Tag: fox

Black Lightning (The CW) pilot preview: The most political DC Comics show?

Written and produced by Mara Brock Ali & Salim Akil (Being Mary Jane, The Game, Girlfriends, Moesha). Executive produced by Greg Berlanti (The Flash, Supergirl, Riverdale, Brothers & Sisters) & Sarah Schechter ((Arrow, Blindspot, Legends of Tomorrow). Based on the characters created by Tony Isabella & Trevor Von Eeden. Directed by Salim Akil. For Warner Bros. Television, Berlanti Productions, Akil Productions & DC Comics. 60 pages. Writer’s 2nd Draft. 01/05/2017. (Based on the script written for FOX)

Description: Jefferson Pierce hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago but with a daughter hell-bent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he is pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning…

With Cress Williams (Heart of Dixie, Code Black, Friday Night Lights, Prison Break), Nafessa Wiliams (Twin Peaks 2017, Code Black, One Life to Live), China Anne McClain (Descendants, House of Payne), Christine Adams (Feed the Beast, Agents of SHIELD, Terra Nova)…

  

You’ll like if you already: Shows of the DC Universe

Likely Timeslot: Monday at 9, Tuesday at 9, Thursday at 8.


A lot of you were waiting for this preview to come. The devil in me wanted it to be the last The CW pilot I give a look at. Just to build the tension. And also because I’m not a big DC fan so it’s not really my priority. Before delving into it, let me tell you the young-skewing network has a bit of a situation here. Their CBS produced-pilot are weak, especially Valor and Dynasty, while Insatiable is kinda good but a wild card. In the meantime, the Warner Bros. pilots are all strong possibilities, with family dramedy Life Sentence an exciting one (and a personal favorite), Searchers an ambitious option and Black Lightning looking like a no-brainer for obvious reasons. The problem is the network won’t be able –in theory though- to pick-up only WB pilots since it is co-own by CBS. So which one will have to go? The suspense is already killing me.

Before reading Black Lightning, I had the feeling it may not live up to the expectations, explaining why FOX decided to not proceed with a pilot order. Some of you may not know the project first landed at FOX in September following a multiple-network bidding war but had to move when they realized –a little too late- that they were already the home of two DC Comics shows (Gotham and Lucifer), with Marvel’s X-Men drama Gifted looking good for a series order. That was too many superheroes and mutants for them, apparently. The CW saved Black Lightning last minute like they did with the second season of Supergirl and Riverdale, which was also set up at FOX initially. Now that I have read the pilot script, I can say FOX made a very bad decision (especially when you look at what they ordered instead) and The CW made the right call by saving it. It’s not the best thing I’ve read this year but it’s a good one for sure.

Black Lightning would have looked good on FOX surrounded by Empire or Lethal Weapon. The three of them deal with family. Differently. But still. It’s not a show about Jefferson Pierce, it’s a show about the Pierce’s family. The daughters characters are featured prominently in this first hour. They are the most interesting ones and without them, the show would hardly fit with The CW line-up. Jennifer, the youngest, is an independent, outspoken scholar-athlete with a wild streak of her own, who defines herself as a feminist and has a tendency to get into trouble; while Anissa is a passionate and quick-witted lesbian twenty-something who balances the demands of medical school with her job teaching part-time at her father’s school. Oh yeah, it’s a bit of a school drama too since Jefferson is the principal of the Garfield high-school in a poor neighbourhood of Los Angeles and most of the action happens there. And for those, like me, who are not familiar with the DC Universe, those two are meant to become superheroes as their father: respectively Thunder and Lightning. There’s already a hint of it in the pilot.

Jennifer and Anissa have a mother; Jefferson and her are separated, she has another man in her life for quite some time but he still believes she’ll come back. She’s the main reason why he stopped being Black Lightning. She knows his secret identity. As does his mentor, an old man named Gambi who creates his new costume (of course, there’s the inevitable scene of every superhero show where he put it for the first time). Depending on the chemistry between the actors, there’s a big potential with these two strong relationships. The pilot has its own villain, who’s part of a larger story, the one of a local gang called the One Hundred who wants to recruit Jennifer. And yeah, Jefferson will do everything in his power to stop them. Expect this part of the show to be serialized with the gang coming back from time to time.

There is no mystery left around Jefferson Pierce when the pilot ends. We get to know through flashbacks, Arrow-style, how he got his powers in the first place, what he did with them –mostly good things- and why he hung up the suit. It’s never boring, but never very surprising either. His story is more or less the same as every other superheroes of this earth. What makes it different and timely is the fact that it’s the first black superhero on network television (the other one being Luke Cage on Netflix). And of course, it’s not a little detail. The pilot deals with police brutality –Jefferson is checked by the police twice and it’s not a walk in the park- and the message the writers –who are black and husband and wife- want to send to the new generation of African-american is that it’s time to harness and release their power by becoming their own superheroes. It’s an important thing to do in those troubled times.

Black Lightning is probably the most family friendly and political DC Comics show so far. It follows very closely, even too closely, the usual steps of a superhero series and adds some substance to the mix. An entertaining hour of television that is not just one more DC Comics show on The CW.

The Resident (FOX) pilot preview: Mean Doctors

Written and produced by Amy Holden Jones (Mystic Pizza, Indecent Proposal, Beethoven, Black Box), Hayley Schore (Code Black, Black Box) & Roshan Sethi (Code Black, Black Box). Executive produced by David Boorstein (Ice), Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen, Equalizer, The Magnificent Seven) & Oly Obst (The Mick, Black Box). Directed by Phillip Noyce (Revenge, Salt, Bone Collector, Patriot Games). For 20th Century FOX Television, Fuqua Films & 3 Arts Entertainment. 56 pages. 01/11/17.

Description: Devon Pravesh, an idealistic young doctor begins his first day under the supervision of Conrad Hawkins, a tough, brilliant senior resident who pulls the curtain back on all of the good and evil in modern day medicine. Lives may be saved or lost, but expectations will always be shattered…

With Manish Dayal (The Hundred-Foot Journey, Halt and Catch Fire, 90210), Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife, Gilmore Girls, Young Americans), Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek, I, Robot, The River), Emily VanCamp (Revenge, Brothers & Sisters, Everwood, Captain America), Shaunette Renée (Billions), Valerie Cruz (The Following, Nip/Tuck Off The Map), Tasie Lawrence (House of Anubis)…

 

 

You’ll like if you already like: Grey’s Anatomy, Code Black

Likely timeslot: Is there even one for it?

 

I don’t want to be rude against the writers of this pilot but it’s gonna be hard. I don’t know much about Amy Holden Jones; she wrote movies that were popular in the 90s but not very good in my opinion. Since then… she got money out of the Beethoven sequels that she didn’t write herself and decided to enter the TV world in 2014 starting with ABC failed medical soap Black Box. She’s back with another medical fare, co-written with people who works for Code Black. I have to say I’m impressed: she did kid movies, summer movies, horror movies, thriller movies, romance movies… and now medical shows. What a queen! But sorry, The Resident (aka Kings County) is not her best work. Not at all. It lacks a vision, credibility and subtlety. And some more. But good news for her: the other medical pilot FOX ordered fell apart and they don’t have many other choices. Plus, they attracted quite a sexy and diverse cast. So there’s a real chance it ends up on our screens next year… and gets cancelled pretty quickly?

I’m sorry but a pilot starting with doctors taking pictures of the beer can-sized dick of a patient -refered as “giant meat popsicle” by a nurse-during an operation is quite overwhelming. And the fact that it’s never questionned or punished by the 4 or 5 people who are there including the chief of surgery, as if it’s okay doing such a terrible thing sounds horrible to me (not saying that’s what the writers think of course). Oh, I know. Those things happen in real life. But still? And it’s not just this. Later in the script, our young fresh doctor Devon is asked by his supervisor Conrad to shove his finger up a patient’s ass. It’s a bit harsh for a first medical case but why not? The problem is Conrad doesn’t care about the patient, treats him like shit because he doesn’t speak english, he doesn’t even want Devon to tell him what he’s about to perform on him, which is once again very rude. And he makes vulgar comments about how tight his rectum is. He ends up leaving Devon there, his finger’s still in, not knowing what to do and even realizing that the act was in fact not necessary… I know what they wanted to do there: setting a light tone, making us laugh a bit but they failed miserably. It’s awkward and crass. Not funny at all.

The writers are obviously obssessed with the idea that The Resident is not your typical medical drama. And quite frankly, it’s not that different. They make Conrad say to Devon: “You grew up watching all those white coats saving lives on TV. That magical ER where nobody ever dies, CPR always works, patients are all angels, doctors are gods.” Do you really know what you’re talking about? Have you ever watched a medical show? This description doesn’t fit with what I saw. People die on ER or Grey’s Anatomy. CPR doesn’t always work (though maybe it works more often on TV that in real life, I give you that). And patients are not always angels.  And well, doctors may feel like gods but it always turns out that they’re not. Anyway. The whole script is built in opposition to network medical shows and what they are supposed to be in their minds.? They are apparently thinking that what they’re doing is earth-shattering. Spoiler alert: it’s not. It made me think of Code Black, which was all about realness initially. It’s hard to make something new in that genre but destroying what has been made before with nasty comments doesn’t make you look good. Just pretentious and mean. Especially when you don’t live up to the expectations you set yourself.

Nothing’s subttle in the show but the worst is the characters’ portraits. Devon is way too kind and innocent. But at least he’s a breath of fresh air in this hospital full of mean doctors doing bad things. Conrad is the biggest dick of them all. Remember Cary Agos in The Good Wife? Matt Czuchry is basically playing the same character, but nastier. He’s a bastard with everyone and on top of that, he objectifies women all the time: nurses, physical therapists, even patients that he locates on Tinder, and Nicolette, who’s kind of his fuck friend. She’s played by Emily VanCamp and let me tell you this is the worst choice of her career. She couldn’t find better, really? Going from leading lady in Revenge to a secondary poorly written character in this is sad. Just so she doesn’t get humiliated I don’t want to it to see the light of day. Another character that is just plain stupid: the chief of surgery I told you about earlier. Dr Bell kills a patient in the opening sequence. And we learn along the way that he has a bad habit of doing that. He’s negligent and simply not a good surgeon. But he keeps his position somehow… There are more tolerable characters, and even some with potential like Dr Okafor, a bad ass Nigerian rising surgical star. But in the middle of this mess, it’s hard to root for them.

The Resident is like a medical drama penned by (bad) sitcom writers. Imagine if Grey’s Anatomy was in the hands of the Two and a Half Men people. It’s ridiculous, distasteful and manichaean. It’s a sad attempt to aim at men, who are not really found of medical dramas in general, with mostly antiheroes characters that are just impossible to like. That being said, there’s a rhythm and an efficiency that could make it easy to watch and I can see some people loving it for what it is: dumb entertainment.

Controversy (FOX) pilot preview: Another lesser American Crime

Written and produced by Sheldon Turner (In The Air, X-Men First Class). Executive produced by Jennifer Klein (Pearl Harbor), Judy Smith (Scandal, Braindead) & Charlie Gogolak (Kyle XY). Directed by John Requa & Glenn Ficarra (This Is Us, Patriot, Bad Santa, Focus, I Love You Phillip Morris). For 20th Century FOX Television, Zaftig Films, Smith & Company & Vendetta Productions. 60 pages. 01/28/17.

Description: The Junior Counsel of a prestigious Illinois university must deal with an out-of-control scandal when a young co-ed accuses several star football players of sexual assault. From the football coaches and boosters who wield outsize influence, to a university administration under siege, the series explores the type of high-profile controversy all-too familiar on today’s college campuses, as well as the corrosive, dangerous nature of institutional power…

With Austin Stowell (Whiplash, Public Morals), Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife, The Fall, Blindspot), Anthony Edwards (ER, Top Gun, Zodiac), Christine Lahti (Chicago Hope, Jack & Bobby, Hawaii 5-0), Erin Moriarty (Jessica Jones, The Kings of Summer), Saycon Sengbloh (Scandal), Vince NappoGriffin Freeman

 

  

You’ll like if you already like: American Crime, American Crime Story, Shots Fired

Likely timeslot: somewhere in midseason

In a few days, FOX will start airing event series Shots Fired, which I’m not a big supporter of, mainly because it’s kind of a rip off of the first season of American Crime without what’s making this show so great and important. It’s a decent attempt to make something compelling and meaningful out of a very hot topic -police shootings- but it’s never brilliant despite its incredible cast. Too soapy probably (You can still read the preview HERE). I’m not sold on Controversy either, for some of the same reasons and a few others. But FOX is certainly hoping Controversy will be their next Shots Fired, if Shots Fired (paired with Empire) becomes successful. It does have a real shot. They share the same respectable ambition. Controversy has not been announced as a miniseries, so they can explore other controversial subjects in subsequent seasons I guess…

This first installment is about college rape, a timely topic that was already tackled on… the second season of American Crime. Brilliantly. With fierceness. Why do FOX keep on following the steps of the ABC series? I’m not sure. But they’ll argue they do it very differently and I can’t say otherwise. Sadly, it’s not as gripping and it doesn’t come out as subtle and intimate. Sometimes, it’s just too spectacular for me. Starting the show with a flashforward then going back to the hours that led to the night of the crime is not a narrative tool that should be used there in my opinion. I understand they want their show to be efficient and as mainstream as possible, but they lose the emotion in the middle of this well-oiled machine. It lacks authenticity for me. And since most of the multiple characters, including the victim, don’t seem to be very reliable and well-meaning persons, I had a hard time connecting with them. But there’s a complexity that suggests it wouldn’t be fair to jump to any conclusions after only one episode. It is obviously thought as a whole and this pilot works more like an introduction to a short season than an episode that wants to give you a promise for months and years to come. And I’m pretty sure FOX will want to air the first two episodes back to back.

The most engaging character here is not the victim (sadly) or the possible culprit(s) but Jourdan Price, a crisis management consultant brought in to help with the scandal. It takes time before she appears but the show really starts with her arrival for me. Knowing that Archie Panjabi would play her certainly helped, I have to admit. What’s interesting is the show is produced by Judy Smith, the real-life top crisis-management consultant who inspired Scandal‘s Olivia Pope. It doesn’t mean Price is also based on Smith, but she did work on a number of high-profile clients, including universities. It’s reassuring. The show may be a faithful depiction of what really happens when such an horrible thing happen on college campuses, way too often apparently. But at the same time, there are soapy and conspirationist elements that show the writer Sheldon Turner is more interested in the twists and turns than in the emotional depth. And that’s a shame. But This Is Us‘ directors in charge of the pilot could add what’s missing in the script.

I’m also very curious to understand why Turner chose to adopt the Junior Counsel of the university’s point of view, which was not the case initially as the first description suggests it was supposed to be Price’s. Matt Kincaid seems to be a white-privileged golden boy, a bit pretentious, the kind of character that is not easy to like in general but who still looks like the usual leading man on a network show. Is it because he’s handsome, great to watch and that’s an easier sell? That may be the reason why and I’d like to be proven wrong. I hope there is more to him than just that and that it’s not a decision taken out of fear to make sure that FOX audience would tune in. I mean… Is there a FOX show with a female lead? Nope…

Is Controversy a quality show or a tepid impersonation of a quality show? I don’t have the answer yet. I just know it’s not a masterpiece but it has the potential to be at least a good entertainment. But one thing’s for sure: FOX will put it on their schedule next year no matter what. It’s not their best shot at a hit but it’s a project that is able to start a conversation on an important matter. They want their American Crime. They want to be in that game. They want awards recognition too. We’ll see if this effort is enough. 

PILOT WHISPERER: New edition #PilotSeason

First published on December, 07

2017 pilot season officially started yesterday when ABC ordered political comedy pilot Libby & Malcolm starring Felicity Huffman and Courtney B. Vance as we reported 3 weeks ago. Other comedies are nearing pilot orders while deals are being worked out.

 

At ABC, the next one on the list is Rapper Mayor / Untitled City Mayor Project, that could be descrided as a comedic version of hit Designated Survivor. It is about Courtney Rose, a talented but struggling hip-hop artist, who runs for mayor to promote his mixtape – and wins. The guy is a quitenssential optimistic, a dreamer through and through. He’s the coolest, most fun dude in town, and if you don’t believe it, just ask him and he’ll tell you… It’s created by Jeremy Bronson, writer and producer on The Mindy Project and Speechless, and produced by Jamie Tarses (Happy Endings) for ABC Studios. The casting for the leading man is underway. PICKED-UP

The multicamera comedy project Documenting Love, sort of a Mad About You new generation has a pilot production commitment, as well as thriller drama Doomsday from Sony Pictures Television about a secret think tank featuring the most creative minds in science and entertainment that is tasked with dreaming up man-made disaster scenarios and their possible solutions. PICKED-UP  DTLA, about a celebrity choreographer who must fight to protect her status, family, business and secrets, is heating up. The Untitled Marc Cherry drama with Reba McEntire is already ordered to pilot.

Comedy Start Up starring Zach Braff is inching closer to a pick-up PICKED-UP, as well as Splitting Up Together produced by Ellen De Generes  PICKED-UP and Charlie Foxtrot from Aaron Kaplan PICKED-UP. A not-yet-announced project starring basketball player Jalen Rose, Jalen vs Everybody, and written by Nahnatchka Khan, is heating up. PICKED-UP

 

At CBS, the Untitled Chris Distefano Hybrid Comedy Project is heating up. Written and produced by How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays & Craig Thomas. Inspired by comedian Chris Distefano’s life story, the hybrid project is centered on Izzy and Chris, two 20-somethings who are raising their newborn daughter and merging their loud families – one Puerto Rican, one Italian… PICKED-UP

Me, Myself and I is also on the map. The single-camera comedy which examines one man’s life over a 50-year span, somewhat in the vein of movie Boyhood, has a put pilot. PICKED-UP And of course, the order for The Big Bang Theory spin-off Sheldon is just a formality. UPDATE: World Wide Webbs, a comedy about a family who became rich and famous thank to their daily video blogs, is on tracks for an order.

On the drama side, quirky cop show Magnolia Springs about a sheriff and his teenage son solving crimes in a small city is gearing up towards a pick-up, casting is underway. Firewall, a new procedural from Mentalist creator, is also hot. Luc Besson’s Hunch, about a LAPD detective who begrudgingly teams up with a celebrity psychic who, unfortunately, is also his ex-wife, should get the nod soon; as well as Justin Lin’s SWAT,  a reboot of the 1970s series billed as an intense, action-packed procedural following an African-American SWAT lieutenant torn between loyalty to the streets and duty to his fellow officers. PICKED-UP

 

At NBC, while Amy Poehler’s off-cyle pilot The Baby starring Seann William Scott will shoot in a few days, the Untitled Kourtney Kang Comedy produced by Fresh Off The Boat creator Nahnatchka Khan is red hot. It explores what it’s like to grow up as the only girl in the only mixed race family in the suburbs of Philadelphia, dealing with real-world issues like race and gender while never losing focus of her life goal… to become a Laker Girl like her idol, Paula Abdul. PICKED-UP

In the drama department, the peacock has medical drama Salvation directed by Paul Haggis awaiting green light. It is billed as the first real-time hospital “extreme event” show, capturing the life-and-death choices nurses, PA’s and other front-line caregivers make as they struggle to provide care and triage. PICKED-UP Legal drama Blood Defense, based on Marcia Clark’s book about a relentless criminal attorney, is red hot for a pick-up, as well as Family Honor, from Matt Reeves, a police procedural told through the eyes of four diverse foster sisters. The Last Policeman is close to a pick-up. It follows a detective in New Hampshire during the final years of civilization as a catastrophe-level asteroid hurtles toward the planet. Heavy serialized legal drama Flight Risk from John Wells is also considered. Drama High, an high-school drama with musical elements written and produced by Jason Katims (Parenthood) with Hamilton producers Jeffrey Seller & Flody Suarez is red hot. PICKED-UP Last drama pilot order at NBC should go to Redliners, adapted from Charlaine Harris’ short stories, that mixes romance and espionnage about a pair of former spies living in suburbia who are reactivated when a failed hit on one of them leaves the assassin dead. PICKED-UP

 

At FOX, DC’s Black Lightning is almost a done deal PICKED-UP AT THE CW, as is Matt Nix’s untitled family superhero drama at Marvel in the X-Men Universe PICKED-UP. The network is just waiting for the final pilot script. Dr House creator David Shore could be back at FOX with an untitled project about a professional spy who teams up with an enterprising civilian to solve cases here and abroad. Control, by Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joyce, is heating up.

Comedy Thin Ice from New Girl creator is already ordered to pilot. Other comedy heating up is Turned On, directed by Paul Feig, about a brilliant but awkward engineer who creates an android who spirals out of control… The Untitled Wresting Comedy produced by Dwayne Johnson, Will Ferrell & Adam McKay, is also very much on the map.

 

At The CW the Charmed reboot seems to be a priority. Searchers pilot from The 100 creator Jason Rothenberg & Greg Berlanti is a sure thing, with a shooting expected to take place in South Africa. PICKED-UP Transience produced by Ian Somerhalder, is heating up, as well as LA Demonic for Warner Bros.

 

More to come…

FOX’s 24 most exciting projects for 2017/2018 pilot season

The following article is based on descriptions mixed wih talents attached ONLY. None of the scripts have been read at this point. 

 

FOX’S NEEDS FOR NEXT SEASON

  • Cleaning house by cancelling shows that have oustayed their welcome for quite some time now.
  • Get that 11th season of The X-Files, rather sooner than later.
  • Give their new series a real chance! (not another Pitch/The Exorcist situation please)
  • Define, at last, what their messy comedy brand really is.

The equation is quite simple at FOX: everything that is not on wednesday is failing or is doomed to fail. Empire is their only scripted success right now, a success that is fading by the way, certainly because the show isn’t capable of any evolution. People got tired pretty quick. In the meantime, Lethal Weapon is a surprising solid player at 8 and is probably ready to move to another night next year where it could help another show. Pretty much everything else is a disappointment but Gotham & Lucifer manage to stay at a decent level on monday somehow; and sunday night’s “animation domination” (The Simpsons, Family Guy…) doesn’t look bad when there’s a strong football match running late (every now and then).

FOX’s biggest nightmare is tuesday night but when they decided to renew Scream Queens for a second season, they were really looking for trouble, right? It does horrible, horrible numbers and it’s not even a popular show on social medias anymore. Nothing can save it this time. It’s deader than dead. Earlier in the evening, New Girl is doing its worst numbers ever and is not worthy of a renewal either. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is not what we can call a bright spot, but at least it’s doing slightly better. Sadly, certainly because it’s not produced in-house, FOX keeps on treating it like garbage by moving it every year… On thursday, Rosewood is already dying. Everybody knew it would collapse without Empire as a lead-out. Everybody except people at FOX apparently. Honestly, they’re getting what they deserve. Promising (and quite good) Pitch couldn’t do a miracle with such a loser for a lead-in and may not come back for a second year. It was worth a better treatment… The Exorcist has nothing to do on FOX, even FOX knew it but they ordered it anyway and sent it to friday where it could only do bad business. So it did.

Midseason could be a game-changer for the network though. Comedy The Mick is getting a push after the NFL doubleheader, which should help it not going fractional too soon; they have huge tentpoles with 24: Legacy, that critics are already raving about and which got the gigantic post-Superbowl slot, and Prison Break, that critics probably won’t rave about but which is already making people very curious for good or bad reasons; they may or may not decide to give Making History a decent launch pad while APB will be paired with a probably strong 24: Legacy. Last but not least: Bones is finally ending with a 12-episode 12th season. For next year, they already have the straight-to-series Seth MacFarlane sci-fi drama Orville. And many of their projects in development are in the same vein…

DRAMAS

 

THE BUILDING (20th Century FOX Television)

What? about a large skyscraper that moves between alternate realities and a group of young urban explorers who are in the building and suddenly find themselves on an Earth wherein Reagan was not elected and Russia dropped the bomb. They then figure out they have a limited amount of time to figure out where they are and rescue members of their team before the building shifts again to another reality. They soon realize that this Earth is also different from where they started and getting back may be impossible….

Why? This one’s a head-scratcher. It’s coming from bestselling author Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Sandman, Neverwhere), which means it could be incredibly good and it already sounds like it. But is FOX the right place for such an ambitious and possibly expensive project? I’d like to think so. There’s a Lost vibe. They’d better not ruining it…

 

CONTROL (Warner Bros. Television)

What? the story of a group of New Yorkers in a cross section of the city, all with no apparent connection, save one: they are each filled with anxiety, stress and panic. After receiving an unorthodox form of treatment for their fears, they discover something extraordinary within but they also find themselves caught in the lethal test run by a secretive and all-powerfull group…

Why? Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy are producing this one but nobody really want them to lose focus on Westworld. So, if the project is ordered, I expect them to have a minor role in the production and none in the writing. Still, it’s an interesting project, even though it sounds an awful lot like USA’s Falling Water, which is neither a success nor a critical darling.

 

CONTROVERSY (20th Century FOX Television) picked-up

What? a successful crisis-management consultant brought in to advise a university when a co-ed accuses football players of gang-raping her. Facing a crisis of conscience, she partners with a lawyer for the university to seek out the truth…

Why? While miniseries Shots Fired, which is coming midseason at FOX, resembles season 1 of ABC’s American Crime without everything that makes American Crime so great and distinctive from other network shows, this project resembles season 2 of American Crime! Call me paranoid if you like… That being said, it’s an important subject and a good premise. I’m curious to see how it could turn out. Judy Smith, the woman who inspired Olivia Pope (Scandal) is producing.

 

THE CUT (20th Century FOX Television) / THE EDGE (Sony Pictures Television)

What? set in the Manhattan School of Dance, the most renowned dance conservatory in New York City; at the center is Anthony, a subway performer desperate to break free from his crime-ridden roots, who seizes the opportunity to join some of the most elite dance students in the world set in the LA dance world, where it’s survival of the fittest and no one is more fit than this ensemble of ambitious, sometimes ruthless women and men who have trained their whole lives to be the best and won’t let anything – or anyone – get in their way

Why? Between those two shows dealing with the same subject -dance- I couldn’t decide which one was the most interesting. FOX will probably prefer the one developped in-house, with McG as an executive producer; but the other one has Jennifer Beals & Kenny Ortega, who know a thing or two about dancing… Maybe the one that will be the most urban will win, since it’s obvious FOX is looking for a(nother) companion for Empire.

 

ENHANCED (20th Century FOX Television)

What? After creating a new technology that can potentially change mankind, an idealistic and brilliant female scientist get caught up in the battle between two biotech billionaire brothers. As the story unfolds concurrently in the prestent day and a decade in the future, we see how an idea conceived with the best of intentions can have repercussions no one ever imagined – or perhaps didn’t want to.

Why? Okay, it sounds a bit like shows that failed not that long ago on FOX (Minority Report, Second Chance). But what if this time was different? What if they did something compelling? Please let me believe it’s still possible.

 

FAMILIAR (20th Century FOX Television)

What? It’s 2029 -the year A.I. robotics will go the path of the personal computer- or so is the hope of the Wiercinskis – the family behind Luminary, the first mainstream consumer-oriented robotics company. The series follows the powerful and dysfunctional family a they navigate their own personal and familial relationships, in an ever-changing world that they had a significant (if sometimes unethical) hand in shaping…

Why? That’s one hell of a way to shake things up a little bit in the family soap genre: making it futuristic! To me, it’s the most exciting project at FOX right now. Plus it’s created by a newcomer, Heather Regnier who wrote episodes for Falling Skies & Sleepy Hollow. Always nice to bet on new talent. The magical words are there : “powerful” and “dysfunctional”. It’s Empire with robots.

 

HIGH WIRE (20th Century FOX Television)

What? centers on Nicole Mora, a 26-year-old fledgling aerialist who, after suffering the loss of both of her parents, decides to run off to join an innovative startup cirque. Working her way up from tent crew to trapeze artist (to eventually running an entire cirque franchise), Nicole will not only have to earn her place in the eccentric, tightknit family of “cirkies,” she’ll have to go head to head with a force far more formidable than gravity.

Why? The success story of Pitch‘s heroine didn’t translate into a TV success and that’s probably because of baseball. A lot of potential viewers probably  thought it was more about sports than anything else, which is false. With a similar idea but in the world of cirque, maybe FOX will have more luck. I mean, the Cirque du Soleil is such a big deal in the US and in the whole world, it’s more than worth a try!

 

GIRL 10 (20th Century FOX Television)

What? set in the very near future and revolves around Elle, one of only 10 synthetic humans in existence who is being investigated for murder while trying to stop an evil cabal from weaponizing the technology behind artificial intelligence.

Why? 15 years after short-lived but beloved Dark Angel, it’d be nice to see Jessica Alba coming back on the network with a sci-fi series. It’s not clear at this point if she will star in it as Elle or if she will only be a producer. It’s Ken Woodruff from Gotham who is writing the script. With AMC’s Humans, Orphan Black or even Westworld, the subject matter doesn’t look that fresh but no network has tried to tackle it this way, as a major plot. Let’s see what they can do.

 

THE PASSAGE (20th Century FOX Television) picked-up

What? small screen take on Justin Cronin’s fantasy book trilogy which begins as a character-driven government conspiracy thriller and morphs into a post-apocalyptic saga with vampires

Why? I’m gonna get personal with this one: I bought The Passage books a while ago and never took the time to read them. But the pitch was really exciting and I said to myself that one day, this could be turned into a television show. The project was not in development at that time but now it is and I feel part loser part visionary… So it’s a promise I’m making here: if FOX orders it I’ll read the three of them before it premieres!

 

THE UNDERLINGS (20th Century FOX Television)

What? set at a corporate law firm fueled by greed where a group of beleaguered, hapless assistants, led by a plucky paralegal, resolves to right the wrongs of their evil bosses and clients…

Why? After so many fantasy or sci-fi projects, it’s almost a relief to have a more traditional network show on the list. What I like about this legal drama is that it is coming from Leila Getstein, who created Hart of Dixie and more importantly wrote for Eli Stone. Both were eccentric dramedies so that’s exactly what I’m expecting here. We desperately need a legal drama that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Remember Ally McBeal

 

UNTITLED FOX MARVEL PROJECT (20th Century FOX Television) picked-up

What? focus on two ordinary parents who discover their children possess mutant powers. Forced to go on the run from a hostile government, the family joins up with an underground network of mutants and must fight to survive…

Why? Do you remember No Ordinary Family on ABC? Such a good idea, such a bad execution. I feel like this similar setup can turn into something great and popular if FOX & Marvel do it right. Matt Nix, who created Burn Notice, is writing the pilot script. It’s kinda reassuring.

 

UNTITLED SHARZER & STRONG PROJECT (20th Century FOX Television)

What? about a team of civil rights lawyers who take on the most newsworthy cases of our time, balancing the high stress of their jobs with sex, drugs and assorted other vices

Why? Lawyers with vices? Am I the only one feeling aroused just by reading this pitch? I’m not sure FOX can do something too racy but I have to say it’s the kind of soap I definitely want to see. It could be both funny and edgy, dark too but not too dark, you see. Empire‘s Danny Strong is producing. There is every reason to believe FOX should go for it. They have nothing like this on the air right now.

 

Another strong project at FOX that may have lost steam since Luke Cage arrived on Netflix but should get picked-up anyway is DC’s Black Lightning about a black vigilante who’s also a father, and of course it’s produced by Greg Berlanti; they also have a few uninspired cop shows like Hawk or Visual Intelligence, and Camelot,  which reimagines the legendary stories of King Arthur in a police procedural (no comment); other legal dramas like Token White Male, about the first male associate at a groundbreaking all-female law firm; movie or series adaptations like I, Spy or Behind Enemy Lines; and thrillers like Red Moon, which is basically Quantico with werewolves.

 

COMEDIES

B TEAM (20th Century FOX Television)

What? a former Navy SEAL struggling to adjust back to civilian life forms a team of mercenaries with questionable skills (called the “Badass Taskforce of Elite Assault Mercenaries”); unfortunately, they’re not all elite and they’re only medium badass, but they’re going to fight for the little guy and protect the law – even if that means breaking it most of the time

Why? Like a more comedic version of The A Team, something that would fit perfectly with Brooklyn Nine-Nine. With McG producing, meaning the actions scene should look great.

 

CATALINA (20th Century FOX Television)

What? a carefree party-girl bartender who has never left her home town on the island of Catalina is forced to finally take on the responsibilities of adulthood after the death of her mother; with the help of her estranged politician father, she discovers that perhaps her true calling is to run for mayor of her eclectic island community…

Why? New Girl‘s Jake Johnson is producing this cute coming-of-age project that promises a lot with the right actress and the right secondary characters. I have to say I have a tendency to get excited by every TV shows that are taking place on an island…

 

GHOSTED (20th Century FOX Television) picked-up

What? Leroy Wright (Robinson), a cynical, hilarious skeptic, and Max Allison (Scott), a genius “true believer” in the paranormal, are hired by the Underground Investigative Service to look into the rampant “unexplained” activity in Los Angeles – all while uncovering a larger mystery that could threaten the existence of the human race…

Why? Adam Scott and Craig Robinson in the lead roles are reason enough to order this project to series right away. I’m even surprised they haven’t already sealed the deal. It should be funny and weird. We need this in our lives.

 

MISSING AMERICAN WOMAN (20th Century FOX Television)

What? When a sheltered girl who’s never worked a day in her life goes missing after a shipwreck, she embraces the opportunity to start her life over working at a remote resort with a crew of slakers and weirdoes…

Why? This somehow makes me think of NBC’s The Good Place. The setup is different of course but it could end up in the same arena and I like it a lot already.

 

MS. PAT (20th Century FOX Television)

What? the story of a most unlikely suburban mom. Her hustle and entrepreneurial spirit were forged on the mean streets of Atlanta, but she now finds herself in conservative middle America alongside her loving husband and two distinct sets of kids raised under very different circumstances.

Why? Empire‘s Lee Daniels & Brian Grazer are behind this family comedy project that could be great if Ms. Pat is as hilarious a character as Cookie. I don’t know a thing about stand-up comedian Patricia Williams who’s attached to play the role but I feel very confident about this one.

 

OPEN ARMS (Sony Pictures Television)

What? the story of Howie and Joy, a couple who can’t have a baby that buys the Vermont inn they visit every year but soon realize they’re in over their heads…

Why? How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays & Craig Thomas are not reiventing the wheel here, we could even argue they always deal with the same subjects, but they know how to give an emotional feel to their sitcoms and that’s what I’m looking for. Apart from Mom, there are not so many these days…

 

PIGEON (ABC Studios)

What? Simon Pigeon (Anders Holm) is a private eye who is uniquely suited to detective work but ill-equipped to manage his personal life.

Why? Anders Holm is a TV star in the making, it’s a good thing there’s a comedy built around him. Is it the right idea? Maybe. It’s not that original though. ABC Studios has sold it to the right network. It fits perfectly with FOX and especially with Brooklyn Nine-Nine. So yeah, why not?

 

ROYALTIES (20th Century FOX Television)

What? centers on a trio of songwriters at a Burbank recording complex enduring the minutiae of issues in the music business while collaborating to crack the next saccharine hit song of the summer…

Why? A musical workplace comedy? That’d be a first. Even though Darren Criss is not attached to star but only produces as of now, which is a disappointment.

 

THIS MIGHT HURT (20th Century FOX Television)

What? about the brilliant doctors at Wilshire Wellness who struggle to conceal the fact that their multi-specialty private practice has become an ethical and interpersonal sh*t-show

Why? Scrubs is long gone and no other comedy took place in a hospital since then. Maybe it’s time to give something in the same vein a chance. Jason Winer (Modern Family, Life In Pieces) is producing and directing.

 

UNTITLED ERIN FOSTER PROJECT (Warner Bros. Television)

What? centers on a young mess of a woman who moves in with her fiancé, only to have him tell her he’s gay. Their co-dependent natures allow for them to continue living together as friends.

Why? Greg Berlanti wants to produce comedies now! This is one of the two comedy projects he sold this year, by far the most interesting. Remember TV Land’s Happily Divorced with Fran Drescher? That was a waste of a good idea. Let’s hope this one is better, more modern.

 

THIN ICE (20th Century FOX Television) picked-up

What? a woman reclaims her dreams when she finds herself at the end of the earth – in Antarctica – surrounded by a group of brilliant misfits.

Why? NBC has a similar project, but FOX was quicker to order a pilot. It’s written by Liz Meriwether, New Girl creator and it’s exciting. A workplace comedy taking place in Antarctica, do I need to say more?

 

What projects are you the most interested in among these? Take your picks!

 

SEE ALSO :

 

SCOOP: Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy developing “Control” for FOX

jon

While HBO has yet to order a second season of Westworld (there’s no doubt it’s coming), creators and showrunners Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy are developing a new ambitious drama project for FOX. 

Control is written by Greg Plageman (Person Of Interest, Cold Case, NYPD Blue) and executive produced by Athena Wickman (Person Of Interest, Westworld, Fringe, Alias) with Nolan & Joy. Warner Bros. Television is producing with the married couple’s company Kilter Films. The project tells the story of a group of New Yorkers in a cross section of the city, all with no apparent connection, save one: they are each filled with anxiety, stress and panic. After receiving an unorthodox form of treatment for their fears, they discover something extraordinary within but they also find themselves caught in the lethal test run by a secretive and all-powerfull group… Sounds more like a cable show. We’ll see if FOX orders a pilot in a few weeks. Pilot season is coming!