Every fall in TV land there is a plethora of shows that premiere with much fanfare. Whether they survive or not is a different story.
Last spring, looked at the odds a few new shows would see a season 2. Fall programming is a bit of a different animal as networks put a ton of money and time behind their projects.
In some ways, it’s like what movie studios do during the summer months when they put their biggest budgeted films out to the masses.
But do not worry, behind all the money and the hype there are some programs that we can trash on before they even hit the air. There are also some shows that are pretty much locks to get renewed and become our new addictions.
Let’s separate the wheat from the chaff.
Odds on being renewed for a second season:
The Crown (Netflix): 1/3
Airing: November 4, 2016
Period pieces are all the rage, and Netflix knows that a good period drama will capture a lot of eyes. The extended trailer for The Crown looks incredible and it’s the most expensive show Netflix has ever done.
A biographical story about the royal family of the United Kingdom, the ten-episode program was written by Peter Morgan, who also penned the 2008 film The Queen. The show is directed by Stephen Daldry, who brought us 2000’s Billy Elliot. There is already a lot of buzz regarding Claire Foy’s performance as Elizabeth II.
If this doesn’t get a second season, it would be one of Netflix’s most expensive flops. It appears to have some great people behind it, so this has hit written all over it.
Son of Zorn (FOX): 3/7
Airing: September 25, 2016
Son of Zorn is one of the most anticipated FOX sitcoms in a long, long time. It looks absolutely hilarious and stars Jason Sudeikis as Zorn, an animated warrior who returns after ten years to try to live a regular suburban life with his live-action family.
The people who were behind The Lego Movie, 21 & 22 Jump Street, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs bring you a sitcom that will rival Family Guy as one of the most off-side comedies on television. It will definitely ride the line, if not cross it, with grotesque humor; but it’s what people (like me) want. Not only am I predicting this will get a season two, I think we might see another comedy classic on the FOX network.
Marvel’s Luke Cage (Netflix): 7/13
Airing: September 30, 2016
While ABC tries to do Marvel, and currently fails, Netflix has been knocking the Marvel universe out of the park. Daredevil and Jessica Jones are currently huge hits, with Iron Fist, The Punisher, and Luke Cage coming soon. Hopefully they also take on Agent Carter and turn that series around, too.
Comic book adaptations don’t work on network cable television where everything has to be vanilla. Most adults like a little blood, sex, and magic in their television programs. Let the kids have Supergirl and DC.
Luke Cage, which is also a spin off from Jessica Jones, stars Mike Colter and Sons of Anarchy standout Theo Rossi. For now, Netflix can do no wrong. Expect a second season, and maybe some sort of Defenders crossover.
Westworld (HBO): 2/3
Airing: October 2016
Back in 1973, a science-fiction/western called Westworld, written and directed by the great Michael Crichton, came to the big screen. A sequel called Futureworld and a short-lived TV series called Beyond Westworld followed. Now HBO has big plans to bring the cowboy robots back. With Game of Thrones having to eventually succumb to winter, the network is looking to create another addicting property.
The show has been in development hell for a while now, but it appears everything is full-speed ahead. Produced by J.J. Abrams and created by Jonathan Nolan (brother to Christopher), this should get a season two. Just look at the cast: Sir Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, and the list goes on. Let’s hope it doesn’t go the way of Vinyl.
Divorce (HBO): 7/3
Airing: Fall 2016, according to HBO, but no official release date
This show looks kind of quirky. It stars Sarah Jessica Parker, who returns to the network after her highly successful run on Sex in the City. But Divorce, which co-stars Thomas Haden Church, isn’t so much about coupling as uncoupling, as the name would suggest.
Not much else is known at this point. It’s apparently ready to come out this fall, but no date has been officially announced as I write this. The trailer looks fun, but it’s hard to say how this one will do. HBO has been struggling to find life outside of Game of Thrones; Sarah Jessica Parker could be the ticket given her track record on the network.
Shots Fired (FOX): 17/3
Airing: Fall 206 according to Fox, but no official release date
It’s perfect timing for a race-relations drama. This show looks like it carries some punch, and the idea of a black detective dealing with a shooting of a white kid in a fictional town in North Carolina will be emotionally charged. Brian Grazer produces and the cast includes Selma star Stephan James, Richard Dreyfuss, and Helen Hunt. FOX is really positioning this to be a big time hit.
Right now, Shots Fired is slated for only eleven episodes. Although the content will touch on some of the things currently happening in real life, does it have enough story to continue into another season? That’s the question here. Where do they go with this premise after the first season? It makes me wonder if this will just be a one-off. The Killing managed to survive the solving of the title murder, so we shall see.
Designated Survivor (ABC): 9/1
Airing: September 21, 2016
Although there will be another 24 on television this fall, it won’t star Kiefer Sutherland. He’ll be busy on ABC’s Designated Survivor. When the President of the United States and other top leaders are blown to bits, the USA calls upon its designated successor cabinet member to take on the role of President. Kiefer stars as the reluctant Prez who has to deal with the fallout of the terrorist acts.
ABC is rolling the dice. Do people want a fictional drama to remind them of the all-too-real terrorist attacks that seem to occur on a daily basis? Sutherland is a big draw, but even Jack Bauer can only do so much, and if this show is going to succeed, it needs smart writing. There has already been rumblings of creative differences amongst executives which could be signs of waving a white flag instead of the stars and stripes.
Imaginary Mary (ABC): 19/1
Airing: Rumored to be premiering sometime in fall of 2016
This live-action/CGI hybrid sitcom stars bats*** crazy Jenna Elfman. This show itself looks a tad crazy, as well, so maybe they got the casting correct. Produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions (that’s a death wish right there), the show focuses on a woman named Alice who is re-introduced to her imaginary friend. As she tries to deal with a new relationship, she also has to deal with Mary, a CGI-looking stuffie who is voiced by comedian Rachel Dratch.
On the surface, this looks funny, but will it reach audiences? I don’t give it much hope to get a season 2.
Lethal Weapon (FOX): 30/1
Airing: September 21, 2016
Did we need a TV series as a follow up to the iconic buddy-cop films? It doesn’t even have Mel Gibson or Danny Glover, or the crazy Gary Busey. Stop effing with my childhood, Warner Brothers! Instead we get Clayne Crawford as detective Martin Riggs and Damon Wayans as Roger Murtaugh. Is nothing sacred? Apparently not, because there is also an Uncle Buck TV series coming. But I digress.
After watching the trailer, you may notice that this looks horrendous. There will be some curiosity around this, but rebooting films into television shows usually means DOA (dead on arrival). Let me know when TV networks get back to original programming and creativity. Did we not learn anything from the Rush Hour debacle?
Emerald City (NBC): 99/1
Airing: Who cares, or sometime in September of 2016
This looks terrible. Let’s just start this prediction with a “I hope to God we don’t even see a season 1.” This has been in production hell for years, and NBC is finally going to air it. In case you couldn’t guess, it’s based on the Land of Oz book series. You know, Dorothy, witches, yellow brick road?
NBC cancelled this series in 2015 before they even showed an episode. Now they’ve had a change of heart and have decided to release it this fall. It’s set for ten episodes of wizardly crap. Too bad, because a family-friendly TV series within the OZ universe would have been fun, if done right. No, this will not get a season 2.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/14582672720