Who doesn't love Michael J. Fox? (Wait, if you don't, you probably shouldn't answer that, as you are a monster). That's the question NBC is banking on for The Michael J. Fox Show to be a hit. That our universal love for the actor will make us overlook just how weak the new series with his name in the title really is. And while Fox's talents and charms are still as undeniable as ever, you can't help root for the guy… to wind up on a much better show.
I imagine that when Jamie Foxx got his script (or read his cue cards? I'm not sure how this show works anymore) for this week's Saturday Night Live episode, every single one of his characters was described as an "over-the-top manic black man." If I had to say three positive things about this endeavor, I guess one would be that it kind of reminded me of old-school SNL episodes where Chris Rock used to also play various angry archetypes (though it was a lot more culturally relevant and satirical in the early '90s), two is that the Django Unchained trailer was fun and three is definitely every moment of Aidy Bryant. With that in mind, here are the highlights of the evening:
The Fox upfront presentation began with a pre-taped bit about the cast of New Girl interviewing for a new roommate, and their options were Fox stars ranging from Mr. Schue to Walter to the kid from Touch. Oh, and Emily Deschanel, because they couldn't resist making a sister joke. It was cute and the highlight of the network's hour-long presentation, for sure. Most of the rest focused on clips from this season of New Girl, a live awkward bit of banter between Zooey and Mindy Kaling about who is the most adorkable Fox star of them all, and Ryan Seacrest being Ryan Seacresty. They also made a big deal about The X-Factor and officially introduced new judges Demi Lovato and Britney Spears, while making a couple of digs at The Voice. I suppose they had to fill the time somehow, because aside from talking about some new random animation domination HD thing that's going to air in the dead of Saturday night (11 PM-12:30 AM), and referencing baseball as much as they could, there really wasn't a lot of new stuff to show off. But here's what we thought of the new programs they did preview:
Fox's 2010-11 upfront presentation was a bit shorter than NBC's earlier today, but still just as tediously dull. After parading out the Fox talent and then letting Hugh Laurie act all appreciative, two bigwigs talked a lot about how people still watch TV and not just on the computer (yes, because couches are more comfortable than computer chairs). We were shown charts and graphs and heard talk of something called a "purchase funnel." Seriously dizzying. The event didn't really get interesting until Jane Lynch came out as Sue Sylvester and started making fun of Fox president of entertainment Kevin Reilly by poking fun at his weatherman looks and hair: "Last time I saw something that sweet and sticky it came with a free coffee and had jelly inside." After all that, it turned out that the network didn't have much new to show us... at least not for the fall (check the full calendar here). Still, some of what we did get to see definitely had promise.
It's the start of upfront week, and while Fox revealed their schedule this morning, the presentation showing off their actual new programming until this afternoon. It took place at City Center in Manhattan, but thanks to the magic of the web, I got to watch it from my mostly comfy desk chair. It started off with a guide to surviving the onslaught of new TV. Using clips of Homer telling us about nutrition, Bones keeping us hip with lingo and something with The Family Guy's Peter. Then they revealed the stage, which was filled with Fox stars. People from each show came to the front and took a quick bow, while the announcer said their names. Or tried to. He brutalized everyone from Chi McBride to Tyler Labine to, most egregiously, Lie to Me's Brenda Hines. He (being Brendan) got a good laugh out of it. They all trickled off stage, leaving only Kiefer "Jack Bauer" Sutherland.
Oh, please, no. Don't call Fox's exciting new fall drama Fringe that scary word. You know -- the word that sends so many otherwise open-minded viewers racing for the remote.
The G word. The SF word. The F word. (No, not that F word.)
Yes -- as J.J. Abrams (Lost) and other Fringe producers admitted Monday in headlining the Fox portion of this summer's Television Critics Association press tour -- their new show is about speculative science getting out of control thanks to wanton corporate experimentation. Dead people talk, and lovers' brainwaves merge, and all sorts of other not-quite-reality is laid out amid shadowy conspiracies and kick-ass action.
It seems the suits over there are finally coming to their senses, because The Hollywood Reporter is dishing dirt that the network inked a first-look deal with the one and only Jason Bateman to develop a slew of new series. This two years after they cancelled the Bateman vehicle (and stroke of comic genius) Arrested Development. But now the B-Man -- who recently directed the pilot for the new Fox comedy series Do Not Disturb and will lend his voice to the upcoming Mitchell Hurwitz cartoon chucklefest Sit Down and Shut Up -- is back in the saddle.
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