After a promising pilot season, Fox is the first television network to unveil their crop of new shows, and I imagine the omissions will affect fans more than the additions.
For starters, Fox cancelled every series on the proverbial “bubble” after lackluster ratings, except for cult favorite “Fringe.” This means the end of Shawn Ryan’s crackling cop drama “The Chicago Code,” Tim Roth’s body language procedural “Lie to Me,” action drama “Human Target,” 30-somethings sitcom “Traffic Light,” and Christian Slater’s third consecutive dud, “Breaking In.” Ryan said on Twitter, “Fox suits love the show but they have a business to run.” Five series canned. As Deadline points out, that is as many live-action cancellations as those returning (e.g. House, Raising Hope). Originally programming, we hardly knew ye.
Naturally, this makes more room for constant episodes of talent shows “The X Factor” and “American Idol,” plus what is essentially the scripted version of those singing contests: “Glee.” I guess if it doesn’t sell albums and other merch, it’s expendable?
The rest of the Tuesday and Wednesday line-up will be loaded with more female-driven series, like “The New Girl” starring the always adorable Zooey Deschanel as a “quirky teacher who moves in with three guys.” Since Fox is easily the most litigious of the studios, we haven’t posted any script reviews and I’m not really at liberty to share my thoughts.
But the show, created by No Strings Attached writer Liz Meriwether, was originally called “Chicks and Dicks.” Now that was a rather witty script, which showcased Meriwether’s knack for dialogue that was unfortunately mangled in the Natalie Portman rom-com. Despite a notable case of attention deficient disorder, this show could find an audience.
Another is “I Hate My Teenage Daughter” with Jamie Pressly, a shrill concept with (allegedly, wink) unlikable characters. Test screenings were just okay.
Fox has also officially ordered 12 episodes of “Lost” co-creator J.J. Abrams’ “Alcatraz,” another quasi sci-fi series about a group of people who mysteriously appear on an island. This it’s centered on prisoners who vanished thirty years ago and the law enforcement officials assigned to track them down. Jorge Garcia (who played Hurley on “Lost”) is part of the cast, as well as Jurassic Park hero Sam Neill and “Sons of Anarchy” alum Sarah Jones.
But Fox passed on its other bizarre drama, “Locke & Key,” which I loved unabashedly. Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go) directed the pilot that they passed on. It could wind up in the mid-season line-up or at another network, but chances are disappointingly slim.
Otherwise, Fox has already committed to the Steven Spielberg-produced dinosaur drama “Terra Nova,” a “Bones” spin-off-but-not-really titled “Finder,” Jonah Hill’s cartoon comedy “Allen Gregory,” and a cartoon Napoleon Dynamite I already loathe (sight unseen).