The CW has its own standards of success that aren’t necessarily the standards of other networks. It explains why shows like Gossip Girl and 90210 lasted as long as they did. What is of interest is that the legitimate successes that The CW has had – shows like Supernatural and Smallville – have had a broader base that transcended the 15-34 female demographic that the network has traditionally aimed for. The network’s most recent success, Arrow (which even Marc Berman has described as a “winner”) has a significant appeal to people who pee standing up. This season’s line-up from The CW looks to continue this trend with it’s new line-up.
90210, Emily Owens M.D., Gossip Girl, Cult
Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, America’s Next Top Model
Hart of Dixie, Beauty And The Beast, Supernatural, The Carrie Diaries
The Originals, The Tomorrow People, Reign
Held Until Mid-Season
Nikita, Star Crossed, The 100, Famous In 12
Complete Schedule (All times Eastern, New Shows in Capitals)
8:00-9:00 p.m.: Hart of Dixie (New Day)
9:00-10:00 p.m.: Beauty And The Beast (New Day)
8:00-9:00 p.m.: THE ORIGINALS
9:00-10:00 p.m.: Supernatural (New Day)
8:00-9:00 p.m.: Arrow
9:00-10:00 p.m.: THE TOMORROW PEOPLE
8:00-9:00 p.m.: The Vampire Diaries
9:00-10:00 p.m.: REIGN
8:00-9:00 p.m.: The Carrie Diaries (New Day)
9:00-10:00 p.m.: America’s Next Top Model
The Originals is a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries. Klaus (Joseph Morgan) is a member of the Original Family of vampires and is the original vampire-werewolf hybrid. He returns to the supernatural melting pot of New Orleans when he hears rumours of a plot against him. In the city he encounters his former protégé Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) who wields control over human and supernatural inhabitants of the city. Determined not to answer to Marcel, Klaus together with his brother Elijah (Daniel Gillies) are determined to reclaim power in the city that their family helped create. Tensions within the supernatural factions of the city are nearing a breaking point, and Klaus and Elijah make an uneasy alliance with witches lead by the powerful Sophie (Daniella Pineda).
According to some The Tomorrow People are mankind’s next evolutionary step: people with paranormal powers. Stephen Jameson (Robbie Amell) was an ordinary teen until a year ago. Then he started developing strange abilities like hearing voices and teleporting in his sleep. Listening to one of the voices, he encounters John (Luke Mitchell), Cara (Peyton List) and Russell (Aaron Yoo), the Tomorrow People. Opposing them is Ultra, a paramilitary group of scientists led by Dt. Jedikah Price (Mark Pellegrino) who see the Tomorrow People as a threat to humanity. Determined not to turn his back on humanity or abandon the world of the Tomorrow People, Stephen is determined to find his own way.
Reign is the (very) fictionalized tale of the teenaged Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) and her engagement to Prince Francis of France (Toby Regbo). Arriving in France with four ladies-in-waiting Mary (who had been Queen of Scotland since she was six days old) Mary wants to finalize the strategic alliance between France and Scotland with the arranged marriage between her and Francis (which had been arranged when she was five and he was four). Religion, court intrigue and secret agendas threaten the agreements. Francis is unsure about the Scottish Alliance and has a history with a lady in the French court, and there is Francis’s illegitimate half-brother Bash (Torrance Coombs) who has caught Mary’s eye. And of course there’s Francis’s mother Catherine de Medici (Megan Follows) who has her own agenda.
When an alien spaceship crash landed a fierce battle erupted. In the course of the fighting a six year old Atrian child named Roman hid in a shed where a six year old human girl named Emery protected him and became his friend. That’s the beginning of Star-Crossed. Despite Emery’s efforts Roman is captured and sent to a heavily guarded camp known as The Sector where the Atrians are imprisoned. Now, ten years after the Atrians arrived on Earth a group of Atrian teenagers will be attending a suburban high school, including the now grown Roman (Matt Lanter). One of the human students at the school is a teenaged Emery (Aimee Teegarden) who thought Roman had been killed by the authorities. Their relationship quickly restarts but can it work in a world where both sides have small minded attitudes?
The 100 is a science fiction series with a youth twist. Following nuclear Armageddon on earth the only survivors of humanity are the 400 people on twelve international space stations in orbit at the time. Bringing the stations together they form The Ark. Now 97 years after the original disaster The Ark is ruled with draconian methods including capital punishment and strict population control. One hundred juvenile prisoners are ordered exiled to Earth’s surface to determine whether or not the planet is now habitable. The exiles include Clarke (Eliza Taylor) the daughter of Abby (Paige Turco), The Ark’s Chief Medical Officer, Wells (Eli Goree) who is the son of The Ark’s Chancellor Jaha (Isaiah Washington), daredevil Finn (Thomas McDonnell), and the illegal siblings Bellamy (Bob Morley) and Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos). The Earth they find is at once magical and deadly, and they must overcome their differences to forge a new path; the fate of the human race depends on them succeeding.
The only real way for me to describe Famous In 12 is to quote from the CW’s press release. “There is a family in the U.S. that has what it takes to become famous - the question is: Can they pull it off in 12 weeks? That's the challenge in the new unscripted series Famous In 12 , a unique social experiment that tracks the lives of one determined family as they move to the entertainment capital of the world - Los Angeles - and seek fame in a 12-week time frame. Members of the family will all have unique and varied talents, and they will each get a series of challenges to create a public profile fit for a Kardashian. The family will be guided by the TMZ machine, which will create a series of opportunities for them. TMZ and Harvey Levin will help, but it is up to the family to pull it off. When they succeed at their challenges, they will appear on the TMZ TV show and TMZ.com, which will raise their profile. Family members will exploit all forms of social media to wage a campaign of fame. In addition to the challenges, the family will circulate day to day... at the gym, restaurants, bars, parties and other places where celebs hang and opportunities call.”
Say what you want about The CW, they are going outside of what had been their comfort zone. The network was famous for catering to the young female market is making a sharpish turn towards Genre Programming, albeit with a youthful orientation. The Originals is an extension of a successful brand for The CW, being a spin-off of the popular Vampire Diaries series. This would seem to be a natural success for the network…at least by CW standards. Then again Secret Circle had at least tenuous ties to Vampire Diaries and it was cancelled after one season.
The Tomorrow People is an attempt at a second “comic book” show alongside Arrow, although it is vaguely closer to Smallville in that it deals with people with super powers. Actually the closest comparison – and this has the potential to cause some troubles for the producers and the network – is with The X-Men in which you had a group of teens with mutant abilities called by some “homo superior.” Beware if a leader in a wheelchair comes to the fore. Star-Crossed on the other hand has a very obvious progenitor in the works of a writer whose work is long ago in public domain. The show is so obviously using Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as a starting point that even The CW’s own press release is mentioning it. Then too it uses motifs reminiscent of the the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and the Little Rock school integration crisis.
The two shows that interest me the most are The 100 and Reign for entirely different reasons. The 100 is an interesting take on a post-apocalyptic society and the reclaiming of a depopulated Earth. Something similar is being done with the new Will and Jaden Smith movie After Earth. This might have potential or it might sink to the depths of a Terra Nova. Much depends on the approach that is taken by the writers and producers. As for Reign, I have to ask why anyone thought that this was a good idea? I mean admittedly it has the elements of a teen romance novel, but I’m betting that the producers are going to gloss over the facts, namely that Mary was married at 16 and widowed at 18, and that Francis was 14 when they married and was sickly, abnormally short, and stuttered (and was probably incapable of fathering children). One needs dashing figures for this sort of historical romance, while the censors would probably turn a dim eye to a story about a 16 year-old girl bedding a 14 year-old boy. By all rights, I think that The 100 should work (at least by CW standards), and Reign should be an abject failure by anybody’s standards.