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 :

 

16 comments

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  3. Christopher says:

    “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.”

    Know what wasn’t needed? The word ‘female’. If the scientist was a guy, would it have read ‘idealistic and brilliant male scientist’?

    • Lulla says:

      (Just to make sure you’re not attacking me: I didn’t write the logline myself, it’s the official one). That being said, I have to defend them on this: this outline is used to sell a project, and to the buyers, it’s important to know that the scientist at the center of the show is a woman, since the word “scientist” can refer to a man as well as a woman. And there’s no other way to say it in a few words!

    • Lulla says:

      Animated series are not developed the same way as other shows. They don’t really take part of pilot season because it takes a lot longer to make them.

  4. Zach says:

    Who wrote Enhanced? Also, I heard something about an untitled project by David Feeney, likely at Fox (he’s under a deal at 20th). Anything about that?

    • Lulla says:

      Yep, it does exist at FOX, a comedy about a dentist rescuing a weird stranger from a burning building and regretting it when he discovers she’s so much work.
      Enhanced is written by Dan Powell (never heard of him).

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