Network Upfronts by John Keegan

2013 Network Upfronts: FOX

2013 Network Upfronts: FOX

FOX has attempted to regain the favor of genre fans after the Firefly debacle, even to the point of renewing Dollhouse for its second season not so long ago, openly declaring that it was out of fear of fan backlash.  They did right by Fringe, letting it live long after the ratings became an issue, yet FOX remains the favorite target of angry genre fans, largely because of how many genre shows have come and gone over the past decade.  Where do they stand coming into the next season?




8-9PM “Bones” (Returning)

This series is getting a bit long in the tooth, even for devoted fans, but it’s also a reliable staple for FOX to use as a lead-in for new shows.


9-10PM “Sleepy Hollow” (NEW)

Ichabod Crane is brought into the future, where the Headless Horsemen is on a rampage, apparently heralding the apocalypse.  The only hope for humanity is Crane’s ability to solve a mystery going back to the American Revolution.  This one is by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the writers that have brought some big films with questionable plot mechanics to the big screen over the past several years, so who knows what to expect from this?



8-8:30PM “Dads” (NEW)

A comedy brought to us by Seth McFarlane and starring Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi, I almost think the premise doesn’t actually matter.  Those are enough reasons to give it a look.  I would rather it led right into The New Girl, though, since I get the feeling it’s on a similar wavelength.

8:30-9PM “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NEW)

Those looking for an Andre Braugher fix after the unkind fate of Last Resort might want to see if this fares better.  A wacky comedy about the hijinks of everyone working a police station; sounds a bit like Cops meets The Office.


9-9:30PM “The New Girl” (Returning)

One of the most reliable comedies on the air right now (at least from my perspective), The New Girl has evolved into a solid show that depends less and less on Zooey D’s adorkable personality.


9:30-10PM “The Mindy Project” (Returning)

This has been something of a breakout for FOX this season, so it’s no surprise it is returning.  What is a bit shocking is that FOX might have slowly but surely built a solid comedy block for Tuesday nights, enough to challenge the competition on what is becoming a bit of a reality-show wasteland.



8-10PM “The X-Factor” (Returning)

Speaking of reality-show wastelands, FOX continues its policy of juggling The X-Factor and American Idol to ensure that one of them dominates Wednesday nights.  Genre fans will hopefully continue to have Arrow and Supernatural to give them a necessary alternative.




8-9PM “The X-Factor: Results Show” (Returning)

There’s a reason why this is a popular timeslot for trying out new shows on other networks.


9-10PM “Glee” (Returning)

Glee is hardly the phenomenon that it used to be, yet it still has enough buzz to justify keeping it on the schedule.  FOX is implementing a split-season format (not unlike what cable shows do more and more often), which should mean that mind-numbing story arcs will end more quickly.  Those of us forced to experience this show should only hope.




8-9PM “Junior Masterchef” (NEW)

I don’t even know where to start.  Then again, the idea of Gordon Ramsey launching into an expletive-filled rant at kids and teenagers is oddly entertaining.

9-10PM “Sleepy Hollow: Encores” (NEW)

Yes, you read that right.  They officially have this timeslot open for reruns.  That might tell you what a complete disaster Touch was this season; FOX has more confidence in reruns that what that show would have delivered.  (And if I were running a mid-season show on the network, I’d feel even less confident!)



8-8:30PM “The Simpsons” (Returning)

FOX continues to flog the dead horse, or rather, the ground where the remains of the horse used to be, now that it’s long since turned to dust.


8:30-9PM “Bob’s Burgers” (Returning)

I’ll be honest and admit that I have no idea what this show is about, because there are far too many genre offerings on Sunday nights for me to pay attention to the FOX animation block.


9-9:30PM “Family Guy” (Returning)

Still churning since its unlikely resurrection, Family Guy doesn’t quite have the buzz it used to, but I suppose the fans keep tuning in enough to keep it on the air.


9:30-10PM “American Dad” (Returning)

I’m always surprised to see this show still on the schedule.  I never had the sense that it gained enough of a following to remain viable.




“Almost Human” (Mondays)

From JJ Abrams and starring Karl Urban and Michael Ealy, this is essentially a riff on the classic Isaac Asimov Robot novels, with a troubled human detective partnered with a robot.  Anyone with memories of those novels will understand how this could definitely work, and a lot of ex-Fringe folks are involved, so that lends weight to the production.  Still, there’s a reason why some genre fans are wary; this could easily devolve into silliness.



“The Following” (Mondays)

This brutal Kevin Bacon vehicle got enough of a cult following to stay on the air, which should make its fans happy.


“American Idol” (Wednesdays/Thursdays)

Yes, it’s still on.  No, I have no idea why.


“Rake” (Thursdays)

Greg Kinnear stars in this remake of a hit Australian show, playing a character named Keegan.  For some reason, I’m wondering if this is somehow “Critical Myth: The TV Series”.  Whatever the case, this has a surprisingly solid cast and is run by the creator of the original, so it could be worth a look.  Even if I would understandably find it confusing.



“Raising Hope” (Fridays)

This comedy has been tapped for mid-season to help lead-in to another new comedy.  I still find it odd that they aren’t doing this in the fall.


“Enlisted” (Fridays)

A comedy about three brothers on an army base in Florida.  I suspect our reaction to this will be wondering how Keith David fell so low.


“Murder Police” (Unscheduled)

This is an animated comedy series, which perhaps makes the title less bizarre.  The premise is fairly obvious: a crazy homicide department.


“Surviving Jack” (Unscheduled)

Based on a book called “I Suck At Girls”.  Set in the 90’s, it’s about a family dealing with teenage issues.  Finally, a fresh idea for a comedy!


“Us and Them” (Unscheduled)

A show about young lovers who have to deal with the weirdness of those around them.  A fairly interesting cast, but the premise doesn’t sound overly promising, as it is a remake of the British show Gavin and Stacey, which will cause gritting of teeth long before it airs.


“Wayward Pines” (Unscheduled)

This ought to get an interesting reception.  Essentially, this is Twin Peaks as presented by M. Night Shyamalan.  An agent comes to a town where people can come in, but never seem to be able to leave or communicate with the outside world.  It’s being billed as an “event series”.


“24: Live Another Day” (Unscheduled)

The massive shock that was such a big win for FOX that it received its own press release and media event.  Instead of a film, 24 gets to come back as a 12-episode mini-series, in which each episode encompasses two hours of the usual 24-hour time period.  The return of Jack Bauer in what ought to be a tighter narrative format is an exciting prospect; the news that Howard Gordon will be overseeing the writing, not so much.  But it does promise to provide a “ninth season” for 24, which hopefully will give the saga a more fulfilling ending, since it’s now clear that a film is unlikely to ever happen.  (Though, to be fair, if this is the success they believe it will be, it’s likely the first of many such 24 mini-series.)




FOX is already projecting out into the summer of 2014.  24 will kick off sometime in May, and Wayward Pines will follow it, bridging into the 2014-2015 season.  During that time, another show called Gang Related will also air, which makes it very clear that FOX is looking to use these shows to revive the notion of year-round programming viability.


What it also means is that we don’t see all the pieces that may be in the FOX portfolio.  A few shows were canceled, obviously, but some shows may not even be announced until later in the year.




FOX is still offering quite a few genre shows with potential, and the return of 24 is definitely interesting.  It’s even more interesting that they are deferring it until after the traditional season.  Sleepy Hollow and Almost Human look interesting enough to sample, unless one is not a fan of Abrams and his stable of writers/producers.

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Network Upfronts by - 5/13/2013 9:33 PM480 views


Degenerate Johnny
Degenerate Johnny
5/14/2013 8:38 AM

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Sleepy Hollow looks interesting, but its attempts at comedy might come off a little stale. I must admit that the "Four Horsemen" hook seems like something I could enjoy. However, the "Heads Will Roll" slogan is so cheesy. The only show that made it great was The Tudors (I'm not sure if it was for Season 2 or 3). Never-the-less, I guess I'll give it a "swing."
5/14/2013 9:03 AM

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It's so convoluted a concept that it will either be awesome or a complete train wreck...LOL...
Degenerate Johnny
Degenerate Johnny
5/14/2013 9:52 AM

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Sorry Critical Myth, my comment was meant to be a reply.
Degenerate Johnny
Degenerate Johnny
5/14/2013 9:50 AM

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The problem is that Abrams' motley crew is a wildcard. Therefore, I'm hoping for the former, but I'm prepared for the latter.
5/15/2013 8:50 AM

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I'm really excited for another season of 24, even a shortened one. I was ticked off when they left it the way they did, just assuming there would be a movie. Hopefully they give it closure this time.
5/15/2013 8:55 AM

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Also, Junior Masterchef? I love Masterchef, and I think it's one of the best cooking shows on TV, but does FOX not remember American Idol Juniors 10 years ago? At least that was a spinoff of a huge show, yet it still flopped. Masterchef is a summer hit, hardly deserving of a spinoff.
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