Friday, 22 June 2007

Fall 2007 TV Outlook

Now that the dust has settled after the upfronts we thought it was time to take a look at the networks lineups for next season. There's a long hot summer between now and then of course so everything's likely to change, but for now this is how things are shaping up.


The peacock network might well be in trouble this year. It only had one new drama that survived to the end of last season, the runaway hit Heroes. It's bulking up on that show, with the addition of Heroes:Origins, to give us a full 30 episodes of the sci-fi hit next Fall. It's also ordered 30 episodes of its comedy smash The Office, if you include the smattering of double length installments it'll be airing. On the face of it that seems like good news for fans of those series, but it also seems like the network doesn't have a lot of faith in the rest of its lineup, especially the freshman shows.

The Bionic Woman

David Eick's reimagining (that's remake to you and me) of the hit 70s show has British actress Michelle Ryan leading the wave of what seems like an invasion of Brit talent on American TV screens this fall. From the few minutes of footage so far released this looks very good indeed and GEP Productions have a track record of confounding expectations and delivering series of excellent quality. Look no further than the critically acclaimed remake, sorry reimagining, of Battlestar Galactica.

The supporting cast of Miguel Ferrer, Mae Whitman and Will Yun Lee only add to the preseason feelgood buzz. The caliber of talent behind the camera looks good too, Jason (Lucky Number Seven) Smilovic, Eick himself, Glen Morgan and the pilot was directed by Michael Dinner.

Of all the new shows coming out this Fall, this is the one we're most excited about, but it's up against some very stiff competition. The CW's new "Sex & the City" clone, Gossip Girls is going to attract a lot of female viewers who might otherwise have liked to see The Bionic Woman. Criminal Minds is CBS' opposition and this was the show that had Lost running scared last season. ABC's Private Practice is the much anticipated Grey's Anatomy spinoff although Bones on FOX shouldn't give our girl that much to worry about.

If it stays in it's announced 9/8c Weds slot, The Bionic Woman might well be in trouble.


This is NBC's tale of an ordinary guy, Dan Vasser, with a great life, who suddenly finds himself traveling into the past for no readily apparent reason. The inevitable comparisons to Quantum Leap are mentioned in almost every preview of this show, though personally I think it has stronger links to the BBCs Goodnight Sweetheart, but without the laughs.

This show is being played straight. Vasser's actions in the past have direct results in his present day life. I can see this show getting tired very quickly. The premise lacks the variety of Quantum Leap and viewers will want answers and resolutions pretty quickly to maintain their interest.

The Monday night 10/9c time shouldn't present it with too much competition, except for CSI:Miami. We can't see this one lasting too long. The whole concept feels like a one-trick pony and if audiences didn't take to Daybreak we don't see them falling for this one either.


Speaking of Daybreak, it looks like the curse of Adam Baldwin is about to strike again, seriously this man is jinxed. He appears as John Casey, tough government agent (shades of Daybreak again) who recruits geeky Zach Levi to be his partner after our nerdy hero accidentally downloads a shedload of government secrets into his brain. As you do.

Played along the same lines as Jake 2.0, but without the special powers, this dramedy doesn't fill us with the joys of spring, or autumn. Sorry NBC, your Thanksgiving turkey has arrived early this year, we'll be rooting for CW's Reaper in the same time slot.

That concludes NBC's genre offerings this year, though fans of Scrubs will be looking forward to the series' swansong season and the US remake of Channel 4's The IT Crowd will help win over the geek crowd. The rest of their Thursday night comedy ensemble is made up of My Name is Earl, 30 Rock and The Office, so we're expecting them to do well with those shows.


The alphabet network's new genre offerings are thin on the ground this year. New comedy Cavemen may not be high concept but we think it'll press the right buttons and pull in the viewers. The 7/c Tuesday scheduling may keep the humour a little too family friendly though.

Pushing Daisies

This is the big one. The second part of the British Invasion features newly minted mum Anna Friel and Jim "Carry On" Dale waving the Union Flag, although the star, Lee Pace, is an Oklahoma boy.

Pace stars as Ned, an ordinary Joe, aren't they all, who finds he can bring the dead back to life with a touch. The twist is that the newly risen can only stick around for 60 seconds or someone close by has to die in their place. Expect some exposition about universal harmony and balance to explain that one. With his best friend, a private investigator and his resurrected ex-girlfriend (whom he can never touch again) urging him on, he tries to help the dead by solving their murders.

Behind the scenes we have none other than Barry Sonnenfeld directing and Bryan Fuller taking up the writing / producing duties.

High concept and high profile, this went down a storm at the upfronts which at the very least should give it time to find an audience, not that we think it'll need it. This one's got legs.

The rest of ABC's new series' are off the genre radar though Lost will of course return in Feb 2008.


Not much for genre fans on this network next season. Big Bang Theory is a been there done that bought the happy meal comedy about two geeky scientists who's lab bound life is disrupted by a beautiful girl who shows them what real life is like. We're not expecting much from this.



This looks promising although it's basically a remake of Forever Knight, or Angel, or [fill in the name of conflicted vampire here]. No big names attached to it and the Friday 8/c timeslot isn't going to do it any favours. The production values look good and they're playing it straight, so fingers crossed.


Our love-hate relationship with this network has devolved into a hate-hate one since their cancellation of Drive. We don't know of any other network that promises so much to fans of quality TV and delivers so very little. Their reputation for canceling shows before they've had a chance is such that most discerning fans and pundits will wait until a series has lasted at least one full season on Fox before they'll start to get interested in it.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles

sarahconor This is the wildcard entry in next season's genre fixtures. Starring yet another Brit, Lena Headey, as Sarah Connor, this story picks up The Terminator saga where the second movie left off. Sarah and her 15 year old son John try to make a new life for themselves knowing of the impending apocalypse and John's role in the aftermath. Life is complicated by Summer Glau who plays a Terminator sent back in time to protect the hero in waiting. FBI agent James Ellison gives them a hand against the worst that Skynet can throw at them.

Every entry into The Terminator canon since the first movies has rewritten continuity to suit the immediate goals of the story, and this will be no exception. I can't see the fanboys warming to that at all, so I'm wondering who are FOX trying to appeal to ? This could be brilliant, but I have a feeling it's a series that's being made at least ten years too late.

New Amsterdam

newamsterdamThis could be interesting. The premise is an immortal man living in NYC, and has been since the original colony, New Amsterdam, was founded in the 17th century.

Not an original concept but the 7/c Tues slot shouldn't give the show much trouble. We're tagging this as a possible sleeper hit.

Non-genre offering K-Ville is a new FOX cop show set in a post Katrina New Orleans, Tawny Cypress, late of Heroes, is part of the ensemble, so it doesn't look like her character is making a return to that show.


Bringing up the rear is the CW network. Old favourites Smallville and Supernatural will be returning into their regularly scheduled places and the very weak looking dramedy Reaper is their only new genre offering.

Upcoming genre magazine Sci-Fi Now asked their readers if we were entering a new golden age for genre TV. I'd have to say no to that. Of all the new series only The Bionic Woman and Pushing Daises look as though they might last any length of time. In fact I'd say that genre fans are entering a somewhat fallow period, BSG leaves us next year, Lost has a ticking clock, only Heroes seems like it could pick up the baton for us and run with it for any length of time.