funny since House’s character was based on Sherlock Holmes. It feels like a step back. On a plus note, I guess fans of The Office would be interested to see Rainn Wilson don a very different role.

Empire – Midseason drama starring Terrence Howard. I honestly thought this was another movie turned into TV series. Maybe I got confused with Hustle & Flow because Taraji P. Henson also appears here. I think I’m gonna skip this one but all I know is Terrence Howard is gonna be one busy man for the next year.

Hieroglyph is another midseason replacement and the actors are virtually unknown. It takes place in ancient Egypt but there are monsters. Um, no.

There are a bevy of stars appearing in Wayward Pines, Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Melissa Leo, Toby Jones and Terrence Howard. Executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan, the show feels like a Twin Peaks reboot. Quirky and eerie at the same time. I’m intrigued by this one.


ABC

The new shows ABC greenlit this year feels very multicultural which makes it a plus in my book.

American Crime is a drama about a war vet who is killed and his wife who is barely clinging on. A minority is identified and arrested and the shockwaves it sends into the community.  The shows has this Crash-like vibe and I’m interested to see what the dialogue will be amongst viewers.

Forever stars Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four) and is about a medical examiner with a secret. He can elude death. His long life has given him remarkable observation skills but I don’t see the connection between the two. Pass.

How to Get Away with Murder – It’s Shonda Rhimes and Viola Davis. At the very least, I’m going to give this one a try because as skeptical as I was about Scandal, it sucked me in a very Shondastic way.

Secrets & Lies is based on the Australian series of the same name and stars Ryan Phillippe as a man who is accused of a murder. I can only take so much murder in one season and this one seemed the least captivating.

The Whispers stars Lily Rabe and is executive produced by Steven Spielberg. “Aliens have invaded Earth by using our most unlikely resource to achieve world domination—our children. As the kids unwittingly help these unseen enemies, the clock counts down in this suspenseful race to save humanity.” Do you have the same WTF expression that I had when I first read this? The trailer doesn’t feel nearly as ridiculous as that synopsis sounds but that synopsis is the gist of the plotline. Think of it as unseen aliens and lots of creepy kids. Felt like this one should have been a summer show but regrettably I’m gonna pass.

Black-ish is an Anthony Anderson vehicle about an African-American family who lives in the ‘burbs’. Frustrated that his family is becoming too “white”, he wonders if success has brought too much assimilation. With the help of his dad (Laurence Fishburne), he tries to establish a sense of cultural identity which recognizes both the past and the future. The trailer did make me laugh out loud but it wasn’t the only show that will be addressing cultural identity so I think I’m going to skip this one just because I know there are not enough hours in the day for me to watch this one. Got to have a cut-off point somewhere.

Cristela is a sitcom starring Cristela Alonzo and also addresses cultural identity. It made the cut for me only because this chick is sooo funny. Let’s see where this show goes.

Okay, I’ll admit that I’ve been looking forward to watching the trailer for Fresh Off the Boat. The premise intrigued me because it’s about an Asian immigrant family pursuing the American Dream based on Chef Eddie Huang’s memoirs of the same name. Obviously, I can totally relate but in the past, these kinds of comedies failed miserably. With a skeptical eye, my sister and I checked into this trailer and we laughed our asses off. Particularly, Constance Wu who plays the mom (Check out 1:20 – “I miss the Taiwanese markets back in DC. They make me feel so calm.”). This is one of my favorite trailers out of all the upcoming new shows. Definitely tuning in for this one.

Galavant – I was wondering why Timothy Omundson had grown a beard at the Psych After Pshow. This is why! This show feels like the great musical comedies like Men In Tights. How great would it be Cary Elwes guested on this show? The trailer is silly and amusing but I do have concerns that I might eventually grow tired of the singing week after week. Might be awesome for a movie but for a series? We shall see…

Manhattan Love Story is another, you guessed it, romcom dramedy. However, unlike the NBC show, I’m already liking the chemistry between Analeigh Tipton and Jake McDorman which makes or breaks a romcom IMHO. I wasn’t totally bowled over by the trailer but I am curious about it. Let’s put this one in the maybe category.

Selfie – Karen Gillan – love her! John Cho – love him! I love the My Fair Lady premise of this sitcom. Don’t love Karen’s American accent. I know, right? I just gave David Tennant a pass but not Karen. What’s up with that? Perhaps it has something to do with the superficiality of her character that makes me cringe?   I don’t know though. John Cho is a bit swoon-worthy, no? Although I will say that I absolutely hated Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady and hope that the sitcom will deviate from that chauvinistic, egotistical character. Sidenote: ABC seems to set this trailer to private on their YouTube channel. Hmm, doesn’t look promising for the show but I’ve still provided another link here.


CBS

Extant stars Halle Berry and is executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Astronaut returns home for yearlong solo mission to reconnect with her husband and son. By the way, her son is an android and she returned home preggers. Nah.

Madam Secretary stars Téa Leoni who becomes the newly appointed Secretary of State. She’s was a brilliant CIA analyst who left the job to spend more time with her family. She seems like a down-to-earth character and the show feels like it will have a West Wing feel to it. I could see that this show will do well and trailer looks good but I can’t explain why I’m not immediately taken by it. Perhaps it’s because I feel like I’ve seen a lot of shows like this before and Téa Leoni isn’t an actress, at least for me, that’s a big draw. We’ll see…

NCIS: New Orleans – NCIS spinoff. Need I say more? Oh wait and there’s a CSI: Cyber coming up too.  These two shows will be procedural like its predecessors.  You basically know what to expect.

Scorpion is inspired by a true story about a bunch of brilliant misfits who end up becoming Homeland Security’s new think tank to protect the nation against threats. Most of the leading cast members are relatively unknown with the exception of a few. Skipping this one.

Stalker is brought to us by Kevin Williamson and stars Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott. It’s about detectives who investigate stalking cases. The trailer looks positively creepy which is what you would expect from a Kevin Williamson vehicle but I don’t think I would want to watch this week after week unless you want to see me jump at every little noise and creaking sound I hear.

The McCarthys is a family sitcom about Bostonites. I could see maybe why Bostonites would want to see this but another white family on American television? Don’t see what’s so unique about that even if they are from Boston.


CW

If you were going to do a show about the origins of a comic book character starting from their young adult years, then CW would be the network to do as they have incredible success over the years with this formula. Flash isn’t for me but I could see viewers being interested in this one.

Jane the Virgin is about a young woman who finds that she’s pregnant even though she’s never had sex. The premise is kooky but at least the theory makes sense to me. The show seems a bit too wholesome for my liking.


There wasn’t much that I wanted to watch from the other networks except for maybe one at TNT. Public Morals seems promising. Again, another Steven Spielberg executive produced show as well as Ed Burns, who is also writing and directing. Period piece, New York City, police corruption. Yep, I’m in.

Considering the number of their new shows that peaked my interest, I’d say ABC is my clear frontrunner for the Fall season.  Check out descriptions for the new shows at the links below including a few where the trailers have yet to be released to the public.

2014 – 2014 ABC Lineup

2014 – 2015 CBS Lineup

2014 – 2015 FOX Lineup

2014 – 2015 NBC Lineup

2014 – 2015 CW Lineup

2014 – 2015 TNT Lineup

2014 – 2015 TBS Lineup

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