It’s time to start gearing up for a mad, mad world of new series that aren’t likely to live long, and as the networks get through their upfront efforts, they hope something catches your eye enough that you’ll still be around in a few months.
FOX has some new shows coming your way, and you may as well get my impressions, so let’s go.
Prodigal Son has a lot going for it on paper, but the trailer has a fair amount of trouble selling something worth watching… for longer than a trailer. Though Deception didn’t get much of a run, it was a fun show that, if nothing else, was trying to take viewers on a ride they hadn’t been on before, and writers Chris Fedak and Sam Sklaver make this show worth giving a chance as well.
Beyond that, The Walking Dead‘s Tom Payne became a major draw, showcasing an effortless charisma amid the show’s late-season wacky offerings, and putting him in the lead should play well. Michael Sheen has likewise proven himself the kind of actor that makes anything worth watching.
The problem with the show, a crime procedural about a man who hunts murderers despite, and because, his father is a convicted serial killer, is that the measure of these shtick crime shows is ultimately how well they move beyond their flashy trick to get you to watch. This one doesn’t seem to want to, or have any real way to if it did. The result of that kind of theory is that the show better hook people fast and convince them that they have a true adventure coming.
Prodigal Son is a fresh take on a crime franchise with a provocative and outrageous lead character and a darkly comedic tone, from Emmy Award-nominated executive producers Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter (“Riverdale,” “The Flash”) and writers Chris Fedak (“Deception,” “Chuck”) and Sam Sklaver (“Deception,” “Bored to Death”).
The series stars Tom Payne (“The Walking Dead”) as the son of a convicted serial killer (Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Michael Sheen, “Masters of Sex,” “Frost/Nixon”), who has made hunting murderers his life’s work.
The series also stars Bellamy Young (“Scandal”), Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Lou Diamond Phillips (“Longmire,” “Stand and Deliver”), Halston Sage (THE ORVILLE), Aurora Perrineau (“The Carmichael Show”), Frank Harts (“The Path”) and Keiko Agena (“Dirty John”).
Not Just Me
Not Just Me is a rough one for me because I really struggle with the strange omission by FOX that it is a remake of Sisters in any of the promotional offerings for the show. That the network isn’t making a big push of that information leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
That said, the only other problem I see with the show is that it looks to diverge from the original by A) moving away from comedy to a degree, and B) expanding the father’s role insofar as time on screen.
What made the original was not just the bizarre premise of a fertility doctor who used his own sperm to impregnate scores of his clients, but the particular sense of humor that was thrust into this situation, forced now to react to things no one has ever experienced before… and a lot of things everyone experiences. It’s a brilliant show, with an impressive cast, and nothing is better than Maria Angelico‘s perfection of the character in every insane moment.
This one is going to depend on what they’ve done to “Americanize” the comedy, and how the expansion with Timothy Hutton comes together.
Executive producer Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood”) and writer Annie Weisman (“About A Boy,” “Desperate Housewives”) bring you NOT JUST ME, the story of an unusual family formed through extreme odds, exploring such hot-button issues as identity, human connection and what it truly means to be a family.
An only child (Brittany Snow, the “Pitch Perfect” franchise, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) finds her life turned upside down when her father (Academy Award winner Timothy Hutton, “American Crime,” “Ordinary People”) reveals that, over the course of his prize-winning career as a pioneering fertility doctor, he used his own sperm to conceive upwards of a hundred children, including two new sisters (Megalyn Echikunwoke, “The Following,” “90210,” and Emily Osment, “The Kominsky Method,” “Young & Hungry”).
As these three young women slowly embrace their new reality, they will attempt to form an untraditional bond as sisters, even as they must welcome a tidal wave of new siblings into their rapidly expanding family.
The series also stars Mustafa Elzein (“Sequestered”), Mo McRae (“Big Little Lies,” “Pitch”) and Victoria Cartagena (“Manifest”).
Filthy Rich could easily be the show I hoped had a chance most (that doesn’t really seem to), except that it is not only a spin on a recent show out of New Zealand, but is one of the most overused concepts in television (not least by way of the 80’s precursor to Designing Women that had Delta Burke and Dixie Carter polishing their eventual DW characters).
I want to like a show that openly mocks the generally nonsensical nature of televangelists living the high life off the rubes who seem to have no problem with their spiritual leaders swimming in money. I definitely want to tune in to see the hilarity that ensues when the most popular televangelist on Earth dies and leaves part of his money to his three illegitimate children no one knew about. Given that the brand’s matriarch (Kim Cattrall) now has to figure out how to keep her fortune from said bastards, while keeping a lid on their existence, there’s a lot of fuel for potentially riotous high jinx.
The problem here is that it doesn’t seem to have teeth and there’s no way Cattrall can carry the thing herself. No one, I suspect, wants to watch a show that leads with a televangelist going down in a plane crash leaving his wife to try to explain the hookers, but then lays out a seemingly safe, stale version of the events surrounding his illegitimate children sparring with his wife over who is going to take over a $2 billion empire. Playing it even remotely straight, without furious mockery of everyone and everything, feels like a creepy acceptance of televangelists with planeloads of hookers.
It could end up a decent enough show, except that it calls itself a drama, and that’s just bonkers. If it has a hope, it’s going to have to build a lot of layers, and it’s going to be the kind of show that takes some time to pull audiences in, and show’s just don’t get that sort of time to develop these days. It’s best hope is to really nail everyone with the idea that it is by the EP of Empire and pray fans will stick with it.
FILTHY RICH is a southern Gothic family drama in which wealth, power and religion collide – with outrageously soapy results. When the patriarch (Emmy Award winner Gerald McRaney, “This Is Us,” “24: Legacy”) of a mega-rich Southern family, famed for creating a wildly successful Christian television network, dies in a plane crash, his wife (Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Kim Cattrall, “Sex and the City”) and family are stunned to learn that he fathered three illegitimate children, all of whom are written into his will, threatening their family name and fortune.
With monumental twists and turns, FILTHY RICH presents a world in which everyone has an ulterior motive – and no one is going down without a fight. From writer/director Tate Taylor (“Ma,” “The Help,” “The Girl on the Train”), the series also stars Melia Kreiling (“Tyrant”), Aubrey Dollar (“Battle Creek”), Corey Cott (“The Good Fight”), Benjamin Levy Aguilar (“Straight Outta Compton”), Mark L. Young (“We’re The Millers”) and Olivia Macklin (“LA to Vegas”), with Emmy Award nominee Steve Harris (“The Practice”).
Kim Cattrall also serves as a producer on the series.
neXt is a series that, I must imagine, hopes to capitalize on the audience for shows like Scorpion, which claim to be about smart people, but are mostly bananas. I was looking forward to something interesting when I learned John Slattery had a new show in the works, but it’s hard to bet this effort (which isn’t hitting until 2020) is going to be able to pull in an audience.
That might be especially true because this looks like a limited series (which makes sense coming from Manny Coto – 24: Legacy), and the market for what is essentially an “AI takes over” film might be pretty thin. There’s just something very The Circle about the way this is packaged, which ended up more of a commercial than something you could sink your teeth into.
It’s always hard to judge the deeper dive from the trailer, but the real problem with this one might be that it looks like so much spectacle over substance. The show may be quick to call itself “fact-based,” and there certainly are computers and self-driving cars, but (judging by the trailer) this looks to be fact-based in the same sense as horror movies are “based on true events.”
The key to this show is going to be the first episode, which is going to need to really blow people away or no one is coming back.
From creator and executive producer Manny Coto (“24: Legacy”) and executive producers and directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (“This Is Us”), neXt is a propulsive, fact-based thriller about the emergence of a deadly, rogue artificial intelligence that combines pulse-pounding action with a layered examination of how technology is invading our lives and transforming us in ways we don’t yet understand. Starring Emmy Award nominee John Slattery (“Mad Men”) as a Silicon Valley pioneer, who discovers that one of his own creations – a powerful A.I. – might spell global catastrophe, and teams up with a cybercrime agent (Fernanda Andrade, “The First”) to fight a villain unlike anything we’ve ever seen – one whose greatest weapon against us is ourselves.
The series also stars Michael Mosley (“Ozark”),Jason Butler Harner (“Ozark”), Eve Harlow (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Aaron Moten (“Mozart in the Jungle”), Gerardo Celasco (“How to Get Away with Murder”), Elizabeth Cappucino (“Jessica Jones”) and Evan Whitten (THE RESIDENT).
Deputy may be FOX‘s best chance at something that is going to really take off. Not just because cop shows are a decent bet, but because having David Ayer’s sensibilities behind a show with a cop thrust into a semi-political existence makes a lot of sense.
The key here, much like with anything reasonably similar to Justified, or any other black sheep cop show, comes down to how much people fall for Stephen Dorff. The backdrop of action-focused crime fighting and political intrigue is likely to stumble in the same places most such shows do, by overblowing drama, dodging side character depth at times, etc., but all that matters is the extent to which people want to watch Dorff go on the ride.
From writer/executive producer Will Beall (“Aquaman,” “Gangster Squad”) and director/executive producer David Ayer (“Training Day,” “End of Watch”), DEPUTY brings the spirit of a classic Western and a gritty authenticity to the modern cop drama.
When the Los Angeles County’s Sheriff dies, an arcane rule forged back in the Wild West thrusts the most unlikely man into the job: a fifth-generation lawman (Stephen Dorff, “True Detective”), more comfortable taking down bad guys than navigating a sea of politics, who won’t rest until justice is served.
DEPUTY also stars Yara Martinez (“Jane the Virgin,” “True Detective”), Brian Van Holt (“Cougar Town”), Siena Goines (“Andi Mack”), Bex Taylor-Klaus (“Arrow”), Shane Paul McGhie (“What Men Want”) and Mark Moses (“Mad Men”).
Outmatched is another in a growing line of recent efforts to not quite make a family sitcom and at this point it’s becoming fun to watch the battle of the shtick vs. the shtickless play out. Jason Biggs and Maggie Lawson are parents, and three of their four children are geniuses. Hilarity ensues, because when you have children who are geniuses… that’s hard, or whatever.
Beyond just the shtick plot, this one is also following the recent trend, apparently, of giving the kids in the show a lot more attention, which it seemed we were moving away from not that long ago.
The danger here is that while this may be a solid show, it’s in a tricky space, just like Lon Zimmet’s other recent effort LA to Vegas, which was woefully underappreciated. No matter how fun or funny LA to Vegas was, it’s a sort of safe and comfortable effort, like Cheers on an airplane, and in today’s market, you run the risk that it just won’t get people talking. Outmatched could be in the same box there.
This is one I really encourage people to give a chance, because the stars have the charisma (even if I’m going to need a little convincing on the chemistry) and Lon Zimmet writes great stuff.
From writer/executive producer Lon Zimmet (“LA to Vegas”), and starring Jason Biggs (“Orange Is the New Black,” the “American Pie” franchise) and Maggie Lawson (“Lethal Weapon,” “Psych”), OUTMATCHED is a multi-camera family comedy about a blue-collar couple in Atlantic City trying to raise four kids – three of whom just happen to be certified geniuses.
The series also stars Tisha Campbell-Martin (“Dr. Ken,” “My Wife and Kids”), Jack Stanton (“The Mick”), Connor Kalopsis (“The Grinder”), Ashley Boettcher (“Lost in Oz”) and Oakley Bull (“Beautiful Boy”).