Network Upfronts by John Keegan

2013 Network Upfronts: CW

2013 Network Upfronts: CW

Despite its reputation for focusing on teen drama, however deserved that might be, The CW has also been a remarkably loyal friend to genre fans.  This upcoming season is heavily stacked with genre shows, and while some of them are not quite my cup of tea, there is a nice variety.  The fall promises to have a mixture of returning favorites and new blood.


8-9PM Hart of Dixie (Returning)
I know next to nothing about this show, but I think it’s interesting how CW seems to devote Monday nights to the young adult romance set, pretty consistently.  It’s not bad in terms of counter-programming against reality TV and Syfy’s Monday night block, and at least they get the non-genre material out of the way!

9-10PM Beauty and the Beast (Returning)
I was a bit surprised when this show was renewed, because it had been on the proverbial bubble for so long.  I’ve heard that it’s not bad, as remakes go, but the cast does nothing at all for me, and there are more interesting possibilities on Monday nights.


8-9PM The Originals (NEW)
The oft-mentioned spinoff for The Vampire Diaries, I question the logic of having this run on a different night, especially against one of the most potent genre premieres in recent memory.  Not only that, but the backdoor pilot that ran recently was less than awe-inspiring.  Even if the writing improves dramatically, I get the feeling CW is going to have to be very patient with this one.

9-10PM Supernatural (Returning)
I’m actually rather annoyed that they broke up the potent Arrow/Supernatural block on Wednesday nights, because there’s a lot more genre material on Tuesdays in the fall than Wednesdays at this point.  Then again, Supernatural is a steady performer for CW, and it is neatly sandwiched between Agents of SHIELD and Person of Interest.  It should do fine.



8-9PM Arrow (Returning)
Arrow was the lead-in for the night this past season, so its solid ratings are unlikely to take a hit.  If anything, CW is probably hoping that it can give a good lead-in for the new show that follows.  But I still think they missed an opportunity to maintain consistency in their scheduling.

9-10PM The Tomorrow People (NEW)
I’m very curious to see if this slice of nostalgia is going to survive an attempt at a remake.  The original ran for a while in the UK, but it was cheesy even back then, and certainly hasn’t aged well.  Will the creators go for the cheese factor with a nod and a wink, or will they go the way of the Battlestar Galactica reboot and darken things up?  And it has Mark Pellegrino, so it could be worth a look.


8-9PM The Vampire Diaries (Returning)
Another steady show for CW, despite some creative stumbling in the past couple seasons, this is gaining even more ground as the show to start Thursdays off for genre fans.  If you’re not already hooked, go back to the beginning and catch up.  This is not Twilight.

9-10PM Reign (NEW)
I’m not sure why this is paired with The Vampire Diaries, given that it is a period romp focusing on Mary, Queen of Scots as a young woman, cavorting through France with her four lusty ladies-in-waiting.  I imagine lots of corsets, accents, and skin, but after the racy cable offerings of The Tudors and The Borgias, this is likely to feel tame by comparison.


8-9PM The Carrie Diaries (Returning)
Congrats, The Carrie Diaries.  Your reward for barely squeaking through a renewal is exile to Friday night.  Don’t get comfortable in the new digs.

9-10PM America’s Next Top Model (Returning)
This show is still around?  I’m sure there’s an audience looking forward to this, but I get the feeling CW is more or less conceding Friday nights at this point.



Nikita (Unscheduled)
The show that continues to fight cancelation to the death, Nikita will conclude with a six-episode run at some point in the next season.  I would be upset, but I’m still stuck in the middle of the second season, so there’s plenty more Lyndsey Fonseca left on my plate!

Star-Crossed (Unscheduled)
Essentially Alien Nation meets Roswell, it’s a story about a bond between a young human girl and the alien boy who she helped rescue a decade earlier when a spacecraft crashed on Earth.  Now they are at the same high school, where the aliens’ presence is extremely controversial and public.  Could be interesting if done right, but it sounds very familiar now that Defiance is on the air.

The 100 (Unscheduled)
Now this looks interesting.  A century after Earth is ravaged by nuclear war, the descendants of those who survived in the space stations around Earth want to see if the planet is inhabitable and if humans can repopulate.  What better way than to send 100 young delinquents to the surface?  It could go very wrong, but the cast is promising, and this could get very dark, very quickly.

Famous in 12 (Unscheduled)
A reality show in which an “ordinary” family attempts to become famous in 12 weeks, in partnership with TMZ.  Yeah, I’ll definitely be skipping this one.


90210 came to an end this past season, and so the attempt to revive the FOX megahits of the late 80s has come to a thankful close.  Cult also failed to live up to its title, which is no surprise.

The real shock is the absence of The Selection, a project that had a lot of buzz during the pilot season.  Effectively a riff on The Hunger Games, this show could have capitalized on the release of Catching Fire in the fall.  Apparently scripting woes kept this one from ever coming together, though it’s likely that there were many other issues, given how often pilot scripts strive for mediocrity.


By my count, of the ten shows premiering in the fall, six of them are genre-related.  On top of that, all of the scripted mid-season shows have a genre element to them, so it’s closer to nine out of fourteen.  Even if some of those shows are questionable in terms of predicted quality, that’s an amazing percentage.  It also means that genre fans will continue to see The CW as the most reliable major network when it comes to the fall season.

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 - 5/16/2013 2:33 PM406 views


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