The major TV networks finished presenting their fall schedules to advertisers last week and the prospects for interesting new shows are slim.
For starters, the networks have cut the number of open time slots for new shows. NBC is abandoning the 9 p.m. Central hour Monday through Friday in favor of Jay Leno’s new primetime comedy-talk show. The CW has given up on programming Sunday nights and will leave that to affiliates. CBS is pretty much sticking with its existing lineup plus a spin-off of one show (“NCIS: Los Angeles”) and a castoff show from NBC (“Medium”).
Here are the new shows that have piqued my interest so far:
I like the pedigree of this show. The executive producers are David S. Goyer, who co-wrote “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” as well as the “Blade” movies, and Brannon Braga (“24,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Voyager”). Goyer and Braga created one of my favorite TV shows in recent years, “Threshold” (2005-06). The two men co-wrote the pilot for “Flash Forward” and Goyer directed it.
“Flash Forward” chronicles the aftermath of a global event in which everyone in the world blacks out for 2 minutes, 17 seconds and has mysterious visions of six months into the future. It’s based on the 1999 novel by Robert J. Sawyer.
ABC is pairing the show with “Lost,” so they have faith in it.
This looks like the show to watch this fall.
NBC’s “Day One” sounds like a mashup of “Melrose Place,” “Cloverfield” and Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds.”
The series follows a group of neighbors in a Van Nuys, Calif., apartment building who survive a global catastrophe that has devastated the world’s infrastructure. Projectiles from the sky wipe out cities around the world and weird things begin growing from the ground. The survivors face an uncertain future as they attempt to rebuild society and unravel the mysteries of what happened.
“The Vampire Diaries”
Based on a series of books by L.J. Smith, “The Vampire Diaries” is the story of two vampire brothers – one good, one evil – obsessed with the same beautiful girl and battling to control the fate of an entire town.
Airing on the CW, the show is being written by Kevin Williamson, who created “Dawson’s Creek” and the horror films “Scream” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” The CW is pairing “The Vampire Diaries” with its hit “Supernatural.”
With HBO’s “True Blood” series and the “Twilight” movies, people might be getting sick of vampire stories involving young people.
“Pirate Hunters: USN”
Spike TV is working on a documentary series about U.S. Navy pirate hunters. No air date has been set for the series that follows Navy vessels patrolling pirate-infested waters of the coast of Africa.
My main concern with the series, “Pirate Hunters: USN,” is that it might make a better two-hour documentary than a weekly TV series. Of course, I said the same thing about the Discovery Channel’s popular “Deadliest Catch,” now in its fifth season.
Also on the horizon is an alien invasion show for TNT from filmmaker Steven Spielberg. Plus, TBS is developing a slice-of-life sketch comedy show called “Wee Hours” that uses the talents of Chicago’s legendary Second City comedy troupe.
All I’ve seen are the synopses for these shows. I’ll wait to read the reviews and maybe watch an episode or two before I make a commitment to any of them.
Returning shows on my watch list include ABC’s “Lost,” the CW’s “Supernatural,” Fox’s “House” and “Dollhouse,” and NBC’s “30 Rock.”
Unfortunately, two of my favorite shows were canceled – Fox’s “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and ABC’s “Cupid.” And prospects look grim for another, the CW's "Reaper."