Welcome to the 3rd part of our Upfronts Roundup (part 1 is here, part 2 is here), where we look at the shows that will the networks hope will get you laughing after they’ve canned your favorite tv show. Here is our rundown of some of the upcoming tv comedy series we think sound the most interesting.
Please bear in mind, these have only just been picked up in the US, so we don’t have any news on UK pick ups yet. The titles do link through to their show pages though, so you can click through to see the latest info. You can also keep an eye on the UK Air Dates page for up to the minute info!
Based on Nick Hornby’s novel of the same name, the show stars David Walton (New Girl) as Will, a man-child who, since writing 1 hit song, has been living of the royalties to fund is happy-go-lucky life of free time, free love, and general financial happiness. All is rosy, until single mother Fiona (Minnie Driver – Grosse Pointe Blank, Good Will Hunting) moves in next door, with her 11-year-old son Marcus (Benjamin Stockham – 1600 Penn), and start to turn his carefree life upside down. When Marcus starts to drop by unannounced, Will’s not overly happy with the idea of a 11yr old BFF… That is until he realises, women find single dad’s irresistible! So, Will and Marcus strike a deal. Marcus pretends to be his son so he can pick up chicks, and in return, he get’s to hang out at Will’s swanky pad.
GT Anticipation Rating: 7/10 – I love Nick Hornby’s novels, and was quite fond of the movie adaptation, so it’ll be interesting to see if they manage to keep the charm, or if it looses it in the translation across the pond…
It’s been over 10 years since Michael J. Fox quit TV to focus on dealing with his Parkinson’s disease, but at age 51 (i know what you’re thinking… i also now feel really old!), he’s decided it’s time to return to the small screen, with a semi-autobiographical comedy about a man dealing with Parkinson’s. Fox plays Mike Henry, a news anchor who returns to work after taking putting his career on hold to spend more time with his family, and cope with the disease.
The company are over the moon to have him back, especially his boss Harris (Wendell Pierce The Wire, Treme) who never wanted him to go in the first place… Almost as happy as his family, who are really glad to have him out of the house! Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad) plays Mike’s wife, with Juliette Goglia (Ugly Betty, Joan of Arcadia), Conor Romero (American Gangster, Person of Interest) and Jack Gore (We Are What We Are) play his kids.
GT Anticipation Rating: 9/10 – I’m a huge fan of Fox (Spin City was never as good after he left), and just really looking forward to having him back on screen where he belongs.
Stars the legend that is Robin Williams as Simon Roberts, a renowned & brilliant (but eccentric) advertising executive, runs the Roberts and Roberts Advertising Agency with his rather more practical daughter, Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar), who’s trying to manage the company, and her dad… Additional cast include James Wolk (Mad Men) as copywriter Zach, & Hamish Linklater (The Big C).
The show is written by Ally McBeal & Boston Legal’s David E. Kelley.
GT Anticipation Rating: 8/10 – It’s Robin Williams back on TV, and with our favorite Slayer. David E. Kelley’s shows have been a bit hit & miss, but when they do land, they tend to do it extremely well. Let’s hope this one is as good a hit as it should be.
Stars Seth Green (Buffy, Family Guy, Robot Chicken) as Eli and Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar, Ted), as two friends who run a video game company together. Warner is married with Kids, whilst Eli has stuck to his stoner roots, but despite their differences, they’re still best buds. All is going smoothly, that is until their Dads unexpectedly move in with them…
This is Seth MacFarlane’s first live-action tv show, and he’s continued working with fellow Ted writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild for Dads.
GT Anticipation Rating: 8/10 – Seth & Seth working together on a project is always worth checking out.
A remake of the UK comedy Gavin & Stacey, about two people who start a long distance relationship. Jason Ritter (The Event, Parenthood) takes on the role of Gavin, with Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls, Mad Men) taking the role of Stacey. Dustin Ybarra (We Bought a Zoo, Californication) play’s Smithy, and Ashlie Atkinson (The Invention of Lying, Rescue Me) plays Nessa. Having watched through the trailer, it does seem to have traveled quite well, so it’ll be interesting to see how it’s received in the USA.
GT Anticipation Rating: 8/10 – Hopefully turns out to be more the US remake of The Office, and less the US remake of Coupling…
With the USA network’s upfronts all but over, it’s time to take a look at what TV shows we’re going to be seeing over the next 12 months, and what shows we’ll be saying a sad farewell to… Let’s start off with the bad news. If you’ve been following our Renewed & Cancelled page, a lot of these will come as no shock, but there are still some we’re sorry to see go.
On the drama side, the CSI’s of NYC have solved their last case, with CSI: New York following CSI: Miami who went to the chopping block last year, leaving only the original CSI left standing. Body of Proof also didn’t make the cut, and the officers of Southland‘s LAPD have done their last tour of duty. Kiefer Sutherland has lost Touch (although he will be returning to our screens in a more familiar guise soon…), and CBS shut down rookie drama Vegas, whilst The CW evicted the residents of 90210. Comedy drama Enlightened also got it’s P45, and Smash took and early curtain call…
On the comedy front, Happy Endings got an ending which wasn’t so happy, and it’s bad news for animated shows as The Cleveland Show and Futurama both got given the boot. Whitney couldn’t make it past a 2nd season, and The New Normal failed to find an audience. Also, the struggling Up All Night gets to spend more time with it’s family, and Matthew Perry’s Go On… won’t be going on…
These are shows which have come to the end of their life, and unlike the previous list, will get a proper send off.
Dexter has one final season of killing to go before his spree comes to a close, and Burn Notice‘s Michael Weston gets 12 episodes before he can finally leave Miami. Already halfway through it’s final season, we will get to see what happens to science teacher turned drug baron Walter White in Breaking Bad. Ted’s kids only have one more season to wait before they get to find out how he met their mother in How I Met Your Mother.
There are of course a number of other shows which have already bowed out gracefully this year. The glorious Fringe, the sex and swords of Spartacus, and the employees of 30 Rock and The Office US. But, not to worry, the network’s have been beavering away at the pilot pit to extract some new precious gems which they hope will polish up into massive sellers. More about that in part 2, when we do a rundown of what we think will sink or swim in the new crop.
Take a look at our Renewed & Cancelled page for a full list of ending shows.
Part 2 coming soon!
For many years, I’ve been a huge fan of Kevin Smith. Okay, so some of his later work has been less than stellar, but after Clerks, Chasing Amy, Mallrats and especially Dogma I’ll forgive him a couple of his later missteps. In more resent years however, he’s taken to the creation of various Podcasts (or Smodcasts), which led to the Jay & Silent Bob Get Old podcast. A show where Kevin and hetro-life partner Jason Mewes chat, goof around, and are generally be entertaining. This led on to a tour, of which this DVD covers 2 shows in Ireland, and footage from 2 bonus shows in Vegas and San Diego.
The majority of the DVD’s are really what you’d expect from a recording of a podcast show. 2 guys sat behind a desk chatting and being funny. Topics such as Liam Neeson’s (apparently rather large) appendage, Smith explaining to Mewes about Lent, and pancake day, and Kev’s love of proper English bacon butties. However when the subject inevitably turns to sex, Mewes does move from behind the desk to visualise, in somewhat graphic detail, how to have sex in a mini cooper. You should also look out for the ridiculous show finale call “Let us…”… Nope, I think i’ll leave it these for you to discover for yourselves…
It’s fair to say, Smith and Mewes’s humour is somewhat of an acquired taste, however I suspect you wouldn’t be reading this review or considering buying the DVD if you didn’t know who these 2 guys were already. As the show’s go on, there are some rather more thoughtful moments, as Mewes talks about his struggle with drugs – part of the reason the podcasts were started was as a way for Smith to keep Mewes on the ‘straight and narrow’.
If you like Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes, the Teabagging in Ireland DVD is a nice way to spend a couple of hours sat listening to them chat, make jokes, and tell anecdotes. There’s such a great friendship between these 2 guys, and a lovely rapport that it’s just entertaining to watch them bounce off each other.
8/10 – Great for Kevin Smith & Jason Mewes fans.
I was lucky enough to attend the screening of Plebs yesterday; the cast were assembled on beanbags at the front of the room, prompting the director to comment: “Tom Rosenthal sitting on a beanbag eating popcorn and watching himself on the big screen: possibly the most self-indulgent thing I’ve ever seen”. A likeable bunch of lively young actors, the Plebs crew were high-spirited, enthusiastic and justifiably proud of their work.
The plot is fairly straightforward: three guys in their twenties are sharing a flat, two girls move into the apartment above them; hilarity ensues as the boys vie for female attention under the watchful eyes of their amiable landlord and strict boss. The twist: it’s set in ancient Rome. Why? In the words of Sam Leifer, writer & director: “Well, writing about being in your twenties in London today, you won’t get it commissioned.”
On a deeper level, Leifer adds, the scale of Rome brings something special to the series. It’s the juxtaposition of a time when there were gladiators, the Emperor Claudius, and all the trappings of Classical Antiquity, alongside these three normal blokes in a flat. Boys will be boys, whatever the century.
As is so often the case with sitcoms, the first episode didn’t enthral me. As the lights went up and the organisers announced a loo break, I was a little concerned that I’d find the second episode a bit… meh. But I’d encourage any viewers with similar experiences to stick with it. The actors grow into their characters throughout episode two, with particular comic gold coming from Ryan Sampson – in the series, a nose-picking slave; in real life, surprisingly attractive – and of course the wonderful Doon Mackichan.
The series was filmed in Bulgaria, alongside the set of 300 and a neighbouring pack of wild dogs. And there is a significant amount of research behind the sitcom: creator Sam Leifer did a four-year Classics degree, answering the traditional parental “What are you going to do with that?” question with a resounding “Fine, I’ll write a f**king sitcom!”
This new spin on the well-trodden idea of twenty-somethings in amusing living situations will arrive shortly on ITV2. Starring Tom Rosenthal (Friday Night Dinner), Joel Fry (White Van Man, Trollied), and Ryan Sampson (Work Experience, After You’ve Gone), with a predictably stellar performance from Doon Mackichan (“Oh, it was a pleasure. It was a pleasure… to play a ballbreaker. Again.”), Plebs is definitely worth a watch.
7/10 - Classic modern-day hilarity with an antiquarian twist
It’s taken a while to get here, but Season 1 of the Canadian supernatural show Lost Girl is finally getting it’s DVD release in the UK on Monday the 25th of February 2013.
Lost Girl follows supernatural seductress Bo (Anna Silk: Being Erica; Billable Hours), a Succubus who feeds on the sexual energy (sometimes called ‘chi’) of humans. Growing up with human parents, Bo had no reason to believe she was anything other than the girl next door – until she drained her boyfriend to death in their first sexual encounter. Now she has hit the road alone and afraid. She discovers she is one of the Fae, creatures of legend and folklore, who pass as humans while feeding off them secretly and in different ways, as they have for millennia. Relieved yet horrified to find out that she is not alone, Bo decides to take the middle path between the humans and the Fae while embarking on a personal mission to unlock the secrets of her origin.
With the help of her human sidekick, Kenzi (Ksenia Solo: Life Unexpected; Renegadepress.com), and Dyson (Chris Martin lookalike - Kris Holden-Ried: Ben Hur, The Bridge; The Tudors), a sexy Fae working as a human police detective, Bo takes on a challenge every week helping a Fae or human client who comes to her to solve a mystery, or to right a wrong. As the series progresses, Bo finds herself in a love triangle with Dyson and the beautiful human scientist, Lauren (Zoie Palmer: The Guard; Instant Star) who works for the Fae.
With all the vampire and zombie tv shows and movies kicking around right now, it’s nice to see some other elements of the supernatural cohort get a look in. Lost Girl is a rather lighter show than a lot of it’s angsty counterparts (Walking Dead, TVD etc…), more in the tone of show’s like Warehouse 13 or Being Human, but it’s no less entertaining.
The banter between Bo and Kenzi is wonderfully written and, as are the snarky one liner’s the girls throw at anyone that rubs them up the wrong way. Anna Silk holds the central role perfectly, with some great support from the ensemble cast. As the show goes on (it’s now in it’s 3rd season), you get to see all the characters fleshed out, but with Silk’s Bo always being the centre around the rest of the show turns. It’s very reminiscent of Buffy in that respect.
Lsot Girl is a sexy (hey, it is about a Succubus!), fun show, with a solid cast. If you’re sick of over-angsty vampires, why not give Lost Girl a try.
8/10 - If you’re sick of over-angsty vampires, why not give Lost Girl a try!
Person of Interest stars Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ. The Prisoner) as John Reese. An ex-CIA officer and Green Beret, he’s current living in a rundown apartment in NYC after an ‘incident’ left him presumed dead. But a ‘less than chance’ meeting with billionaire computer genius Harold Finch (played by Lost’s Michael Emerson) is about to change his life.
Finch explains he’s built a computer that uses information gathered in today’s surveillance culture to create a prediction engine that will predict terrorist attacks and crimes. When the government ignores Finch, he decides to take matters into his own hands, persuades Reese to join him, using his CIA & ex-military training to track down the crimes, and stop them before they happen. It’s less a whodunit and more a whosgonnadoit.
I think of Person of Interest as being part Batman, part Minority Report, part cop show. The Batman element is not surprising given the show’s writer and creator is Jonathan Nolan, the scribe behind his brother Christopher Nolan‘s brilliant Batman Trilogy. And when you add in J. J. Abrams as exec producer, you know you’re going to be in for something good.
Caviezel and Emerson have a great on screen rapport, both serious when they need to be, but with a darkly dry humour bubbling up to the surface. Whilst the show-to-show format is of a procedural cop drama, there is a deeper over-arching story of how the 2 characters got to where they are, with occasional flashbacks giving glimpses into the 2 main protagonist’s pasts. Much like the machine in the show, you’re never given all the information, only parts of steps along their journey.
The 2 main leads are supported by 2 members of the NYPD. First is Detective Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman - Rescue Me, Brotherhood) is a corrupt cop who’s caught out by Reese, but rather than turn Fusco in, Reese leverages him into helping them out. The other is Detective Jocelyn Carter (Taraji P. Henson – Boston Legal, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), who is sent to catch the mysterious suited vigilante who’s been showing up a crime scenes. However, once she realises that Reese is actually helping people, she backs off, and even starts to lend a hand.
The procedural elements of the show intertwine nicely with the bigger over-arching story of how the machine became into being, and the hints of government conspiracy along the way. If you’ve not managed to catch Person Of Interest on Channel 5 yet, I urge you to go out and pick up the DVD of Person of Interest – Season 1 or on Blu-ray now. You really won’t regret it.
Extras include: Broadcast Pilot Episode with Producer Commentary, Extended Pilot Episode (with and without Commentary, Gag Reel and the rather disturbing ‘Living In An Age Of Surveillance’ Featurette.