Trending Topics: Fall Pilot Picks

Every spring the major networks release a write-up of all their potential fall shows. This year, several of the contributing writers for The Fandom Files decided to get together and take a look at what’s hot and what’s not.
Erica: Ok, so I’m scrolling through ABC’s potentials for fall and they have them sorted into categories. First comedy that looks like it MAY have potential is:
Dream Team
Logline: Marty Schumacher (Justin Long) coached his last club soccer team for 10 years, ultimately taking them to the national championships. He now has to start from scratch with a diverse group of 8-year-olds, and their disparate parents.
Cast: Justin Long, Wanda Sykes, Michael Mosley, Lindsey Kraft, Michelle Buteau, Wynn Everett, Carlos Leal, Betty Gilpin, Addison Osta
Team: W/EP Kari Lizer, Bill Wrubel (Will & Grace); EP/D Marc Buckland
Studio: Warner Bros. Television, Kari’s Logo Here, Here Comes Scrappy
Format: Single-camera
Location: Los Angeles

Emma Claire:  That sounds like it could be funny. Kids in TV shows are usually either a hit or miss for me.
Erica:  Same. I’m more thinking that the kids, if chosen right, could be cute, but the parents would be hilarious. And combine them with Justin Long and it COULD be a huge hit.
Emma Claire:  The parents sound like they would be great- i think it all comes down to the casting of the kids.
Erica:  Very likely. My youngest is 9-years-old. I’m just picturing a bunch of kids like her and her friends and it could either be amazing or horrifying for sure. Ok, next comedy that looks like it has potential:
Hail Mary*
Logline: A young small-town mayor named Mary Wolf (Happy Endings’ Casey Wilson) has dysfunctional siblings, a dying father, disgruntled citizens, a nearly bankrupt town and the mafia breathing down her neck. Only a miracle can help her — so she fakes one. Based on the Austrian Broadcasting Corp. series Braunschlag, created by David Schalko.
Cast: Casey Wilson, Retta, Sarah Baker (Go On), Gareth Reynolds, Gareth Reynolds, Tom Stourton, Jackee Harry
Team: Writer/EP Brian Gallivan (The McCarthys); EP Seth Gordon, Tariq Jalil; D Julie Anne Robinson
Studio: Sony Pictures Television, ABC Studios, Intrigue
Format: Single-camera
Location: Atlanta

Emma Claire:  Ooh Retta! This sounds more like something I’d like.
Erica:  I just want to know what kind of a miracle she fakes and HOW.
Emma Claire: Great question, that’s confusing to me.
Erica: That’s probably their hook for trying to get people to watch.  The next one looks really interesting to me but it doesn’t sound like a comedy so I’m a little worried at the same time…
Logline: A family with a special-needs child is good at dealing with the challenges it faces and excellent at creating new ones.
Cast: Minnie Driver, John Ross Bowie, Micah Fowler, Cedric Yarborough, Mason Cook, Micah Fowler, Kyla Kennedy
Team: W/EP Scott Silveri (Friends), EP Jake Kasdan, Melvin Mar (Fresh Off the Boat); D Christine Gernon
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television, ABC Studios
Format: Single-camera

Emma Claire: Sounds like it might be darker humour to me.
Beck: Speechless could be interesting, but I like dark humour sometimes….if it’s done well.
Erica:  It’s more the special needs mixed with dark comedy that could either be amazing or horrifying.
Emma Claire: It’s a bit of a sore subject to put into a comedic show.
Erica:  Right. It would have to be REALLY well done. Ok, I’m not sure about this next one but it’s got Shonda Rhimes as an EP (Executive Producer) so it’s gotta have potential:
Logline: Over the course of Max (Jono Kenyon) and Page’s (Jerrika Hinton) wedding rehearsal dinner, their eclectic family and friends give toasts recalling anecdotes about the couple — but flashbacks reveal the toasts don’t always get it right, as the comedy explores the real story of their complicated, funny and relatable road to marriage.
Cast: Jerrika Hinton (1st position to Grey’s Anatomy), Jono Kenyon, Tessa Ferrer (Grey’s Anatomy), Punam Patel, Brooks Wheelan, Thelma Hopkins, Frankie Faison
Team: W/EP Scott Foley, Greg Grunberg; EP Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers; EP/D Gail Mancuso; EP/shworunner Gregg Mettler (The Muppets)
Studio: ABC Studios, Shondaland
Format: Hybrid
Location: Los Angeles

Emma Claire: Ew love and stuff…not for me. Sounds sappy.
Erica: (laughs) Yeah, it doesn’t really sound like my thing, either. Ok, this one wouldn’t really catch my eye at all except that I love Jenna Elfman, soooo…
Untitled Goldberg/Guaracio* (aka Imaginary Mary)
Logline: Centers on a 30-something bachelorette (Jenna Elfman) whose life is turned upside down when she finally meets the love of her life — a divorced father with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as an only child suddenly reappears in her life to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family. With Rachel Dratch as the voice of the imaginary friend.
Cast: Jenna Elfman, Rachel Dratch (voiceover), Stephen Schneider, Nicholas Coombe, Matreya Scarrwener, Erica Tremblay, Stephen Schneider, Jillian Bell
Team: Adam F. Goldberg, David Guaracio (The Goldbergs); EP Patrick Osbourne, Doug Robinson; D Shawn Levy
Studio: Sony Pictures Television, Happy Madison, ABC Studios
Format: Single-camera with CGI
Location: Vancouver

Emma Claire: Yup, sounds weird to me.
Erica:  And that endeth the comedies from ABC.  I’m kinda saddened at the lack of things to be excited about, to be honest.
Emma Claire: Yeah, none of them really interest me THAT much. Though to be fair, I only watch 3ish shows that can be considered comedies….maybe 4. But that’s not many considering how many shows I watch (laughs).
Erica:  (laughs) I actually watch quite a few dramedies, sooo…Anyway, should we see if any of the dramas they have to offer sound any better?
Emma Claire: Yep, sounds great.
Erica:  Ok, when you give me Kiefer Sutherland in a political role where the show was ordered straight to series, you’ve definitely got my interest piqued:
Designated Survivor* (straight to series) — ORDERED TO SERIES
Logline: Centers on a lower-level U.S. cabinet member (Kiefer Sutherland) who is suddenly appointed president after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union kills everyone above him in the presidential line of succession. The series is described as a family drama wrapped around a conspiracy thriller about an ordinary man in an extraordinary situation.
Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Natasha McElhone, Maggie Q, Kal Penn, Italia Ricci, Adan Canto, LaMonica Garrett
Team: W/EP David Guggenheim (Safe House); EP Simon Kinberg, Kiefer Sutherland, Suzan Bymel; EP/showrunner Amy B. Harris; EP/D Paul McGuigan
Studio: ABC Studios, Mark Gordon Co. Studios, eOne
Location: Toronto

Emma Claire:  Yeessss! I love political dramas! Sign me up.
Erica:  I know, right?! By the way, can we get Keifer Sutherland as president instead of Trump? Like, for real?
Emma Claire: I wont lie. I don’t know who he [Keifer Sutherland] is….but anyone that isn’t Trump is fine with me.
Beck:  Can you have ANYONE but Trump? Political is not really my thing, though…I’ll leave this one to you two.
Erica:  (laughs)  Well, I’ll be honest. This next one wasn’t really thrilling me until I saw who was in it. It’s looking at how individual jurors’ experiences impact their decisions on a jury.
The Jury*
Logline: The anthology series is described as 12 Angry Men meets podcast Serial, The Jury follows a single murder trial as seen through the eyes of the individual jurors, exploring the biases and experiences that influence the jurors’ judgment, and how their preconceptions change along the way.
Cast: Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife), Jeremy Sisto, Eve Harlow, Adina Porter, Hina Bbdullah, JD Pardo, Brandon Jay McLaren, Ben Esler, Brian Howe, Jayne Taini, Kevin Rankin, Sepideh Moafi, Nikki DeLoach
Team: W/EP VJ Boyd; W/co-EP Mark Bianculli; EP Carol Mendelsohn, Julie Weitz; D Neil Burger
Studio: Sony Pictures Television, Carol Mendelsohn Productions, ABC Studios
Location: Atlanta

Beck:  Maybe. It has potential…..and Adina [Porter] is amazing.
Erica:  Adina [Porter] and Eve [Harlow] both. Beck, Eve played Maya from Mt Weather on The 100. And she kicked ass on Heroes Reborn.
Emma Claire: Oooh, I like the sound of that, too. And yay Adina and Eve!
Erica:  They are both so freaking down to earth, dedicated, and just REAL.  Eve is like the epitome of positivity and Adina is like everyone’s hot mom.
Beck:  (sighs) I’m the only non 100 person in the room (laughs).
Erica:  I know, I know.  I’m sorry!!!
Beck: I’m used to it.
Erica:  This next one I’m super unsure about. But it’s more interesting than a bunch of others soooo…
Presence (unlic)*
Logline: Centers on a former Army veteran Presence Foster (Stephanie Sigman) who finds herself interacting with a widely divergent and highly colorful cross-section of Los Angeles as she unintentionally begins a career as an unlicensed private investigator.
Cast: Stephanie Sigman, Rick Gonzalez, Marcus Anderson, Colin Woodell, Felicity Huffman (guest in the pilot)
Team: W/EP John Ridley; EP Michael McDonald
Studio: ABC Studios, International Famous Players Radio Picture Corp., Stearns Castle
Location: Los Angeles

Beck:  I’d like to know more about what spin they are putting on it. Like Veronica Mars was a teenage PI, Angel was basically a supernatural PI….what makes this different?
Erica:  Other than her being a former military person who’s a PI? Next up is one that could be really interesting or a total train wreck…
Logline: Set in an alternate history where gas and coal fuel the world, this genre soap centers on the battle for power between two rival families and a rebellious young woman with a spark of invention that could level both their empires.
Cast: Antonia Thomas, Rege-Jean Page, Tracy Ifeachor, Lena Olin, Tom Brittney, Alex Lanipekun, Austin Hebert, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Rachel Hurd-Wood
Team: W/EP Michael Cooney (Center Stage); EP Ian Sander, Kim Moses
Studio: ABC Studios
Location: Prague

Emma Claire: Presence doesn’t sound like something I would watch…not really doing much for me at the moment!  And Spark sounds like a disaster…
Erica:  (laughs) It sounds like something The CW would try to pull off, doesn’t it?  Anyway, this one doesn’t sound much better BUT it’s based on a book so who knows…
Still Star-Crossed*
Logline: A period drama that picks up where Romeo & Juliet left off, charting the treachery, palace intrigue and ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the young lovers’ tragic fate. Based on the book by Melinda Taub.
Cast: Clara Rugaard (as Juliet), Anthony Head, Lashana Lynch, Zuleikha Robinson, Medalion Rahimi, Ebonee Noel, Torrance Coombs (1st position to Reign), Wade Briggs, Medalion Rahimi, Ebonee Noel, Sterling Sulieman, Dan Hildebrand, Susan Woolridge, Grant Bowler
Team: W/EP Heather Mitchell (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal); EP Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Michael Goldstein; EP/D Michael Offer
Studio: ABC Studios, Shondaland
Location: Spain

Erica:  It’s got the guy who plays Bash on Reign. That, to me, could be a positive…Thoughts? Anyone?
Emma Claire:  I don’t know how shows based off books would work out…will they diverge from the book like The 100 (thank goodness they did) and base it loosely? I wonder.  [9:22]
Also, Shadowhunters, to me, didn’t really turn out well…so I’m skeptical.
Erica:  It depends on the series…some stick to canon and some don’t. iZombie didn’t stick to canon, either, and it’s turned out fairly well. This next one is based on a book, too…
Time After Time*
Logline: Based on the novel Time After Time, written by Karl Alexander, the drama uses the 1979 novel and movie as a starting point and chronicles the epic adventures of young H.G. Wells (Freddie Stroma, UnREAL) and his time machine.
Cast: Freddie Stroma (UnREAL), Josh Bowman (Revenge), Genesis Rodriguez, Regina Taylor, Vanessa Anders, Jordin Sparks
Team: W/EP Kevin Williamson; EP/D Marcos Siega
Studio: Warner Bros. Television, Outerbanks
Location: New York

Erica:  Positives: Time travel & Kevin Williamson. Negatives: Pretty much everything else is unknown.
Emma Claire: Positives: Freddie Stroma. (heart eyes)
Erica:  (laughs) I don’t know him or his work.
Emma Claire:  Doesn’t really tell us much, does it?
Erica:  Nope.
Emma Claire:  He was Cormac McLaggen in Harry Potter 6 and Luke in the first Pitch Perfect.
Erica:  Luke…I don’t remember who Luke was…and I don’t know that I’ve seen Harry Potter 6…Hmmm…That’s it for ABC.  
Erica: For CBS comedies, right off the bat we have one that I wouldn’t normally take note of except that it’s got the combination of Geoff Stults, David Spade, and Tina Fey.
The Kicker*
Logline: An oddball athlete (Enlisted’s Geoff Stults) drives family, friends and strangers insane after he unexpectedly finds himself cut from his professional football team.
Cast: Geoff Stults (Enlisted), David Spade, Joanna Garcia Swisher, J.B. Smoove
Team: W/EP Jack Burditt; EP Tina Fey, Robert Carlock (30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt); EP David Miner; EP/D Don Scardino
Studio: Universal Television, Little Stranger, 3 Arts
Format: Multicamera

Beck:  Not my thing, to be honest…..
Emma Claire:  Me neither, though I do love Tina Fey…
Beck:  Ok, confession. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her [Tina Fey] in anything.
Julie:  (entering) Dream Team sounds good. Hail Mary is not my style. Speechless could do more damage than good. Toast is 100% my style. Imaginary Mary sounds like an ABC family movie that had Nick Zano in it. Can’t remember what it was called. Designated Survivor and The Jury don’t interest me at all. Presence sounds like any other detective show, to be honest. Spark also sounds like a lot of other shows that are already on the air. Still Star Crossed wasn’t really a good book. Didn’t even finish it. Time After Time could be good. I like time travel. The Kicker sounds cute.
Erica:  (laughs) Hey, Julie.  Nice abbreviated catch-up. Beck, oh my god! You’ve never seen Tina Fey in anything?!  The best thing EVER was her SNL (Saturday Night Live) performance as Sarah Palin.
Beck:  Ummmm…we don’t get SNL here (Australia)…or it’s not big at all here…..
Erica: Oh my god…ok, hold on…
Beck:  Apparently it’s on Foxtel…but yeah. …it’s behind…and I don’t know anyone that watches it. 
Julie:  I think Tina Fey is a little bit overrated. I think she’s a better writer when she is not writing for herself or her friends, if that makes sense.
Beck:  I’ll have to watch when I’m not at my desk at work.
Erica:  All I know is that she was the PERFECT Sarah Palin. Sidenote…how could we ever have thought that Sarah Palin was the worst that the US had to offer in politics?  I mean, Trump.
Julie:  Tina rocks Sarah Palin.
Erica:  Ok, this one looks hilarious:
What Goes Around Comes Around*
Logline: Two 40-something parents (Jason Lee) who were wild and reckless teenagers now face their worst nightmare — raising three teenagers of their own.
Cast: Jason Lee, Alyssa Milano (My Name Is Earl), Dougie Baldwin, Jee Young Han, Matt Murray
Team: W/EP Dan Kopelman (Malcolm in the Middle); EP Aaron Kaplan; D/EP Tim Story
Studio: Warner Bros Television, Kapital Entertainment
Format: Single-camera

Julie:  YES!!!!!!!!  This could be a new Malcolm in the Middle, and I really need a show like that back in my life.  ALYSSA MILANO!  And just saw that Dan Kopelman is part of it, so YES!!!!!!!
Erica:  I know. I saw Alyssa Milano and knew I was in.  Emma Claire? Beck?
Emma Claire:  Oooh yeah looks so good! Alyssa Milano! Sorry, got distracted watching that Tina [Fey] and Amy [Poehler] vid. I love Amy a lot. Her book is great.
Erica:  (laughs)  Amy is ok. But Alyssa Milano is freaking HOT.  Always has been and always will be.
Julie:  I have loved her [Alyssa Milano] since Who’s the Boss, and I will continue loving her.

Beck:  Watched the video [Tina Fey and Amy Poehler]…and um…very American…..Yes to What Goes Around Comes Around…

Erica:  Ok, this next one I wouldn’t even bring up but I’m looking at the cast and all I want in the world is for Katherine Heigl to fall for Laverne Cox. (laughs)
Doubt* (redeveloped from last season)
Logline: Centers on Sadie (Katherine Heigl), a smart, chic, successful defense lawyer at a boutique firm who shockingly gets romantically involved with one of her clients, who may or may not be guilty of a brutal crime.
Cast: Katherine Heigl, Steven Pasquale, Dule Hill, Laverne Cox, Kobi Libbi, Elliott Gould, Dreama Walker
Team: W/EP Tony Phelan, Joan Rater (Grey’s Anatomy); EP Carl Beverly, Sarah Timberman; EP/D Adam Bernstein
Studio: CBS Television Studios, Timberman/Beverly Productons
Location: New York

Emma Claire:  Mmmm…don’t know about Doubt.

Beck:  Not sure about Doubt either…

Julie:  DULE HILL [Gus from Psych] IS IN IT! I need him back on my TV screen. And I love Heigl so much, and I agree with her falling for Laverne Cox.  Did you sees Heigl’s movie where she marries Alexis Bledel [from Gilmore Girls]? Oh, and Everything You Want is the Nick Zano movie that is very similar to Imaginary Mary.
Beck:  I haven’t heard of that…is it good? Sidenote, I’m listening to Gilmore Guys…
Julie:  Which one? Heigl’s movie or Everything You Want?  Both are good. Everything You Want is very romcom, and Heigl’s hits on some really good themes in the LGBT+ community.
Beck:  Everything You Want.  I’m going to check it out! 
Julie:  It was an ABC Family Original movie, and also has Shiri Appleby in it.  I loved it! Then again, I am all about the romcoms.
Beck: Awesome. Thanks!!!
Julie: I think Youtube might be the only place to watch it now. Here’s a link:
Erica:  Ok, all I want to know with this next one is WHY did they do THIS instead of rebooting Veronica Mars? WHY?
Logline: A contemporary take on the character from the iconic Nancy Drew book series. Now in her 30s, Nancy (Person of Interest’s Sarah Shahi) is a detective for the NYPD where she investigates and solves crimes using her uncanny observational skills, all while navigating the complexities of life in a modern world.
Cast: Sarah Shahi (1st position to CBS’ Person of Interest), Anthony Edwards, Vanessa Ferlito (Graceland), Steve Kazee (Shameless), Felix Solis, Rob McClure, Debra Monk
Team: W/EP Joan Rater, Tony Phelan (Grey’s Anatomy); EP Dan Jinks; EP/D James Strong
Studio: CBS Television Studios
Location: New York

Erica: That’s what I’m saying.
Beck:  Oh my god!!! Give us VERONICA!!!!!!!! Are they insane?
Erica:  They are. They absolutely are.  And this next one, again, just need to know WHY?  WHY do we need a MacGyver reboot? WHY?
Logline: A reimagining of the television series of the same name, following a 20-something MacGyver (X-Men: Apocalypse’s Lucas Till) as he gets recruited into a clandestine organization where he uses his knack for solving problems in unconventional ways to help prevent disasters from happening.
Cast: Lucas Till, Addison Timlin (Californication), George Eads (CSI), Michelle Krusiec, Joshua Boone
Team: W/EP Paul Downs Colaizzo; EP Michael Clear, Lee Zlotoff, Henry Winkler; EP/D James Wan; D David Von Ancken
Studio: CBS Television Studios, Atomic Monster
Location: Portland

Julie:  Lucas Till is not a badass, sorry.  He was on Hannah Montana and is the You Belong With Me music video love interest.  MacGyver he is not.  He could barely catch a football during the music video. They shot it like 30 times, and he caught the ball once.
Emma Claire:  Ehhhh, not interested in either of those.
Julie:  Why reboot MacGyver and not Veronica Mars? I hate Hollywood.
Beck:  (rolls eyes) 
Erica:  I don’t get it, either. Ok, that’s it that looked interesting from CBS. Which is sad, because that’s seriously slim pickings.  On to FOX…oh wait, sorry Beck, she just reminded me that there’s one more from CBS: 
Furst Born* (formerly untitled Butler/Hope/O’Shannon)
Logline: An extended family show inspired by the Australian format Upper Middle Bogan about a wife and mother (Unforgettable’s Poppy Montgomery) who learns she was adopted and that her birth parents are a flamboyant but loving family of drag-racers.
Cast: Poppy Montgomery, Patrick Brammall (reprising role from the original), Katey Sagal, Swoosie Kurtz, John Carroll Lynch, Brooke Elliott, Kelli Goss, Talitha Bateman
Team: W/EP Dan O’Shannon, Robyn Butler, Wayne Hope; EP/D Todd Holland
Studio: CBS Television Studios, ABC Studios, Dark Toy Entertainment
Format: Single-camera Hybrid

Julie: The summary confused the hell out of me.  It sounds like a hot mess.
Erica:  I can’t even count how many times Beck has had to remind me what it means to be a Bogan. (laughs) 
Beck:  Ok…no…..just no. Americans cannot do Aussie humour. The US version of Kath and Kim was a travesty. Kath and Kim was amazing. They ruined it. So no….do NOT ruin Upper Middle Bogan.  Just don’t. Sorry, I get ranty about this….
Emma Claire: Oh my god, noooooo!!! Stop ruining Aussie comedies!  Upper Middle Bogan isn’t even that good to begin with but an American version is bound to be worse.
Erica:  (laughs) So say the Aussies in the room.
The Enforcers*
Logline: A female buddy comedy about two wildly different single mothers with dreams of being police officers who find themselves partnered as inspectors in the Code Enforcement Department. Instead of fighting crime, they have been relegated to handling petty code breaking, like noise complaints, tree trimming and water misuse.
Cast: Christine Woods, Niecy Nash, Ian Gomez, Ryan Hansen, Matt Oberg
Team: W/EP Sherry Bilsing-Graham, Ellen Kreamer (Friends); EP/D Gail Mancuso
Studio: Warner Bros. Television
Format: Single-camera

Emma Claire:  Too many cop shows exist.
Erica:  I was iffy on my interest here, but then I saw Ryan Hansen [from Veronica Mars].
Julie:  Ryan Hansen, I am so there.  And yes, way too many cop shows.
Erica:  My only thought, though, with Ryan is, “Crap. He’s in it so it’s doomed.”
Julie:  Ugh, why can’t all these shows just go straight to Netflix and make my life easier?  22]
So true, though. His show, Friends with Benefits, was amazing and was gone too soon.
Erica:  Wasn’t he in like 3 shows this season and not a single one of them lasted?
Julie:  I have no clue. I’m always a year behind.
Erica:  With this next one, I have to ask…what’s up with all the time travel?  Is it a fad that I wasn’t aware of or something?
Making History* (formerly In Time) — ORDERED TO SERIES
Logline: Centers on three unlikely friends find an even less likely way to travel through time, irreversibly complicating their personal lives in 2016, as the great moments of the past collide with today’s popular culture — with hilarious and quite disastrous results.
Cast: Adam Pally, Leighton Meester, Yassir Lester (writer on Carmichael Show, Girls)
Team: W/EP Julius “Goldie” Sharpe (The Grinder); EP Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Seth Cohen (Last Man on Earth)
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television
Format: Single-camera
Location: Atlanta

Julie:  Personally, I love time travel, and so does my mom.  I am glad to have more sci-fi/fantasy shows in the mainstream that are not paranormal in nature.
Erica:  See, the only thing in that description that makes me curious at all is Leighton Meester.
Julie:  There was an indie movie that kind of hit on this, and it was dark.
Erica:  Now THIS one sounds funny:
Logline: The comedy revolves around a hard-living, foul-mouthed woman who moves to affluent Greenwich, Conn., to raise the spoiled kids of her wealthy sister who has fled the country to avoid a federal indictment. She quickly learns what everyone else already knows: other people’s children are awful.
Cast: Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny), Sofia Black D’Elia, Thomas Barbusca, Carla Jimenez, Jack Stanton, Susan Park, Nat Faxon (guest star)
Team: W/EP John Chernin, Dave Chernin (It’s Always Sunny); EP Nick Frenkel, Oly Obst; D/EP Randall Einhorn
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television, 3 Arts
Format: Single-camera

Julie:  This sounds like something that already aired?  Or a mixture of them?  Like, Ringer meets Privileged?
Erica:  Maybe. I don’t know.
Julie:  It just sounds really familiar
Erica:  This one I have to comment on just because it sounds so freaking stupid that I can’t believe they’ve already ordered it to series:
Son of Zorn* (animated/live-action pilot presentation) — ORDERED TO SERIES
Logline: Centers on an animated Barbarian father who comes home for the first time in 10 years to his live-action son and ex-wife. He finds that reconnecting with his family, struggling through his mundane office job and dealing with the banality of suburban life is much harder than waging actual war in his distant, animated world.
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Cheryl Hines, Tim Meadows, Artemis Pebdani, Johnny Pemberton
Team: W/EP Phil Lord, Chris Miller; EP Reed Agnew, Eli Jorne, Seth Cohen; co-EP/D Eric Appel
Format: Single-camera/animated
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television

Julie:  What the hell did I just read?  Cheryl Hines is in this? How?
Erica:  (laughs)   I just…I can’t even.  My only comment is What The F*ck?!  Ugh, then it looks like FOX has absolutely NO imagination when it comes to original dramas.  On their list are The Exorcist, Lethal Weapon, Prison Break…like, again, What the hell?
Julie:  I am really excited for Prison Break, but that was my show in high school.  I do agree that they aren’t really doing anything new or exciting.  You know what would be a better remake or continuation than Prison Break?  Veronica Mars.
Beck:  I wholeheartedly agree.
Erica:  Ditto.
Logline: A rookie FBI agent (Revolution’s Tracy Spiridakos) embeds herself in a suspected terrorist family.
Cast: Tracy Spiridakos, Nick Wechsler, Sarita Choudhury, Karan Oberoi, Alexander Siddig, Amanda Warren, Yasmin Kaur Barn, Leonidas Castrounis
Team: W/EP Caroline Dries; EP Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec; D Adam Davidson
Studio: Warner Bros. Television, Outerbanks Entertainment
Location: Toronto

Erica:  The ONLY reason I’m bringing this one up is…LOOK, it’s Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec working together again and ulie Plec has actually proven she can do something other than Vampires with Containment, soooo…I don’t know. This COULD be good?  But also…they’re on FOX!!!  Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson are on a network other than CW!
Julie:  I just think, ugh, another cop show.
Shots Fired* (straight to series)
Logline: Explores the aftermath of racially charged shootings in a small town in Tennessee. Sanaa Lathan stars an expert investigator who digs into the cases, alongside a special prosecutor (Stephan James) sent to the town by the Department of Justice. The pair must navigate the media attention, public debate and social unrest that comes with such volatile cases as they seek justice before the divided town erupts.
Cast: Sanaa Lathan, Helen Hunt, Richard Dreyfuss, Stephen Moyer, Stephan James, Tristan Wilds, Aisha Hinds, DeWanda Wise, Will Patton, Clare-Hope Ashitey, Jill Hennessy, Conor Leslie, Beau Knapp
Team: W/EP Gina Prince-Bythewood, Reggie Rock Bythewood; EP Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo; D Prince Bythewood
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television, Imagine TV, Undisputed Cinema
Location: Charlotte, N.C.

Erica:  This one is such a hot button topic. And it’s got big names to go with it. And it’s set in the city I used to live in.  I think I’m scared.  Not set in, filming in.
Emma Claire:  That sounds like it could be good.
Erica:   As long as it doesn’t become a social justice nightmare.
Emma Claire:  Yeah, of course. They have to do it right.
Julie: It could be really good, or really bad.  I hope it sheds light on what is going on and makes people think.
Erica:  I hope so, too. I’m surprised it’s filming in Charlotte.
Emma Claire:  NC is North Carolina right?
Erica:  Yep.  A bit ironic that they’re taking on a show based on racial profiling when the state is doing a damn good job of profiling based on sexuality right now.  
Erica:  Ok, WAIT. Kristen Bell is doing a new network series and it’s NOT a Veronica Mars reboot?! When someone is doing a Nancy Drew update???  Who the hell is in charge of this? I WANT ANSWERS!!!
The Good Place* (13-episode straight-to-series order)
Logline: Centers on a woman (Kristen Bell) wrestling with what it means to be good.
Cast: Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto
Team: W/EP Mike Schur; EP David Miner; D Drew Goddard
Studio: Universal Television, Fremulon, 3 Arts
Format: Single-camera

Beck:  What the heck are they thinking???? Like really!
Julie:  I WANT ANSWERS, TOO.  This is not cool.
Erica:  Especially when we KNOW that Rob Thomas [creator and executive producer of Veronica Mars] made some huge deal with The CW to develop like 5 new shows in the next however many years. Why could a Veronica Mars reboot not be one of them???
Emma Claire: I still haven’t watched Veronica Mars. Can’t join in on the anger.
Erica:  Emma…oh man…you need to find it and watch. NOW.  Especially season one.
Julie:  Season One of Veronica Mars is one of the best seasons to ever be on TV.
Erica:  Absolutely.
Beck:  Yes. Watch….and then we want to hear your reactions and thoughts…..
Emma Claire:  Eeep!  Okay, I’ll give it a shot after I get through Suits!
Julie:  Rob Thomas needs to release something Veronica Mars related soon.
Erica:  I think he’s a bit caught up in iZombie at the moment, but I agree.
Logline: Set in the DC Comics universe full of superheroes, villains and people just like us, Powerless is described as an office comedy about the exceedingly average employees at an insurance company and their quest to find their own power. Based on characters from DC Comics.
Cast: Vanessa Hudgens, Alan Tudyk, Danny Pudi, Christina Kirk
Team: W/EP Ben Queen (A to Z) D/EP Michael Patrick Jann
Studio: Warner Bros. Television, DC Entertainment
Format: Single-camera
Location: Vancouver

Erica:  I like the concept for this one.
Julie:  Ugh, I am so over superheroes and comic books.
Erica:  But that’s kinda why I like the concept. Because it’s about those without powers in a world of super heroes.
Julie:  There is actually a book called The Rest of Us Just Live Here that is pretty much exactly like this, except it focuses on regular people in books like Twilight that just want to go to school and not die.  It sucked.  Not having much hope for this one.  I do love Vanessa Hudgens, though.
Grand Junction* (formerly Untitled Matt Hubbard)
Logline: Loosely based on Hubbard’s life, the comedy centers on a guy (Chris Smith) who learns to manage the expectations and strong cultural traditions of his in-laws after he moves his family to his wife’s (Elizabeth Ho) hometown.
Cast: Jack McBrayer, Chris Smith, Elizabeth Ho, Francois Chau, Susan Chuang, Concetta Tomei
Team: W/EP Matt Hubbard (30 Rock); EP/showrunner Mike Schur (Parks and Recreation); EP David Miner; D Claire Scanlon
Studio: Universal Television, 3 Arts
Format: Single-camera

Erica:  Hmmm…this one could be interesting.
Julie:  Could be.
Erica:  Ok, whoa wait. They are making a TV version sequel to Cruel Intentions that actually stars Sarah Michelle Gellar???
Julie:  How did I not know this?
Cruel Intentions*
Logline: Cruel Intentions picks up more than 15 years after the 1999 movie left off. The drama follows the beautiful and cunning Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar, reprising her role from the film) as she vies for control of Valmont International as well as the soul of Bash Casey (Taylor John Smith, American Crime), the son of her brother, who was the late Sebastian Valmont and Annette Hargrove (Kate Levering). Upon discovering his late father’s legacy in a hidden journal, Bash is introduced to a world of sex, money, power and corruption he never could have imagined.
Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kate Levering, Taylor John Smith (American Crime), Peter Gallagher, Samantha Logan, Sophina Brown, Nathalie Kelley, Coby Bell, Bryce Cass
Team: W/EP Roger Kumble, Jordan Ross & Lindsey Rosin; D Roger Kumble; EP Neil Moritz, Pavun Shetty; EP/showrunner Becky Hartman Edwards (Switched at Birth)
Studio: Sony Pictures Television, Original Film
Location: Los Angeles

Julie:  Didn’t Sebastian die in the movie?
Erica:  Yes.
Julie:  So they are playing the ‘she got pregnant before he was tragically killed’ route on this one?
Erica:  It looks like it?
Julie:   But they recast Annette’s role. Very disappointed.
Erica:  I know. That one makes me sad.
Julie:  Kate Levering usually plays bitchy roles… don’t know how I feel about her playing Annette.
Erica:  Not sure. I just know that I love Reese Witherspoon.
Julie:  Me too.
Erica:  And she was fantastic in that role.
Julie:  So very true.
Beck:  How are you just hearing about this?
Erica:  Wait, you knew???
Julie: I knew there was a remake, but didn’t know Sarah was in it.
Beck:  Yes, I’ve known for awhile. And about Sarah Michelle Gellar. I’m really unsure about the show, but I loved loved loved the movie so I’ll give it a go.
Erica:  Hey, with Sarah Michelle Gellar in it, I’ll try it out for sure.
Beck:  It was all over her Instagram…
Erica:  I don’t do Instagram.
Julie: Me neither.
Logline: The high-octane drama follows an unlikely trio who travel through time to battle a master criminal intent on altering the fabric of human history with potentially catastrophic results.
Cast: Matt Lanter (90210), Abigail Spencer (Rectify), Goran Visnjic, Claudia Doumit, Patterson Joseph, Malcolm Barrett, Sakina Jaffrey
Team: W/EP Shawn Ryan, Eric Kripke; EP John Davis, John Fox, Marney Hochman; D Neil Marshall
Studio: Sony Pictures Television, Davis Entertainment
Location: Vancouver

Erica:  Ok, isn’t this exactly the same as DC’s Legends of Tomorrow basically?
Julie:  Isn’t there already a time travel show in the lineup?
Erica:  Several!  his is what I was saying!  This makes like #3 and that’s not even counting the one that’s already on the air. 
The CW
Erica:  Can I just say that I may be completely biased but The CW’s pilots are far fewer than the other networks but also look far more interesting as well?
Julie:  Maybe they are learning the art of British TV:  less shows, more quality.
Erica:  Maybe…And none of these really have a teen tone to them. Well, maybe one.
Logline: In this reimagining of the New Line Cinema film, a female police detective (The Flash’s Peyton List) in 2016 discovers she is able to speak via a ham radio with her estranged father (also a detective) who died in 1996. They forge a new relationship while working together on an unresolved murder case, but unintended consequences of the “butterfly effect” wreak havoc in the present day.
Cast: Peyton List (The Flash), Riley Smith (Nashville), Mekhi Phifer, Lenny Jacobson, Anthony Ruivivar, Devin Kelley, Daniel Bonjour
Team: W/EP Jeremy Carver (Supernatural); EP Toby Emmerich; John Rickard, Dan Lin, Jennifer Gwartz; D Brad Anderson
Studio: Warner Bros. Television, Lin Pictures
Location: Vancouver

Erica:  I like this as the premise for a TV series.
Julie:  I don’t know how I feel about this one.  Didn’t like the movie too much.
Erica:  No, but I could see The CW taking it and running with it. Remaking it in a much better way.
No Tomorrow*
Logline: When a risk-averse, straight arrow, female procurement manager (Tori Anderson) at an Amazon-like distribution center falls in love with a freewheeling man who lives life to the fullest because he believes the apocalypse is imminent, to comedic and poignant results they embark on a quest together to fulfill their individual bucket lists. Based on the Brazilian format.
Cast: Joshua Sasse (1st position to ABC’s Galavant), Tori Anderson (Open Heart), Amy Pietz, Sarayu Blue, Jesse Rath, JOnathan Langdon
Team: W/EP Corinne Brinkerhoff (American Gothic, Jane the Virgin), Scott McCabe, Tory Stanton; EP Ben Silverman; EP/D Brad Silberling
Studio: CBS Television Studios, Electus
Location: Los Angeles

Erica:  Now this one I’m really not sure of.
Julie:  A lot of these I feel like I have seen before.  This one is one of those.  Nothing has really stood out as new in all of these.
Logline: Set in present day and based on the iconic Archie Comics characters, Riverdale is a surprising and subversive take on Archie (KJ Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart, Surviving Jack), Veronica (Camila Mendes), Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody), Josie (Ashleigh Murray) and their friends, exploring the surrealism of small town life — the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome façade. Based on the characters from Archie Comics.
Cast: KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Ashleigh Murray, Cole Sprouse, Luke Perry, Madelaine Petsch, Camila Mendes, Madchen Amick, Marisol Nichols, Casey Cott
Team: W/EP Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Supergirl, Glee); EP Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Jon Goldwater; D Lee Toland Krieger
Studio: Warner Bros. Television, Berlanti Productions
Location: Vancouver

Erica:  What about this one? (laughs) 
Beck:  If you’re going to give me a Veronica, just give me Veronica Mars. I accept no Veronica substitutes.
Erica:  (laughs)  See, I’m looking at this and see Greg Berlanti’s name on it and think, “Everything that man touches is gold so it can’t possibly be as bad as I’m imagining.”
Julie:  Is everything getting dumbed down in preparation for Trump?
Erica: (laughs) Mayyyybe.  Ok, seriously, this next one is basically The 100 on Mars. Like What The F*ck?! Just give me The 100. I don’t need a Mars substitute.
Untitled Mars drama*
Logline: A team of explorers arrive on Mars to join the first human colony on the planet, only to discover that their predecessors have vanished. Led by a woman whose husband is among the missing, the colonists are forced to change their mission from exploration and settlement to investigation and survival, while navigating the hostile planet and their own personal demons.
Cast: Georgina Haig, Neal Bledsoe, Mouzam Makkar, Carl Beukes, Tongayi Chirisa, Peter Mark Kendall, America Olivo, Mark Leslie Ford, Charlayne Woodward
Team: W/EP Doris Egan (Reign); EP Frank Marshall, Robert Zotnowski; EP/D Bharat Nalluri
Studio: CBS Television Studios, Kennedy-Marshall Co.
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.

Julie:  If they have a character named Veronica, I’m going to cry.
Erica:  (laughs)
Julie:  So many people didn’t watch the show [Veronica Mars] because they thought she [Veronica] lived on Mars or was from Mars.  Don’t see how people will watch this one.
Erica:  And the last one:
Untitled Transylvania project*
Logline: In 1880, a headstrong young woman (Laura Brent) in search of her missing father ventures from NYC to Transylvania where she teams with a wrongfully disgraced Scotland Yard detective (Luke Allen-Gale). Together they witness the births of the most famous monsters and villains in history.
Cast: Laura Brent, Luke Allen-Gale (Dominion), Evan Stern, Jake Fairbrother, Tom Reed, Sofia Pernas Amrita Acharia
Team: W/EP Hugh Sterbakov; EP Jeff Pinkner, Andre Nemec, Josh Applebaum, Scott Rosenberg; EP/D Jason Ensler
Studio: CBS Television Studios, Midnight Radio
Location: Toronto

Julie:  Could be good, but could be really really bad.
Erica:  Yep. Exact same thought.
So, fans, what do you think?  Any differing opinions on the possible pickings for fall lineups?  Let us know in the comments below!

Unpopular Opinion: Neglect vs Death

I recently started watching The Walking Dead. Well, right now I’m on a much needed break after binging three and a half seasons of perpetual misery in 72 hours, but I do plan on continuing. Anyway, right around season two and three, amidst the Rick/Lori/Shane love triangle drama, Daryl dealing with his racist brother, Caroyl blossoming from battered wife to badass, and Andrea’s questionable taste in men, I noticed that I knew next to nothing about T-Dogg, our resident man of color. Of course there’s also Glenn, but his neglect lessened once he got a white girlfriend, though I still know more about Maggie than I do Glenn. So, in season three T-Dogg dies. Look, everybody on that show dies. They’d already killed off Lori and Shane and Dale and Merle. Freaking Merle! He was in less episodes than T-Dogg, yet even he had a richer story. And that’s the problem. That’s what made T-Dogg’s death irritating to me, not the death of a POC character in a show that already lacked them, but the blatant neglect. This is what they all have in common.

The death of Abbie Mills from Sleepy Hollow is merely a symptom of a larger problem. They wouldn’t have killed her if Nicole Beharie hadn’t wanted to leave. The problem is, Nicole Beharie wanted to leave because her character had been sidelined. The same goes for Ricky Whittle from The 100, whose neglect only started in season three. Teen Wolf didn’t kill off Kira Yukimura, but they still got rid of Arden Cho after a season of absent episodes. Bonnie Bennett is still on The Vampire Diaries, but if you compare her story to Caroline Forbes…well it’ll make you go hmmm. The Wire killed off several black men, but the cast was full of them, all complex and fully realized. Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s strength doesn’t merely come from the number of POC’s in their cast, but how fleshed out they all are.

And yes, I’m aware of the disparity in numbers, but I don’t think merely holding onto the characters of color you have so they can hover on the sidelines while you meet your diversity quota is acceptable. I’m not asking show writers to give them immunity from death or suffering, just DO something with them. Give them beautiful and complex and heartbreaking stories. Treat them like you do your white characters.Like they’re actual people with actual lives. If history is any indication, progress comes in baby steps. Hey Hollywood, how about you start there?


Trending Topics: Minority Deaths & Disappearances

Abby:  Well, there was the announcement from Arden Cho that she wouldn’t be coming back for season 6 of Teen Wolf. That’s been causing a major uproar.
Erica:  Along with Kat Graham leaving TVD (The Vampire Diaries).  And Ricky Whittle leaving The 100. And Abbie getting killed on Sleepy Hollow.
Abby:  All of them talked about not getting good storylines or being relegated to the background.  Arden Cho announced it via her youtube channel and she clearly didn’t understand why.
Erica:  There was no reason for it.
Abby:  No, I mean, I never watched Sleepy Hollow so I can’t speak for it but unlike the other major death – Laurel Lance on Arrow – all of the characters had so much more story telling use and so much importance.
Erica:  I haven’t watched Teen Wolf for a while. Or TVD. Never got into Sleepy Hollow. But I have a theory about why Ricky was getting less screen time. And it wouldn’t be a popular one.
Abby:  Kira (Arden’s character) and Bonnie (Kat’s character) were often given badly explained storylines.  What’s the theory?
Erica:  That they had two possible ways to go with the Polis story because the writers room started before they knew how many episodes they’d have ADC (Alycia Debnam Carey) for. The option if they could only have ADC for a couple episodes would have probably been the Lincoln and Luna connection and a bigger story there earlier on. O (Octavia) being upset, etc. But when they found out they had ADC for 7 episodes…well, they decided to go all out on the Clexa line and cut Ricky and the Lincoln/Luna thing almost entirely.
Abby:  That’s almost what Ricky said. He implied it was Jason, but it was most likely Jason cutting stuff to get the Lexa stuff in. There were so many hints of a greater storyline for Lincoln and for Ricky that it’s a shame Jason had to treat him so badly.
Erica:  The problem is, there always has to be a trade-off. Especially with such a big ensemble cast.
Abby:  Yep.
Erica:  And when such a big story counts on a guest star who only has so many episodes during a certain period of time to work with you…well…the other actors and characters are the ones that suffer, unfortunately.
Abby:  Which sucks, but the way Ricky tells it does pin it on Jason and Ricky says he tried to talk him because Ricky had put his heart and soul into this show.  But you know what’s worse than having your storylines cut? Filming stuff and having it cut out of episodes – that’s what happened to Arden.
Erica:  We know that’s happened to several of the actors on The 100, too.  There was supposed to be a Monty/Monroe scene. And who knows what else.  But yeah, putting in the effort and then having it cut? Really shitty.
Nnena:  The Arden stuff is really messed up. In the s5 finale, Lydia says that Kira has to be back for graduation which suggests that Arden Cho would return. It seems like this was a last minute decision, I don’t know.
Erica:  Weird. That makes no sense at all.