Tag: fox

Prodigal Son (FOX) pilot preview: “The Surgeon” will see you now

SERIES TITLE: Prodigal Son
NETWORK: FOX
GENRE: Crime Drama

LOGLINE: Malcolm Bright knows how killers think, how their minds work. Why? His father was one of the worst — a notorious serial killer called “The Surgeon.” That’s why Bright is the best criminal psychologist around; murder is the family business. He will use his twisted genius to help the NYPD solve crimes and stop killers, all while dealing with a manipulative mother, annoyingly normal sister, a homicidal father still looking to bond with his prodigal son, and his own constantly evolving neuroses…

Pilot Cast: Tom Payne (The Walking Dead, Luck), Michael Sheen (Masters Of Sex, Good Omens, The Good Fight), Bellamy Young (Scandal, Criminal Minds, Dirty Sexy Money), Lou Diamond Phillips (Longmire, Stargate Universe), Aurora Perrineau (When They See Us), Frank Harts (The Path, The Leftovers), Keiko Agena (The First, 13 Reasons Why), Halston Sage (The Orville)…

Series Creators: Chris Fedak (Chuck, Deception, Forever) & Sam Sklaver (American Housewife, Deception). 
Pilot Director: Lee Toland Krieger (Riverdale, You, Celeste & Jesse Forever).
Producers: Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Chris Fedak & Sam Sklaver.

Studios: Warner Bros. Television & Berlanti Productions.

Ever wonder how TV executives wade through the dozens of pilot scripts they’re pitched each year? They have staff script readers, who provide what’s called “Script Coverage,” an executive summary and a recommendation for each script. Now you too can preview some of the season’s most buzzed about pilots and find out whether we’d recommend them for pickup. Note that all opinions are our own, and all plot, casting and other creative details described here are subject to change.

 

  

You’ll Like It If You Already Like: The Blacklist, The Following, The Mentalist, Deception, Forever, Lucifer, Criminal Minds…

Likely Timeslot: It’s hard to predict what New FOX gonna look like at this point. But it could pair fairly well with 9-1-1 on monday.

 

WRITTEN BY: Chris Fedak & Sam Sklaver.

PAGECOUNT: 58 pages.

DRAFT: Revised Network draft 1/14/19

 

BACKGROUND: Believe it or not, mega-producer Greg Berlanti only has three pilots in the running this season! The CW’s Batwoman, The CW’s Riverdale spin-off Katy Keene & FOX’s Prodigal Son. It would be a lot for any other producer in town who’s not Dick Wolf, Ryan Murphy or Shonda Rhimes, but for him it’s very little. He still has many shows in production (close to 15!) and probably more coming on the future WarnerMedia streaming platform. Regarding Prodigal Son, we’re in a territory he knows well after Blindspot & Deception: something that has the ambition to be a fresh take on a crime franchise with a provocative and outrageous lead character and a comedic tone. Others did it well too, and before him, with The Mentalist, Castle, The Blacklist or even gone-too-soon Forever. Is this trend, like many others on the networks, is dying? Outside of their international sales potential, they tend to underachieve in their US first run ratings. Very few procedurals were picked up to pilot this time around, compared to previous years. Still, FOX will try their luck!

Berlanti was able to assemble quite an impressive cast, starting with Michael Sheen and Bellamy Young, while the lead had to be recast after the table read. Iron Fist‘s Finn Jones was the first choice, it was a straight offer and his deal closed on the eve of the pilot’s table read. Seeing him embodying Malcolm Bright for the first time, the producers realized that he was not a good fit with the character (it was pretty obvious!), which led to his quick demise. Tom Payne, who had tested for the role previously, was finally chosen down to the wire.

 

SCRIPT SYNOPSIS: In 1998, DR. MARTIN WHITLY –THE SURGEON, is arrested for murder as his wife, daughter and son, MALCOLM, watch. In 2019, MALCOLM BRIGHT (30’s), is now an FBI agent, who tracks down serials killers. After he punches a sheriff in Tennessee while on a case, he is let go. When he goes back home to NYC, DETECTIVE GIL MARTINEZ (60’s) hires Malcolm to work alongside his team to find a killer who is mimicking his father’s murders. Malcolm works alongside Gil, DETECTIVE DANI COFFER (20s), and DETECTIVE JT TARMEL (30s) to figure out who is killing women who frequent sex dungeons, which Malcolm guessed by the bruising on the victims arms. AINSLEY, Malcolm’s younger sister and a TV News Reporter blackmails Malcolm in to dinner with their mother. JESSICA (50’s), Malcolm and Ainsley’s mother, begs Ainsley not to include Malcolm in her coverage of The Surgeon’s copycat. Malcolm visits his father, to figures out who could have gotten access to his drawing to copy his methods. Martin’s drawing were stole from his room when they rebuilt his cell…

 

COMMENTS: Every pilot season, there’s one or two very well-crafted procedural pilot scripts you know their network will bet on. Prodigal Son is this year’s Blindspot, Lucifer, Forever, Deception and Whiskey Cavalier which were all produced by Warner Bros. Television by the way. It can’t be a coincidence. They definitely know how to make those. And writer Chris Fedak is one of the best in this department, with Matt Miller & Martin Gero. But as I said before, no matter how well it’s done, you can’t make similar shows year after year and expect the same results. People are not stupid and they know when they’re offered something that was entirely built for them based on their previous favorites. And they don’t like that. Nobody likes to be considered predictable. Prodigal Son has this cynical ambition and it’s hard not to see it to concentrate on the result only. So yeah, it’s good. But the impression of déjà vu is quite high.

What could save it from being dumped after one rendez-vous with the audience is the characters. The four leads work both individually and all together. And with those actors, that should be a real pleasure to watch. The fact that they form a very special family makes it distinctive from previous similar offers. Let’s start with Malcolm Bright. He’s intelligent but also deeply damaged. He has a self-deprecating sense of humor, he’s a narcissist of course but he also has a surprising level of compassion. In other words: he’s not Gregory House. But he’s very much like Henry Morgan, Patrick Jane and Cameron Black. And the writers don’t forget to mention that he’s handsome as hell. You’ll get your shirtless scene, don’t worry. What’s interesting about him is that he’s not so confident. He gives to others the impression he is, but on the inside he’s a big mess. It’s hard not to like him honestly.

On the other hand, you have his father, Martin Whitly, an intelligent, wealthy and charismatic man, who also happens to be a predatory sociopath who murdered more than 20 people. Who wouldn’t want to see Michael Sheen in that role? As seen through flashbacks, Martin once was a devoted family man and successful cardiothoracic surgeon with high-profile patients. For that reason, he still has great connections despite being in prison for more than 10 years. His cell is impressive and luxurious. It just doesn’t make sense, but Prodigal Son never really tries to be realistic. Martin is fascinating, but I wouldn’t say it’s an innovative character. He’s similar to The Blacklist‘s Raymond Reddington and even closer to The Following‘s Ryan Hardy, remember… The scenes between Malcolm and Martin are strong and will sell the show, but after a few episodes, I’m not sure their association will bring something new to the table. Unless they serialize it more by revealing Martin is manipulating his son and he’s behind most of the crimes happening out there… It’s obvious but it’s the only right way to go.

Jessica, Malcolm’s mother and Martin’s wife, is less present but everytime she appears, it’s a pleasure. She’s an elegant WASPy New Yorker who wields sarcasm like a samurai sword. She taught Malcom well. As the wife of a serial killer, she is a disgraced member of high society, but she refuses to hide from her truth and she wishes her son would follow suit. So far, he doesn’t. It’s a role made for Bellamy Young. I would have loved to see her in a very different role -too bad ABC didn’t order False Profits last year- but at least we know she will perfect here. Her daughter, Ainsley, who’s Malcolm’s younger sister, is a successful TV journalist with a good sense of humor. More normal(ish) than him, they have a good relationship but she’s an emotional spark plug. She’s promising too.

What about the investigation, you’re probably asking? It’s a special one since it’s about a Whitly’s copycat. The easiest way to raise the stakes. Well. It works smoothly, it’s fast-paced, it’s pretty dark and surprising in terms of setting since it embarks us in the BDSM world, and more precisely in a sex dungeon. It’s a bit unusual, especially for a pilot, and it goes far beyond what I expected, like when Malcolm has to fight with a dominatrix. It could be a lot of fun, it could be ridiculous, depending on how it’s directed. It’s constantly over-the-top, which is both good news and bad news. The good news is you never get bored, the bad news is you’re rolling your eyes a lot. But you might like it. So there are heads in jars, a bomb threat and a hand amputation while the “patient” is totally awake, among other exciting things. Wjat about romance, you’re probably asking too? That’s probably the most surprising thing in this pilot: there is NONE! We’re so used to the sexy partnerings in those shows that it almost seems like a risk not to feature one. It’ll probably come later, but for now there is just one flirtatious scene when Malcom meets Edrisa, a slightly off-center medical examiner who’s very responsive to his charm.

.

FINAL RECOMMENDATION: Prodigal Son is a by-the-book dark comedic procedural like we’ve seen many before, but it manages to have a distinctive charm based on its characters and its family-driven plot. It’s poised to be considered by critics and a portion of the audience as something way too over-the-top and unrealistic but another portion and the international buyers might find it attractive enough to give it a chance. While New FOX is trying to understand what it is and where they stand, this project seems like a no-brainer, a safe bet. 

 

OVERALL PROJECT SCORE:

[  ] PASS
 ] CONSIDER
X ] RECOMMEND

Filthy Rich (FOX) pilot preview: When Empire goes south

SERIES TITLE: Filthy Rich
NETWORK: FOX
GENRE: Soap Drama

LOGLINE: When the wealthy CEO of the world’s largest Christian network dies in a plane crash, his wife and adult children are stunned to discover he has grown, illegitimate kids who are also in his will. When the steel azalea matriarch of the family, Margaret Monroe, tries to pay them to go away, these newly legitimized heirs have very different ideas and insist on not only staying in town but becoming part of the family empire…

Pilot Cast: Kim Cattrall (Sex & The City, Tell Me A Story, Police Academy), Gerald McRaney (This Is Us, Simon & Simon, Major Dad), Aubrey Dollar (Battle Creek, Point Pleasant), Melia Kreiling (Salvation, Tyrant), Corey Cott (The Good Fight), Mike Harris (The Practice, Awake), Benjamin Aguilar, Mark L. Young (10 Days in the valley, The Inbetweeners), David Denman (Outcast, Thee Office), Olivia Macklin (The Young Pope)…
Series Creator: Tate Taylor
Pilot Director: Tate Taylor (The Help, The Girl on the Train).
Producers: Tate Taylor, John Norris, Francie Calfo & Brian Grazer (Empire, Parenthood, 24, Arrested Development, Genius).

Studios: 20th Century Fox Television, Imagine Television & Wyolah Films.

Ever wonder how TV executives wade through the dozens of pilot scripts they’re pitched each year? They have staff script readers, who provide what’s called “Script Coverage,” an executive summary and a recommendation for each script. Now you too can preview some of the season’s most buzzed about pilots and find out whether we’d recommend them for pickup. Note that all opinions are our own, and all plot, casting and other creative details described here are subject to change.

 

  

You’ll Like It If You Already Like: Empire, Dynasty, Dallas, Brothers & Sisters, Succession…

Likely Timeslot: Whether paired with Empire or used as its midseason replacement.

 

WRITTEN BY: Taylor Tate

PAGECOUNT: 60 pages

DRAFT: 1/21/18 (Last revision: 12/1/18

 

BACKGROUND:Filthy Rich is not just any pilot for FOX, it’s the first greenlight decision made by new FOX CEO of Entertainment Charlie Collier (previously at AMC). As a big fan of writer and director Tate Taylor’s work, he committed to a pilot order in the room, which isn’t something that happens frequently. FOX originally bought Filthy Rich last development season with a put pilot commitment. It did not go to pilot at that point (and Taylor went on to direct the movie Eve ), but both sides remained high on the project, leading to a pilot order this time around.

For actor-turned filmmaker Taylor, this is a very personal project since he was born and grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. The show is set in New Orleans, not that far away. He declared: “As a Southern man, I’m so excited to be telling this story of family, faith and ambition set in a place I grew up in and around.” Still, it’s based on a foreign show -like two other drama pilots at FOX out of six- from New Zealand. Actually, it was the country’s most expensive TV show ever! But they don’t produce a lot. It stayed on the air for two seasons before it got cancelled. It actually flopped and it didn’t even get good reviews.

 

SCRIPT SYNOPSIS: MARGARET MONROE (Mid60s) is the host of a popular Christian lifestyle show and the matriarch of a billion dollar family business operated by her husband, EUGENE (60s) and her children, ERIC (32) and ROSE (30). When Eugene, unexpectedly dies in a plane crash, his numerous infidelities come to light, along with three illegitimate adult children, GINGER (mid20s), a fierce woman with business savvy, who grew up dirt poor in Vegas, JASON (mid20s), an attractive, loyal young man who runs a weed business at a ranch in Colorado, and ANTONIO (19), a tattooed, up-and-coming boxer and single dad. Their introduction into the Monroes’ lives stands to threaten the family’s pristine reputation, as well as their business and wealth. After much prayer and unsuccessful tactics, Margaret makes a power play that upsets her son Eric: she publicly welcomes the three new Monroes into the family business. All family members, new and old, are forced to adjust to this strange, new family dynamic while the whole country is watching…

 

COMMENTS: Fox has described Filthy Rich as a “larger-than-life Southern gothic dramedy,” but let’s be clear: this is first and foremost a big, juicy soap, although it does become a surprisingly emotional family drama by the end of the pilot. That said, I’m not totally convinced the script sells the show very well. There’s a lot of exposition, and not much else. As promised, it is “larger-than-life,” which also means it’s totally unrealistic and that all the characters start as clichés, but it becomes more compelling as it goes along. It’s not about the basic opposition between wealthy, well-educated and brilliant children against poor, under-educated and moronic bastards. Some of the “bastards” are smarter than they seem to be and at least one of the wealthy children is not as entitled and manipulative as she could have been.

The pilot is very much centered around Margaret Monroe and Ginger Sweet (those names!) — strong, sharp women from two different generations who will go to any lengths to protect their loved ones and get their due. While they’re the show’s strongest assets, they also steal a good deal of thunder from the other characters. Rose, for example, feels a little bit left out. She’s got some good dialogue and a few fun moments, but she’s a bit weak compared to the other women around her. Hopefully her kind-hearted nature will make her more interesting at some point down the road. Likewise, her brother Eric, married with two kids and Senior VP of Operations at the conservative Christian Sunshine Network, doesn’t bring much to the table in the pilot. The new siblings are more intriguing, especially Jason, who we learn is not all that he would seem.

With Kim Cattrall as the leading lady, the rest of the cast will have to bring their A-game. Cattrall is a huge presence and her character is in line with strong matriarchs in soaps like Empire‘s Cookie or Dynasty‘s Alexis. It’s a perfect role for her. Margaret made me think of an older and more successful version of Desperate Housewives’ Bree Van de Kamp. Obsessed with perfection and appearances, she has a lifestyle show aimed at showing women how to be perfect housewives, but we all know that she just needs a little push before we see her true colors. For now, it’s clear that she’s a hypocrite — you never know when she’s sincere, especially when she reacts to the loss of her husband. A power couple like this is sure to have many secrets. By the way, Gerald McRaney who plays Eugene is a series regular even though he dies in the cold open, which means flashbacks are coming our way. Or maybe he’s not really dead — this is a soap after all, and conveniently his body was never found, supposedly eaten by alligatorsbut we’re not dumb! Fun fact: in the original show, he didn’t die on a plane crash, he commited suicide. I don’t know why they changed it. Maybe because it was too similar with ABC’s A Million Litte Things‘ story. Or maybe because they found it too dark. Or maybe because they want him back!

Although the pilot is missing a good cliffhanger, there are plenty of good directions for the series to take, especially when the whole Monroe family teams up. There’s also a political and social flavor to the show, but it’s not really the focus of the pilot and it may never be.

 

FINAL RECOMMENDATION: Soap amateurs may find in Filthy Rich their next obsession, especially now The CW’s Dynasty has lost its mojo already and FOX’s Empire has flamed out quickly, making headlines for behind-the-scenes scandals more than storylines and ratings. It’s not exactly groundbreaking but its southern setting, its gender politics’ theme, its delicious matriarch character and its immoral tendencies make it a good candidate for the network’s next soap sensation.

 

OVERALL PROJECT SCORE:

[  ] PASS
[  ] CONSIDER
[ X ] RECOMMEND

The Politician (Netflix) pilot preview: Do you miss Glee? Ryan Murphy does apparently…

SERIES TITLE: The Politician
NETWORK: Netflix
GENRE: Political One-Hour Dramedy

LOGLINE:  The political aspirations of Payton, a wealthy Santa Barbarian who’s ultimate goal is to become the President of the United States, one step at a time. And for now, he needs to a/ become the student body president of his college b/ be accepted to Harvard. To achieve that, he’s ready for anything. Literally.

Pilot Cast: Ben Platt, Zoey Deutch, Lucy Boynton, Jessica Lange, Gwyneth Paltrow, January Jones, Dylan McDermott, Laura Dreyfuss, Rhane Jones…
Series Creators: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuck & Ian Brennan (American Horror Story, Pose, 9-1-1, Glee).
Pilot Director: Ryan Murphy.
Producers: Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Platt, Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuck & Ian Brennan.
Studios: Fox 21 Television Studios

Ever wonder how TV executives wade through the dozens of pilot scripts they’re pitched each year? They have staff script readers, who provide what’s called “Script Coverage,” an executive summary and a recommendation for each script. Now you too can preview some of the season’s most buzzed about pilots and find out whether we’d recommend them for pickup. Note that all opinions are our own, and all plot, casting and other creative details described here are subject to change.

 

  

 

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuck & Ian Brennan.

PAGECOUNT: 68 pages

BACKGROUND: A few months before mega TV producer Ryan Murphy left 20th Century FOX Television for Netflix in what is believed to be the biggest TV pact ever, the streaming giant granted him a rare two-season straight-to-series order for The Politician, one of the biggest TV package sales of 2018. Everything’s BIG when it comes to Murphy, it seems. At the time, Barbra Streisand was set to play one of the female leads but Murphy stalwart Jessica Lange has since stepped into her role for unknown reasons. Described as “a one-hour long comedy with social commentary”, The Politicanwill focus on a different political race each season. Word has it that straight-from-Broadway series star Ben Platt will have musical numbers in several episodes of the show, but other details have been kept tightly under wraps. With a copy of the pilot script in hand, let’s see if we can’t unwrap them a little…

SCRIPT SYNOPSIS: Two great looking 17-year-olds are making out in an upscale house in Santa Barbara, California. Meet River and his girlfriend Astrid. While on the surface, things may seem hot between them, something doesn’t seem quite right. Turns out Astrid is faking it. When River asks her why, she explains that she’s madly in love with him and doesn’t expect him to be perfect in bed because of his young age and lack of experience. After she leaves, a clearly upset River goes to his father’s office and opens a safe where there’s cash, jewelry and a gun. Then he goes back to his bedroom, looks around, and puts the gun in his mouth.

At that very moment he hears a car screech, followed by someone banging on his front door. In comes Payton, our leading man, filled with rage, tears streaking down his face. After calling River a traitor, he reveals the reason he’s there: he’s just learned that River is competing against him to become the student body president of their college. He warns him that this is HIS dream, that he is A WINNER and that he will win this at all costs. River is mortified, and so are we.

COMMENTS: So this is the project that Netfix won in a high stakes bidding war against Amazon and Hulu. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised — they all wanted a Ryan Murphy show. The problem is, while this is indeed a Ryan Murphy show, it isn’t American Horror StoryAmerican Crime Story, or Feud. Instead, alongside frequent collaborators Brad Falchuck & Ian Brennan, Murphy has returned to the mileu of one of his earlier series: Glee. To be fair, The Politician is bit more adult-oriented than Glee — after all, the characters are not in high-school. But what happens in their Santa Barbara college could just as well have happened at McKinley High. In fact, many of it did. Payton, the central character, is our new Rachel Berry: ambitious and opinionated, his goal isn’t to become the best singer in the world, but instead the President of the United States.

The Glee feeling doesn’t end there. It becomes even more pronounced when Payton starts looking for the perfect Vice-President from a shortlist of disabled and the minority classmates. Oh, and did I mention he sings, too? He performs a musical number at a funeral and it’s apparently the best thing ever. (In the script, he sings Joni Mitchell’s River. We’ll see if that one sticks.) Most of the other characters are caricatures: the witty best friend, the bitchy one, etc. Astrid, who’s Payton’s nemesis, is a bit more fleshed out, and should become even more important in later episodes since she’s not just River’s girlfriend (no spoilers here). Finally, there’s Infinity Rose — yep, that’s her name — a colorfurl girl who has cancer…. all different kinds of cancer, to be precise. Payton wants her as his VP, but she’s not interested, at least not for now. But she clearly has some tricks up her sleeve.

The Politician does have some things to say about politics, ambition and young people, but it doesn’t say them in a way that’s innovative or smart, and it’s hard to take it very seriously when so much of what happens is ripped from earlier Murphy shows. (There are some parallels with Murphy’s Scream Queens here, too.) What’s the point of going to Netflix if it’s to do exactly the same thing he did on FOX? I mean.. The Politician is occasionally irreverent and raunchy (there’s a threesome, you guys!) but there’s nothing here that Murphy and team couldn’t have achieved on network television.

FINAL RECOMMENDATION: It’s not the most imaginative or well-crafted of pilot scripts, and if it aired on FOX or FX I’m guessing The Politician would be dead on arrival. But with a two-season commitment from Netflix, with all of its algorithms and a binge-ready audience, it might just work. In fact, despite all of my own misgivings with the project, I can still see myself tuning in to see how it all plays out.

 

OVERALL PROJECT SCORE:

[   ] PASS
] CONSIDER
[   ] RECOMMEND

FOX 2018/2019 Schedule (THOUGHTS & TRAILERS)

 

MONDAY

8- THE RESIDENT

9- 9-1-1

TUESDAY

8- THE GIFTED

9- LETHAL WEAPON

WEDNESDAY

8- EMPIRE

9- STAR

THURSDAY

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

FRIDAY

8- LAST MAN STANDING / THE COOL KIDS

9- HELL’S KITCHEN

SUNDAY

8- THE SIMPSONS / BOB’S BURGERS

9- FAMILY GUY / REL

 

MIDSEASON

GOTHAM | THE ORVILLE (starting December 30th) | PROVEN INNOCENT | THE PASSAGE

 

THOUGHTS

– FOX only ordered two new dramas and both are kept for midseason. The network had great luck in the past at launching new shows during winter so it kinda makes sense. That being said, it may also mean they’re not that happy about them and don’t know what to do with them…

– Why airing 9-1-1 at 9 and not at 8, where it could be used as a launchpad for the fragile The Resident? Plain weird. Maybe because of 9-1-1’s content, a bit too edgy for an earlier slot…

– Why moving Lethal Weapon at 9, facing This Is Us, the year when the show will have to prove it was worth a renewal despite a big change in the cast? Probably to avoid NCIS at 8 that really didn’t help it this past season.

– The sitcom duo on friday makes total sense, Last Man Standing being back in its ABC’s timeslot.

Rel might be a good fit with the animated comedies on sunday. Smart move.

 

TRAILERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOX | 2018/2019 – Fantasy Schedule

Those are predictions based on feelings and FOX final schedule may end up very differently! It will be announced on Monday. Stay tuned and until then, enjoy the read!

RENEWED

GOTHAM | EMPIRE | STAR | LETHAL WEAPON | 9-1-1 | THE ORVILLE | THE GIFTED | THE RESIDENT

THE SIMPSONS | FAMILY GUY | BOB’S BURGERS | LAST MAN STANDING

ORDERED

THE PASSAGE | PROVEN INNOCENT

THE COOL KIDS | REL

CANCELLED

LUCIFER

BROOKLYN NINE-NINE | THE LAST MAN ON EARTH | THE MICK

TO BE DETERMINED

L.A. TO VEGAS | GHOSTED

 

This is the end of an era for FOX with the Disney deal -yet no approved- forcing them to rethink the network as we knew it. Always considered as edgier than the others, younger-skewing too and more male, New FOX, or “Diet FOX” as some like to call it, will make a big push into sports with the Thursday Night Football already set and other events coming later like the rights for WWE. As a consequence, they will bet on more traditional programs, as the Last Man Standing comes back suggests, and will try to steal older viewers to CBS. Next fall’s schedule will probably be a mix between the “old FOX” and what the new FOX would look like. A recipee for disaster? We’ll see. Here’s my take on how it could/should be:

 

MONDAY

9-1-1

THE RESIDENT

Ryan Murphy’s 9-1-1 is the only big hit FOX found last year and it’s expected to be back in the fall, with a scheduling possibly resembling Empire‘s : 8 episodes in the fall and 8 episodes in the spring. Even though it would make sense to use it as a lead-in for a new show, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to use it instead on a show that is still relatively new and that seems compatible. Dark medical drama The Resident did quite okay in season one and a little push could be what it needs to really become something.

 

TUESDAY

LETHAL WEAPON

PROVEN INNOCENT

At the moment I’m writing this article, we still don’t know if Lethal Weapon will be back or not, depending on how the giant mess they’re in because of Clayne Crawford’s alleged behaviour is sorted out. But if it is renewed, I wouldn’t move it. Considering the bloodbath in FOX’s comedy department, I don’t expect comedies being back at 9. Instead, I would launch a new show and since they only approved 2, I guess Proven Innocent, while not promising at all, seems the one that fits best with Lethal Weapon as yet another character-driven procedural. It’s probably darker but none of the new shows are light anyway…

 

WEDNESDAY

EMPIRE

STAR

Empire is not the big hit it once was anymore but its duet with Star is a force to be reckoned with. FOX shouldn’t touch it. And they need some stability somewhere…

 

THURSDAY

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

 

FRIDAY

LAST MAN STANDING / THE COOL KIDS

HELL’S KITCHEN or MASTERCHEF JUNIOR

Putting Last Man Standing back where it was when it aired on ABC for several years seems like the easiest decision to take. Pairing it with The Cool Kids is also a given, since it was probably picked-up for this very reason. I don’t know if people will show up for this combo but with the Thursday Night Football airing the evening before it, they’ll have many occasions to advertise it. The traditional friday cooking show is an option at 9. And if somehow Gotham is renewed, it could also end up there.

 

SUNDAY

THE SIMPONS / FAMILY GUY

THE ORVILLE

Now almost all live comedies are gone, I don’t see what FOX could do other than putting a drama at 9. Not any drama: Seth MacFarlane’s weird space dramedy that did better than expected last fall. It’d be kind of MacFarlane’s night with his documentary show Cosmos that could come back once The Orville‘ second season -probably limited- ends. They could also try new multicamera comedy Rel at some point with either LA to Vegas or something they’ll order later since they’re working on off-cycle pilots and redeveloping others like Dan The Weatherman

 

MIDSEASON

THE PASSAGE – This new supernatural/vampire show could air alongside X-Men‘s THE GIFTED, that was renewed somehow and I feel like FOX kinda regret it now. I don’t expect if to be back in the fall, though it means a very long absence that will probably resonate into weaker ratings. Whether the pair will air on monday or wednesday is a question mark…

PRISON BREAK – Though a new season has not yet been approved, it’s very much likely. It could be back on monday or tuesday…

 

Mixtape (FOX) pilot preview: Life Bursting Into Songs

“Track I : Sam & Nellie” written and executive produced by Josh Safran (Quantico, Smash, Gossip Girl). Also produced by Megan Ellison (Her, Zero Dark Thirty, Foxcatcher, American Bluff) & Sue Naegle (Outcast). Directed by Jesse Peretz (Girls, GLOW, Divorce, Nurse Jackie, Juliet Naked). For FOX,  20th Century FOX Television & Annapurna Television. 66 pages. Third Network Draft. 1/09/2018.

Description: a romantic musical drama that looks at a disparate group of interconnected people in contemporary Los Angeles through the lens of the music that defines who they are. Mixtape captures the different stages of love, exploring if time can heal a broken heart and if love can withstand life’s tragedies…

With Paul James (The Path, Greek), Callie Hernandez (La La Land, Too Old To Die Young, Graves), Madeleine Stowe (Revenge, 12 Monkeys, The Last of the Mohicans), Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Without a Trace, Broadchurch, Blindspot), Jenna Dewan Tatum (Step Up, Witches of East End, American Horror Story), Jahmil French (Degrassi: The Next Generation), Megan Ferguson (Bad Moms, Heart of Dixie), Campbell Scott (House of Cards, Royal Pains, Damages, The Amazing Spider-Man), Evan Whitten & Christina Milian (Grandfathered). Raul Castillo (Looking, Seven Seconds, Atypical) in the original pilot.

    

You’ll Like It If You Already Like: Smash, Rise, La La Land, This Is Us…

Likely timeslot: Somewhere midseason with a limited run

 

UPDATE: Despite being an internal favorite and having support among network executives, Mixtape missed the cut for a series order and was taken taken out to streamers immediately. Netflix bought it and gave it a 10-episode order for a 2019 launch. It was the second project at Netflix for the company Annapurna, which also had the Coen brothers anthology The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. It was also the third broadcast pilot to get a series order by Netflix after being passed over by its original network, others were Insatiable (originally at the CW) and sitcom All About the Washingtons (originally at ABC). The majority of the cast of the Fox pilot was kept just hours before their options were set to expire, except for the male lead, Raul Castillo, replaced by Paul James for reasons that were not made public.

 

Every Song Is A Love Song“. That’s with those words that Mixtape starts… and ends. And a very beautiful and emotional demonstration ensues from our hero Sam. I’m not gonna lie and there’s no suspense anyway if you’ve seen those 5 stars up there: I fell in love with this script as you fall in love with a song. So everything in this review will only be displays of affection. I will keep it short, by the way. I hate it when songs are too long. But also, I’ll be walking -or more like dancing- on eggs here. There are things that has to be kept secret and I don’t want to spoil any surprise to anybody. That’s part of the reason why it’s so good. You never know where it’s going, like you never know what life is bringing upon you, good or bad. And when you finally get a sense of what’s really going on, you’re just happy to see it play before your eyes. Mixtape is not just another musical drama. At the core, it’s a love letter to music where life burst into songs.

Let me tell you first about the structure of this very unique pilot (and future show). It is broken up into five parts (acts), with every one of them containing one song: Nellie’s Side A, Sam Side A, Nellie Side B, Sam Side B, and finally their mashup; this development illuminates the overarching metaphor that weaves throughout the pilot: music is life, life is music. And there’s a lot of love and loss in between. It’s quite simple and very clever at the same time. I don’t remember anything like it before. Of course, every song expresses the feelings of the character who sings. That’s how we get to know them better, their profound fears, and desires, and pains, and sometimes joys. That’s how every musical works. Every song is a big number, with or without dancers, while life happens. The reference is obviously La La Land. They’re aiming at something as modern and somehow timeless too. Those songs are not originals and not even hits but more like the perfect song for the situation, even if it has to be a lesser known one from a famous or not so famous artist. If the directing is as good as the writing, we’re gonna have a lot of fun my friends, music lovers and others.

The characters happen to be very well-written too and their stories are both intimate and universal, as they should be. Nellie seems to be living the American Dream: she’s beautiful and her hot boyfriend’s band is catapulting into massive stardom. Nothing can get to her, until, on the eve of her third anniversary, fantasizing about being proposed to, her life explodes as her punk boyfriend dumps her. Her own dreams of becoming an artist have derailed along the way. Now, her life turns completely upside down. Meanwhile, Sam, a scrupulous and shattered widower, aspiring songwriter and secret romantic, who has been forced to move into low income housing with his son after his wife’s death, spends his time balancing jobs and fathering his bright-eyed son. He’s helped by his aunt and now neighbour, a warm, pragmatic woman in her fifties that loves him like her own daughter. There’s other women in there: Joanna, a young professional with everything always under control, the most rational person ever, and yet she’s a little guarded, as if always prepared for the worst; and Margot, an actress who carefully controls how she presents herself to the world, but is secretly exhausted by having to do it. All those characters are very human, attractive and appealing, fragile, sometimes shattered, simply beautiful. And that’s all I can say. Just know there’s a twist. It’s also this kind of show.

Again, Mixtape is a love letter to music where life burst into songs. I don’t know if it can be successful, it’s probably too ambitious to become a huge instant hit, but it doesn’t look like a one-hit wonder either. This script is pure beauty and artistry. Those characters need to be heard. Between La La Land & This Is Us, it may be the best thing network television will bring us next year. Prepare your eyes, your ears and your hearts to it!