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TWoP 10: Most Exciting News From Upfronts

by Angel Cohn May 22, 2009 10:50 am
TWoP 10: Most Exciting News From Upfronts

It's been a busy week with all the networks announcing their fall lineups and the midseason programming they've got on tap. While some shows didn't get picked up (Samantha Who?, My Name Is Earl, According to Jim), others found new homes (like Medium, which is now smartly paired with Ghost Whisperer on CBS) and many others got bumped to new nights and times. It's a lot to take in, but here were the highlights of this fall preview week.

1. Chuck renewed
This was the bubble show we were most concerned about, but NBC saw the light (after a lot of people ate [Editor's Note: Inexplicably smelly -- Mindy] Subway sandwiches) and renewed the show for 13 episodes. While that's not the full season we hoped for, at least we'll get to see Chuck doing some high-kicking martial arts moves next year.

2. V
The lizard aliens are back! We were cautiously optimistic about this ABC remake, but after seeing some footage, we're counting the days until this one hits the airwaves. It's got a great cast, seamless special effects and of course, it is based on a classic series we used to enjoy. Unfortunately, we have to wait until midseason, but hopefully that gives them time to keep the production values really high.

3. Human Target
This high-octane drama will kick up the action on Fox when it debuts in 2010. The clips from this series were some of the most promising of the entire upfront season, and we're glad that Mark Valley found a heroic role to play. Plus he's partnered with Chi McBride and Jackie Earl Haley, who round out his crime-fighting trio, so it looks like a well-cast fun ride.

4. Dollhouse renewed
While this show has had its ups and downs this year, it ended on a highish note, so we're hoping that like Buffy and Angel, this Joss Whedon series will improve in its sophomore season. We're at least glad that Fox is giving it a chance to try.

5. Flash Forward
They've been hyping this ABC show during Lost and after seeing the full first act of the show, it does have the potential to have the engaging twists and turns that Lost has. Instead of an island, the chaos stems from a worldwide blackout during which everyone got a glimpse of their futures. Joseph Fiennes is at the center trying to puzzle all these clues out, and we've got a feeling we'll be theorizing right along with him.

6. Modern Family
The initial clips we saw of this ABC sitcom were OK -- three separate families doing mildly amusing things -- but when we got to see the entire pilot, all of the pieces really worked well as a whole. This charming comedy has a single-camera style with a strong cast (Ed O'Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Julie Bowen) dealing with conventional situations in appealing and slightly edgy ways. From an older man with a hot young wife who is constantly mistaken for her father, to a gay couple introducing their adopted child via music from The Lion King, to a woman letting her husband shoot their kid with a BB gun to teach him a lesson, it's all good.

7. More So You Think You Can Dance
Ignoring the fact that summer shows sometimes only work in the summer (Big Brother's attempt at a winter season was a dud, for example), Fox will try to garner some traction in the fall by airing yet another installment of their hot dance hit, which means that we loyal SYTYCD fans will get not one, but two seasons of this addictive competitive reality show. As long as the talent bar stays high, we'll be happy.

8. Community
This new NBC sitcom and Modern Family were really the only two comedies that actually made us laugh during the upfront presentations. Joel McHale (of E!'s The Soup fame) stars as a lawyer who is forced to return to community college. Not entirely sure why, but while he's there he meets an oddball group of friends (including Chevy Chase) and their study groups are way more entertaining than any college study group we ever attended. While we didn't see the entire pilot, this comedy already shows more promise than say... Parks and Recreation, so that's a good sign.

9. 90210 and Melrose together again
90210 has its problems. And the Melrose Place redo looks like it's not quite as juicy as its predecessor. Still, there's something comforting about having the new versions of these shows paired together like the originals used to be. It's a bit retro, and hopefully they'll force each other to improve and they can soon be the dominant soapy night that we used to know and love with new characters we can love to hate.

10. No Lily or AbFab
Lily was at the top of our list of fall series we were excited about, but after seeing the backdoor pilot in this season's penultimate episode of Gossip Girl, we can see why the powers that be at the CW decided to opt out. It was like, so not, like, as much, like '80s fun or as like GG like fun as it like should have like been. We're also grateful that some wise person at Fox decided not to pick up the atrocious sounding Americanized version of Absolutely Fabulous. After the disaster that was this season's Kath & Kim, we couldn't stand to see another fun import be ruined.

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