Saturday, May 29, 2010

Upfronts 2010 – Video Previews

I want to publicize the new network shows. Really I do, even though there are some that I don't think will make it – and I've expressed my opinion on those in an earlier post – and there are some that I don't want to make it, and I like to think that I've tried very hard not to express that, though it may have slipped out. At this point I'm willing to keep my critical barbs in check on the grounds that I really can't judge a book by the blurb on the dust jacket, which is about what we have right now. But like I say, I want to publicize the new shows which is why some of the actions by some of the networks irritates me. Considerably. As I have reminded you repeatedly (ad infinitum, ad nauseum) I'm a citizen of that mass that separates Wasilla Alaska from the Oval Office, and no I don't mean the intelligence of more than half of the American electorate I mean Canada. And some of the networks – by which I mean ABC and CBS – have decided that my being Canadian somehow makes me a risk. They've cut me off from even seeing the previews for new shows for copyright reasons. CBS told me (on their website at least) that the previews were "not available for your geographic region," although their YouTube site clearly states on every video that I want to see that "This video contains content from CBS, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds." ABC is pretty much the same thing. Setting aside the fact that I don't think you use "who" when referring to a corporate entity like CBS or ABC, I'd like to know how come it is a copyright violation to show these clips to someone in Canada? FOX and The CW don't have any problem with me seeing their trailers. Neither does NBC which has their trailers on their website rather than YouTube. Fortunately there are other avenues to explore, but as you can imagine it is an irritant, particularly when you realize that those other avenues are through a European source which has posted the video clips I'm looking for. Why is it that Europeans can post these trailers "in the clear" so that I can see them and put them into playlists but I can't get them from the source? It is ... puzzling. Rant over.

I did manage to find trailer for most of the new shows at YouTube, thanks to that "other source" that I mentioned. I'll start off with the ABC trailers. Which unfortunately happen to have the most technical difficulties of all of them in terms of video problems. I've decided to arrange the clips by the day on which they appear with mid-season replacements after the current season of shows air. For ABC this means the running order is: No Ordinary Family, Detroit 1-8-7, Better Together, The Whole Truth, My Generation, Body of Proof, Off The Map, Mr Sunshine, Happy Endings. Here are a few first impressions based on what I've seen – remember when I wrote up my opinions of the shows earlier I deliberately hadn't seen the teasers that I was able to see. No Ordinary Family looks like about what I was expecting, family oriented and essentially the Fantastic Four origin with fluorescent water instead of Gamma Rays and different powers as a result. It could do okay. Detroit 1-8-7 looks like it could be okay. Not sure what to think about The Whole Truth. I like the leads but I'm dubious that the split focus will work long term. My Generation isn't going to work, and I don't think Off The Map will either. The show in the mid season that I'm looking forward to? Mr. Sunshine just because of the great cast.

Next up is CBS. The running order is Monday's Mike & Molly and Hawaii Five-0, Wednesday's The Defenders, Thursday's $#!* My Dad Says, and Friday's Blue Bloods. For fun I've also included the theme for the new version of Hawaii Five-0 – and Ivan you're right, it burns. Based on the clips Mike & Molly seems like a rather innocuous comedy although not one that's likely to set the world on fire. If you ignore the title, $#!* My Dad Says really doesn't seem that ground breaking either. The Defenders is probably going to be the weakest of the Wednesday night court shows, and I really don't see it as a good fit out of Criminal Minds. Still it's a different look for Jim Belushi from his time on According To Jim. The two really big shows are Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods. I give the nod to Blue Bloods as the better show. Based on what the network has chosen to reveal from Hawaii Five-0 and what I've seen of the NBC series Chase (not to mention the only returning show in the time slot, ABC's Castle) I'm not entirely convinced that it will win the time slot. I have to wonder if network would have been better to schedule Blue Bloods on Monday, Hawaii Five-0 on Wednesday and The Defenders on Friday.

FOX has Lonestar on Monday, comedies Raising Hope and Running Wilde on Tuesday, with drama Ride Along and comedy Mixed Signals along with animated comedy Bob's Burgers coming in the mid-season. While trailers for most of the FOX shows are available the trailer for Bob's Burgers has been pulled by the network. FOX's new shows seems pretty dismal to me. The cast on Lonestar is about the only thing recommending it. I just can't see the public warming to this show about a conman who is thinking about doing the right thing. I see no hope in Raising Hope, and while Running Wilde has a dark comedy feeling to it, where the protagonist is rather unlikable, I'm not sure that this is going to be popular with the public. Ride Along looks like it could do well. It's scheduled to replace Lonestar and I think that will happen sooner rather than later. Mixed Signals breaks no new ground but I'm not sure that's necessarily a bad thing under the circumstances.

NBC has the largest number of new shows for the 2010-11 season. There was no trailer online – either on YouTube or on the NBC website – for Law & Order: Los Angeles. For once it may also be the line-up that I anticipate the most. On Monday they have The Event and Chase, on Wednesday Undercovers and Law & Order: Los Angeles, On Thursday Outsourced and Love Bites and on Friday School Pride and Outlaw. At the mid-season they have Perfect Couples, Friends With Benefits, The Paul Reiser Show, The Cape, and Harry's Law. While The Event looks good (and by "looks" I mean the physical appearance and casting) I have my doubt about how well it will do. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't know how much patience the public has for these ongoing serialized thriller type shows. Chase doesn't have that problem. It looks to be self-contained in every episode, and if the public actually give it a look it could give Hawaii Five-0 and Castle a real run for the top spot on the night. As I expected Undercovers looks like it could be real fun. Think of it as what happened to Harry and Helen after True Lies, with more than a little Hart To Hart added for flavour. I haven't managed to watch the clip of Outsourced through to the end, but it has a lot of qualities that are reminiscent of The Office. It could work, but it isn't my sort of show. I think that Love Bites and School Pride are due for a quick exit from the line-up and deservedly so. While I like Jimmy Smits I am unimpressed with the concept behind Outlaw. Of the mid-season dramas, The Cape looks like it could quickly turn into a cult favourite that I'll probably be watching. It seems like a suitably dark and yet enjoyable story but whether it will take off with a mainstream audience is the question. I'm sadly inclined to think they won't. I really don't care too much for Harry's Law either. I like Kathy Bates but the show looks too much like a quest for redemption and a purpose. Of course it is a David E. Kelly series and that has always carried with it a certain amount of "quirky." Of the comedies, we all know that if Friends With Benefits gets a series finale, the two leads will decide that the people they've been searching for all this time is each other, and the less said about Perfect Couples the better; it seems formulaic to me. The one comedy that I'm really looking forward to from the NBC list is The Paul Reiser Show. It may not be a winner but it brings together elements that we normally see on cable shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm. I'm looking forward to it and that's not something I generally say about comedies.

The CW has only two new shows at the beginning of the season, and only two trailers available. Actually they are more like clips than trailers. The Hellcats trailer doesn't tell us much about the show beyond the fact that it is about cheerleading. For the life of me I don't even know if we've seen the lead character in this clip. Obviously not aimed at me, but I think it may find an audience with the young women who watch America's Next Top Model. Hey, cheerleaders are probably more relatable than the models, from last year's failure The Beautiful Life. However I think the show that is going to be the biggest success for The CW is going to be Nikita. It's appeal should cut across gender lines because of Maggie Q and the "kick-ass" quality of the lead character.

I've given you all my opinion of these shows based on the clips that I've seen. I cold most assuredly be wrong, because right now all I can judge on is these little three minute clips. I've read a commenter on another site describe the completed versions of The Paul Reiser Show as "godawful." But, base on these clips maybe you, my readers would be willing to give me your opinions – based on what you see here – of the coming new shows in Comments..


Unknown said...

Fantastic scope for what is to come here - we ususally get things about 6 months later in Australia.

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