Update – Trailers added
FOX has released their new fall schedule, and now that we’ve gone through the many ups and downs of the cancellation/renewal phase of the new season, it’s time to look at what’s hoping to take over the cultural awareness in a few months.
Though it isn’t the sort of thing that audiences will find a groundbreaking approach to the nightly line-up, FOX is running with a new commitment to continuity. Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Chairmen and CEOs of Fox Television Group said, “This past season, we launched five of the top 15 new series – more than any other network – and next season, we’re using our strongest series to launch new shows and grow returning series. We’re strategically pairing shows that have greater compatibility to increase audience flow and create higher duplication on each night. We endeavored to develop a mix of provocative, compelling dramas; broad, funny comedies; and exciting, live events from the best creators in the business – and we’re excited about these new shows.”
It isn’t that FOX has lacked a cohesive theory on any given night, but it isn’t surprising for them to highlight additional effort. To be honest, it may be considered by many an idea whose time has long since passed. With the surge in solid programming coming from cable networks (including those in the FOX family), it’s easy to argue that audiences go wherever the good shows are, and there is little benefit to programming continuity. The idea that many may think of this as a lost cause makes for a good reason to point it out, especially when you have some of the strongest new shows already.
Let’s break things down day by day, and then we’ll look at the mid-seasons/spring debut titles.
FOX Fall Schedule
8:00-9:00 PM LUCIFER
9:00-10:00 PM THE GIFTED (new)
Monday is going to make for a strange mix, because we may have our shows in the wrong order, despite The Gifted being the new kid in the block. Lucifer wasn’t a surefire renewal, and it has been going downhill as it seems to run out of ideas. Meanwhile, The Gifted is definitely one of the most anticipated new shows, and if we’re actually looking at continuity questions, it’s hard to help out an existing show backwards.
As to the new show itself, this one is certainly going to be interesting, and if being a new comic book show wasn’t enough of a sell, the show is directed by Bryan Singer, which helps X-Men fans, written by Matt Nix, and stars geek fan favorites Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker.
Moreover, this is an “on the run” story that gives us a chance to meet new mutants while throwing in a lot of action, and connecting someone to the immensely popular Logan.
This seems to be the sort of effort that should be right up Matt Nix’ alley, and hopefully he can get over the slump he’s been on. That is, the slump of being able to connect with an audience and keep shows around, not a slump that actually reflects his abilities, because his shows have been great.
Take a look at more info on The Gifted below.
THE GIFTED tells the story of a suburban couple whose ordinary lives are rocked by the sudden discovery that their children possess mutant powers. REED (Stephen Moyer, SHOTS FIRED, “True Blood”) and CAITLIN (Amy Acker, “Person of Interest”) STRUCKER are typical middle-class parents dealing with the realities of raising a family. However, when their teenage kids, LAUREN (Natalie Alyn Lind, GOTHAM) and ANDY (Percy Hynes White, “Night at the Museum 3”), are involved in an incident at their high school which reveals they are mutants, Reed and Caitlin do all in their power to protect their children.
Forced to go on the run, the Struckers must leave behind their old lives to flee from a relentless government agency that tracks down mutants, the Sentinel Services, which includes Agent JACE TURNER (Coby Bell, “Burn Notice”). Complicating matters further is the fact that Reed is a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office tasked with going after mutants. Desperate and running low on options, the family’s only choice is to contact an underground network that helps mutants in trouble. The mutants in the network – ECLIPSE / MARCOS DIAZ (Sean Teale, “Reign”), BLINK / CLARICE FONG (Jamie Chung, GOTHAM), POLARIS / LORNA DANE (Emma Dumont, “Aquarius”) and THUNDERBIRD / JOHN PROUDSTAR (Blair Redford, “Satisfaction”) – are dealing with their own issues. With one of their members in prison and their team possibly compromised, they face an uncertain future in a world that looks increasingly dangerous for mutants.
Written by Matt Nix (“Burn Notice”), directed by Bryan Singer (the “X-Men” franchise) and executive-produced by Nix, Singer, Lauren Shuler Donner (“X-Men: Apocalypse,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “The Wolverine”), Simon Kinberg (“X-Men: Apocalypse,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past”), Jeph Loeb (“Marvel’s Daredevil,” “Marvel’s Jessica Jones”) and Jim Chory (“Marvel’s Daredevil,” “Marvel’s Jessica Jones”), THE GIFTED is a story of survival, a story of mutants coming to terms with who they are, a story of parents accepting the fact that their kids aren’t who they thought they were and loving them just the same – even if all of their lives are at risk because of it.
8:00-9:00 PM LETHAL WEAPON
9:00-9:30 PM THE MICK
9:30-10:00 PM BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
Tuesdays are simply a result of shuffling things around, both to get these shows together, and as the by-product of trying to stick other things together on other nights.
This should be a solid night for the network. Lethal Weapon has delivered well, even if it is a show that goes rather goofy at times, and The Mick did surprisingly well after the first few episodes. If that show can keep the writing fresh, and not get bogged down in its own premise, it should have a solid season ahead of it.
8:00-9:00 PM EMPIRE
9:00-10:00 PM STAR
Wednesday is similarly just getting behind our continuity idea, and FOX‘s answer to Shondaland. Star didn’t quite do as well as people hoped, but it held onto viewers and will probably benefit from this spot going into the second season. Like Shondaland, this is FOX‘s effort at a critic-proof night in the schedule.
8:00-9:00 PM GOTHAM
9:00-10:00 PM THE ORVILLE (new)
The Orville, which doesn’t exactly connect with Gotham, except that it has geek appeal, is perhaps the season’s most dangerous show. It could easily be the hit of the fall, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it launch to absolutely insane ratings. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be that surprised if it crashed after a couple of episodes either.
You can imagine this being an easy sell on paper, but MacFarlane has had several stumbles in recent years. This is basically Star Trek meets The Office with some really screwball comedy thrown in. How could that go wrong? Get Jon Favreau to direct the pilot, and throw in a few bonuses like Norm Macdonald voicing a character who is a gelatinous mass and you could sell it to anybody. You could hardly ask for more potential. But, with that much potential, you also get a lot of openings for things to go sideways.
Take a look below at the show’s full rundown.
From Emmy Award-winning executive producer and creator Seth MacFarlane (FAMILY GUY, “Ted”) and directed by Jon Favreau (“The Jungle Book,” “Iron Man”), THE ORVILLE is a one-hour science fiction series set 400 years in the future that follows the adventures of the U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploratory vessel. Its crew, both human and alien, faces the wonders and dangers of outer space, while also dealing with the familiar, often humorous problems of regular people in a workplace…even though some of those people are from other planets, and the workplace is a faster-than-light spaceship.
In the 25th century, Earth is part of the Planetary Union, a far-reaching, advanced and mostly peaceful civilization with a fleet of 3,000 ships. Down on his luck after a bitter divorce, Planetary Union officer ED MERCER (MacFarlane) finally gets his chance to command one of these ships: the U.S.S. Orville. Determined to prove his worth and write a new chapter in his life, Ed finds that task all the more difficult when the First Officer assigned to his ship is his ex-wife, KELLY GRAYSON (Adrianne Palicki, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Friday Night Lights”).
As the new commander, Ed assembles a qualified, but eccentric crew, including his best friend, GORDON MALLOY (Scott Grimes, “ER,” “Justified”), who has problems with authority, but is the best helmsman in the fleet; DR. CLAIRE FINN (Penny Johnson Jerald, “24,” “The Larry Sanders Show”), one of the Union’s most accomplished physicians; BORTUS (Peter Macon, “Shameless,” “Bosch”), an alien from a single-sex species; ISAAC (Mark Jackson, “That Royal Today”), an artificial life-form from a machine society that thinks biological life-forms are inferior; navigator JOHN LAMARR (J. Lee, FAMILY GUY, “The Cleveland Show”), whose casual humor cuts through even the most dire situations; ALARA KITAN (Halston Sage, “Neighbors,” “Goosebumps”), a young, inexperienced security officer whose home planet’s high gravity gives her superior physical strength; and YAPHIT, a gelatinous creature voiced by comedian Norm Macdonald (“The Middle,” “Saturday Night Live”). Somehow, Ed and Kelly must put the past behind them and, with the help of the crew, navigate fascinating and sometimes dangerous adventures in outer space, as well as the tumultuous and captivating day-to-day personal relationships with their colleagues.
8:00-9:00 PM HELL’S KITCHEN
9:00-10:00 PM THE EXORCIST
Friday, historically the day of the dead, kicks off with yet another season of the Gordon Ramsay spectacle. This year, it’s a kick-off to his taking over the airwaves with more than one new show heading to television somewhere in the 17-18 season.
That leads to The Exorcist, an intriguing and interesting show that didn’t quite get the audience some expected and became something of a surprise renewal. Hopefully, this one can amp things up slightly and catch hold of a loyal fanbase on one of the softer nights in the schedule.
7:00-7:30 PM NFL ON FOX
7:30-8:00 PM THE OT / BOB’S BURGERS
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM GHOSTED (new)
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM THE LAST MAN ON EARTH
Sunday is filled with the familiar, with Ghosted the only new effort in the bunch. It stands out a bit as the non-animated effort within the two-hour window, but it’s goofy fun, and FOX is clearly hoping people won’t change the channel. Of course, Craig Robinson and Adam Scott ought to be able to deliver here.
This is another one that makes for a tricky spot in the schedule. It should be hilarious, but it’s hard to be sure with this kind of effort. It’s sort of a comedy spin on The X-Files, with the skeptic clashing with the believer, but with a bit more focus on saving the world… and laughter.
Take a look at the full synopsis below.
Starring Craig Robinson (“The Office,” “This Is the End”) and Adam Scott (“Parks and Recreation,” “Big Little Lies”), GHOSTED is a single-camera, action-comedy about the unlikely partnership between two down-on-their-luck polar opposites tasked with an even more unlikely mission: saving the human race from aliens. LEROY WRIGHT (Robinson) is a cynical skeptic and former missing persons detective, who, if we’re speaking frankly, thinks that “aliens” are a big ole bunch of B.S. and that people who believe in them are certifiably nuts…People like MAX JENNIFER (Scott).
Max is a genius “true believer” in the paranormal who’s convinced his wife was abducted by aliens. At low points in their lives, both Leroy and Max are recruited by CAPTAIN AVA LAFREY (Ally Walker, “Colony,” “Sons of Anarchy”), a take-no-prisoners, former Air Force test pilot and head of the Bureau Underground, a secret government organization investigating paranormal cases. Lafrey, along with her staff – BARRY SHAW (Adeel Akhtar, “Unforgotten,” “The Night Manager”), an overly friendly forensic pathologist, and DELILAH WARD, a highly opinionated tech specialist – will support Leroy and Max in their quest for answers. Now, this heroic group of underdogs will look into “unexplained” activity in Los Angeles that often leads them to scary, thrilling and hilarious places, as they attempt to uncover the truth and keep the earth rotating on its axis for at least one more day.
That’s it for the fall, but the network announced several mid-seasons and specials as well.
9-1-1 is the next effort from Ryan Murphy, and at this point that will give any show a bit of a kick. It’s also a show that has something to do with the medical profession, so that will pull in viewers as well.
After that though… I’m not so sure, mostly because there isn’t enough information yet. A show that focuses on first responders has potential, but there’s no telling what the approach is here.
From prolific creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, new procedural drama 9-1-1 is a fast-paced exploration into the lives and careers of first responders – cops, paramedics, firefighters – the people who put their lives on the line to save others. Starring Academy and Emmy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Angela Bassett (“American Horror Story,” “What’s Love Got to Do with It”), the series is based on the real-life, high-pressure experiences of emergency response providers who are thrust into heart-stopping situations that are equal parts unpredictable, intense and uplifting.
The Resident is a show that might have the legs to make a real splash as a mid-season effort and is sure to have people talking. A twist on your typical medical drama, this one takes aim at the industry at large, exposing a first-year resident to the hidden truths of his profession.
The show also has the benefit of being pulled along by Matt Czuchry, as one of the main doctors, and Emily VanCamp, as a lead nurse. They have fans who are going to follow them for a look at this one, and those fans aren’t going to be disappointed. Czuchry plays a character that fits his abilities without pigeonholing him, and VanCamp is in a role that is clearly going to lead to her being a crucial part of the statements we’re after.
With new medical dramas being a demand of the medium, one that tries to look at things through a wildly different lens is something that is almost always rewarded, as long as it doesn’t become shlocky drivel.
Focusing on three doctors at different stages of their careers and a dedicated young nurse, THE RESIDENT is a provocative new medical drama that rips back the curtain to reveal the truth of what really happens, both good and bad, in hospitals across the country. Meet DR. CONRAD HAWKINS (Matt Czuchry, “The Good Wife”), one of the best doctors at Chastain Park Memorial Hospital. Charming, arrogant and only a third-year resident, Conrad does everything in the most unconventional way possible.
Along with treating patients, Conrad believes it is his job to burst the illusions of first-year residents, like DR. DEVON PRAVESH (Manish Dayal, “Halt and Catch Fire”), and turn them into real-life doctors. Devon is an innocent idealist, who wears his finely tuned moral compass and passion for science like armor. With Conrad’s help, however, Devon quickly discovers the reality of his chosen profession is not what he imagined, and that ethical lines are often blurred. Nothing, not even the best medical school in the country, could have prepared him for what he’s about to learn.
As Devon accompanies Conrad through the hospital’s halls, he meets distinguished chief of surgery DR. RANDOLPH BELL (Bruce Greenwood, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” “Mad Men”), the face of the hospital and its most sought-after doctor, whose diminishing skills, and the errors they cause, are covered with the help of allies under his command; DR. MINA OKAFOR (Shaunette Renée Wilson, “Billions”), a rising star surgeon from Nigeria who is threatening Bell’s dominance, but who also is in the U.S. on a visa; and NICOLETTE NEVIN (Emily VanCamp, “Revenge”), one of Chastain Memorial’s most respected nurses and Conrad’s on-again-off-again romantic partner. While Conrad opens Devon’s eyes to the stark realities of hospital life, the once-optimistic young doctor soon realizes that the practice of medicine is a business, like any other. Not all patients are angels and not all doctors are gods, but one thing’s for sure: expectations are meant to be shattered.
LA TO VEGAS
LA to Vegas is a mid-season that audiences will likely flock to. Whether the stars or the premise get people excited is secondary to the play FOX is going to try to get from the fact that the show is executive produced by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay (The Big Short), Lon Zimmet (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), and Steve Levitan (Modern Family).
The show seems to be something like Cheers on a plane, following the flight crew and passengers of Jackpot Airlines, a budget carrier that takes people from LA to Vegas every weekend.
Take a look at the full synopsis of this one.
From executive producers Will Ferrell (“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “Elf”), Adam McKay (“The Big Short”), Lon Zimmet (“Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt”) and Steve Levitan (“Modern Family”), LA TO VEGAS is a single-camera ensemble comedy about an airline crew and the eccentric passengers who, every weekend, take the roundtrip flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas with one goal in mind – to come back a winner. Welcome to Jackpot Airlines, a budget carrier whose junket flight from LA to Vegas and back again, is filled with dreamers looking for that big score.
Holding (or, more to the point, barely holding) these voyages together is RONNIE (Kim Matula, “UnREAL”), a long-suffering flight attendant who tries to keep her cool (oftentimes, with little success) whether she’s dealing with a bi-polar bride-to-be or the dead body in Row 13. Managing the revolving door of bachelor parties and 21st birthdays gets even trickier when Ronnie develops a “location-ship” with COLIN (Ed Weeks, “The Mindy Project”), a regular passenger and an economics professor, whose son and soon-to-be ex-wife live in Vegas.
Further complicating her job every weekend is CAPTAIN DAVE (Emmy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Dylan McDermott, “The Practice,” “American Horror Story”), the narcissistic pilot whose fighter-pilot dreams never quite worked out; BERNARD (Nathan Lee Graham, “The Comeback,” “Hitch”), the always-positive career flight attendant who thinks there’s no flight more magical than the LA-to-Vegas; ARTEM (Peter Stormare, “The Big Lebowski”), the genial professional gambler who serves as the plane’s resident (but unofficial) bookie; and NICHOLE (Olivia Macklin, “The Young Pope”), the sweet-natured, part-time stripper who’s a lot savvier than people realize. It won’t be easy, but this unlikely group of miscreants and dreamers will eventually go from being strangers on a plane to a supportive, if unconventional, family…from Friday to Sunday…whether they like it or not.
Additionally, FOX and Warner Horizon Unscripted Television will partner with acclaimed film, television and theater producer Marc Platt (GREASE: LIVE, “La La Land,” “Wicked”) on the LIVE musical event A CHRISTMAS STORY, inspired by the holiday classic feature “A Christmas Story”and the Tony Award-nominated Broadway production “A Christmas Story: The Musical.” Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, recent Tony Award nominees for the musical “Dear Evan Hansen” and lyricists of “La La Land’s” Academy Award-winning song, “City of Stars,” also scored “A Christmas Story: The Musical,” and will compose several new songs for the LIVE television event, with Jonathan Tolins and Robert Cary (GREASE: LIVE) adapting the book. The three-hour live television production of A CHRISTMAS STORY will air this December on FOX.
The next chapter of THE X-FILES, a thrilling, 10-episode second installment of the event series, once again will be executive-produced by creator Chris Carter, with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson returning in their roles as iconic FBI Agents FOX MULDER and DANA SCULLY. In 2016, THE X-FILES drew an average multi-platform audience of nearly 16 million viewers and was the season’s No. 2 broadcast drama, as well as the most talked-about event series on Twitter.
Executive producer Marc Platt also will team with FOX on RENT, a live musical production of the Tony Award-, Grammy Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “Rent.” The groundbreaking musical is a re-imagining of Puccini’s “La Bohème,” set in New York City’s gritty East Village, which tells the unforgettable story of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams during a time of great social and political turmoil. Writer/composer Jonathan Larson’s tour de force celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, as it continues to offer an inspiring message of hope and friendship.
During the 2017-2018 season, several FOX series will celebrate major milestones, including FAMILY GUY’s 300th episode and BROOKLYN NINE-NINE’s 99th episode. In addition to already claiming the title of longest-running scripted series in television history, THE SIMPSONS will enter the record books yet again next spring, as having produced the most episodes for a scripted series, surpassing “Gunsmoke’s” record of 635.